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SPANIARDS, MEXICANS, AND UTES IN THE UNCOMPAHGRE VALLEY OF WESTERN COLORADO TO 1900

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In partnership with the Hispanic Affairs Project, the Ute Museum is proud to host local historian and author, Steve Backer and his presentation on Western Colorado History.


The history of the Uncompahgre Valley is typically popularly recounted from the perspective of the late 19th century white settlement which commenced in earnest with the removal of the Ute Indians and the few Mexicans who lived among them. There is, however, a seldom spoken of the history of the valley when it was claimed by Spain, Mexico, and then the United States. In this heavily Power-Point illustrated lecture, local archaeologist and historian Steven Baker will discuss the early Spanish, Mexican, and Ute presence on the western slope. The program will include discussion drawn from Baker’s many years of research into the early history of the region and his recent highly regarded book: Juan Rivera’s Colorado 1765: The First Spaniards Among the Ute and Paiute Indians on the Trails to Teguayo (2015). The book was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award for 2017 and provides the first descriptions of Colorado’s western slope and the first meaningful one of the Centennial State.

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Steven G. Baker B.S., M.A. is an ethnohistorian and registered professional archaeologist from Montrose, Colorado. He has conducted research into the early history of West Central Colorado for nearly 50 years and is now partially retired after serving as President of Centuries Research, Inc. To be followed by a book signing, featuring Steve’s book, Juan Rivera’s Colorado, 1765.

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