The state of Utah is named after the Utes or Yutas, a Spanish derivative. The Uintah and Ouray reservation is located in Northeastern Utah approximately 150 miles east of Salt Lake City on U.S. Highway 40 and 40 miles west of the Utah/Colorado State Line.
The Utes know adversity well. Following several armed conflicts with the Mormon settlers in 1861, at the request of the Mormons through the Treaty of Spanish Fork, the Utes were forced by executive order of President Abraham Lincoln to leave their beloved, beautiful Provo Valley and relocate in the Uintah Basin. In 1881, another reservation, the Uncompahgre Reservation was established adjacent to the Uintah Reservation and two other bands from Colorado were removed to Utah. The Utes (tribal membership of 3,300 members) operate their own tribal government and oversee approximately 1.3 million acres of trust land. Tribal headquarters are in Fort Duchesne, Utah. The tribe is developing its resources and pursuing its own destiny in cooperation with various government entities in the Uintah Basin, including the state of Utah.
The home of the Ute Indian Tribe is the Uintah and Ouray (U & 0) Reservation, located within a three-county area in Northeastern Utah, known as the "Uinta Basin," and covers a large portion of western Uintah and eastern Duchesne Counties. The Uintah and Ouray Reservation is the second largest Indian Reservation in the United States. There are approximately 4.5 million acres of the Northern Ute (U & O) Reservation. The elevation varies from 5,000 feet to 13,000 feet. The Uintah Mountains, the only major mountain range to run east and west in the United States, is located along the northern border of the reservation. The Green River runs through the southern extension of the reservation.
This vast reservation is a virtual storehouse of Mesozoic wealth. Hydrocarbons in a multitude of forms that have been trapped beneath the surface for millions of years are now being mined. Oil and gas, tar sands, oil shale and gilsonite are in abundant supply. On the surface of this hydrocarbon wealth are large areas of natural forest, fish and game preserves, and farming and grazing lands with considerable water resources.
The Reservation serves as home for the Whiteriver, Uintah, and Uncompahgre bands, also known as the "Northern Utes." The headquarters for the Northern Ute Indian Tribe is located in Fort Duchesne, Utah, "The Heart of Ute Country."