Southern Ute Cultural Information

Bailey here – 

I got a little busy last week because of some tough classes and lots of homework, but I’m back. I promised to tell you about the Ute Cultural Center, the Casino – and the Southern Ute Drum, and I always keep my promises. 

Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum 

The Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum is a culmination of more than 24 years of planning and development by the Southern Ute people – many of whom participated by sharing their stories, Ute artifacts, photos, clothing and beading. This beautiful architectural masterpiece will be a focus for Southern Ute cultural preservation, education and community activities for people of all ages. 

As you can see in the photo, the Museum’s central Welcome Gallery represents the shape and texture of the traditional wickiup. Each panel in the Gallery is unique – with its own shape and curve – so that only with computer aided design was this structure made possible. The two wings of the building look raised and ready for flight – symbolizing of the wings of the sacred eagle. 

Seen from within the Welcome Gallery – at the top of the wickuip – is the Circle of Life Window. It represents the four sacred directions, and the four stages of human life. East is infancy, South is youth, West is adult, and North is the elderly stage of life. 

This amazing Museum is not yet open, but is almost ready to take flight. 

The Circle of Life Worldwide Welcome at the Museum takes place on May 21-22, 2011. The Museum is scheduled to be open to the public in June 2011. 

Check out the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum at 

Sky Ute Casino 

The Sky Ute Casino – next door to the Cultural Center and Museum – is a luxury hotel and casino. Slot machines, craps, roulette, bingo, blackjack and poker await those who are ‘of age.’ Of course I can’t gamble yet – not old enough – but they have an indoor swimming pool with a sun deck, a bowling alley, miniature golf and a state-of-the-art arcade. And the casino boasts five different restaurants. Yum! 

Check out the Sky Ute Casino at

Southern Ute Drum  – Tribal Newspaper 

The Southern Ute Drum newspaper – which won four 2010 Native American Journalist Association Awards – is the Tribe’s bi-weekly newspaper. Within its pages you can find cultural news, coverage of cultural events, and pictures of the beautiful Ute people. There are also sections on hunting, sports, education, the Tribal government, business and health. 

Check out the Southern Ute Drum at

Southern Ute Tribe


Durango, Colorado – Why I Love It

Bailey here –

I mentioned before that I live in Durango, Colorado – and I love it here.  I believe the Creator granted extra blessings on this beautiful place. 

Durango is located in the southwest corner of Colorado – close to the four corners of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.  It’s a gorgeous mountain river valley (at about 6500ft) surrounded by pine trees, red rock mesas, lakes and rivers.  It’s close to the Southern Ute Indian Reservation (me likey!).  And it’s lush, green and fun year-round.

The fast-running Animas River – that weaves through town – is perfect for river rafting, which is one of my favorite things to do.  I love the rush of the water, the challenge of keeping the raft upright with just a paddle in my hands, and the thrill of the rapids.  There are also the cute rafting guides – and I mean every single one of them.  Who wouldn’t want to raft with a bunch of athletically-built river guys?

Then there are the trails all through the San Juan Mountains (which are part of the Rocky Mountain Range).  They’re perfect for running and hiking – which Jazz and I love to do to keep ourselves in shape for basketball and track.  We also ride our horses, Dakota and Cheyenne, along the trails and rivers, and let them cut loose in the beautiful meadows.  There’s nothing like feeling the wind whip through your hair while you’re on the back of your galloping horse.  And there’s magic in those mountains, at the holy places of the ancient peoples.  I’ve felt it.  I know.  Of course Jazz thinks it’s all bologna, but that’s just her.

There are so many other things to do in Durango that make it so cool – kayaking, canoeing, backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hunting, fishing and off-roading, to name a few.  The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad – an historic steam-powered train with a haunting whistle – meanders through the mountains to Silverton, Colorado.  We have Fort Lewis College (where I’m going to go), Purgatory – or Durango Mountain Park – where I like to ski (and tried to kill myself boarding), and Mesa Verde National Park where the ancient Pueblo people built their cliff dwellings – way cool.  And last but not least – and where I like to hang out – is our old west-style Main Avenue.

Speaking of Main Ave, I have several totally favorite places there.  I’ll tell you about my beloved Magpies – the best coffee house – next time.

Michael Spears, Native American Actor

Bailey here –

So I have a poster of Dog Star (aka Michael Spears) from the mini-series Into the West above my bed.  Maybe that’s why I keep dreaming about my Indian.  The mystery ‘Indian-of-my-dreams’ looks a lot like Dog Star, but he’s definitely a different guy.  And he’s beautiful.  First, there’s that long, silky black hair, those dark mysterious eyes, the high cheekbones and chiseled nose.  Oh my gosh.  He’s the ultimate man.  Well, my ultimate man, anyway. 

But back to Michael Spears because I know a little bit about him, and he’s the closest thing I can find to the ‘Indian-of-my-dreams.’

Michael Spears is gorgeous!  I mean, just look at him!  He’s a member of the Lakota Lower Brule Tribe of South Dakota.  He’s an actor, an inspiring speaker, an accomplished hand drum player, and his singing voice is haunting and beautiful.  He’s accomplished in archery, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and he works with an Inter-Tribal Group to encourage the creation of natural sustainable energy sources.  Is there anything this guy can’t do?  Did I mention he’s gorgeous?

As far as I can tell, Michael is an all-around great guy.  He doesn’t even drink alcohol because he wants to live a healthy life without hindering his inner spirit.  Who can’t fall in love with that?

Michael’s Personal Belief (abducted from his website)
Live each day well, it’s a great ride.  Always remember who you are and where you came from.  Know where you want to go and acknowledge those that help you get there along the way.  Respect your family and yourself.

How beautiful is that?  Love it!  And did I mention he’s gorgeous?  And that he’s an actor?  Some of the films you can see him in are: 

Into the West
Dances with Wolves
. . . and many more

Check out Michael Spears at  You can also find some awesome pics of him on YouTube.  And I mean, NICE!

I can only hope the mystery ‘Indian-of-my-dreams’ will be as wonderful as Michael Spears when I meet him.  Think I’m nuts?  No way.  That guy is real. I can feel it in my bones.  I WILL meet him someday.

Native American Vision Quest – Black Elk

Bailey here again –  

I’ve been trying to convince my mom (yeah, right) to let me go on a vision quest ever since I was 10-years old.  A vision quest is a Native American ritual where you go into the wilderness and connect with the Creator to seek your mission on earth – or to seek healing or solutions to problems.  I want to know what my mission is.  I think I want to be a detective, but how do I know for sure that’s what I’m supposed to do?

I’ve done my research and I know a vision quest isn’t something to mess around with.  Not something to enter into lightly.  It’s serious.  But I know I’m strong enough to do it.  You have to be able to fast for a couple days, camp outside (no problem), be open to the spirit world, and able to be alone.  So, no problem.  BUT, my mom won’t let me.  Ugh.  Someday.

Black Elk, a famous Lakota holy man, had many visions – sometimes when he wasn’t even on a vision quest.  Black Elk lived from 1863 to 1950.  He was in the Battle of Little Big Horn and was wounded at the Wounded Knee Massacre.  Black Elk saw a lot of pain during his life, but he also saw hope.

One of my favorite visions Black Elk tells of was when he journeyed to the top of a sacred mountain and found a circle of stones with a cross in the center.  Black Elk looked around and saw that every created thing had a thread of smoke or light going from it.  A voice told him that the thread connects every created thing to the Creator.  Without the thread, it wouldn’t exist.  Black Elk saw that all the threads connected at the center of the cross, representing the Center of the Universe.  That’s when Black Elk understood that everything is related, all the seen and the unseen of creation. 

I love this vision because it makes me feel safe and connected.  Like everything has a place and a reason.  I want to make sure I’m doing – or will do – what I was put here to do.  Do you ever wonder what your mission is?

My Horse, Dakota

Bailey here –

I love my horse, Dakota.  He’s the best!  Well, I mean, he’s skittish, doesn’t like other people, and spooks easily – but I think he’s perfect.  He’s a brown and white Paint Horse, and he always takes my breath away.  Sometimes I can’t believe he’s actually mine. 

Two years ago, Dad and I went to the Spring Creek Horse Rescue over in Bayfield, and I fell in love with a skinny Paint gelding huddled in the back of his stall.  He had whip marks on his flank and an outgrown halter on his face.  The manager said the gelding kicked and reared – nobody could get near him. 

But then Dakota’s eyes and mine locked, and I knew he was meant to be mine.  Dad was dead set against him and left the barn to look at the other horses.  But I stayed and talked softly to Dakota.  After a long time, he inched his way over and let me pet his nose.  Then I slowly removed the halter from his sore face.  And the rest is history.  Dakota’s now strong and muscular, and he’s my closest friend and confidant.  I never have to worry about anything I tell him.

I’ve heard some people have the gift of ‘animal whispering’ – communicating with animals through telepathic energy.  It’s really a trip if you think about it too long.  I mean, communicating brain to brain, without talking out loud, human to animal and back again?  Of course Jazz thinks it’s all nuts.  But I don’t.  I don’t discount anything.  There are too many mysteries in the world. 

I’m no animal whisperer.  It’s just that Dakota and I connected.  Maybe because I was patient and let him come to me.  I think animals can tell if you’re going to hurt them or not.  Maybe they can even feel your intentions.  I don’t know.  But I do know I don’t like being forced to do things – by my parents or anyone else.  I’d rather think about things for a while and make up my own mind.  And if I end up doing what they wanted me to do in the first place, fine.  But it was my decision.

Don’t you like to make your own decisions?