Ute Treaty-making Delegation of 1868

Ute Treaty-making Delegation of 1868
Mathew Brady studio (active 1844-1883)
Albumen silver print, 1868

Early in 1868, a delegation of Ute Indians from Colorado came to Washington, D.C., to work out an agreement regarding the disposition of their ancestral lands. To mark the event, the Ute representatives joined various white officials connected with the negotiations in posing for this three-panel photograph. Signed on March 2, 1868, the final treaty offered livestock, seed, and equipment to all Ute families wishing to settle down to farming and ceded perpetual ownership of some fifteen million acres to the Utes. But in the face of gold and silver discoveries and the sheer relentlessness of white westward migration, the terms of the treaty quickly came undone. In 1873 the Utes were forced to sign over more than a quarter of their territory, and seven years later, following the outbreak of hostilities over demands federal officials were making on them, they lost the rest of their lands and were ordered to a reservation in Utah.

Among the most important treaty negotiators pictured here is Ute Chief U-re (fourth from right). Trusted by both his own people and the white establishment, he had a major role in quelling the frictions that inevitably resulted from violations of the treaty.

This photograph was taken in February 1868 at the Washington studio of Mathew Brady. Of the many pictures made of Indian delegations to the nation's capital, none was more ambitious than this panoramic image, which attempted to blend three group pictures into one.

Left to Right:

Pe-a-ah, Ute chief (Grand River band)
Su-ru-ipe, Ute chief (Yampah band)
Uriah M. Curtis, interpreter
George M. Chilcott, Colorado Territory congressional delegate
Albert C. Boone, grandson of Daniel Boone
Alexander Hunt, governor of Colorado Territory
Nic-a-cat, Ute chief (Yampah band)
Hiram Bennett
Lafayette Head, Indian agent
U-re, Ute chief
Edward Kellogg, secretary for Colorado Territory Indian superintendency
William Godfroy