Top Ways To Celebrate Native American History And Culture In Colorado

November 5, 2012 1:00 PM

Denver Art Museum American Indian Art (credit: CBS)

November is National Native American History Month and Colorado is rich with the history and culture of many different Native American tribes. The Southern Ute Tribe is still living in Colorado and there are several places where you can learn all about these people and their rich traditions. The Denver Art Museum is also home to one of the largest collections of Native American art and artifacts, so it should definitely be a stop as you look to celebrate this amazing culture. Take a look at these great places to celebrate National Native American History Month and learn all about the people and places that make up the great state of Colorado.

Ute Indian Museum
17253 Chipeta Road
Montrose, CO 81401
(970) 249-3098

The Ute Indian Museum may be a bit of a drive from Denver but if you are looking to learn about this wonderful culture, then there is no more perfect place to go. About a five-hour drive southwest of the metro area, if planning a family trip this month, Montrose should be a stop along the way. The Ute Indian Museum has one of the largest and “most complete collections of the Ute people,” including artifacts, exhibits, hands-on programming, dioramas and more. All of these great exhibits go toward the museum’s goal of bringing life to American Indian history and culture.

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Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
35110 Colorado 194
La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 383-5012

Bent’s Old Fort was built in 1933 as a trading post for the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indians to trade with trappers. It was a place where many different people and cultures came together for peaceful trade. It was destroyed in 1849 but has since been reconstructed and on-site historians bring the Fort to life with tours, demonstrations and events. With great trails, self-guided tours and plenty to do, this is a perfect stop to learn all about the amazing history of the Native Americans of the Rocky Mountain region. It is about three hours south of Denver but just a quick detour off of I-25.

History Colorado Center
1200 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 447-8679

Colorado has a rich history of Native Americans and perhaps the best way to discover it is to visit the History Colorado Center. This wonderful hands-on and high-tech museum will take your whole family on a trip back in time to the founding of Colorado. Among the many exhibits is a look at the Ute Indian Tribes, titled “Resilience: The Ute Indian Tribes, Time Immemorial to Today.” The exhibit is a look at these original Coloradans and their culture and unique traditions.

Native American Trading Company
213 W. 13th Ave.
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 534-0771

One of the best spots in town to get truly authentic, handmade Native American crafts is the Native American Trading Company, located next door to the Denver Art Museum. For nearly 20 years, this unique store has sold everything from photographs and artifacts to weavings, pottery and jewelry. Everything is handmade and museum quality. It is one part gallery one part store, and completely worth a visit. Each section of this huge store is displayed like a museum, so it is a wonderful way to get to know all of the amazing Native American artisans that are still crafting today.

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Denver Art Museum American Indian Art

Denver Art Museum American Indian Art (credit: CBS)

Denver Art Museum
100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway
Denver, CO 80204
(720) 865-5000

While you are visiting the Native American Trading Company, stop next door at the Denver Art Museum to peruse its immense collection of Native American art and artifacts. It is a huge collection of art from all across North America, with visits dating all the way back to 19th century Arapaho and even including modern day pieces. With sculpture, clothing, pottery, paintings, time-lapse video and so much more, it is easy to get lost in this truly spectacular world of Native American art.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at