GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A cottonwood tree that provided shade for the Ute tribes of western Colorado before the arrival of white settlers has grown rotten and unstable and must be trimmed into a memorial that recognizes its once-imposing stature.

The Ute Council Tree in the town of Delta is believed to be about 215 years old.

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The (Grand Junction) Daily Sentinel reports that the cottonwood can no longer be considered safe. The last surviving limb fell on a windless morning Aug. 1.

Ute tribes will be consulted about what steps to take next.

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Some say the tree was a meeting place for Utes and the settlers. But researchers have found no evidence to support that.

About 10 feet of the trunk will remain as a memorial.

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