The ancestors of the Ute Indian tribe lived in small bands of less than a hundred people in the area of the U.s. now divided into Utah and Colorado. They depended on their weapons and tools for hunting game, storing food and defending their lives. They divided care and production of tools between the sexes. Men were responsible for making and using weapons as well as the tools and accessories associated with weapons. Women made baskets and pottery for storing food and also used their weaving skills to make the nets used in fishing and hunting.

Bows and Arrows

Ute men used bows and arrows for hunting and warfare. Since the tribe's survival and prosperity depended heavily on the acquisition of game and on their ability to defend themselves from enemies, they had to make their bows and arrows of sturdy material, such as wood from the cedar tree or even sheep horn. The arrow tips were made from flint. After Europeans brought horses to the Americas, the Utes used horse hair for bow strings.


The Utes, like many Native Americans, needed good knives to cut and to carve. They used flint to fashion these blades. Some knives were used only for ceremonial purposes. The Utes carried their knives in rawhide sheaths.

Spears and Shields

The Ute Indians used spears for warfare. Fashioned from wood, the spear was tipped with a flint blade. Along with a spear, a Ute warrior might carry a hide shield in battle.

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The net was almost as important as the bow and arrow for a Ute hunter. Women typically wove fibers together to make the nets, which the men used for fishing or for rabbit drives.


Women also used their fiber-weaving skills to create baskets. These versatile containers could hold many different kinds of foods gathered from the surrounding environment, such as piƱon nuts.


Ute women were also responsible for crafting the earthenware pottery that the tribe used for storage. They incorporated Anasazi designs into the images that they painted on the exterior of these pots.