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100 Years of Silence, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

Updated: May 9

Breaking 100 Years of Silence: The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s

Legacy of Endurance

On March 23, 2024 The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe held a free public launch event for their art exhibit titled "100 Years of Silence Project" at the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake. The exhibit included Indigenous textiles, modern mediums, and woodworking. The art on display was created to commemorate and heal from the events that took place on March 23, 1923; more commonly known as the "Posy Wars."

[Please Note: Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Leadership asks that your refrain from referring to these events as the "Posey War" as it is not appropriate. Tribal Leadership will be issuing a statement at a later date with the appropriate terminology. Once that statement is made, IHAWC will update this post with the appropriate language.]

Guests gathered in the museum's auditorium to hear about the events of 1923; which Utah leaders have since excused away in hopes that those effected would forget. However, the Ute Mountain Ute community has not forgotten and refuses to allow elected officials continue to excuse their actions away.

This healing project started in 2023 and the public launch signified the 101 year breaking of the communities silence. This is significant because they has not publicly talked about this since the events occurred. At the launch, Project Director Shaun Ketchum Jr. welcomed attendees through sharing his family connection and personal stories. After which elders, artist, and musicians shared their journeys which highlighted the unconquerable spirit of their people.

Following this presentation a reception was held for guests to view the art created by Ute Mountain Ute artists.

Leading up to the event, Ketchum reached out to Shelby Chapoose, Executive Director of IHAWC, to help engage with the local community. Chapoose created the images above to assist in the promotion of the event and find volunteers.

IHAWC would like to thank all of the volunteers that stepped up to support the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe at this event. Your contribution helped to further foster a space of healing for all those involved in the project. Thank you.

IHAWC is a Native American-led organization that serves Indigenous individuals and families by inspiring a balanced lifestyle. IHAWC provides community events, educational opportunities, and access to resources that promote and build strong communities through finding balance and harmony in our physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental capacities.

So what happened 101 years ago?

On March 19, 1923 the "Posey War" began. 80 Ute women, children and men were forced into a barded wire cage in the streets of Blanding, UT. This led to two Ute men being murdered, the loss of access to traditional Ute territory within Bears Ears, and the coerced enrollment of Ute children into boarding schools.

“Let us mark this occasion together, We will end a century of silence with compassion, empathy, and unity. Our elders told me since I was a young man, you never forget about our land, The Ute Way.-Shaun Ketchum Jr., Project Director.

To support Native American-Led community events like this, please consider donating to the 100 Years of Silence Project and it's supporting organizations.

100 Years of Silence Project

Indigenous Health and Wellness Connections

Utah Diné Bikéyah

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