American Indian History

American Indians were the first human inhabitants of South Park. The Utes were entrenched in central Colorado when the Spaniards first entered the North American interior in the fifteenth century (Simmons, 1966). Initially they were apparently loosely organized into family groups, but after the acquisition of horses from the Spanish they organized into larger bands (Swift, 1980). Because of the abundant game animals and salt deposits in the basin, Comanches, Kiowas, Cheyennes, and Arapahos also visited South Park during the late 1700s and into the mid-1800s (Simmons, 1966; Nature Conservancy, undated). A series of treaties with the U.S. government between 1863 and 1868 took almost all of the Utes' mountain and park holdings in Colorado, and by the late 1800s most of the Indians had moved from the basin to reservations (Porrata, 1979).

Indian artifacts have been found in South Park during archaeological studies that have been limited primarily to surface work. Folsom points have been found near O'Haver Lake in Chaffee County adjacent to South Park (Shaputis and Kelly, 1982) and on Red Hill in South Park (Simmons, 1966). Rio Grande points have been picked up on the shore of Antero Reservoir, Scottsbluff points were found in the Trout Creek Pass region, and two apparent Alberta points were picked up

Porcupine Cave Colorado Map

FIGURE 4.1 Generalized map of South Park showing key geographic features, landmarks, Bautista de Anza's trail (from Scott, 1975), and location of Porcupine Cave. (Modified from U.S. Geological Survey 1:500,000 Colorado Base Map, 1969.)

FIGURE 4.1 Generalized map of South Park showing key geographic features, landmarks, Bautista de Anza's trail (from Scott, 1975), and location of Porcupine Cave. (Modified from U.S. Geological Survey 1:500,000 Colorado Base Map, 1969.)

in the northern part of Chaffee County (Shaputis and Kelly, 1982). A buffalo jump with tipi rings is located a short distance from Porcupine Cave on a tributary of Badger Creek.

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