The free lecture is at the Ouray Community Center, Tuesday evening, June 12, at 7:30 p.m.
The series, sponsored by the Ouray County Historical Society, will once again include seven lectures, the first six in Ouray, and the seventh, as has become the custom, at the 4H Event Center in Ridgway.
Dr. Gulliford, who teaches history and environmental studies at Fort Lewis College, calls himself a “public historian. My focus is on landscape, on traces of cultures on the landscape.” This talk will be about Ute Indian traditions and archaeological clues to their presence on Colorado’s Western Slope. And about preserving those traces.
Dr. Gulliford holds a Ph.D. in American culture/American history and is president of the San Juan Basin Archaeological Society, a chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society. He will draw from his ongoing research and book, Sacred Objects & Sacred Places: Preserving Tribal Traditions, to discuss physical remnants of Ute migrations through the landscape.
“There’s a big rock art site west of Montrose,” Gulliford said in a phone interview, “but that’s not what I’ll be talking about. In Ouray I’ll focus on culturally modified, or peeled, trees. Medicine trees. These were ponderosa pine or spruce, and were peeled by Ute women for food in times of dietary distress, ‘starving time,’ in late winter/early spring when hunting was hard. It wasn’t the tree bark, it was what’s underneath the bark, a very rich layer, kind of like cookie dough, that was rich in carbohydrates and proteins.”
Gulliford said that in the San Juan Mountains most of these trees were “obliterated” by “the mining impact. But there are some peeled trees, spruces, on the trail to Ice Lakes,” west of Silverton, and “there are groves in other parts of Colorado.” He has also seen peeled ponderosa pines at the Target Tree Campground near Mancos.
At lower elevations, Gulliford said, there are still wickiups, or pole lodges, at various places in the Colorado River Valley. “A lot more of these traces are intact north of the Colorado River,” Gulliford said, “because there were no mineral deposits” there to bring an influx of miners.
What does remain south of the river and in the San Juans, Gulliford emphasized, needs to be mapped, and preserved. And in this he is eager to enlist the help of amateurs, hikers and others. “Mapping is so important,” he said, “in a potential fire season like this one.”
Dr. Gulliford will also show slides of historic Ute pictograms and petroglyphs from Ute Mountain Tribal Park and Canyon Pintado, as well as bison wallows and stone bison blinds used by ancient Utes to hunt an extinct high-altitude bison.
He will discuss the Ute people today and their three bands: the Northern, Southern, and Ute Mountain tribes.
Dr. Gulliford’s other books include America’s Country Schools, Boomtown Blues: Colorado Oil Shale, Preserving Western History, and the forthcoming Outdoors in the Southwest: An Adventure Anthology.
The next lecture in the series will be June 19, on the Revenue Mine, presented by Ouray mine engineer Bob Larson.
For more information, call the Ouray County Historical Museum at 325-4576 or visit the website HYPERLINK "http://www.ouraycountyhistoricalsociety.org" www.ouraycountyhistoricalsociety.org.
Hours at the Museum are Mon. - Sat., 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4:30 p.m.