Tipi Classroom Enhances Ute Education

Posted August 21, 2023

Teacher Moqui Mustain-Fury and 17 of her fourth grade students from Battlerock Charter School in rural Montezuma county were some of the first to learn first-hand about Ute culture inside a Ute tipi in Fall 2022.

“It was great for the kids getting these wonderful traditional stories while sitting directly on the ground. That was important; it was a very grounded feeling,” shared Moqui.

The tipi is a new outdoor classroom added to Crow Canyon’s campus in 2022. “It’s for teaching kids, both Native and non-Native,” shared Crow Canyon educator Rebecca Hammond (Ute Mountain Ute Tribe). “The goal is to expand our Ute educational programming.”

“Historically Crow Canyon has focused mostly on Pueblo culture,” explained Crow Canyon educator Jeremy Grundvig. “However, 26 tribes are connected to the area and our education team has been expanding curriculum to incorporate additional cultures such as Ute.”

Before students approach the tipi, Rebecca explains how to enter and how to sit inside. Once inside, she shares history about the Ute people in Colorado and first-hand experiences about Ute culture, showing examples of baskets, beadwork, and more.

“It was so nice to see Rebecca talk about her culture and her people inside a traditional Ute tipi,” shared Moqui.

To set up the tipi, Crow Canyon’s education team enlisted help from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. “Every tribe does it differently and they demonstrated the Ute way,” explained Jeremy. “We learned a lot about the culture during set-up, like that women were always in charge of setting up the tipi. Until the early 20th century the Ute were still hunter-gatherers and were moving across the landscape. The tipi became their main form of living space.”

More than 300 students had the opportunity to learn about Ute culture—past and present—in the new tipi classroom in 2022 and we look forward to welcoming many more in the coming years.

Click here to learn more about Crow Canyon’s student education programs.

This story is from the 2022 Annual Report. Click here to read the full report.