Meeker Massacre Pageant

  • Experience the thrill of watching history unfold at this outdoor venue starring local Meeker residents (and their horses) as they depict the events that played out during the Ute uprising against Nathan C. Meeker in 1879.

    Prior to the arrival of white settlers, vast wilderness encompassed more than 12 million acres of what is now known as Western Colorado, Eastern Utah and parts of Wyoming and New Mexico.  The Utes are thought to have lived throughout this area for more than one thousand years.

    When Meeker arrived at the White River Valley, a clash of cultures was inescapable.  Terrible consequences that would forever change the traditional nomadic lifestyle of the Utes unfolded after Nathan Meeker’s unrealistic and ill-conceived imposition of forcible utopian mandates to farm and adopt Christianity on the Ute lifestyle was met with resistance and finally violence.

    Meeker and 10 agency employees were attacked and killed by Chief Colorow’s Utes at the White River agency in Powell Park in 1879.

    After Meeker’s death, a concurrent conflict occurred between Utes and Cavalry soldiers led by Major Thornburgh who was sent to aid Nathan Meeker. This battled resulted in the deaths of Thornburgh and a number of his soldiers as well as some of Chief Jack’s band of Utes at the Battle of Milk Creek.

    These tragedies are considered by historians to have been the last major Native American uprising in North America and resulted in the 1881 Congressional banishment of all Utes to reservations in Eastern Utah and Southern Colorado where many of their descendants continue to live today.

    Please bring your family and friends to this long-standing annual tradition. For more than 70 consecutive years, this production has been a highlight of our annual Range Call celebration.

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