The Utes are a mountain dwelling people from the Rocky Mountain regions of the United States. Linguistically, the Utes are related to the Shoshone as well as the Aztecs, belonging to the Aztectan-Utian language family. Modern Utes, however, have virtually lost their language and it is considered by Ethnologue to be an endangered language. The Colorado Utes were master artists, creating some of the most distinct and complex art of the North American tribes, both in "realism" as well as technique (as with most tribal people, "Art" rarely existed for art's sake alone, but was part of the daily and spiritual life of the people.
There is evidence that the Ute have been using Peyote in their sacred ceremonies for hundreds of years, making them one of the first of the North American tribes to use it regularly. The Ute, likes most American Indian tribes recognized that all living (and some non living) things had souls (pantheism) and that spirits lived in many things. The Ute talk of four sacred fires, including the Blue fire and the Yellow fire; they honor tobacco as a holy plant, and the bear is central to their most holy ceremonies. Recently, the Ute have adopted the Sun Dance to their religious expressions, but it is significantly different from the Plains Indian version.