About Us

The mission of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) is to carry out the Tribe's commitment to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the Ute people on all Ute Ancestral Lands. This broad goal will be achieved through the following actions:

• Plan and implement protocols for the preservation and management of the cultural and historic properties on tribal lands.

• Consult with local, state, and federal agencies and other interested parties on the management of the Tribe's historic properties' and other cultural resources.

• Facilitate the repatriation of affiliated human remains, sacred objects, and items of cultural patrimony to the Tribe.

• Educate and inform tribal members and the general public regarding the rich cultural heritage of the Ute people and their land.

• Advise the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council on historic preservation protocols and policy.

As a formal participant in the national historic preservation program, a tribe may assume official responsibility for a number of functions aimed at the preservation of significant historic and traditional historic properties. Those functions include identifying and maintaining inventories of culturally significant properties, nominating properties to the National and Tribal Registers of Historic Places, conducting National Historic Preservation Act (NRHP) Section 106 reviews of federal agency projects on tribal lands, and conducting educational programs on the importance of preserving historic and traditional cultural properties.


Chronology of the Utes





THPO Overview

All cultural resources on Ute Mountain Ute Reservation lands are subject to oversight by the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO). The THPO was established by Tribal Resolution in 2009 and a Cultural Resource Management Plan (CRMP) was developed to guide all cultural resource work.

As stated in the letter dated December 18, 2009 (Appendix C of the CRMP), the Director of the National Park Service has formally approved the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to assume certain State Historic Preservation Officer duties within the exterior boundaries of the Tribe's reservation in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.

As stated in 36 CFR 800.2(c)(2)(A), the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) appointed or designated in accordance with the NHPA is the official representative for the purposes of Section 106. As such, agency officials shall consult with the THPO in lieu of the SHPO regarding undertakings occurring on or potentially affecting historic properties on tribal lands. This includes those historic properties within the Ute Mountain Tribal Park and the Ute Mountain Ute Mancos Canyon Archaeological District. 

Flowchart of procedures for projects on tribal lands

THPO Authority and Oversight


Do's and Don't of Cultural Resources

Applicable to all reservation lands of the Ute Mountain Ute:

  • Do get appropriate permits from the THPO to visit archaeological sites on reservation lands
  • Do have a valid crossing permit to be on reservation lands
  • Do contact the THPO if any potential human remains are found on reservation lands
  • Do report anybody collecting artifacts to the THPO


  • Don't dig on archaeological sites
  • Don't collect any stone, dirt, or artifacts from archaeological sites
  • Don't deface rock art
  • Don't leave graffiti or litter


Permitting and Fee Schedule for Cultural Resource Investigations

Please list the permit types, and put a button that links to "download all permits" which will be a single pdf.

Cultural Resources Permits for fieldwork are required on all Ute Mountain Ute tribal lands. Fieldwork conducted without the proper permit(s) is illegal and will result in prosecution pursuant to the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) (43 CFR Part 7). 

The Ute Mountain Ute THPO is responsible for issuing permits (except ARPA permits, which are the purview of the BIA) for cultural resources investigations on Ute Mountain Ute tribal lands. Permits are required for any cultural resources investigations that are outside the realm of traditional use and visitation and are required by any non-tribal member for any cultural resources work on tribal lands. These permits are:

  • Annual Cultural Resources Permit Application (required prior to all project specific project applications)
  • Site Visitation Permit Application
  • Cultural Resource Inventory Permit Application (project specific)
  • Archaeological Excavation Permit Application (project specific)
  • Ethnographic Research Permit Application (project specific)


Tribal members are only required to obtain the necessary permits if excavation or disturbance of an archaeological or historical site is to occur. Tribal members do not need a Visitation Permit or an Ethnographic Study Permit.

Complete and return forms and submit permit fee to:

Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Historic Preservation Office
P.O. Box 468
Towaoc, CO 81334
Phone: (970) 564-5731 Fax: (970) 564-5410


Download all permits and fee schedule

Cultural Resource Management Plan

Complete Cultural Resource Management Plan (CRMP)

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Tribal Historical Preservation Office/THPO

Director: Terry KnightSr.

PO Box 468

131 West Mike Wash Rd

Towaoc, Colorado 81334

Monday to Friday

8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Phone:  (970) 564-5731

FAX (970) 564-5401