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White Mesa

Elevation: 6,000 feet (1,830 meters)
Population: 350

In the book, A History of San Juan County, In the Palm of Time, Robert McPherson says, 'The Ute and Paiute experience between 1880 and 1933 was traumatic.'

'Squeezed in a vice of farming communities, livestock operations, and an inadequate reservation, the people had no choice but to give up their hunting-gathering way of life.' They fought to keep their ancient lifestyle, but lost their land, and '...their way of life melted away in the crucible of the twentieth century.'

This small Ute community is governed by the White Mesa Ute Council, roughly akin to a city council form of government. Gasoline and fast food available. No lodging.

Economic Information

White Mesa is located on the White Mesa Ute Reservation about thirteen miles south of Blanding on US 191. At 6200 feet elevation, White Mesa provides water to its residents. Its estimated 2000 population was 375.

The White Mesa Ute Reservation is a sub-agency of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, which is headquartered some 100 miles to the east in Towaoc, Colorado.


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