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Field Division of Education
Ethnology of Rocky Mountain National Park: The Ute and Arapaho
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The Arapaho political organization was simple. There were no clans or sub-organizations. The tribe was divided into four bands which were subdivisions of one surviving sub-tribe of the group, i.e., the Arapaho proper. The Arapaho had four head chiefs (the Cheyenne five), which seem to have represented the four bands. There was no recognized head chief of the whole tribe, the four apparently acting more or less in concert in tribal matters. Only when all four bands were camped together did they form the camp-circle. New chiefs may have been elected but not all informants, apparently, agree that there was anything so formal as an election. (Kroeber, 1902, 7-9; for elaborate description of Cheyenne, see Grinnell, 1923, 336 et seq).


The southern Ute formerly had three chiefs and one or more heralds. The chief exercised some authority over the buffalo hunt, but there does not seem to have been any sort of police society or authority such as was common in the Plains on this occasion. The Uintah Ute claim that at one time there was a single chief over all the Ute. After his death, the Ute split up into various bands. At the present time the Ute are split into a large number of small bands.

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