This rectangular buckskin and commercial leather pouch has beadwork in red, yellow, blues, white and greens, made using the lazy stitch. One side of the pouch has all over beadwork, while the other side has beadwork around three of the edges. The flap is beaded all over. The designs are geometric and feature and diamond on one side. Two buckskin thongs hang from the two bottom corners and the center of the top flap. The lower edge is decorated with metal cones. Two buckskin thongs are tied together at the top of the bag and may have been used to attach the bag to another item of clothing.
On March 16, 2015 during a NAGPRA collections review, designated tribal representatives from the three Ute tribes informed History Colorado staff that this pouch may have been used to carry ration tickets, tobacco or sage, money, or other small items. This pouch may have been worn by attaching it to a belt. Tribal representatives also commented that this pouch most likely belonged to a woman because it has metal cones on it. Tribal representatives also noted that on one side, this pouch has a segmented design, which is typical of Ute design.
Thomas McKee (1854-1930)
Thomas M. McKee was born in Kentucky, but grew up in Nashville, TN. He trained as a photographer, but also often worked as a railroad express messenger and had interests in paleontology. He found his way to Montrose, CO in 1890 to set up a photography studio. He is believed to be one of the first photographers to take X-ray pictures. He introduced western Colorado to moving pictures in 1895.
He photographed Mesa Verde and much of the local mining activity. In the early 1900s he turned his interests to documenting the daily lives of Ute people in photographs. He also began to collect Ute artifacts and amassed one of the largest Ute collections in the United States. He was close friends with Ouray and Chipeta. History Colorado bought his collection in 1948. It consists of 232 items. 150 are beaded Ute pieces. This is our largest Ute collection.