This arrow is made with a wooden shaft and metal point. The nock (at the rearmost end) is notched. The feather fletchings are held in place with wrapped sinew and are from geese; however, the sinew wrapping near the body of the shaft has detached, and a thin metal wire has been wrapped around to hold the feathers in place instead. The metal point is inserted into a split and held in place with wrapped sinew. The decoration includes red and black painted bands under the feathers. There is a groove extending along the shaft. On March 16, 2015 during a NAGPRA collections review, designated tribal representatives from the three Ute tribes informed History Colorado staff that the grooves along the shaft are meant for hunting animals, as the grooves allow the animal’s blood to be let out and the arrow to be easily removed. They also added that the arrow is of Ute manufacture.
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.