This is What it Truly Means to be Ute Proud

Notre Dame has the Fighting Irish, Florida State has the Seminoles and Utah has the Utes. Although our alma mater is what we identify ourselves as, there’s so much more than just t-shirts and logos to consider when we say that we are Utes. As a student at the University of Utah, you should be aware of what you are agreeing to when you come to this university.

Here’s what it means to be Ute Proud.


The University of Utah started to use the Ute name in 1972, and have been using it ever since. However, the University of Utah, the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservations publicly announced that there was a signed memorandum of understanding between the two parties, that allowed the University of Utah to continue to use the name Utes for the purpose of it's sports teams.

The University of Utah and the Ute Tribe came to a few ‘terms and conditions’ when the name was exchanged, here’s a quick break down of what they are.

  1. The Ute Tribe will allow the University of Utah to use the term ‘Utes’ as long as they:
  • There is a representative of the Ute Indian Tribe that works within the University to promote and develop campaign elements. (Websites, media, sports programs, etc...)
  • Disseminating the standards for appropriate fan behavior to fans and students.
  • Supporting and promoting of American Indian culture, through campus events.
  • Secure funding to support Ute and other American Indian students while attending the University.
  • Ute students shall be continually maintained in perpetuity through revenue sources such as merchandise sales, private donors and/or other sources to be determined. 
  • The University of Utah shall have a liaison between the tribal leaders and the University to discuss issues that should arise.

Why Does This Matter?

There is so much more to this agreement, and you can read about it in more depth through the link below. But why does this matter to you? Because it’s what you represent. When you put on that baseball cap with the University of Utah drum and feather logo, or that red hoodie with the words ‘Utah Utes’ on it, you need to know that you don’t just represent the college of health or the school of business, you are representing 32,000 students, 17 colleges or a PAC-12 athletic team, you are representing a culture. A tribe that has 2,970 members and oversees over 1.3 MILLION acres of land. You are representing a family, a neighborhood and a tradition.

So when you say you are Ute Proud, know what it MEANS to be Ute proud. The University of Utah uses such a beautiful culture that embodies tradition and generations in its name and that means so much more than being a Cougar..

With the North Dakota Pipeline Protest going on, it is important to know what you represent, but most importantly, WHO you represent. So when you’re at that football game and you watch the video on being Ute proud, know that there is a whole tribe to be recognized and not just the University president or the football team that makes us Utah Utes.