Ute Treasure Pact

In 1993 the Deseret News published the following article concerning a treasure hunt venture with the Ute Indians.  We will likely never hear if anything was discovered during the venture.  

Deseret News Tuesday, October 12, 1993 

Company to use new technologies in search for stashes of precious metals.

     Rumors of hidden treasures of gold stashed deep in the Uinta Mountains have existed for decades. Leaders of the Ute Indian Tribe have decided it's time to take advantage of the state-of-the-art technology that can make exploration for precious metals cost effective and have hired a company to search for lost treasure believed to be buried centuries ago on what is now tribal trust land.
     The Ute Tribal Business Committee has approved a resolution allowing the exploration of "precious metals and treasure-trove" on land held in trust for them by the federal government.
     The committee has hired Jim Phillips and Associates for a period of 90 days "to initiate procedures for finding precious metals on behalf of the tribe." According to the resolution, Phillips will work for expenses, plus 10 percent of treasure-trove actually found and recovered.
     All treasure-trove will be inventoried and kept in the possession of the tribe. Phillips is to receive a negotiated sum approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for precious metals found and mined.
     The resolution calls for Phillips to be accompanied by a tribal representative at all times. That representative will also make periodic reports to the Business Committee.
     The Business Committee decided to approve the treasure hunt after receiving "substantial pressure from various sources to allow outside groups to explore for precious metals" and in the interest of economic development.
     Precious metals may include gold, silver, platinum and treasure-trove, according to the resolution. The search is reportedly centered in the Rock Creek area where it's believed Spanish Conquistadors used slave labor to mine vast tracts of gold.
     The gold was stored in caches in the mountains until it was time to transfer it every four years to "headquarters" located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Numerous caches were believed to be forgotten or lost when the Spanish left the area.
     Not all tribal members approve of the treasure hunt. Some maintain the search will desecrate ancient burial grounds and say the gold should stay buried in the earth forever. "That stuff has a life of its own. When you get near it you can feel it," said one tribal member. "That's why we have never disturbed it, not even on our lands in Colorado."


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