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Ute Indian Prayer Trees: Presented by John Wesley Anderson

Colorado Springs, Colo. – September 23, 2014 – John Wesley Anderson, retired El Paso County Sheriff, historian and author is presenting “Ute Indian Prayer Trees of the Pikes Peak Region” at Pikes Peak Community College Centennial Campus Theater, 5675 S. Academy Blvd., October 7, 9-11:30 a.m. 

Ute Prayer Trees (UPT) are a unique variety of culturally modified trees that were skillfully cultivated by the Ute Indians throughout much of Colorado.  They began modifying trees for navigational, medicinal, nutritional, educational, burial or spiritual purposes.  UPT can still be found today and are believed to have been cultivated between 150 - 450 years ago. 

The Ute, like many other Native Americans, believe all living things have a spirit and the majority of the UPTs discovered in El Paso, Teller and Custer Counties appear to point towards Pikes Peak and other sacred places of the Ute people. 

"I think Ute Indian Prayer Trees are living Native American artifacts that offer us an intriguing link back in time to a deeply spiritual people with rich culture and long history in the Pikes Peak Region,” explains Anderson.

A resident of the Pikes Peak Region since 1956, Anderson grew up on a ranch in eastern El Paso County riding horses and collecting arrowheads.  He later spent thirty years in law enforcement with the Colorado Springs Police Department and two four-year terms as the elected Sheriff for El Paso County from1995 to 2003.

He then worked in the private sector until retiring to start a consulting business and pursue his passion for history, teaching and writing. John is currently researching and writing three books including “Rankin Scott Kelly, First Sheriff of El Paso County”, “Colorado Territory (1861-1867)” and “Ute Indian Prayer Trees of the Pikes Peak Region”.    

Pikes Peak Community College, in its 45th year of operation, is a two-year college offering 175 associate degrees and various certifications in career and technical fields. With four campuses and two military education centers in El Paso County, PPCC serves approximately 22,000 students annually.