The Ute are a Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Shoshonean group of the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock.
In the early 19th century the Ute occupied W Colorado and E Utah. They were fierce, nomadic warriors, who, after the introduction of the horse, ranged into New Mexico and Arizona, menacing and sometimes destroying the villages of the Pueblo.
Once the Ute discovered that the Spanish were conducting slave raids against Native Americans, they entered the market, taking captured Native Americans to slave markets in New Mexico.
Anthropologist Hermann Baumann documented male-to-female transsexual priestesses among the Ute, called tozusuhzooch, although two-spirit expression has been discouraged by Christian influence.