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University of Utah's Utes Mascot Has Been Proud Tradition Since 1972

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The University of Utah is “Ute Proud.”

That was the university’s theme at the men’s basketball game against the University of California Riverside on November 21.

As part of the university’s agreement to honor and educate others by using the tribe’s namesake as its mascot, the Red Spirit drum group and Ute Tribe adult and youth dancers were invited to perform during halftime at the game in a special tribute for Native American Heritage Month.

The Salt Lake Tribune said that it was “hands-down, the best halftime show of the season.”

According to, the university has had permission to use Utes as the name of its sports teams since 1972. “Ute history is Utah history so that we can all be ‘Ute Proud’,” the website says.

Meanwhile, on senior day, its football players sported helmets with “Ute Indian Tribe” emblems on them to honor the tribe and celebrate its history. Several photos of the uniforms, which had Native themes were posted on Utah Football’s Facebook Page. One reader commented, "Now that’s how you honor the First Nations!!!”

The Red Spirit drum group, along with many others also performed at the Utes football game against the Arizona Wildcats on November 22. You can view the halftime show here.