Mountain Valley School, nestled between the foothills of the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges, is located at the northern end of the San Luis Valley in Saguache, Colorado. The name Saguache is derived from a Ute word with several contested translations including “blue earth,” “blue water,” “green place,” and “sand dunes.” Regardless of the exact meaning, Saguache stands out as a beautiful place full of history and culture.
As we look to the future and build our new school, Mountain Valley hopes to integrate some of Saguache’s history in the process. Recently, the Board of Education approved an insignia that captures both historical and geographical perspectives of the area.
Mountain Valley School Insignia
According to tribal history, the Utes are the oldest residents of Colorado, having inhabited and traveled through the Saguache area for thousands of years. The Mountain Valley School insignia, which was inspired by Ute artist Kree Lopez, portrays the silhouette of a Ute rider on horseback. The Utes were one of the first tribes in North America to acquire horses from the Spaniards in the early seventeenth century.
Consequently, the horse quickly became an integral part of Ute culture and one of their most prized possessions and symbols of wealth. As the Utes developed into expert riders and big game hunters, they began to dominate the landscape, traveling across large portions of Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.
The symbol also incorporates seven black feather tips representing the seven Ute bands (Caputa, Mouache, Yampa, Parianuche, Sabuagana, Tabeguache, and Weeminuche) that inhabited Colorado and traveled through the Saguache area. The path in the center foreground of the Mountain Valley design signifies the Ute trail system around Saguache, which later became known as the North Branch of the Old Spanish Trail.
The North Branch of the Old Spanish Trail followed ancient Ute trails from Saguache, across Cochetopa Pass, and on through Gunnison. Geographically, the insignia depicts the San Juan Mountains in black and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains tipped in red with the San Luis Valley in the foreground. Mountain Valley School colors of cardinal red, black, and white are also included.
In transitioning towards the future and a new school, we desire to create a respectful and welcoming environment at Mountain Valley. One that accurately represents the history and culture of our area, a badge of honor for our students, our school, and Saguache.