DELTA, Colo. — An ancient cottonwood tree revered by Native Americans in western Colorado has been cut down because the owners say it was dying and was a safety hazard.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports ( the Ute Council Tree in the town of Delta was cut back to a 10-foot-high stump Friday after ceremony.

It was believed to be at least 215 years old. Ute tribal members who attended the ceremony said generations of Native Americans had sat beneath it to discuss plans and make agreements.

Some Utes said they weren’t consulted about removing the tree and were told only days before.

The Delta County Historical Society, which has owned the tree since 1982, says branches have been falling from the trunk and tree experts determined it was a hazard.

Information from: The Daily Sentinel,

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