The Utes / Uncompahgre River Country / Ouray (1833-1880) / Chipeta (1843-1924)

The Utes / Uncompahgre River Country / Ouray (1833-1880) / Chipeta (1843-1924) (HM29F7)

Location: Montrose, CO 81403 Montrose County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 26.08', W 107° 52.04'

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The Utes

An Abundant Earth

The bountiful food resources of the Uncompahgre Valley normally allowed the Tabeguache Utes a life free from hunger. Elk and deer ranged through the valley in profusion, as did antelope, mountain sheep, beaver, sage hens, and ducks and geese—and all were hunted. The valley was also rich in berries, roots, nuts, and seeds which provided a welcome and necessary supplement to a meat-heavy diet. Berries were either eaten when picked or dried in the sun and stored for winter consumption. Yampa (or wild carrots), sunflower seeds, and pinon nuts were prized foods, too. Finally buffalo were hunted on the great plains east of the mountains, a
risky venture but one that changed Ute life.

The mountain country of present Colorado and Utah was home to the Ute Indians for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. Loosely divided into seven bands, the Utes called themselves Nuche, or The People. Spaniards called them Yutas, while the Cheyennes knew them as Black People. in the early 1600s they were among the first native peoples to acquire horses from the Spanish—and life changed radically. Mounted on their swift ponies, the Utes enjoyed fabulous wealth, for now buffalo—once so hard to kill—were easy prey. Prosperous, mobile, and adaptable

to new technologies, the Utes successfully defended their mountain homeland against
all intruders for another three hundred years.

Uncompahgre River Country
{Area map of historical & geographical highlights}

Ouray (1833-1880)

Ouray, or the "Arrow," was born in 1833 near Taos, New Mexico, of a Jicarilla Apache
father and a Tabeguache Ute mother. As a child, he was adopted by a Mexican family and raised in the Spanish language and Roman Catholicism. Not until his late teens did Ouray fully enter into the life of his mother's people. Yet, so great was his renown as a warrior that by the mid-1860s he was chief of the Tabeguache Utes, and the United States regarded him as the leader of the Ute Nation. Ouray spoke four languages and was a man of great wisdom, determination, and courage. He fought to preserve the very soul of his people—a cause he lived and died for.

Chipeta (1843-1924)

She was born a Kiowa Apache but raised a Tabeguache Ute. In 1859, she married Ouray, and the two of them became inseparable. Photographs of Chipeta reveal a woman who appears utterly serene and a peace with herself. The historical record speaks of her dignity, her devotion to her husband and family, and her attention to the needs of others. Like Ouray, she apparently

moved easily among whites, who spoke glowingly of her beauty and "queenly" demeanor. After Ouray died in 1880, Chipeta was forced to leave the farm and take up life with other Tabeguache Utes on the bleak reservation lands of eastern Utah where she died in 1924. Later, her remains were moved here to the farm she loved.

Ouray and Chipeta's Farm

Ouray and Chipeta settled here in the Uncompahgre Valley sometime in the 1860s. When the Los Pinos Agency moved to the valley in 1875, Ouray was already working a 500-acre farm, and living in a six-room adobe house, located one-quarter mile north of this point. This Ouray and Chipeta filled with chairs, iron beds, silverware and china, a piano, and even hired a Hispanic servant, who answered the ring of a silver bell and drove a fancy carriage. All this was in the vain hope that by showing government officials Utes were capable of adapting to changing ways, their people might escape reservation life and retain their Western Slope homeland.
HM NumberHM29F7
Series This marker is part of the Colorado: History Colorado series
Year Placed1996
Placed ByThe Colorado Historical Society, Colorado Department of Transportation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, July 17th, 2018 at 4:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13S E 249724 N 4257938
Decimal Degrees38.43466667, -107.86733333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 26.08', W 107° 52.04'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 26' 4.7999999999999" N, 107° 52' 2.3999999999999" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 17253 Chipeta Rd, Montrose CO 81403, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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