Chipeta: Admired and Respected Indian Leader

When: 1843 -1924

Chief Ouray and his wife, Chipeta(credit: Denver Public Library)
Chief Ouray and his wife, Chipeta
(credit: Denver Public Library)

Where: Born in the Kiowa Apache tribe and raised by the Ute tribe in what is now Conejos, Colorado

Delegation of Utes at the Brunot Treaty meeting in Washington D.C. Chipeta is second from the left in the bottom row (credit: Denver Public Library)
Delegation of Utes at the Brunot Treaty meeting in Washington D.C. Chipeta is second from the left in the bottom row
(credit: Denver Public Library)

Why Important: Only woman ever allowed to sit on a Ute tribal council, she lobbied the US Congress on behalf of her tribe.

Biography

Chipeta, which means “White Singing Bird” in the Ute language, showed great courage and wisdom in her efforts to get Native Americans and white people to try to solve their differences. Chipeta was married to Chief Ouray. She and Chief Ouray helped to create the first treaty of Conejos, Colorado, in 1863.[footnote]“The Utah Treaty.” Weekly Commonwealth, December 23, 1863. CHNC[/footnote] They also went to a treaty signing in Washington five years later.[footnote]“From Washington.” Las Animas Leader, November 8,1873. CHNC[/footnote]

Both whites and Native Americans admired and respected Chipeta for her beauty, wisdom, good judgment, and compassion. She was the only woman ever permitted to sit on Ute tribal councils. Sadly, after Chief Ouray died in 1880, Chipeta was betrayed by the government and joined the forced march led by the U.S. Army. The army forced her to relocate the Uncompahgre Utes to Ouray, Utah.[footnote]“Chipeta’s Career.” Rocky Mountain Sun, January 7, 1888. CHNC[/footnote]

Content Date: Jan. 1, 1843 to Jan. 1, 1924 Bio Last Name: Chipeta

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