I would have never had the privilege of reading this book for youth if I would not have become a member of Women Writing the West and met Cynthia S. Becker in Kansas City, MO this fall at the annual conference. What a pleasure in meeting Cynthia Becker and discovering who Chipeta was and the legacy she has left for Native women.
Cynthia Becker takes us on Chipeta’s journey of fighting for peace when hostility among whites and Utes was in full force in the mid to late 1800s. Settlers were moving in the Colorado Territory; expansion was apparent and flooding the area like a down pour in the desert. She married Chief Ouray and they set out to meet with President Lincoln and his men to urge peace concerning the Ute nation.
It was said that, The Utes stood in the way of “opening the best lands in the state…the mineral wealth of the unsettled part is exceedingly great.” (Page 53) However the Washington Post sided with the Utes. (Page 53)
Chipeta traveled around with Ouray (which was uncommon for Ute wives) and together they vied for peace with the President and other lawmakers.
Chipeta passed away in 1924. She never wavered from her decision and beliefs about peace. Her dedication is an example for young Native girls today. Her story needs to be read by all young people in every school as Chipeta is a model of honor, devotion and loyalty.
Chipeta: Ute Peacemaker is a biography filled with history, photographs, and facts. It is rich in Native American nobility.
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