Caswop’s Chickens

Shan Kive in Garden of the Gods 1912

Shan Kive in Garden of the Gods 1912

In honor of Chipeta’s recognition during National Women’s History Month, here is another little story about Chipeta. It reveals her long held friendships and her appreciation of kindness offered.

In August of 1912, Chipeta joined a group of Utes who were invited to participate in an event called Shan Kive which was held in the Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs. They travelled by horseback.
          On their return trip to the Utah reservation, the Utes camped along the Gunnison River near Delta, Colorado. When a local man named Newton Castle learned that Chipeta was with the group, he rode out to see her. He had made friends with Chipeta when he worked as a trader in the 1880s.
          Chipeta welcomed “Caswop,” as she had always called him. Castle took Chipeta and her ten-year-old neice to his home to spend the night with his family. The Utes were leaving for Utah the next morning and the Castles gave Chipeta a few live chickens in a wire cage. They thought she could roast the chickens at the next camp and eat them on the trip back to Utah.
          As they watched Chipeta ride away on her horse with only a blanket for a saddle, the Castles thought they had seen and heard the last of the old Indian woman.
          The following spring, Mrs. Castle was surprised to greet three young Ute women at her front door. They said Chipeta had sent them to thank the Castle’s and to report on the chickens. The birds were all alive and well and producing eggs and offspring.

Photo courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

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Published in: on March 24, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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