Trust but Verify

The Internet is a wonderful research tool that offers an amazing amount of information. However, not all of that information is accurate, even when found on websites of reputable organizations. Here are a couple of examples from my research. They remind me to check facts in multiple sources before using them in print.
          A Google search for “Chipeta” turned up a Colorado State University webpage about potatoes. The university’s agricultural research program develops new potato cultivars and a 1993 russet potato was named for “Chipeta.” That was a fun bit of trivia. However, the page noted, “Chipeta is featured on a stained-glass window in the state capitol building (in Denver).” A visit to the Colorado State Capitol Virtual Tour and the link to the Hall of Fame Stained Glass (Rotunda)  reveals that Chipeta’s husband, Ouray, is honored there. Further search locates Chipeta on the 1976 “Women’s Gold Tapestry” created for Colorado Centennial celebration.
          The webpage of the Meeker [Colorado] Chamber of Commerce reproduces “This Is What I Remember” from the Rio Blanco County Historical Society.  The last ten paragraphs of the article recall the 1879 rescue of three white women and two children after the Meeker Massacre. It reads in part, “When news of the massacre reached Los Pinos…Chipeta…rode alone on the long trip north to intercede for the white captives. This exploit brought her the plaudits of all America.” It was a popular tale that did not happen. She sent runners to find her husband and other chiefs and prepare for a council meeting. After 23 day in captivity the rescued women and children were brought to Chipeta’s home to recover. The facts in this case are more difficult to find but they exist in eye witness newspaper accounts and Congressional testimony.

Published in: on March 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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