Rush To The Rockies

 This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Colorado Gold Rush. Thousands of men, and a few women, came west in wagons, on horseback, and on foot expecting to find gold lying about like fallen leaves waiting to be collected. Some gold seekers were daunted by the hard work of panning or digging for gold and returned home. Of those who remained, a few made fortunes. Others started businesses to supply the communities that built up around the mining areas.  Within two years Colorado Territory was established and settlement continued to grow. 

          If the gold rush had not occurred, we probably would not know Chipeta’s name today. Without the conflicts resulting from this invasion of Ute territory, Ouray might have become a chief, but one known only among the Ute people.  Chipeta would have lived her life as a traditional Ute wife and died in the mountainous land her people had called home for many generations. I think she would have preferred it that way.

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