Interview with Ouray, Part 8

New-York Tribune (New York, N.Y.) October 08, 1874, page 4


Their utensils consist almost entirely of what they have bought from the whites, iron and tin ware, but some peculiarly Indian manufactures are still in use, as for instance, gourd-shaped water-jars holding from two quarts to a gallon, made of close wickerwork, well pitched [waterproofed with pine pitch], one of which it is said, takes a squaw four days to make…
          The boys practice with bows and arrows and use them largely in getting small game; but the older ones are all well armed with Sharpes and Ballard rifles and the latest improved Winchester carbines. They have plenty of cartridges, too, and always wear revolvers, so that a favorite game, something like quoits [a game like horseshoes in which flat rings are tossed at a stake], is about the only use they find for their arrows.
          The tribe possesses some 6,000 horses—and almost 600,000 dogs—fine stock, too, which they have largely captured from the Cheyenne and Arapahos, who in turn stole them from Texas ranchers and Mexican herds. They take immense pride in this wealth, and each [man] manages to have a racer in his stud, the speed of which he will bet not only his “bottom dollar,” but his bed and board, if he thinks there is the least chance of winning. I was present at one of their races—the track is always a straight one—and it was an exciting scene I assure you.
          The greatest respect is exerted from one and all toward those older or greater in authority than they.
          They are hospitable to strangers. If a poor man comes among them and by his behavior gains their respect, he is furnished with a horse and good outfit, which he is at liberty to use as he pleases so long as he remains with them; and, when he chooses to leave, he is furnished the means for his journey.

This article was written by an unidentified member of the Hayden Survey team based on his August 27, 1874 interview with Ouray.

Photo courtesy the U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library.


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