Named By Chipeta

In honor of Chipeta’s recognition during National Women’s History Month, here is one of my favorite stories about Chipeta. It reveals her love of children, and a sense of humor.

On visits to the town of Ouray, Utah, Chipeta often stopped in at Matt Curry’s trading post. One day a white man known as Buckskin Shirt came toward her, pushing along in front of him a small boy. The man introduced his nephew, George Emery Stewart. He said the boy wanted to meet her.

          Chipeta bent her face down close to the boy’s and stroked his cheek. She spoke to him in English and the poor boy looked like he might cry.

          Reverting to speaking Ute, Chipeta commented to herself about “the poor little frightened boy.”

          George responded in Ute and said he was not frightened. He had picked the language from his Ute playmates.

          After that meeting, George went out of his way to speak to Chipeta whenever he saw her in town.

          And Chipeta always smiled and greeted him with, “Hello, little frightened boy.”

          George hated that name. One day he got up the courage to tell Chipeta that he hoped she would not always call him a frightened boy.

          Chipeta smiled and nodded in understanding. She thought for a moment, then said she would give him a new name. “From now on I will call you Uviev.”    

          George was pleased but he had to ask what the name meant.

          “Walks like a turkey,” Chipeta said with a smile.

          Now you might think George would not be happy with this name either. But, he was. He was very proud of this name that Chipeta had bestowed upon him. From that day on he was known as Uviev among his Ute friends.

Adapted from Tales from Indian Country by George Emery Stewart, Jr. (compiled by his granddaughter-in-law MaryEllen Stewart Gardner), SunRise Publishing, 1997. 
About George Emery Stuart:

Published in: on March 17, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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