Legend of the Springs

FountaineAt the base of Pike’s Peak is a little valley carrying a stream the old French voyageurs… named Fontaine Qui Bouille, or Boiling Fountain…[At] its source were springs which boiled forth charged with carbolic acid gas and pleasantly saturated with soda and other minerals.

These springs were held sacred by all the Indians both of the mountains and the plains because of their supposed medicinal qualities. Around [these springs] they wove traditions, as they did about most natural phenomena which they could not understand. This was supposed to be the spot where Manitou, the great spirit of all the Indians, came forth upon the earth from the happy hunting grounds. The gas bubbles in the water were thought to be his breathing.

Major Ruxton, an eccentric English Army officer…sought health by traveling in the Rocky Mountains all alone as far back as 1834…[He] found the springs filled with bead work and trinkets, left by the Indians as …offerings to Manitou. In his memoirs is found the legend that accounted for the springs.

A Comanche and a Ute…met at the springs…The Ute had killed a deer and this had aroused the jealousy of the Comanche. As the Ute stopped to drink, the Comanche leaped upon him and held his head in the stream until dead. At once the form of Manitou, an aged man with white beard, appeared out of the stream…and, with a war cry, brained the murderer. Immediately the water of that spring turned bitter.

So that his children might not have to drink of this, the great spirit smote the rocks some distance away and sweet and healing waters came forth.

All of this happened a long time ago “when the cotton woods along the big river (the Arkansas) were no larger than an arrow” and was the beginning of that feud between the Indians of the mountains and those of the plains, which lasted for centuries.

From “Shan Kive Marks Race Friendships” The Salt Lake Telegram, September 2, 1913, by Frederic J. Haskin

Published in: on February 8, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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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

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