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I no longer ask "What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to hang onto?" Instead I ask"What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to give myself to?"

—Richard Rohr 

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Chipeta Rising Celebration

The Chipeta Rising Celebration was organized to honor the renaming of Chipeta Mountain in the Sawatch Range on Sun., Oct 8, and Mon., Oct. 9, in Salida and surrounding areas. Free historic, public events will paid tribute to Ute culture with a Unity Walk, reconciliation and rededication presentations and ceremonies, performances, a mountain rededication ceremony and memorial summit climb.

Cynthia and I joined Mark Monroe, Jimmy Sellars, Wayne Iverson, and Licia Iverson in Salida for this special celebration, on October 8. Photographer extraordinaire,Maarten Havercamp from Amsterdam rode to Salida with us on October 7. His company made the trip even richer.

Sunday started with a welcome luncheon to gather Roland McCook, Chipeta’s great great grandson and other family members, tribal members and government officials. Roland  gave the blessing in his own language. Thanks to Licia for this well-planned event.

After lunch we joined, the Unity Walk from Alpine Park to the Steam Plant Event Center. Chipeta’s descendants led the way. I was honored to speak for a time with Tony Small, vice chairman of the Uncompahgre Tribe. Chipeta’s family came from the Reservation in Utah. They are as beautiful and gentle as she was. Tony carried the portrait that I painted. It was gifted to Roland, his uncle and former Ute Chairman. I was touched to know he liked it. Tony is the great great great grandson of Chipeta.

At the Steam Plant on the Arkansas River, Wayne showed us on the topographique map the change of peak… 2,000 plus feet of altitude added. Now Chipeta’s peak is equal in height to Ouray’s peak. Both can be seen from Salida. The renaming petition went through government channel’s to honor Chipeta and her equal place in the history of Colorado. Chipeta is the only Ute to be inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

We listened to Ute leaders, from Colorado and from Utah. We listened to the Governor’s liaison. We heard from Roland McCook, and he introduced Chipeta’s family and other Ute tribe members. We heard a proclamation from Chafee County Commissioners. We heard from Art Goodtimes of Telluride. We were treated to drumming and dancing. Dancers included Lisa, 3 greats, Cody, 4 greats, Brianna, 4 greats…and other tribal members and family. The dancing was beautiful. Non-indians were invited to dance. Many did, but I felt too self-conscious…Roland said I would regret sitting out…I do.

Cynthia and I left Salida at 4:00pm to beat the first snowfall in Louisville. Our hearts remain full, and we welcome all of the information we received. It gives us hope for healing and reconciliation. Roland is available for education and blessings if your Colorado community wants to know more about the "original people of Colorado". Two golden nuggets: one is “Listen” and ask your elected officials to listen. Two is that Utes make do with what they have..and maybe so could we. The government continues to take land from the Utes. Ask our government leaders to honor treaties and respect Native American rights. Heal the past by doing the right thing now

Here are some wonderful photos thanks to Maarten Havercamp, Mark Monroe, and Cynthia Bargman. Also read more at Chipeta Mountain Project and Chipeta on Wikipedia. Also read Marked Men by Joseph Hutchison.



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