A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 88

The documented history of northern Colorado is a challenge for even the most determined researched because, in general terms, historic records can be placed in two very broad categories: Written materials and created image. Because none of the native peoples along the Cache la Poudre River had a written language prior to the arrival of the Euro-American, written records are not available.

Prior to 1800 most written records were the records created by Spanish government officials or religious personnel, each undertaking the task with an agenda, usually of a political nature.

Because the Spanish presence in what is now Colorado only reached to southern Colorado few of the documents produced include reference to the South Platte River or the Cache la Poudre River.

Additional records created by French travelers are also deficient where northern Colorado is concerned: French trappers who were in the Poudre Valley in the early 1800s left few records of their journeys and efforts.

Along with other reasons this explains why ethno-history in the Cache la Poudre area has been insufficiently documented:

• The Cache la Poudre River was overlooked or missed by many early explorers. For example, Lewis and Clark and the Pike expeditions did not come close to the area, and later contacts with the area lacked proper record-keeping.
• The timeframe between the initial settlement by Euro-Americans on the Cache la Poudre River and the removal of Native Americans was relatively short – about forty years. The abruptness caused a deficiency in the preservation of history.
• After the arrival and establishing of settlements by Euro-American a disruption of Native American lifestyle was unavoidable. For example, as noted by historian Ansel Watrous in his extensive history of Larimer County in the early 1910s, by 1861 almost all of the fertile bottom land along the Cache la Poudre had been claimed by settlers. The change in land use led to Native Americans leaving for better lands and it also caused bison herds to move elsewhere.
• Interest in exploiting the region led to the discarding of recording history. By the time a man named Norman Fry arrived to the Fort Collins area in 1889 stories about Antoine Janis, Native Americans, and others had been told and retold until they had become mere gossip instead of valuable historic fact.
• Despite the establishing of Colona (Laporte) in the late 1850s and Camp Collins – which would become Fort Collins – in 1862, no significant historical events transpired in either location and no one thought to record events that would prove worthwhile information later. Additionally, the lack of attacks by Native Americans, the lack of battles, and the lack of treaty meetings along the Cache la Poudre River resulted in a lack of proper record keeping. It was until the water wars of the 1870s between Fort Collins and Greeley, CO. did the area, specifically the Poudre Valley, gain notoriety, providing motivation for documenting the events of the day.

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A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 70

Northern Colorado has been home to many cultures and people, including the Arapaho, and a well-known member of the nation named “Chief Friday”.

During the 1860s Chief Friday became involved in the escalating tensions between Native Americans and white Europeans who were entering the region.

According historian John Gray at the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty talks the Arapaho and Cheyenne were granted the lands between the North Fork of the Platte River and the Arkansas River.

There was a condition: The 1860 and the revised 1861 Treaty of Fort Wise reduced the area granted to a reservation between the Arkansas River and Sand Creek. The 1860 and 1861 Treaty was signed by Southern Arapaho and Cheyenne leaders that included Left hand and Black Kettle, but not signed by Northern Arapaho leaders.

Because of this bands under the Northern Arapaho leaders Friday, Chief Owl (also known as “Little Owl”), and Many Whips remained in northern Colorado. Chief Friday recommended a reservation along the Cache la Poudre, which would have extended from the mouth of the river to Box Elder Creek, and north to Crow Creek. It was an area similar to the area given to Colona founder Antoine Janis in 1858.

At the time the best land in the Colorado Territory was west and north of the South Platte River in Northern Arapaho territory, including Denver, the gold fields, the Cache la Poudre Valley, and the proposed Northern Arapaho reservation. Because of confusion that may have been deliberate the title to the lands promised passed to the government of the United States of America, and settlers surged inward in late 1861. From the Cache la Poudre River through Greeley much of the rich bottom land was claimed, and conflicts involving military presence ensued.

Chief Friday remained on the Poudre River area to press the proposal for his reservation boundaries because from the perspective of the Northern Arapaho they had legitimate claim to areas north of Sand Creek excluded from treaties.

The territorial government of Colorado, however, ignored the claim and continued to encourage settlements, as demonstrated by actions by Indian Agent Simeon Whiteley, who determined the proposed Northern Arapahoe reservation bordered the Overland Stage route and was home to sixteen squatters. That they were on the land illegally was overlooked by Whiteley when he rejected the proposed reservation.

Adding to matter was the interest by Territorial Governor John Evans to remove the Arapaho and other Native Americans from the lands. He perpetuated the rumor that pending threats and assaults by the Arapaho and allies were apparent, providing justification for the use of military forces to inflict punishment as seen fit, which included the Sand Creek Massacre in November 1864 and reprisals against the Cheyenne, the Sioux, and the Arapaho.

In response to perceived threats and attacks by hostiles in June 1864 “friendly” Cheyenne and Arapaho bands including Friday’s were ordered by Governor Evens to Camp Collins to protect them from the government actions that entailed slaughter and eradication.

The bands led by Chief Friday and White Wolf, estimated to be almost two hundred, stayed near the camp but they were restricted in movement to hunt. Because the military camp was inadequately supplied the Arapaho went hungry.

Despite the dire circumstances Chief Friday undertook diplomatic efforts with the stage agents at the Latham Overland Stage Station located east of Greeley, exchanging food for childhood stories and entertainment. In 1865 Friday’s band established camps at several locations in the Poudre Valley, including a camp near the mouth of Dry Creek, the Coy property, and the F.W. Sherwood Ranch.

Although they were able to provide food at their camps sometimes Arapaho women took their children to Joseph Mason’s store in Fort Collins. Located in the Old Grout building, which would become Stover’s Drug, it was located at Linden and Jefferson Streets in Fort Collins.

In the spring of 1865 the Arapaho leader Black Bear also camped near Fort Collins, and in the summer Big Rib’s group of Sioux had also established a camp nearby. More than 150 people resided in the camps and were provided rations from the military presence at Fort Collins.

In the first months of winter in 1866 the Cheyenne band lead by Spotted Tail camped opposite the F.W. Sherwood property and Chief Friday’s camp. The arrangement, already tense, was made more so when Cheyenne warriors taunted Friday about not having warriors brave enough to fit the whites he was friends with. The matter was brought to a climax when Chief Friday’s son, Jake, killed Spotted Tail and fled the area. In June of 1867 word reached Friday that the Cheyenne had pursued Jake, and had killed him and his family as revenge.

By 1869 Chief Friday and his band had joined the rest of the Northern Arapaho under Medicine Man, surrendering hope and promise of a reservation for themselves on the Poudre River. In January 1870, the Shoshone Chief on the Wind River Reservation, Washakie, allowed the Arapaho to take shelter among his people. By 1878 a permanent place was established for the Northern Arapaho at Wind River, where they remain.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 66

Northern Colorado has been home to many cultures and people, including the Arapaho, and a well-known member of the nation named “Chief Friday”.

According to historic consideration Chief Friday is the Native American most associated with the Cache la Poudre Valley.

Marshall Cook, a settler who lived near Auraria, CO., and who had frequent contact with the Arapaho, told the following about Chief Friday:

In 1958 or 1859 the owners of Fort St. Vrain left for a trading trip to St. Louis. A band of Arapaho, including Chief Friday, learned that the Native American wife of one of the traders who had remained at the fort was a member of an enemy tribe who had previously committed wrong-doings against the Arapaho. The band killed the woman and her child to exact revenge.

When the owners of the fort returned and learned what the Arapahoe had done they staged a gathering featuring elk meat to entice the unarmed Arapaho into the fort and killed them in retaliation. A few of the Arapaho, including Friday, escaped. Although the matter was not sufficiently documented if true it may go to provide explanation as to why Chief Friday’s band was reduced in number by 1860 when he arrive to the Fort Collins area with an estimated fifty members.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 53

The number of readers of this blog continues to increase. More specifically, the number of readers who claim to live in Northern Colorado, as documented by the growing number of e-mails from individuals who claim residency in Larimer County, with each e-mail received communicating the growing dissatisfaction and displeasure with the supposedly professional news media in the Fort Collins and Loveland, CO. areas.

For example, several e-mails recently regarding an act of vandalism that occurred in one of the public parks in Loveland, CO.: All but one of the e-mails explicitly blamed the news media in the Loveland area for the disrespect and contempt inflicted on the property and its resources, asserting that the physical expression of contempt, which included profanity, was a result of comments allowed on the local newspaper’s Social Media platform, where accounts using aliases are allowed and where these fake name accounts frequently publish obscenities, profanities, and expletives against those who do not support the undeniably anti-American agenda of the newspaper, including explicit threats against the President of the United States of America and other elected officials who represent Loveland, Larimer County, and the State of Colorado.

Additionally, each e-mail that advanced this opinion expressed thanks for this blog and the refusal on my part to allow such comments here.

It is an unwavering belief that you make what you will of Life. If you want to live a fulfilling Life you will make a dedicated and determined effort to do so, and that may include such undertakings as formal education: If you want to live in a beautiful place you will create and maintain such a place.

Equally, if you want to live in squalor and ruin you will choose to do so.

Recently the President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump, infuriated certain politicians and members of the news media by reportedly using language to describe countries around the world. The phrase attributed to him was deemed by these purveyors of language as obscene, profane, vulgar, coarse, and unbecoming someone of his position, an elected official of his stature.

His alleged choice of words in an effort to promote excellence and seek the best humanity has to offer was unfortunate and only served to negate his desire and good intentions.

At the same time his critics failed to affect his standing for many because of their willingness to overlook the profanity, obscenities, expletives, and vulgarities repeatedly used by their preferred leader – Hillary Clinton; their willingness to repeat again and again the offending phrase supposedly spoken by the President of the United States of America behind closed doors; and their condoning of such language on their Social Media platforms – along with language that goes beyond obscene, profane, and vulgar.

Northern Colorado, specifically Larimer County, has much to offer. Many choose to live in this part of the state because of the physical beauty and splendor available. Most who live in the Loveland and Fort Collins areas work to ensure these things remain intact. A growing number of individuals who call themselves “Coloradans” have taken a stand and it is a position they will not back down from: They are standing against the hypocrisy of politicians and professional news media workers alike, and are doing so in how they choose to live their lives, expressed in civility and respect for others and the place they call “Home”. They are winning this battle as demonstrated by the slow death of news organizations in northern Colorado and throughout the State of Colorado.

To each of you I say, sincerely and genuinely: Thank you. To each I say: Welcome.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 15

The City of Fort Collins, CO. and Larimer County Department of Natural Resources recently announced that they will jointly spend more than one million dollars to acquire 320 acres near the Devil’s Backbone Open Space and the Blue Sky Trail as part of a project to preserve approximately 2,500 acres between Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, which is located west of Fort Collins, and the geology formation west of Loveland known as “The Devil’s Backbone”.

The money for the purchase comes from the sales tax revenue that voters approved for open spaces and from a Great Outdoors Colorado grant, which distributes lottery revenues into parks and open spaces throughout the State of Colorado.

Larimer County Commissioners voted unanimously to spend $369,750 on the acquisition. The City of Fort Collins paied the same amount, and the grant money will cover the balance of $300,500.00.

The land, which previously belonged to John and Marabeth White and their charitable trust, will continue to be used as grazing land after Larimer County takes ownership, but future development involving trails may occur. The purchase represents the last piece of a larger effort to protect area west and south of Horsetooth Reservoir. Previously, 777 acres adjacent to the Coyote Ridge Natural Area called “The Spring Canyon Ranchland” and 1,000 acres of the William Harold Wright Ranch near Horsetooth Mountain Open Space were acquired. A preservation of acreage known as “Rimrock Ranch” and 300 acres located to the west side of Horsetooth known as the “Sanem Property” were also added to the overall holdings.