Native Americans on Clear Creek

Native Americans on Clear Creek (HMXOQ)

Location: Golden, CO 80401 Jefferson County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 45.403', W 105° 13.349'

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For many years, the Ute Indians lived in the mountains west of the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon, hunting and trading with area travelers. The Arapaho, refugees from the Great Lakes region, and the Cheyenne arrived in the area during the mid-18th Century, as European settlement displaced them from their ancestral homes. The new arrivals lived on the plains and often clashed with the Utes. There was an inter-tribal battle in 1839 in today's Coors Valley. In that battle, as reported by mountain man "Buckskin Jack" Fletcher, Arapaho Chief Little Raven, with the aid of Buckskin Jack, used North Table Mountain to spy on and defeat his Ute enemies. In the early 1840s, Chief Black Kettle and his Cheyenne party escaped to that mountaintop and waved their blankets at the Utes in defiance, much to the disgust of Ute Chief Colorow.

According to a legend told by Chief Colorow, a deadly and defining battle ensued at the entrance to Clear Creek Canyon during the 1840s. There was a huge loss of life on both sides. According to the legend, the Golden valley was avoided for more than a decade by those who had fought in that battle. It was not until the gold rush that legend allows for their return. This legend is at least partially confirmed by evidence including remains discovered by gold rushers.

The Utes camped in the Golden valley as late as the early 1870s, lodging both at present-day "Colorow Point" on Lookout Mountain and in town. They bartered with the downtown merchants and held wrestling contests with Golden residents for prizes. Chief Friday, of the Arapaho, camped in Downtown Golden as late as 1867 at present-day 1114 Washington Avenue. He was often seen doting on his beloved little granddaughter Tel-le-qua. However, Chief Friday made every effort to avoid meeting Chief Colorow in Golden. Today, many Native Americans from a variety of tribes come to the Golden valley in harmony, often to celebrate the rich traditions of their past.

Caption: Lithographic reproduction of a portrait of Chief Colorow, White River Band, Native Americans Northern Utes, circa 1862. Courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 6:58am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13S E 480941 N 4400779
Decimal Degrees39.75671667, -105.22248333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 45.403', W 105° 13.349'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 45' 24.18" N, 105° 13' 20.94" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)303, 720
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1081-1129 Clear Creek Trail, Golden CO 80401, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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