Chief Ouray

Chief Ouray

Taos, Taos County, New Mexico, USA
Death 24 Aug 1880 (aged 46)
Ignacio, La Plata County, Colorado, USA
Burial Montrose, Montrose County, Colorado, USA
Memorial ID 13863746 · View Source
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Native American Chief. The chief of the Ute Nation, he was born to an Uncompahgre Ute mother and a Jicarilla Apache father. They named him Ouray, "the Arrow", because of a great meteor shower the year he was born. As a youngster he learned to speak both Spanish and English, only later did he learn Ute and Apache. At the age of 17, he became the hereditary Chief of the Uncompahgre Ute Tribe. Because of his diverse background, and his mastery of languages, he was instrumental to Ute communications, including those with President Grant. While visiting Washington D.C. in 1868, he was appointed Chief of the Ute Nation by the US Government. On March 2, 1868, he struck a deal with his friend, Kit Carson. The Kit Carson Treaty gave some six million acres of land to the Utes. In return they were guaranteed, no one would pass over the remaining Ute land, with an exception of authorized roads and railways. In 1873 the Ute Nation signed the Brunot Treaty to allow mining in the San Juan Mountains. The United States had offered $11,000.00 to the Utes, but paid only $2.00 to each person who signed the treaty. He was able to keep the Uncompahgre Tribe calm, but was unable to control other tribes within the Ute Nation who sought revenge for the unfair treaty. On September 30, 1879, the White River Tribe set fire to the Meeker agency, killing Meeker and ten of his employees. Six months after the Meeker massacre, Congress forced the Ute Nation to a reservation near the Sawatch Range. When he visited Washington D.C. in 1880, President Rutherford B. Hayes called Ouray "the most intellectual man I've ever conversed with." Upon his death, he was secretly buried, according to Ute custom, in the rocks south of Ignacio. Forty-five years later, most of his bones were recovered and re-interred at the site of the couple's farm, next to his wife Chipeta.

Bio by: Eric Crow

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Eric Crow
  • Added: 5 Apr 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 13863746
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Chief Ouray (13 Nov 1833–24 Aug 1880), Find a Grave Memorial no. 13863746, citing Ouray Memorial Park, Montrose, Montrose County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .