Who else supports it?
The uploaded magazine article is from the March 2016 issue of Colorado Central Magazine. It explains the cause and also includes a website and a Facebook page so people can express their support via an online petition. We expect it to be overwhelming. An article about the campaign was included in the March 8th edition of the Mountain Mail, Salida, Colorado’s newspaper. We are on the Salida City Council agenda on April 5th and will be interviewed on local KHEN radio on April 8th. We have applied to be on the Chaffee County Commissioners agenda as well. We have contacted our State Congressperson and House Representative asking for support. The Colorado Indian Affairs Department has been informed about the effort, as has the Ute Museum in Montrose, Colorado. Chipeta Mountain information will be forwarded to the Southern Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Ouray and Uintah Ute Tribal Governments. The Colorado Governor and the Colorado Board of Names will be contacted. Our U. S. Senators and Congressman will be alerted. The United States Forrest Service in our area and the respective Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Salida and Montrose have been given a heads up. I’m sure we will think of other organizations and individuals as we go along.
Chipeta Mountain is the name currently associated with a 12,580-foot sub peak on the Chipeta massif. We propose to move the name to the highest point on said massif – Unnamed Point 13,472 (GNIS and maps checked). Both are located on the USGS Mount Ouray quadrangle in Colorado. They are in the San Isabel National Forest.
When people have been made aware of the issue, they seem to respond in one of four ways: 1) a mistake was made; 2) they’ve got something against Native Americans; 3) they’ve got something against women; 4) if they have worked for the federal government they think there must be a good reason for the current naming. I have not yet been able to uncover any good reason, so we believe that an error on the part of the applicant or the BGN was made when the lower point was named Chipeta Mountain instead of the higher point. The GNIS considers 12,580-foot Chipeta Mountain’s Feature Class to be a "summit." The BGN definition for a summit is a "PROMINENT (caps added) elevation rising above the surrounding level of the earth's surface." Being 622 feet lower than Unnamed Point 13,472, it is clearly not ‘prominent’ as the uploaded pictures of the two features together show.
BGN regulations also state that, “It is the policy of the Board to follow present-day local usage whenever possible” (Chapter 3, Policy II). The overwhelming number of people in the area (including Forest Service employees) I have contacted think that the highest point on the massive is Chipeta Mountain and are surprised to hear that it is a much lower sub peak. A simple questionnaire for Chaffee County residents will be included in our petition – www.chipetamountain.com – to informally gauge the extent of this misconception. Preliminary results are attached.
If you think this change can be handled administratively, it would simplify matters. But as this application shows, we are prepared to go the long route with this, as well. We look forward to working with you on this project.
Chipeta Mountain has already been designated to commemorate Chipeta, the wife of Ute Chief Ouray. But the placement of her name on a lower sub peak and not the highest point on the massif
feels like more of an insult than a commemoration. We would like to move the location of name Chipeta Mountain to what is now referred to as Unnamed Peak 13,472.
Chipeta was selected to be on a centennial tapestry created to honor eighteen women who played important roles in the settlement and development of Colorado. The tapestry now hangs in the Colorado State Capitol building. A longer history of this remarkable woman is included in the uploaded magazine article.