“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Golden in Jefferson County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Native Americans on Clear Creek

Native Americans on Clear Creek Marker image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, July 4, 2011
1. Native Americans on Clear Creek Marker
Inscription. 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
Location. 39° 45.403′ N, 105° 13.349′ W. Marker is in Golden, Colorado, in Jefferson County. Marker is on Washington Avenue Bridge, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Golden CO 80401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The White Ash Mine Disaster (here, next to this marker); Transportation (here, next to this marker); Irrigation and Farming (a few steps from this marker); Golden City (a few steps from this marker); Bridge Load Ordinance Background (a few steps from this marker); Gold (a few steps from this marker); Golden and Clear Creek (a few steps from this marker); Settler Farm Wife’s Initiative (a few steps from this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Golden.
Categories. Native Americans

Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 514 times since then and 120 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on , by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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