CHAPTER VII: MRS. JACKSON'S HOME AT COLORADO SPRINGS
Writers without number have time and again sought for the inspiration of Ramona in a score or more of historical facts, incidents and circumstances, from the pitiful story of the eviction of the Poncas to the tearful episode at Temecula, stretching across the continent and covering half a century of time. But Helen Hunt Jackson needed none of these. She knew the whole sorrowful story by heart, and from her own windows in her modernized tepee at the corner of Kiowa and Comanche streets, in Colorado Springs, she could have drawn sufficient inspiration for a dozen stories. And it is not a little significant that her own home site should have been on a street corner named for two tribes that regarded Manitou as a shrine, and annually visited it to purify their sin-sick souls and cleanse their bodies.
Place had been found, space abundantly conspicuous too, for specimens of drawn work, for which the tribal women of Saboba were and yet are particularly noted. The entire apartment bore an aspect of unmistakable, if unintended, barbaric splendor.
BEAUTIFUL FALLS OF COLORADO
DON ANTONIO DE CORONEL IN HIS ORATORY
Every article, however, had for its owner a particular language, and each to her told a story peculiarly its own. There was not an item visible that to her lacked deep significance. Few, if any, of the stories they told were bright or cheerful. Most of them were written in blood, and told of the anguish of a race run to earth. Each was treasured for the message it bore of gratitude, simple yet deeply sincere, for acts instinct with love and sympathy.
Long before the ice-mantled crest of Pike's Peak became a landmark for the argonaut in his cross-continent trek to the gold-lined shores of Cherry Creek it served another and broader purpose. To the native Indian tribes of all the vast stretches of mountain and plain radiating from it in all directions it indicated the location of both sanitarium and sanctuary, at the base of those titanic elevations since known to the white man as Pike's Peak, Cameron's Cone and Cheyenne Mountain.
These really marvelous springs nestle here and there amidst the rocks and crags and scrub oaks in the sylvan nook at the base of Pike's Peak. They once constituted the red man's sanitarium, belonging to all alike, with no attempt to monopolize their virtues for this tribe or that--the gift of the gods to all who sought relief from physical ills by drinking of or bathing in their wondrous waters.
Scarce a mile away to the eastward was the red man's sanctuary, the Garden of the Gods, where they annually gathered to perform their peculiarly weird religious ceremonies. This interesting bit of nature, in its most freakish mood, embraces four square miles in the charming valley of the Fountaine Que Bouille. Its attractions are most unique, consisting of an immense and varied collection of eroded sandstone rocks, supposedly formed by the winds, into strange figures and grotesque shapes, resembling ruined temples, forts and castles, forms of birds, insects, animals and even of human beings. Conspicuous among these is a particular rock of gigantic proportions and
Stretching for miles to the southward along the Front Range is the sweeping slope of Cheyenne Mountain, its face beautified here and there by numerous waterfalls, ever dancing in the golden sunlight from grassy summit to carpeted feet. These mingle in a common outlet, which winds its way through the broad valley and loses itself in the arroyos below. This wondrously beautiful stream of purest mountain water, eternally refreshed from the spotless snow deposits of the upper altitudes, and more or less of a cataract in the rainy season, rejoices in the poetic title of Fountaine Que Bouille.
Beginning at the Garden of the Gods, and extending a distance of forty miles to the westward, is a typical mountain trail, known far and wide as Ute Pass. Winding its tortuous way over the Front Range, its greatest elevation exceeding 12,000 feet, it leads into the South Park, one of the three great natural mountain depressions into which the State of Colorado is divided, sixty miles from north to south, perhaps thirty to forty from east to
Quite as interesting and remarkable as the natural features already mentioned may be added Monument Park, Glen Eyrie, Cave of the Winds and a hundred others, not less captivating to the eye or rendered less interesting by reason of Indian legend that yet retains hold upon the imagination, although the sway of the pale face has been complete for well nigh half a century.
Necessarily these are here dismissed with a passing word, the main object of their brief mention being achieved in picturing the environment selected by Helen Hunt Jackson for her home, an environment distinctively aboriginal. True, the last Indian had long been driven from his sanitarium and his sanctuary when Mrs. Jackson located at Colorado Springs and took up her life's work there; but natural objects, names, history and legends remained, as ever they will. Every influence suggested the past and its saddening story of broken treaties, of forcible evictions, of wantonly cruel, unchristian, unmerciful treatment of the red man, primary owner of it all.
Glen Eyrie would ever remain dear to them as the home of the eagle, perched as it was almost beyond rifle range in the rocky clefts above, and yet undisturbed. There also was the singular ‘‘Gateway’’ to the Garden of the Gods, also full of significance to the aborigines--two lofty spires pointing heavenward; one of the brightest red sandstone, the other of the purest white limestone. There were the Seven
The Indians themselves had first been forced back of the Front Range into the great South Park, and would have been content to remain there; but the white man quickly followed, uncovered gold along the banks of Chicago Creek and it no longer remained a fit place for the Indian; for the big game went out with the coming in of the whites. Farther back the original possessor must go and seek sustenance at the head waters of the Arkansas. There, too, the white man followed, again discovering fabulous auriferous wealth in the sands of California Gulch; and again the red man must go. Ever backward must he move; away from the great game preserves, away from abundant water supply, away from the gold and silver deposits.
It was not long before the Government was importuned again to force the Indian back upon a new frontier, and a wretched place was found for him amidst the wastes of Northwestern Utah. There the Uintah reservation was established, and the trek across another range of mountains directed from Washington. But before the order for removal came the greedy white man had forced himself upon the Indian's new reservation and taken possession.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Mr. Dawes of Massachusetts, from his seat in the Senate, about this time, read to the astonished senators a ‘‘proclamation,’’ printed on cloth and tacked on the trees all over the Grand River Reservation, announcing that the Government, by proposing to give the land to the Indians, had parted with its title, and that, inasmuch as ‘‘the undersigned,’’ four audacious adventurers, of whom one of the authors of this volume was one, announced that the Indian title would not be
Since the death of Mrs. Jackson and her interment upon the slopes of Cheyenne Mountain, the people of Colorado Springs and Manitou have taken a deep and absorbing interest in commemorating her work, as well as perpetuating the legendary Indian history of what has come to be known as the Pike's Peak Region. In 1912 an organization was formed for the purpose of giving an annual celebration or carnival, distinctively Indian in all its features. That the fullest recognition of this might be given to the event it is called Shan Kive (Indian for fete or carnival, and pronounced ‘‘Shawn Keedie’’).
At the first Shan Kive, in the autumn of 1912, the Ute Pass was formally dedicated. Various Indian dances were indulged in, as well as Indian pony races in costume, and all of the sports and games of the several tribes of red men who originally owned and inhabited that section, constituted interesting and pleasing features of the occasion. Films were made of all the principal events, and these have been exhibited in all sections of the country.
PADRO PABLO, HIS WIFE, AND OTHER MISSION INDIANS, AT HIS HOME AT PAUMA, JULY, 1885
YUTE PASS AND RAINBOW FALLS, COLORADO MAJOR DOMO, GLEN EYRIE GATEWAY TO THE GARDEN OF THE GODS
Primarily intended to exploit the passing race of red men, and to commemorate the great work of ‘‘the first lady of Colorado Springs,’’ Helen Hunt Jackson, the event sprang into instant favor. It now occurs annually the first week in September, when Colorado's wonderful flora is at its best, and when the weather in the sun-kissed city is reliably climatic perfection.