She stood at the crossroads of survival or certain annihilation. And as heart wrenching as it was, she chose a path of peace to ensure the survival of her people.
When I think of the life and times of Chipeta “White Singing Bird”, I can’t help but wonder why she so thoroughly embraced her roles as wise woman, peace maker and tribal leader. Yes, she was the wife of a chief, but she could have taken her place among the other women of her tribe and diligently worked to support her people in more common ways.
I believe what drove Chipeta to rise to the occasion and serve her people in leadership role was her clear understanding of the very real peril her people faced during the countries period of Western expansion.
She knew her people had a choice to make. Stand against the uncontrollable tide of white immigrants flooding their country and end up fighting an unwinnable war or acknowledge their lack of control over the situation and focus on their survival.
As a well-respected member of the tribal council, she chose survival and used her wisdom and compassion to influence the outcome events when and where she could.
She and her people were stuck between a rock… the mighty force of the United States army and a hard place…the in-hospital lands of the Utah reservation. She chose the hard place.
Chipeta is the Bright Lighter who teaches me a wise woman knows the difference between her circle of control and her circle of influence and that this knowledge can make all the difference in the world.