She’s Credited With Facilitating Peace Between Native Americans And White Settlers In The Colorado Plains During The 1800s

Tomasz Zajda - illustrative purposes only

Have you ever heard of Bent’s Fort, the largest trading post on the Colorado plains during the 19th century?

While it was founded by Santa Fe Trail trader William Bent and his brother, its functionality most likely would not have been the same if it wasn’t for his wife, Mestaa’ėhehe, otherwise known as Owl Woman, who was well known as a powerful Native American mediator.

Owl Woman was the daughter of the Cheyenne tribal leader “Keeper of the Arrows” and was born around 1810 in Colorado.

Because of her father, she was born with a high social status in her tribe.

As Owl Woman grew older, the Cheyenne tribe began developing a relationship with William Bent, who had started communicating and learning from them in the 1820s and 1830s so he and his brother Charles could build a trading fort along the Santa Fe Trail and Arkansas River.

In 1833, Bent’s Fort had been built out of adobe bricks and began business. Native Americans would show up with pelts and other goods while William traded them items like flour, sugar, coffee, and tobacco.

Around this time, William wanted to secure his good relationship with the Cheyenne tribe, and it was suggested he marry Owl Woman. They married in 1835 and had four children together.

Aside from raising their children in the Cheyenne village just outside Bent’s Fort, Owl Woman was an integral part of keeping the peace between Native Americans and white settlers and traders.

Owl Woman would interpret conversations between the two groups and help each side communicate their needs.

Tomasz Zajda – illustrative purposes only

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