A company of Ute who was traveling down the Canadian River was met near Salt River by a band of the enemy from the east. Early one morning, two of the enemy rode up to a tipi where a Ute woman was staying by herself. 1 When she started to run to the main camp the enemy rode away. Her relatives, on being told what had happened, drove up their horses and, selecting the best ones, rode after the enemy. These, whom they found to be numerous, turning, rode back toward them.
An old woman, a captive from the enemy, rode out from the ranks and spoke to them. The enemy and the Ute had stopped in two lines facing each other. The old woman, attempting to make peace, rode along the line, saying, "I came out to make peace with you." When she had proceeded about half the length of the line, and the men had agreed to make peace, those at the other end of the line began to fight.
The Ute, piling up their property close to the edge of the road, took their position behind it. Their horses were tied in the arroyo. The enemy came directly at them and they began to fight. When they were close one of the enemy fell from his horse, wounded. An Apache woman having an ax in her hand jumped upon him and although he was not yet dead, cut off both his arms with the ax. She pulled his wrist guard off and threw it upon his stomach. 2
They began to fight again, the Ute driving the enemy forward. They captured four horses from the enemy. The Ute, mounted, rode on both sides of the enemy who were on foot, pursuing them some distance. When the Ute turned back, the enemy followed them. They sang as they marched along. When the enemy came again within shooting distance, the Ute dismounted and without moving from their position, killed all their enemies and took their scalps. They immediately broke camp and set out for Cimarron which they reached in four days. They established their camp there and held the dance.
248:1 The woman was by herself because of her condition at that time. She nevertheless broke the established custom in the time of peril.
248:2 This story was told to explain the giving of names to children. This old woman when she returned from the expedition, gave an account of what she had done and named the narrator, Casa Maria, then an infant, bet'ô, wrist guard. It seems to have been customary among the Apache for the women to mutilate the dead thereby preventing the warriors from losing their luck by pollution.