Thursday, August 23, 2018

Crime, murder, mystery, evil in my hometown. By Juliana Aragón Fatula

Juliana at Red Canyon in Southern Colorado
Today I’d like to tell the story of the curse of Devil’s Tower in my hometown. Crime, murder, mystery, evil live in abundance in my hometown. Perhaps small towns with high crime rates appear to be more evil than large cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Miami…. but my hometown seems especially evil to me. I know the history, the sins of the men who founded this community.
2018 Tracy Harmon Investigative Journalist Southern Colorado.
My best friend works as an investigative journalist; she shares with me the details she uncovers about the corrupt Sheriff’s Department who taint the evidence and ruin the ability to prosecute and sentence the villains. I call the criminals, villains, because they do more than commit crime; they perpetuate evil against humanity.

As the Christian era began, the Shoshonean speaking peoples migrated to the Southwest U.S.

In 1670, the first treaty between Utes and Spaniards changed history and began the war between the Spaniards and the Utes of breaking promises and treaties.

In 1806, Lt. Zebulon Pike arrived in Ute territory in Colorado. The Ute are the only indigenous people from Colorado. They lived here and fought other tribes for their land.

In 1870, the Meeker Incident began the push to remove the Utes from Colorado.

In 1899, the Southern Ute Reservation opened to Anglo settlement.

In 1924, the American Indians became U.S. citizens.

In 1937, the Restoration Act returned 222,016 acres to the Southern Utes of Colorado.

In my research I discovered a legend about the Ute who lived near my hometown and the battle at the Devil’s Theatre in Temple Canyon. The same place where kids go hiking and party in the summer. The legend tells of a curse: anyone who tries to stay overnight at Devil’s Tower will go insane.

The sacred burial grounds of the Ute were desecrated. The Anglo settlers dug up the bones and artifacts and destroyed the graves of the Ute warriors. This curse set off an evil that remains to this day.

I learned in the Family History Center about the Legend of Devil’s Tower in Temple Canyon and the curse. I also learned about the men who founded and organized the Ku Klux Klan that built the town and the evil they perpetrated against anyone of color and Catholics. They hung African Americans who came here after their freedom from slavery looking for work and a place to live after the Civil War. The Klan harassed and murdered the black men and women and drove them away. Today many of those Klan descendants live here and although they no longer wear their white sheets; they hang onto their racism and hatred.

Another local curse began when the community chose to build the State Penitentiary instead of a State College. Today the nine prisons surround the area where the Utes once lived. Not all the men incarcerated here are evil men, but the murderers, rapists, and violent offenders reek hatred and an aura of darkness.

Today the community suffers from drug addiction, alcoholism, and homelessness. The crimes committed here remind me of the evil that built this town. The removal of the Ute, the Klan, the prisons, the murders of innocent people in the pursuit of land and greed. 

Royal Gorge Bridge
This place of my birth and childhood sits on the river in a canyon near the Royal Gorge Bridge, the highest suspension bridge in the world. For years people have driven here left a suicide note in their car in the parking lot and leapt to their death off the bridge. Every summer kids swim, and some drown in the river. There are car chases, police shoot outs, and police shootings. The rape and murder of women and children continues in quiet neighborhoods. Recently the gun violence has increased, and young men have been prosecuted for execution style killings in the name of greed. Evil still resides here.

I live in a beautiful town with beautiful people, but the curse continues, and the deaths of innocent victims tells a story of hate and evil that began with the removal of the Ute and the Legend of Devil’s Tower in Temple Canyon. I pray someday the curse will end and only beauty will remain in our little town in Southern Colorado. This research led me to write my first mystery about the history of the Ute and greed this country was built on. 

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