Warshinun (Chief Friday)

Warshinun, also known as Chief Friday, lived along the Cache la Poudre River in the 1860s. Separated from his Arapaho tribe as a young boy, he was found by a fur trapper named Thomas Fitzpatrick who unofficially adopted him and sent him to school in St. Louis. While there, he learned English and became a noted interpreter between Native and non-Native peoples. After returning to Northern Colorado, Warshinun gained respect as the leader of the local band of Arapahos and held meetings for tribal members beneath a 100-foot gnarled cottonwood southeast of town known as the Council Tree; his legacy was one of a peacekeeper.

Warshinun and his band lived near Fort Collins until 1869. Forced by the threat of starvation and the hostility of some local citizens, they relocated to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming in 1870. Warshinun lived the rest of his life on the reservation, still serving as an interpreter until his death in 1881.

Fort Collins Before: Native Americans

Interview with Hubert Friday

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery          Poudre River Public Library District
Preserving the history of Fort Collins, Colorado & the Cache la Poudre region