Ignacio was born in 1828, in San Juan County, Colorado.
Tribal history states that at age fourteen he killed every member of a rival family to avenge the murder of his father.
He was more statesmanlike but no less resolute in the 1870s, when conflict between the Utes and white settlers reached its peak. A savvy negotiator, he gained the respect of U.S. officials during treaty discussions.
His testimony before a Senate subcommittee in 1886 helped the Weenuche secure a favorable land settlement, and he thwarted the government's attempt to divide the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation into individual holdings.
Ignacio died on December 9, 1913, in Montezuma County, Colorado. His leadership helped the Utes preserve dignity and hope in the face of unrelenting change