There’s history in a name—multiple histories. This is what Cody McCook and Turner Free considered after they were married in August 2018. So, instead of going with one of their own last names, they took on a new one: AhTave, pulled from Cody’s family heritage in the Northern Ute tribe from the Uncompahgre Band. In the Ute language, AhTave means “new day” and was set to signify a reclamation of what the tribe had lost through colonization.
But the names weren’t the only culturally significant aspect of the couple’s nuptials, which came after meeting through Tinder in March 2016. First and foremost, the pair married in Colorado, where Cody’s tribe had lived before colonization. Turner’s suit nodded to his Western upbringing as it incorporated a cowboy hat, bolo tie and Saint Laurent Wyatt Harness boots. Cody, likewise wore traditional beaded moccasins, traditional otter hair ties, and an eagle feather.
“It was important for us to include our heritage because it represented where we came from to get to this place,” Cody says. The two married next to the Alta Lakes in Ophir, sitting on handmade benches provided by Turner’s family. During the ceremony, one of Cody’s cousins played a drum in a traditional tribal style while his grandfather performed a ceremonial smudge and prayer. “It was an amazing day where we were both represented fully and supported by our loved ones.”
Congratulations to Mr. and Mr. Cody and Turner AhTave.
Photos by Shelby Annemarie