Bear dancing on the CCIA agenda

Marcellen Ute (far left) dances in rhythm with her chosen partner at the Bear Dance on Friday, June 1.
Ute Mountain Ute Bear Dance Chief, Terry Knight gets business underway for the spring ceremony, Friday, June 1.
The ‘Catman,’ Tyler Ute, works hard to keep everyone on track during the opening of the UMU Bear Dance, members of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs visit the Bear Dance each spring.
Ute Mountain Ute Royalty make their introductions.
One aspect of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA) meeting each spring is the opening of the Bear Dance in Towaoc, Colo., a CCIA tradition.
Marcellen Ute, wears her regalia with pride during the opening of the Ute Mountain Ute Bear Dance in Towaoc, Colo.
‘Catman,’ Tyler Ute keeps a sharp eye on the Bear Dance.
The Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs gather for their quarterly meeting at the Ute Mountain Ute Casino, Friday, June 1.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum

The Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA) met in Towaoc, Colo. on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation for their quarterly meeting, Friday, June 1. The call to order was made by Lieutenant Governor Lynne, who Chairs the Commission, via conference call due to a scheduling conflict.

Mary Ontiveros, Colorado State University (CSU) Vice President for Diversity spoke on behalf of the university, citing a recent incident on a campus tour, involving two young Native American students from New Mexico. The two individuals were pulled off of the organized tour, after a visiting parent made a phone call to campus police, claiming that the young men’s presence seemed suspicious. Campus police, ascertained that the individuals were signed up for the tour, and not a threat. Never-the-less, feeling unwelcome, the perspective students returned home, rather than rejoining the tour.

The University is working hard to make sure future students feel welcome and support CSU’s mantra of diversity for students, visitors and faculty. “Student safety, and providing a welcoming environment, is our first priority,” said Ty Smith, CSU Student Diversity Programs. We need to educate our staff and faculty — furthermore want to make sure that every student that comes on a tour understands this land was not always CSU’s land, Smith emphasized.

The upcoming Shoshone-Numic Language Reunion dates were announced to members of the Commission, which will be held in Ignacio, Colo. from July 23rd – July 25th.

One of the key points of concern among members of the Southern Ute Tribal Council and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe was the recent opening of recreation at Lake Nighthorse in Durango, Colo. “The recreation portion [of Lake Nighthorse] is another example of our resources being misused,” Southern Ute Councilman Adam Red said. Stating that motorized boats are a negative aspect of the reservoir’s recreation plan in regards to the original intent of Lake Nighthorse, which was designed to fulfill the settlement of Ute water rights. “One of the things that the Tribe wants to make sure is that the water does stay clean and clear,” affirmed Southern Ute Councilman Cedric Chavez.

On a positive note, Red confirmed that there will be some hunting rights in the Nighthorse area for tribal members, associated with the Brunot agreement.

Members of the Colorado Ute tribes, along with members of the Commission travelled to the Ute Mountain Ute Bear Dance grounds in Towaoc, Colo. to help bring in the first day of dancing. The spring celebration was held from Fri. June 1 — Mon. June 4. “It’s all about the celebration of the bear coming out of hibernation,” Ute Mountain Ute Chairman Harold Cuthair said.

The Commission announced that they will look to reconvene in Ignacio, Colo in September (date to be announced), and again in Denver, Colo. on Dec. 7th to coincide with the exhibition opening of Written on the Land-Ute History, Ute Voices exhibition at History Colorado.

 

 

 

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