The Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe have joined together in bringing forth the “All of Us Utes” conference, an event that will include a variety of cultural activities ranging from Yucca soap making to Ute bingo. The conference is open to all Ute tribal members and will be held at the Southern Ute Multi-Purpose Facility on Wednesday, May 27 at 9 a.m. The conference is established to encourage tribal members to learn about the Ute language and history while partaking in eventful activities.
“We want to be able to share our culture with the youth so they can become empowering speakers,” said Elise Redd, cultural preservations director. “The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Southern Ute Tribe came up with an agenda to put on a one day conference for the people. We are planning on having breakout session’s people can participate in, including a Ute history walk, storytelling contests, singing contests, and joke telling. Plenty of activities are involved, and we want the youth [and community] to learn more about their culture.”
The conference originated as a planned Shoshone reunion hosted by the Ute Tribes. The reunion was planned a week after the Southern Ute Bear Dance and a week before the Ute Mountain Ute Bear Dance, but wasn’t able to become finalized due to some faults. After some time was spent with further planning, a date was decided for the end of May. The Southern Ute Culture Center is the main sponsor of the event along with White Mesa Education and Ute Mountain Ute Culture and Language.
In addition to the activities, Marge Borst from the bison education program will be giving a lecture regarding the bison box and its contents. The bison box is mainly made out of raw, bison hide and contains a number of items associated with the bison that are used for resources. The Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council will also be making an appearance as part of the welcoming ceremony for all attending guests.
The conference will be holding a discussion regarding the thirteen bands of Utes and where they originated. Activities will also commence outside the multi-purpose center and into the field for a tipi-raising lecture. A special potluck will be provided for the guests before being treated with an enticing powwow.
“We are doing what we can to provide our community with the awareness of Ute culture,” Redd said. “We hope people will come out and enjoy some of the activities we’ll have for them.”