Committee seeks future Southern Ute royalty

Royalty Committee Chairwoman, Twyla Blackbird talks about her time serving as Miss Southern Ute during a Royalty Workshop held on Tuesday, May 3 at the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum.
Photo Credit: Sacha Smith | The Southern Ute Drum


The past few years the Southern Ute Royalty pageants have seen low contestant turnout. In hopes to turn that around, the Southern Ute Royalty Committee is hosting royalty workshops leading up to the pageant.

“The purpose [of the workshops] is to get young people interested,” Twyla Blackbird, Royalty Committee chairwoman said.

The committee is offering these workshops to help educate young royalty hopefuls on what being Southern Ute royalty entails, Blackbird said.

The first workshop was held Tuesday, May 3 and served as a meet-and-greet for tribal member families and the committee.

Royalty Committee members – past royalty, one tribal elder and tribal member – took the opportunity to explain what being a member of Southern Ute royalty means to them and the responsibility that comes along with it.

“There is a Code of Ethics … you have read them and adhere to them, it’s not hard to do it’s just conduct and something to really focus on,” Leonora Burch, committee secretary and treasurer said.

Tribal elder on the board, Joycelyn Dutchie said that it is all about respect.

“How you represent yourself is how you get known out there … it all has to do with respect,” she said.

Blackbird said the title is about so much more than just going to powwows. Blackbird recalled giving speeches, traveling around the country and being a role model to younger tribal members during her reign as Miss Southern Ute.

“I wish young girls and boys could experience what I did,” Blackbird said. “You not only represent [yourself] you represent the Ute people, more than just Southern Ute.”

The remaining workshops include: “Ute Style Dress/Powwow Protocol”; “Public Speaking”; “Ute History” and “Leadership”. The committee has also lined up past royalty members to help teach the workshops.

“Bring a friend, boy or girl … it’s a growing experience,” Blackbird said.

The “Ute Style Dress/Powwow Protocol” workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 17 from 6 -7p.m.



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