Tribal member sees business opportunity at home

The Southern Ute Range Division manages the use and conservation of rangelands on the Southern Ute Reservation.

This includes issuing grazing permits for designated range units and short-term grazing leases on assignments and tribal land, treatment of tribal rangelands, and fence construction.

While the need for construction is important to the Range Division, so is tribal-member employment. So when a tribally run business puts in a bid for a project, the division sees it as a win-win situation.

The New Mexico state line fence on Archuleta Mesa is in need of reconstruction. According to Range Division Head Jason Mietchen, there are livestock trespass issues going both ways across that section of fence. Replacing the fence will help control livestock trespass and protect tribal resources.

An agreement between the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Jicarilla Apache Nation states the Southern Ute Tribe will be responsible for the fence within the section on Archuleta Mesa. The Jicarilla Apache Nation is responsible for another section to the west.

An invitation to bid was advertised in accordance with TERO, and bids were analyzed. The recommendation from the division, which was accepted by the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council, was to contract the work with RJ Fencing, a tribally run construction business owned by Robert Jack.

“RJ Fencing’s experience with this type of project, combined with his bid price, presents the best likelihood of completing this project on time, within the budget and to specifications, while still getting the most value for the tribe’s dollar,” Mietchen said.

Tribal Council inquired about the amount of workers RJ Fencing has on the project.

“We have 11 tribal members, including myself, who are working on the project. We will be packing up and camping out there on site, so the job will get done,” Jack said.

Mietchen said the project leader, Doug Krueger, will be checking on the crew periodically. At press time, the crew had been working on the fence for approximately two weeks.

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