Apprenticeship Program helps Box take the reins as Tribal Planner

Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum


Tribal member Edward Box III has come along way since his one-year apprenticeship started last year. Box, is now the Southern Ute Tribal Planner, a role that has him excited and may be the job he has always been searching for.

“There is never a dull moment in Tribal Planning … I never thought I’d find [a job] that I really enjoy doing,” Box said about this new role as Tribal Planner.

Many recognize Box in the community for his work he has done in casinos. Box attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas pursuing a degree in Hospitality Administration. While in Las Vegas, Box worked at the extravagant Venetian Hotel & Casino for eight years. But when after recession hit, Box found it hard to keep up in Las Vegas, so he decided to move back home to the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

Upon moving home he was able to find a job with the Sky Ute Casino Resort as the Cultural Coordinator and was making advancements in the administration, but when he saw the Apprenticeship for Tribal Planner open up, Box decided to go for it.

“When the apprenticeship became available I applied, I always wanted to work with the tribe and Tribal Council,” he said.

Under the tribe’s apprenticeship program, Box excelled, meeting all criteria and tasks set out by mentor, then Tribal Planner, Rodney Class-Erickson.

“Thanks to the apprenticeship committee and Rodney Class-Erickson, he is a mentor that I will continue to look up to and admire for all the years of work he did for the tribe and everything he taught me … I never had a mentor like him.”

The apprenticeship program gave Box the opportunity to learn the position and receive guidance from a mentor for a full year. The strict detailed curriculum fully prepared him for the transition to director, Box said.

“I learned how everything was done and the history of why we do things the way we do,” Box said. “About six months into the curriculum, he started giving me tasks and shadowing over me … I started taking over responsibility and that gave me more understanding and courage to speak in meetings.”

As Tribal Planner, Box will be working on monitoring roads; being the first contact when any type of economical development to the roads or tribal campus is brought forth; and while looking at projects he will be making the decisions on which tribal departments should be involved, he said.

Looking ahead to the planning agenda. Box said he will be starting work on the Comprehensive Land Use Master Plan – a plan that shows land that is in close proximity of tribal campus and shows the potential of economical development, he said.

In addition to his passion and commitment for work, Box said his all time favorite hobby is beading. Box also enjoys spending time with his family and spouse, Anthony Box.

“When I moved away in 1999 I told myself I wasn’t coming back, but it was meant for me to move back … and coming back has brought my traditional ways back, and I practice them now,” he said.

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