Over the past few months, a group of Southern Ute tribal elders has been hosting regular meetings to discuss their concerns. On Thursday, Sept. 24 the group held a meeting to discuss their stance on the upcoming tribal election in November, including the participation of running candidates.
Since the last elder’s meeting, a petition was introduced to recall council members Clement J. Frost, Amy J. Barry, Melvin J. Baker, Tyson Thompson, Alex S. Cloud, and James M. Olguin with the exclusion of Ramona Eagle. Council candidate, Renee Cloud stated that the petition has been discarded due to an inaccurate clause in its purpose and that a new one will be submitted. She then expressed her concerns regarding council and the use of Facebook as a commutative tool between tribal members.
“They’re not taking responsibility for cleaning up the system. When that happens, it takes away a lot of joy. People on Facebook have been saying the recall is getting out of hand and that it damages other’s reputations – using it against each other. It’s bad communication. It goes all over the world and could be damaging to our tribe’s own reputation … there’s a lot of younger people blinded by the fact that they have no experience like us old folks. They’re unaware of council’s dirty laundry,” Cloud said.
Council candidate, Kevin Frost stated that tribal members must be more vocal to show their stance.
“We need other tribal members to help us with this. Coming together allows us to do that.”
Tribal elder, Lynda Grove-D’Wolf stated that the future generation of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe should be acknowledged when considering the election.
“We need to clean house. People who are elected have no knowledge of accountability. We need to stop this merry-go-round and connect. [Council] approve things left and right, when we really need to think about our future generation. The direction going on there needs to finally change.”
“Tribal Council still won’t listen to us,” tribal elder Judy Lansing, said.
“This is our home, we should say what we want to say,” Yvonne Tree said. “My voice is all I have. There are moments where I’ve been told been told to settle down when I have the freedom to express myself.”