Wed Nov 23rd, 2016
The Southern Ute Drum
Tags: Bruce Heller, Bruce LeClaire, Howard D. Richards Sr., Lalena Weasel, Lynda Grove-D'Wolf, Pearl Casias, Ramona Y. Eagle, Rod Grove, Sky Ute Casino, Southern Ute Veterans, Southern Ute Veterans Association, veterans, Veterans Powwow
The Southern Ute Veterans Association recently held a special ceremony in honor of donators who have contributed their benefits in support of the tribal veterans from around La Plata County. Honorees who donated the most to the Veterans Association include Lynda Grove D’Wolf, Pearl Casias, Ramona Y. Eagle, and Lalena Weasel. Veterans Howard D. Richards Sr., Rod Grove, Bruce LeClaire, and Bruce Heller recognized the contributors at Sky Ute Casino Resort on Saturday, Nov. 12.
“We veterans are still surviving amongst our people, and we are still fighting after many years. It’s been a struggle,” stated veteran Howard D. Richards Sr. “Along with these struggles, we didn’t have any money to hold events in remembrance of our brothers and sisters. And tonight, we honor those members who have donated money to our cause.”
Tribal veteran Rod Grove commended the donators by stating, “This is our first time hosting an event that honors these individuals who contributed to us. We plan on hosting another event for the veterans next year, and these who donated helped us with that. We veterans only have two days out of the year, Memorial and Veterans Day, and we want people to be recognized.”
The Southern Ute Veterans Association was recently given a budget in relation with the Southern Ute Permanent Fund that aides in providing income to finance veteran associated events, including the Veterans Powwow, parades, bull riding events, and visits to the schools in the Ignacio district. The budget goes through a regular financial process where a budget committee reviews a request before sending it to Tribal Council for approval.
Bruce LeClaire, veteran’s association member, commented about the support the association has received.
“The Veterans Association has had many volunteers come out and help us, not necessarily through donations, but with pulling stuff together and helping out with different events,” he said. “We’re getting funds now, and the Veterans Association are the ones who decide how to utilize the funds, which are not mandated by the tribe … we veterans just wanted to express our gratitude for the donators as we continue to try and be as active as we can to represent the tribe and the sister tribes of Northern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute.”
Award recipient Lalena Weasel gave personal thanks to the veterans for their acknowledgement.
“I feel privileged in receiving this,” she said. “I come from a family of veterans from both sides. It’s a small thing I can do for the big thing they’ve done for us. They put their lives on the line for our freedom, and I think people take that for granted.”
Lynda Grove D’Wolf added, “I too have a family of veterans, and I respect everything they have done. It was a privilege to donate to their cause.”