S.U.G.O. highlights runoff candidates

Southern Ute elder Dr. James Jefferson gives insight and knowledge about tribal politics at the Southern Ute Grassroots Organization meeting held at the Southern Ute Multi-Purpose Facility on Wednesday, Dec. 13.
Trennie Collins

With the Southern Ute Indian Tribal election season in full force, the Southern Ute Grassroots Organization (S.U.G.O) held their very own meet the candidate’s night on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the Southern Ute Multi-Purpose Facility.

Out of six candidates who are in the runoff election, four of them made their presence known with a second chance to get their voices heard; Shane Seibel, Cedric Chavez, Dedra White and Cheryl Frost.

The Southern Ute Grassroots Organization was formed by Southern Ute tribal elder, Sage Remington back in the ‘90s to halt the Animas La-Plata Water Project (ALP) Dam. All starting with a couple ambitious elders, S.U.G.O. was formed. With the belief that the ALP Dam would bankrupt and do more harm than good to the Southern Utes, Remington and S.U.G.O. stalled the project. They made many trips to Washington D.C. lobbying on behalf of S.U.G.O., and were able to help alleviate the Southern Ute Tribe’s burden associated with the project and even help our sister tribe, Ute Mountain Utes, share the money to have water delivered to their reservation.

Southern Ute Tribal Candidates heard concerns and suggestions from the small group of mostly elders. Hoping that whoever gets in office in the election, held Friday, Dec. 15, does their best and stands up for what’s best for the tribal membership.

“Regular tribal members are left in the cold. I decided to run to make change, real change. Not let me promise you [something] now and not do anything later,” Chavez said.

With the hopes of new and vibrant changes, all the candidates had one thing in common, to be there, willing to work for their Southern Ute people.

“I want to wish you all good luck.” Southern Ute elder Judy Lansing said, one of the many tribal elders who attended the S.U.G.O. meeting ahead of last week’s election.

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