Ute tribes represent at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games, Toronto, Canada. This was one of the many exciting and colorful stories that made our Top Ten for last year. View the full gallery of images to see our news highlights for 2017.
Youth were empowering each all over Ute country in 2017. The Southern Ute Tribe hosted this year’s Annual Tri-Ute Leadership Conference held at Fort Lewis College in June. The Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council attended both the Tri-Ute Conference held in Denver in March, and the National Congress of American Indian (NCAI) Conference this past October — where the ‘elders roundtable’ was cited as the most impactful session for the young leaders who attended NCAI.
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe welcomed newly elected Chairman Christine Sage, Councilman Cedric J. Frost and Councilwoman Cheryl A. Frost onto Tribal Council, Friday, Dec. “I am humbly honored to represent my tribe,” said Chairman Christine Sage at the Inauguration held at the Sky Ute Events Center Monday, Dec. 18 where Southern Ute tribal members filled the room to watch the newly elected officials get sworn into office. Sage is the second woman to hold the position of Chairman for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
In 2017 Southern Ute Chairman Clement J. Frost showed strong support for the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and the monument designation put forth by the Obama administration, protecting the cultural and environmental integrity of lands in Southeast Utah deemed sacred to tribes with historical ties to the region, including the Ute bands. The Southern Ute Drum covered the story as it has evolved, leading to the most recent announcement that the Trump Administration proposed a significant reduction of the Bears Ears National Monument despite strong opposition from the Native American community.
One hot topic for the summer of 2017 was the bear population, from downtown Ignacio to neighborhoods across the Southern Ute Reservation, wild bears were in search of food. An early spring frost had deprived bears and other wildlife of their natural food sources, forcing the tenacious creatures to search elsewhere for calories. This rash of hungry bears, kept the Southern Ute Division of Wildlife busy through the fall season. The Southern Ute Drum helped to get the word out on best practices for avoiding wildlife, and being responsible with trash and other potential food sources which often attract unwanted wildlife.
The Ute people lost a cultural icon in August of 2017, when the Delta County Historical Society, owner of the 215+ year old Ute Council Tree deemed the ailing cottonwood to be unsafe due to age and structural integrity. Members of all three Ute tribes gathered together to say their prayers and speak to the historical significance the Council Tree and its importance to the Ute people on Aug. 25, 2017. The site will remain as a historic landmark in Delta, Colo. honoring the cultural legacy of the Council Tree.
The Southern Ute Tribe had a strong presence in Toronto, Canada last summer, competing under the banner of Team Colorado in the 2017 North American Indigenous Games. Indigenous youth from across North American and Canada come together every four years to build teamwork, strong cultural ties and compete for medals in a series of highly competitive sporting events.
This year, Cedar Point Housing has expanded their real estate by adding new homes and town houses. FCI Contractors built 25 new townhomes on the east end, and 23 houses on the west end of The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Cedar Point subdivision. They are anticipated to be finished in the summer of 2018.
This past summer, the Southern Ute Tribe’s Wildlife Resource Management Team installed a high definition 1080p camera to observe the osprey nest located at Lake Capote. Wanting to generate more interest and support for the project, the Wildlife Resource Management Team plans to make a few enhancements to the camera, like adjustable positioning and the addition of audio. The renovation will take place once the osprey migrate for the season.
Dignitaries from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Growth Fund and Southern Ute Utilities Division dedicated the Tribe’s newest renewable energy venture, the Oxford Solar Plant in July. The solar array is comprised of 4,000 solar panels across four acres of land. “Today marks a significant day for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, as we make our way into alternative energy,” Councilman Kevin Frost said at the dedication. It is the largest in La Plata County, the energy produced by the Oxford Solar Plant will help to power buildings on the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s campus.
The Ute Indian Museum had their grand opening in Montrose, Colo. on June 10, 2017. There were dignitaries from all three Ute Tribes as well as representation from the State of Colorado to celebrate the unveiling of the redesigned museum celebrating Colorado’s longest residents — the Utes.