Casias returns to Tribal Council to serve fourth term

Newly elected councilwoman Pearl Casias
Newly elected councilwoman Pearl Casias thanks the representative from the Jicarilla Apache Nation for their gift — a Pendleton blanket.
Southern Ute elder Georgia McKinley congratulates Pearl Casias after the swearing-in ceremony on Monday, June 18.
McKayla Lee | The Southern Ute Drum
McKayla Lee | The Southern Ute Drum
McKayla Lee | The Southern Ute Drum

“This is a day of celebration,” Southern Ute Chairman Christine Sage declares as the swearing in ceremony begins on Monday, June 18 for Pearl Casias; the newest elected Tribal Council member.

Casias will fill the last seat on the Southern Ute Tribal Council, following the special election held Friday, June 15. She was confirmed as the highest voted candidate in council chambers and won the election with a total of 105 votes.

“I look forward to getting work done!” Councilman Cedric Chavez proclaims after the swearing in ceremony. This will be Casias’ fourth term with the Southern Ute Tribal Council, she has previously served 10 years on council and worked for 12 years as the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Chief Judge. Casias made history as the first woman to serve as Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

In her previous years spent on council, Casias helped implement the Tribe’s financial plan and she oversaw the creation of the Southern Ute Growth Fund and the in-house Tribal Attorney Department.

“We must continue to be vigilant, we must find ways to empower our youth, and I am honored and humbled you elected me as your new council member,” Councilwoman Casias said after taking her seat with the Southern Ute Tribal Council.

A representative from the Jicarilla Apache Nation welcomed Pearl Casias with a Pendleton blanket and wished her well with her term on council.  Members of the Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council also welcomed Casias and gifted the new councilwoman with a beaded necklace.

“We know that Ms. Casias’ addition to the council will only enhance our relationship,” La Plata County Commissioner Julie Westendorff said, while congratulating Casias at the swearing in ceremony. Westendorff emphasized the important work that the Southern Ute Indian Tribe does in collaboration with La Plata County.

“We’re a very busy council and we get things done,” Chairman Sage states in closing. Following the swearing-in ceremony, a reception was held in the Hall of Warriors for the tribal membership and visitors to congratulate and speak with Pearl Casias.




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