Quarterly Tri-Ute Council meeting held during Southern Ute Tribal Fair

Glenwood Springs City Manager, Debra Figueroa thanks Chairman Sage for allowing her to present on the “Sa gaa reh paaht/Glenwood Springs: Protecting Ancestral Ute Territory, Sacred Sites and Trail system.”
The Ute Indian Tribe’s Chairman Luke Duncan details the Ute Indian Tribe’s concerns regarding the possible restructuring of the Department of the Interior, Friday, Sept. 7.
Lindsay Box | Tribal Council Affairs
Lindsay Box | Tribal Council Affairs

The Southern Ute Tribal Council welcomed the leadership from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Ute Indian Tribe to the Southern Ute Growth Fund for the quarterly Tri-Ute Council meeting. Chairman Sage welcomed the visiting dignitaries to the Southern Ute Reservation and invited them to stay for the festivities.

Members of the Tri-Ute Council discussed a letter to be sent to the University of Denver regarding the raising of the Northern Cheyenne, Northern Arapaho and Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation’s flags. The flags were ceremoniously raised on April 2, to honor and recognize the sovereignty of these federally recognized tribes. The letter requests the University to also recognize the Utes, the oldest inhabitants to call the Rocky Mountain region and the entire state of Colorado home.

The possible reorganization of the Department of the Interior was also a lengthy discussion during this quarterly Tri-Ute Council meeting. The Ute Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council members shared concerns about equity between the tribes who could become new members of the region. This change would call for adjusting the funding allocated, such as healthcare and water. Tribal leaders did agree it would be highly beneficial to streamline the Department of Interior’s services and processes.

New business included hearing a presentation, “Sa gaa reh paaht/Glenwood Springs: Protecting Ancestral Ute Territory, Sacred Sites and Trial Systems”, presented by the Southern Ute NAGPRA staff. Guest presenters from the Glenwood Springs area shared concern over a mining project in its initial phases. Leadership gave support towards requesting the federal processes be followed allowing for consultation with all three Ute tribes prior to breaking ground.

The meeting concluded with reports from each tribal community, all sharing concerns related to substance use and abuse along with mental health. Leadership also tearfully agreed that language preservation is instrumental to Ute identity.

The next quarterly meeting will be hosted by The Ute Indian Tribe in March of 2019.

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