Fri Oct 26th, 2018
Jeremy Wade Shockley
The Southern Ute Drum
Outgoing Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper paid a visit to the Southern Ute Reservation, Thursday, Oct. 18, to meet with tribal leadership from both the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes. Hickenlooper applauded the strong relationship between the State of Colorado and the tribes, assuring that his administration will work to impress upon the incoming leadership the importance of ongoing collaboration between the State of Colorado and the tribes, with respect to tribal sovereignty.
“Thank you for all you have done on behalf of the Ute tribes,” expressed Ute Mountain Ute Councilwoman DeAnne House.
“[Lt. Governors] Garcia and Lynn have been such great believers in the tribes; I cant tell you how much time Ernest House Jr. has spent educating [us] on the sovereignty of the tribes,” Hickenlooper said. He was pleased with the level of commitment that everyone brings to the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs. “We’re very optimistic and hopeful that this continues.”
Hickenlooper applauded the collaborative efforts of History Colorado, the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, and the Ute tribes for creating the upcoming cultural exhibit, “Written on the Land: Ute Voices, Ute History,” which will open later this year at History Colorado in downtown Denver. Hickenlooper emphasized that the exhibit curators worked diligently to make sure this represented, “your stories, that this was your narrative.”
“Written on the Land,” features more than 200 artifacts from History Colorado’s world-class collection, including Ute beadwork, clothing, basketry, and contemporary craft. The exhibit will also feature contemporary photography, video presentations and oral histories from the Ute tribes.
The dialogue led to other successful efforts spearheaded by the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, including updating school mascots within the state. While numerous professional sports teams across the United States have taken steps to retire their mascots, the most widespread change is taking place at the grassroots level, at local schools and even colleges. Colorado has celebrated some of that success. “The work that Ernest House Jr. did at the high schools on the mascot issue, he talked to the kids, and the kids spoke with their parents to effect change. It was ‘bottom up’ change on the mascot issue,” explained Hickenlooper.
Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper will finish out his term in November of this year, and his administration wants to do everything in their power to assure that the next administration upholds the progressive, and collaborative relationships established with Colorado’s oldest continuous residents: The Utes. Emphasizing the importance of Colorado’s history, Hickenlooper said, “Not to forget — that is what allows us to create a new future. It is the essence.”
“We’ve got to convince the next governor to support the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute tribes,” Hickenlooper emphasized. “How can we make it politically valuable for the next administration to help you.”
“Thank you for recognizing that we are here as part of the State of Colorado,” Ute Mountain Ute Vice Chairman Coleen Cuthair-Root stated in her closing remarks. “I think we are more fortunate than other states.”