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Southern Ute Multi-Purpose Facility, a gathering space

Southern Ute elder, Evalyn Russell is just one of many community members who use the Multi-Purpose Facility for projects, activities and events throughout the year.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum

The Southern Ute Multi-Purpose Facility (MPF) has become a cornerstone for many in the community, as well as a gathering place for elders who see it as a home away from home. “I wanted everyone to know that people use the Multi-Purpose Facility every day,” MPF Operations Manager, Elise Redd said. “We have three sewing spaces, plus an activity room. Each room has a television and DVD player, with a collection of movies.”

The facility hosts a number of community events, including the Sip, Chat & Chew, which encourage participation from sister tribes, and is spearheaded by the elders who share food each time — potluck style. These monthly gatherings have been going on for over two years straight.

“We share our experience, our traditions, and our values,” explained Southern Ute elder Evalyn Russell. “I think there is a lot of activity going on here. We have a raffle; whatever we make, we share. We are here to be happy, to share and talk.”

“A lot of our activities are open to the community,” Redd explained. Organized events include: sewing, cooking, crochet, canning and even pie making. One of the MPF’s upcoming programs is — Cooking and Carving a Turkey with Alan Herrera.

The procedures for booking the facility have not changed, but there are a few important things to remember.

Evenings or weekends, must be reserved by Wednesday at 5pm each week, so that the staff schedules can be adjusted to meet the needs of the extra work hours. Only Southern Ute tribal members can reserve the facility, or one of the rooms. This can be done online, or by way of the SunUte website. The facility does not take reservations by phone, with the exception of tribal member funeral arrangements. The online booking system is called ReCPro, and tribal members must sign a contract.

During normal business hours, the Southern Ute Multi-Purpose Facility is available on a first come, first serve basis. The gathering space is ideal for a number of activities and events, including: Dances, weddings, birthday parties, public and personal meetings. Tribal Departments who book the venue for their events are responsible for set up and clean up — those departments are also required to have a Southern Ute tribal member make the booking.

MPF employee, Stais Harlan came up with the idea for a Halloween Haunted House a few years ago, which has turned into an annual community event and a lucrative fundraiser for the facility. “Everyone has been so creative, and it gives them pride,” Redd said. “It is good to see young people involved,” echoed Russell.

“We do help tribal elders, if they have no one available to assist them,” Redd explained. “I want to give thanks to [Sky Ute Casino Resort] Executive Chef, Bill Barbone, who has donated food and supports our activities,” she said. “He has donated ribs, hamburgers and hotdogs; he has also lent us his expertise in ordering food items.”

There is strong participation from members of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. The elders were proud to say that they mentored a young girl in her sewing projects from one year to the next. They taught her how to make dresses and shawls, and use a sewing machine. Elise Redd puts an emphasis on fun and educational activities.

“It’s our own, we have fun and it’s open to everybody,” Russell emphasized. “It gets elders out of the house.”





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