Tribal membership gets biannual update

Bruce LeClaire and Rudley Weaver, members of the Southern Ute Veterans Association bring in the flags at the Southern Ute General Meeting held at the Sky Ute Casino Event Center on Wednesday, May 15.
Southern Ute Tribal Council stand at the beginning of the General Meeting as they do introductions to the tribal membership in attendance.
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe hosted the first of two general meetings on Wednesday, May 15, at the Sky Ute Casino Resort’s event center.

The bi-annual meeting was held to inform the tribal membership of updates within the departments of: Cultural Preservation, Department of Natural Resources, Tribal Housing, Tribal Credit, Justice and Regulatory-TERO, HR-Apprentice Committee, Tribal Services and Tribal Health.

“This meeting is informational for the membership,” said Chairman Christine Sage. “Each department is here to present information that the membership needs to be aware of, what is available to them.”

 

Culture Preservation Department

 

The Culture Preservation Department this year has made a few changes to the Southern Ute Tribal Fair schedule. In the hopes of bringing the tribal membership what they want, The Cultural Preservation Department is bringing to town a rodeo this year.

“We are having a rodeo. We have been having a lot people coming in our office throughout the years wanting us to bring the rodeo back,” Cultural Preservation Coordinator Tara Vigil said. This year’s Southern Ute Fair Rodeo will take place on the Friday and Saturday of the Southern Ute Fair.

Premiums for exhibits were raised last year and will continue to stay the same for this year. The only premium that is not going to rise is the livestock that will stay the same.

Also new for this year is a brisket cook-off for Southern Ute tribal members, in lieu of the green chili and salsa contest. The horseshoe tournament is also an event that will not be on the schedule this year, but if you are interested in running it contact Tara Vigil.

“If you do have any further questions with regards to the tribal fair, contact the Culture Department and we will be happy to answer any questions,” said Edward Box III, Culture Preservation Director.

 

Department of Natural Resources

 

The Water Resources Division is responsible for development, protections and management of Tribal water resources. The Water Resources Division has two ongoing projects for FY 2019. Pine River Indian irrigation Project (PRIIP) Rehabilitation Project and the Drought Management Plan.

PRRIP Rehabilitation Project includes 175 miles of channel and over 200 structures which include checks, drops, flumes, and turnouts, etc. The last major rehabilitation happened over 50 years ago. The project will be done using tribal monies from the ALP Settlement Funds.

The Natural Resources Department has a work plan for the PRIIP Rehab Project, it plans on taking an assessment of the existing system. An engineering consultant is in the process of finishing up a design of repairs that need to be complete and by September of 2019 with construction of repairs started by contractors after.

Access roads regrading and installation of gates by WRD staff started in Summer of 2018 the total competition of the project will be complete by May 2021. If you have any questions or comments about the PRIIP Rehabilitation please call Water Resources Division at 970-563-2930.

The drought management plan was tasked to the Department of Natural Resources and in the summer of 2018 a short-term interim plan was implemented. The overall goal of the drought management plan is to reduce impact of drought on the tribal membership and tribal resources. There are six steps to the drought management plan: drought monitoring, vulnerability assessment, mitigation actions, response actions, operation and administrative framework and the update process.

The current 2019 grazing season has seen above average snowfall for 2018-2019. Natural Resources currently has no plans to implement any grazing restrictions for early summer and permittees will be allowed to turn on the permitted number of cattle June 1 but as the summer progresses, individual permittees will be helped by Natural Resources to manage their specific units on a case by case basis.

 

Wildlife Resource Management Division

 

Gray Wolf reintroduction in Western Colorado has been a major issue that has come up with the Wildlife Resource Management Division. The Wildlife Division, Wildlife Advisory Board and Tribal Council are still discussing this issue in-depth, taking into consideration cultural values, impacts to big game and hunting, impacts to livestock and direct human interactions. The Tribe may take a formal position on this subject but the wolf reintroduction may be on statewide ballot in 2020. For more info or to fill out a survey please go to the Wildlife Office or they are available to the tribal membership through the TM Portal.

Regular on reservation and Brunot Area hunting seasons have already been approved at this time. Concerns were brought up by the Wildlife Division regarding the January Cow Elk Hunt because there is low calf elk recruitment and a decreasing elk population, this is currently being discussed by the Division of Wildlife and the Wildlife Advisory Board and Tribal Council.

 

Tribal Housing

 

Water, sewer and natural gas are readily available for home development on the 23 lots up at Cedar Point, all the infrastructures are in and they are available for tribal members to develop. “Put a homesite on it, see tribal housing, tribal credit, and lands — we are all working on it together,” said Gary Fulks Tribal Housing Director.

The engineering for the foundation systems for manufactured homes is complete. Tribal Housing is available to help obtain foundation engineering for other types of homes as needed. The current estimated costs for a foundation of a doublewide manufactured home is $50,000.

Construction Services home rehabilitation for FY 2019 is currently closed and the selection process is in progress. If you missed out this year you can pick up an FY 2020 application at the Construction Services Department and is a first come first serve basis.

Permanent Fund Tribal Member Employment Opportunities-Apprentice Program

 

The apprentice program is a department-led opportunity to assist tribal member employment and career development. Which does not necessarily guarantee the apprentice the position they have been in. Apprenticeships are based on the positions, job description, and curriculum which is designed by the Apprentice Program Committee, HR Department, Executive Office in accordance with the Permanent Fund Personnel Policies and Procedures. With the intention to not displace current employees, instead create “trainable positions” to allow tribal members the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge with a professional mentor.

 

Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council

 

The responsibility of the Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council is to be the voice of the Southern Ute Tribe’s youth and make proposals to Tribal Council when they want to act on a topic. Along with creating awareness, the SCSYAC also keeps up with current topics which involve the youth. The SCSYAC is currently developing teamwork, leadership, networking and role modeling skills along with many others to help them become better youth leaders in our community.

SCSYAC has attended numerous events like Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA), National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), UNITY, Tri-Ute Meetings, Tri-Ute Youth Leadership Conference along with many more on and off the reservation. Upcoming events include Tri-Ute Leadership Conference June 16-19 held at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah and the Tri-Ute Games July 16-20 held in Fort Duchesne, Utah.

 

Southern Ute Health Department

 

Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation services for 30-day detox and rehab can be covered by Purchase Referred Care (PRC). For these services, the Southern Ute Health Department must be the referral point of care and you must have notice of intent and referral. If you are a tribal member and are not PRC eligible tribal member benefits covers services arranged by the SU Health Department, these extended benefits are available only through the tribal members benefit department.

Even though the drug and alcohol rehabilitation services have only been offered through the Southern Ute Health Services Department for 16 months it has sent 21 tribal members into treatment and has had an overall success rate of 35 percent in this first year.

If you or a loved one need help call Erika Atencio, TMHD Benefits Coordinator at 970-563-2211.

“We are here to make those tough decisions,” said Councilman Melvin J. Baker. “A lot of times we are putting our minds and hearts together for our membership.”

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