Thu Jun 6th, 2019
The Southern Ute Drum
Tags: 2014 Rocky Mountain Athletic-versus-Heartland Conference Challenge, Adam Red, Andrew Frost, CCIA, Cheryl Frost, Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, Colorado Lt. Governor, Harold Cuthair, Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera, Morgan Ferris, Southern Ute Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Bear Dance
The quarterly Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA) Meeting was held on Friday, May 31, at the Ute Mountain Ute Casino. Representation from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera along with others who sit on the commission were all in attendance.
CCIA Executive Director
After a few months of searching the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs finally found a new Executive Director, Gwen Leaffe Carr after former director Ernest House Jr. vacated the position in 2018.
Carr is an enrolled member of the Cayuga Nation of New York, Heron Clan. Her career has taken her in the direction of social justice and service to American Indians, with many years of experience working with tribal, state and federal governments.
CCIA is the official liaison between the State and sovereign tribal governments which fosters strong government-to-government relations. One of the goals of CCIA is to ensure direct contact with the tribes in Colorado.
Carr was available by phone and was able to give her Executive Director Report.
“I am very honored to be the executive director of the CCIA. I have had just wonderful experiences with the members, tribes and everyone else,” Carr exclaimed.
Carr reported on several things that will impact both the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. She is currently looking into hemp manufacturing and has been in discussion with individuals and business who have been in the hemp business for 20+ years. Carr is specifically interested in industrial hemp and the uses.
“I want to focus on starting off long term sustainability for economic development for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and The Southern Utes,” said Carr.
In April, Carr was able to come to Colorado and visit both Ute tribes.
“It was a thing of beauty, it made me tear up a little bit,” she proclaimed about her visit to the Southern Ute Montessori Academy, “To see little kids be able to learn their language in a Montessori school, again it was a continuation of what we are supposed to do as indigenous people.”
Ute Mountain Ute Update
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe has a solar project in the field next to the Ute Mountain Ute Casino, which will provide credit to the community for the electric services provided.
“It’s small, it’s for the community to allow our community members to get positive services from the electric services we use,” said DeAnne House, Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Councilwoman.
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council is also looking to venture into bigger solar projects, including one large commercial solar project which is in the feasibility stages right now.
“We are getting better at finding these opportunities” said House.
At the end of July, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe will get to see their new Behavior Health Center put into play.
Home rehabilitations were also a big positive for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, they received money from a federal grant to rehab five homes by September of this year.
Southern Ute Indian Tribe Update
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe had 17 Southern Ute tribal members and JOM students graduate from Ignacio High School, along with a few others from other schools off the reservation.
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe also had 7seven college graduates. Three with master’s degrees, two with bachelor’s and two with an associate’s degree.
“I think it’s important that we continue to educate our younger people, they truly are the future,” said Southern Ute Vice-Chairman, Cheryl Frost.
Tribal Council did allocate a budget for the new skate park. The construction and project management department is currently working with contractors on a design, which will have to be approved by the Southern Ute Tribal Council and the Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council.
The Southern Ute Growth Fund has hired a new director of energy, John Stafford. Red Willow Production Company has also established an EHS1 tech trainee position, for tribal members only and a great opportunity to work with and for the Tribe.
Another big topic of discussion for the Southern Ute Tribe is sports betting. Allowing sports betting on the reservation has long been talked about, but will all depend on this year’s election cycle; sports betting will be on the fall ballot.
One of the major topics of discussion for bill H1327 is the required tax increase it comes with which is 10 percent. In order to acquire sports betting, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe would need to submit an application for a master license which would last two years, the cost of the license is not yet known.
“Thank the tribes and the departments who came. I won’t forget the Bear Dance ever, that was really fun and looking forward to next year,” said Lt. Governor Primavera “We’re going to continue to grow and learn and make things better.”
The next Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs meeting will be held in September on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in Ignacio, Colo.