Southern Ute tribal member Adam Red was recently elected to the Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees. Red is a former Southern Ute Council member and employee of the Southern Ute Growth Fund. Red brings a Native perspective to table, and with this appointment guarantees there will always be a Native American Voice on the Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees.
Red was asked by Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees President, Ernest House Jr. to apply for the board position. House Jr., was the Executive Director for Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs for many years, and familiar with Red and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, House Jr., being a Ute Mountain Ute tribal member.
Red was appointed by Governor Polis to the newly created Native American seat. In March, Governor Polis signed HB20-1108 creating two new seats to fill on the Board. Mary Rubadeau of Durango, Colo. was appointed to the second seat
As stated in House Bill 20-1108, no more than five members shall be from any one political party; at least one member must be an enrolled member of a federally recognized Native American tribe; and at least 2 members must reside in Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, or San Juan counties, or on the Ute Mountain Ute or Southern Ute Indian reservations.
Fort Lewis College has the largest Native American student population of any college in the United States. Native American students can attend Fort Lewis tuition free.
On the Fort Lewis College website, Red states, “FLC leads the way when it comes to giving Native American students an opportunity to continue their education that they might not have otherwise. I look forward to continuing and building on the strong tradition FLC has built in Southwest Colorado.”
Red sees this as a good opportunity to bring a Native voice to the table, growing up in Ignacio on the Southern Ute Reservation and attending many Fort Lewis College events. Red has seen the work current Fort Lewis College President Tom Stritikus has brought to the school.
“Stritikus has ‘a wild-card’ approach, who is open to ideas, and who has reached out to the Southern Ute Tribe on various ideas. Stritikus understands the importance of the Native collaboration,” said Red.
Red says that his previous experience serving on the Southern Ute Tribal Council will help him on the FLC Board of Trustees. “Knowing Native Laws, both nationally and on the state level, and working with the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, and other tribes – I can bring a Native and local experience to the FLC Board,” he explained.
Red sees similarities between the FLC Board of Trustees and Tribal Council after his initial week of “on-boarding.” Familiarizing himself with other board members and procedures involved with sitting on the FLC Board.
“I grew up in the area, I understand reservation life and Indian Country, I can bring that understanding to campus,” says Red.
Red graduated from Ignacio High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Northern Colorado.
Red sees an opportunity to present resources located in Ignacio to the Native American students attending FLC. One such benefit is having the Southern Ute Health Center so close to Durango, which now sees Native American patients from any federally recognized tribe, “it’s only a 20-minute drive from Durango to Ignacio for these students,” says Red.
The Board of Trustees consists of nine voting and two non-voting members who are responsible for making policy for Fort Lewis College and overseeing its operation. Voting members are appointed by the Colorado Governor and require Colorado State Senate confirmation.