Ramona Y. Eagle was sworn into Southern Ute Tribal Council Friday, Feb. 13. Eagle claimed her seat on council after receiving the highest number of votes in Thursday’s Special Election.
“It’s a good day to fulfill our council seats and continue work going forward,” Tribal Chairman Clement J. Frost said during last Friday’s swearing in ceremony.
Eagle was elected to serve out the remaining nine months of Howard D. Richards’ term; who resigned in December.
Though her time on council is rather short, Eagle has her mind set on developing a focus group for the tribal membership.
According to Eagle, the focus group will be a learning environment, and will focus on educating tribal members as to what services are available to them through the various programs.
“The time is very short, but I hope to get a tribal focus group going, so the membership can have a voice and see what is good, and what is not working for them,” she said. “I think it’s very important we hear what [the membership] has to say.”
Eagle hopes that with council’s support, she will be able to get the focus group established before her term ends.
Eagle’s previous nine years on council will make her one of the more seasoned members sitting on council right now, and she feels her experience makes her a great asset.
“I bring my background and knowledge of previous council decisions,” she said. “ And I’m very familiar with all the departments.”
Eagle has past experience as Tribal Treasurer and a background in Human Resources.
When the Drum asked what the most important issue facing the tribe is right now, Eagle said, “family values.”
“Being able to be as a family … there is so much around our environment that distracts us from being a family unit … being able to tell stories and being able to respect our elders, dancing, being able to speak the Ute language in the home, and being able to have education for both the parent and the child,” Eagle said. “Also knowing what it means to be Ute, not just the money. Knowing the stories from our grandparents and how it applies to today’s world.”
Besides the time constraint, and getting a refresher on some of the new technology, Eagle said she is ready to get to work.
Eagle said she was asked my many tribal members to run for office, and she credits them for helping her make the decision to put her name on the ballot.
“Thank you to the people who voted for me and have confidence in me, I will do my best to help council make the good decisions,” she said.
Eagle received 36.4 percent of the votes, Bernie Cuthair 18.5 percent, Joycelyn Peabody Dutchie 17.9 percent, Jake B. Ryder 14.7, David Latham 7.8 percent and Shelly L. Thompson 4.6 percent.