The Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council welcomed two new councilmen to their seven-member council Friday, March 6 in Council Chambers. Southern Ute Chairman Clement J. Frost swore tribal members Lakota TwoCrow and Larenz Wilbourn into the youth council. Also taking the oath of office were Issac Suina and Elijah Weaver, both were reelected to the youth council.
The youth council is helping the young people realize that they will be in charge of the tribe’s future, and what direction the tribe goes in, Frost said.
“You have to lay the road, you have to be strong and have a vision so the young people will have a good future,” he said.
Departing youth council members include, David Boyd and Autumn Medicine Blanket. Boyd served as the youth council’s first-ever chairman from 2014-2015.
“I was so nervous at first being selected chairman, but now that I have had that experience I have more strength to move on and be something more,” Boyd said.
Frost reassured Boyd and Medicine Blanket that just because they’re not on council anymore, doesn’t mean they aren’t leaders.
“We thank you for your services, but you still need to help guide your membership,” he said. “You both have shown the strength to be good leaders in the future.”
Newcomers, TwoCrow and Wilbourn thanked everyone for the support and expressed their excitement for the future.
Newly selected Chairman, Suina, was able to fight off some nervous jitters and formally introduce himself in Ute, before making his opening statement.
“I’m honored and blessed to serve again, I will do my best to support the tribal youth and my tribe,” Suina said.
Sunshine Cloud Smith’s granddaughters were in attendance and offered some encouraging words to the youth.
“I’m very proud of you all and I’m looking forward to working with you professionally,” Chantel Cloud said. “Very proud that my grandmother’s life continues through this youth council.”
“I really look forward to what you all become in the future. You each have your own power and I want you to stand in your power,” Lorelei Cloud said.
The youth council is in its second year and is will continue to grow, Vice Chairman Melvin J. Baker said.
“In the future we will give it to the youth to select their council, and give them the opportunity to go out and campaign amongst their peers,” he said.
Last year, some council members got to travel with Tribal Council to National Congress of American Indians Conference in Atlanta, GA. Council members also attended and spoke at several tribal functions throughout the year.
Having the youth council travel attend meetings with Tribal council was always a main goal. They bring a new perspective to the table, Councilman James M. Olguin said.
“They have a voice, we just have to listen,” he said.
These young leaders are not slowing down. Three youth council members will be making the trip to Denver to attend the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs meeting March 18-March 20.
Also on the agenda for the youth council is the Jimmy R. Newton Jr. Youth Leadership Conference that will be held Saturday, May 16. The youth council came up with the idea to honor the late Chairman Newton who passed away last spring. Newton was known as a big supporter of the youth, and swore in the first youth council members into office last year.
The current seated youth council consists of: Chairman Issac Suina, Vice Chairman, Larenz Wilbourn, Secretary Lakota TwoCrow, Council Lady Lonicia O’John, Councilman Randy Herrera, Councilman Cameron Weaver, and Councilman Elijah Weaver.