Tribal updates addressed at general meeting

Southern Ute Chairman, Clement J. Frost, addresses the attendees with special thanks at the general meeting on April 17 at the Sky Ute Casino Resort.
Health Director, Lola Osawe, addresses concerns from Tribal members.
Various departments set up booths that gave information to Tribal members.
Angelo Valdez and Precious Collins sit at the Tribal Services’ informational booth during the General Meeting Friday, April 17. Multiple Departments set up booths to provide tribal members with information on services provide.
Gail Pena from Human Resources gives a smile at her booth.
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum

Discussions on tribal health care, economic developments with the Growth Fund, home loans for tribal lands, and elder services were among the topics addressed at the general meeting held at the Sky Ute Casino Resort on Friday, April 17. The meeting was held in order for Tribal Council to address the tribal community on updates throughout the organization.

“As a community, we must be [on the same page],” said Clement J. Frost to a crowded room. “We want to address the [matters] as a tribe and form an understanding.”

The topic of tribal health care garnered plenty of attraction between tribal members and health center staff. Tribal members were vocal about the progression of the Southern Ute Health Center and expressed opinions on the direction staff members have taken.

“I understand there are concerns with what’s happening at our Health Center,” said Tribal Health Department Director, Lola Osawe. “We are [addressing] these issues with you in order to have an idea of where to go.”

The Southern Ute Health Center addressed one of its objectives of having the available staff in the Dental Department. The tribe declared they have hired a second full-time dentist who will assist tribal members, as well as the recruitment of a fourth dental technician to support all three dentists. In addition, Osawe addressed the vision of progress with pharmacy and patient services.

“There is lots of room for improvement,” she added. “We are aiming to get clinical pharmacists hired to help with medication management, patient education, and follow-up.”

According the Health Department, Tribal Council has requested a thorough revision of health care plans and will be reviewing other options within the market place. Tribal Council will be making the best decision based on the appropriate information provided.

The Southern Ute Growth Fund also addressed issues in concern of revenue loss due to lower oil and gas prices. They wanted tribal members to know that that long-term prices of oil-per barrel should recover. The Growth Fund also added in their discussion that they would be reviewing all new positions within the company as they look at newer alternatives for financing.

The Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council was also present at the general meeting. They gave personal thanks to all in attendance, as well as a special commemoration to the late chairman, Jimmy R. Newton Jr.  The Youth Council invited everyone to join them at the Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Leadership Conference, which will be held on Saturday, May 16 at Ignacio Middle School.

“It’s good that these youth are representing themselves,” said Chairman Frost. “The more we teach our youth, the more of a voice they’ll have as future leaders.”

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