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Recall efforts continue     

Tribal elder, Lynda Grove-D’Wolf, addresses issues with tribal council to a group of tribal elders on Thursday, Sept. 3.
Photo Credit: Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum

“This is the revolution of the elders,” declared tribal elder, Lynda Grove-D’Wolf, who showed heavy concern during a meeting held by a group of tribal elders Thursday, Sept. 3. “There is no direction here and it needs to finally change.”

Since a recent Elders’ General Meeting held in August, issues between tribal elders and council have gained steam. Some elders have criticized Tribal Council for lack of stability in providing for elders’ needs, as well as communication between the community. The group of tribal elders holding regular meetings has started that a petition has been established to recall council members Clement J. Frost, Melvin J. Baker, Tyson Thompson, Amy J. Barry, James M. Olguin, and Alex S. Cloud.

Councilwoman Ramona Y. Eagle was excluded because of her replacement of Howard D. Richards Sr. in February.

Petition results will be presented in October, a month preceding the election. Each petition must be signed by 275 eligible voters in order to proceed with the recall.“The last elders meeting was out of control,” D’Wolf said. “No one from council spoke up and calmed people down … they just sat there playing on their phones. We need to see leaders who are competent. We elders need to be heard, because there are only 137 left, probably less.”

“This is political and business related, nothing personal,” elder, Renee Cloud said. “All of these higher positions come up with renewal without any evaluation. Council is careless at what they’re doing. The problem is, the majority of the community doesn’t care. Election Day comes, they cast their vote – and that’s it.”

The group of elders met with Southern Ute tribal member Kevin R. Frost to discuss the possible strategies. Frost, who showed commendation for the elders, informed them of a lack of voice within the community.

“There’s an unlimited potential, but the idea is we have to prioritize,” Frost said to the elders. “We need other [Tribal members] to help us do this. I’m honestly going to tell you that no one is going to help because it’s in nobody else’s best interest … There’s so many dictating rules that we tolerate, and a lot of that we actually invited onto ourselves. What we need now more than ever is to have more and more of our tribal members become professionals.”

Judy Lansing, tribal elder, stated, “elders get no feedback from council. We get no concerns from them – nothing. The council has lost control of the government. We are overrun by employment, investments we can’t account for. They have no desire to listen to us. Come five o’clock, they are out the door.”

The elders discussed the certain criteria’s that they would like to see changed for the community. One included the hiring of more tribal employees for qualified jobs.

“We have non-tribal members working for us, and we want a share of the pie,” D’Wolf said. “SUCAP needs to go. I think it’s outlived its usefulness. There are only two tribal members working there now. I have a degree and was said to be over-qualified and under-qualified when I applied for jobs.”

“We don’t qualify for anything from SUCAP,” Lily Frost added. “They’ve become their own business.”

On the subject for more tribal employees, Judy Lansing stated, “I’d like to see non-Indian employees be on contract for a number of years to train tribal members for that position. I’d like to see policies change across the membership to accommodate us.”

The Southern Ute Drum reached out to Tribal Council for statements, but received replies as of press time.


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