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2016 S.U. General Election

Photo Credit: Staff report | The Southern Ute Drum




Mik’ Nuchu, my Relatives: Thank you for your attention. Once again the Southern Ute Indian Tribe will be casting their vote this November 4, 2016 for two Tribal members to serve on the Southern Ute Tribal Council. I, Marjorie Borst humble ask for your vote. I am the daughter of the late Ollie Shuta and Mary Bent Box Chavez. My parents of humble beginnings inspired my faith in traditional values and they taught our family the importance of unity and fortitude.

The late Leonard C. Burch was a visionary person and along with past council members in the twentieth century took great care in establishing many of the Tribal Codes and Policies; creating five to ten year financial and comprehensive plans that would enhance and insure the sustainability of the Tribe. The Tribe approximately has 26 departments…all have mission statements that emphasis they would provide optimal services to the membership. My question to you, are we receiving optimal service from each department?

Today we are at the crossroads of change. I propose that if elected I will strongly encourage Tribal Council to thoroughly examine departments and divisions via the KPI system which captures changes in management systems by means of goals and objectives and if their programs are following the overall mission of the Tribal Government. Second, we need to update our Tribal Codes, this is to insure security and undermine all discrepancies of our government. I also would like to encourage and embrace a more open communication dialogue for the people to voice concerns. Let us make sure all department goals and objectives are not just words but action. Improving accountability is a must. We should never tire to seek ways to improve and streamline our services, all are vital to our wellbeing.

There are many issues that affect our lives; from employment to education, housing to health…Recently we have had some really, awesome meetings and I am very encouraged that we are working towards solutions. Let us keep voicing our opinions for change. Also, let us be clear, the most important is our identity. A greater emphasis should be placed on integrating Ute language. By utilizing technology and following the 30 recommendation introduced at the recent Ute Language Conference held here in Ignacio. Our culture is who we are and more importantly, by Tribal Council increasing the culture it reflects a desire by the leadership to integrate cultural values in the decision making process.

Back in 2009 to 2011, I served on our Tribal Council; it was an honor serving our people. During the beginning of my term the United States experienced a great recession, BP oil tanks exploded in the gulf, oil prices plunged and we were in the midst of a financial crises, but thanks to the late Chairman Jim Newton and the entire council at the time, we explored solutions and we recovered by following the principles set forth in our financial plans.

Recently, I was honored to help develop the Southern Ute Bison and other Wild Game Cookbook which I took great care in creating healthy and delicious recipes with nutritional information. The cookbooks are free to the membership … just pick up a copy or call the Southern Ute Natural Resource office.

Yes, we have challenges ahead and if you give me a chance I will do my best to bring change to our government. I am not running for some of you but for all of you. Your concerns are my concerns. My dedication, assisting others and my unwavering work ethic is accountable. I have served on various health boards, received an award in Business, graduate of Leadership LA Plata, a recipient of Who’s Who in Colleges and Universities across the United States as well as being appointed to the Colorado State Governor’s Council on physical Fitness establishes my credibility.

I step forward with courage and commitment. It is my sincere hope that you will consider my candidacy in the upcoming election.

Thank you, may we embrace one another with one heart, one mind, and plant the seeds of our culture for many generations.

Marge Borst

To learn more about me log on to or my email address is 


To my beloved Ute People,

I am Matthew James Box, I am a Buffalo too. I ask, in a good way, to talk about my campaign to be elected as your Tribal Council Member. My folks are Eddie & Betty Box Jr. and I have lived here my entire life. The Southern Ute lands are my home and I am blessed to be a citizen of this great nation. Our traditional ways of life have taught us to pray and sacrifice for the betterment of our people and I ask humbly for your vote to serve as your Council Member.

Since 2005, I have been versed in the Southern Ute Tribal Constitution, Tribal Codes and Tribal Ordnances. Although there are more meetings and collaborative governmental achievements our Tribe has accomplished since 2005, I’ll mention the ones I worked on and took very seriously for our people as a whole. The exercise of our 1873 Treaty rights of hunting and gathering of the Brunot Area, the historic approval of the Tribe’s Title V Program authorizing the Tribe to implement and administer it’s 40 CFR Part 70 Operating Permit Program for Title V sources on the Reservation. The Ignacio Area Corridor Access Plan (IACAP). Witness and Testimonial presentation at Congressional Legislative Hearing H.R. 3061 to the Subcommittee on Water and Power regarding the Pine River Indian Irrigation Project.

I was privileged to work with several tribal legislative code revisions and several fiscal year annual tribal budgets. Additionally, I served on several Council appointed committees and was present for the Tri-Ute by-laws approval. It’s actually incredible the work our Tribal Council does and they are only limited by the amount of time they can focus and dedicate to all the duties and responsibilities necessary to get the job done.

My work ethic will be to focus all my attentions to our Tribe and important matters the membership require here in the home land. To be ethical and honorable in my daily life reflecting the good nature of our tribe and our culture.

My platform is to stay the course of the Financial Plan and weather-out the effects of the 2008 recession and negative impact caused by the drastic drop in the global oil markets. Keep fast and on-course of the demanding effort to update Tribal Codes and Ordinances governing a Tribal Nation of our stature; and importantly, focusing the resources of the General Fund to the services the organization directly provides to the membership; and with great effort, to foster avenues in which these services could be applicable to the members off the reservation.

Personally, I would lobby for greater interaction with the people by utilizing the Tribal-web/ Tribal Member only access to report meetings, votes, and Council Member performance to the people, while providing a vehicle to gather input from the membership.

The Tribal Council as a whole deserves respect as elected officials and I would do so. Working together with consideration of all the constituents represented through each individual Council Member, therefore exercising the inherent sovereignty granted by the Constitution, to sustain the Tribe’s resources, traditions, language and culture, and improve quality of life for the membership today and tomorrow.

Additionally, with what was outlined above regarding the Tribal Council, I would promote a healthy relationship, communication, and dialogue with the Chairman and his appointed Executive Officer(s). Understanding how to navigate memberships concerns or needs through the avenues necessary to accomplish the task. It’s easy to say how things should be, but to accomplish the goal requires rolling up your sleeves and understanding the road map to accomplish real action.

I have worked on the front lines of the tribal administration, out in the field, where the work is provided and personally see where the confusion or message gets lost before it makes it to the leaders. Only when the entities of the tribe operate like a well-tuned engine will the performance make the course to providing these services.

My beloved relatives, please attend the Meet the Candidate night on October 28th, 2016 and participate in the Tribal Council Election on November 4, 2016. By exercising your vote, your able to elect the candidate you feel is most viable to represent your voice with-in the Council Chambers. I humbly offer myself to relay your voice, fulfill the mission of the Tribal Council and work with the mindset, integrity, and diligence of our ancestors. Vote Matthew James Box.

Respectfully, Matthew James Box


Mique Nuche,

Following the path of the elders, I would like to introduce myself and family.

My name is Byron Frost, and my wife is Etta Frost, I have 2 sons (Brian and Aaron) and a daughter (Deanna), my Father is the late Jack White Frost, and my mother is the late Annetta Burch Frost. I have 5 sisters and 3 brothers.

My career as a Civil Engineer had begun after I completed my education in Civil Engineering in the state of Washington. I worked for the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs for 15 years in the states of Washington and Idaho. I have worked for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe as a Lands Division Head for 10 years. I have also work for the State of Colorado and City of Durango as a Civil Engineer Technician. Today I have my own business as a promoter.

I have gained considerable knowledge and experience in these government entities and I have dealt with issues that affect Native American communities including Southern Ute tribal issues.

My platform will consist of the past and ongoing issues that affect us today.

How will the Council handle “Breach of Trust Case” settlement money? Here is how I would distribute the money. As a Council member I would vote to give the Tribal Membership 100% of the settlement monies. This will help the tribal members whose children don’t meet the Southern Ute Tribal blood quantum. I feel we need to give the responsibility back to the membership to make good choices with the money given them

Housing has always been an issue and every former council members platform was to promise to build houses, today I don’t see any changes. There was a start to repair existing houses and houses that were condemned were never demolished. Today these houses sit there with no one occupying them. My plan is to address this issue and get funding to demolish these houses, and also follow up on securing tribal land for future housing.

Water issues have also been a concern. Today we pay the tribal administration for Operation and Maintenance (O&M) for the ditches that carry the water to our tribal land assignments. The tribe pays the O&M to the Bureau Of Indian Affairs Irrigation upfront and than charges the tribal land assignment holders to pay the tribe back. If elected I would fight to eliminate paying back the tribe for O&M.charges. If the tribe can approve to donate 3,000 to 6,000 acre feet of water for Municipal and Industrial (M&I) purposes to Archuleta and La Plata water districts for future use, then it seems to me we shouldn’t have to pay our O&M charges, this should be eliminated.

Education has always been a priority. Past leaders back in the 1970’s have always said, “to compete with white America than we must educate our tribal members.” Today we have succeeded in educating our tribal members to the extend that they have obtain degrees in the field of their choice. The problem, I see is once they have finished their education they have to come home because of lack of funds. My plan would be fund the students up to 3 months until they can find suitable employment. I also would fight to eliminate the so-called apprenticeship program. This holds back the tribal member from obtaining a secure job. I have seen non-tribal members secure jobs and learned the process without going through an apprenticeship program.

Employment for tribal members is scarce. We have so many educated tribal members and single parents that apply for jobs and are constantly turned down. Why are they not able to secure jobs? Because our own tribal government discriminates against tribal families. TERO is no help because they control the EEO compliance. My plan is to review the hiring practices and in some cases, change the job description to where the Director or Division Heads are hired on contract basis. This will eliminate the shortfall of tribal membership hiring because of discrimination.

Changing the lock down procedure for the Leonard C. Burch building has to be reviewed. With the changing behaviors of people today, I understand that we need to take threats seriously. If elected I would vote to remove the lock down procedure and hire security guards for each building that house employees of the tribe.

I believe we need to reassess the Growth Fund Business Plan, before approving any new business ventures. We are still in recession and now is not the time to be purchasing new ventures. We need to hold the growth fund to the 15% profit that is part of the business plan. My plan is to put a moratorium on new business ventures until we regain financial stability; this also includes bonuses for Growth Employees.

There are more issues that I haven’t touched upon, and mind you these issues have been around for years and never been corrected by former council members.

Here is why I should be elected: I have a tremendous experience and knowledge of the Tribal, Federal, State and County Governments policies and procedures and how they effect our tribal government. Because of my Civil Engineering background I have been able to write a business plan for the Sun Ute Community Center. I have revised the Southern Land Code, I also developed a document for purchasing land for the Land Consolidation Program. I have managed millions of dollars in purchasing land and overseeing millions of dollars in construction funds as a federal employee.

During these years I also had the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. I have a strong respect for tribal elders as well as the younger generation. I have been involved with community affairs of the tribe and also value my tradition and culture that was taught to me by my parents and other elders.

Thank you for your time and I ask for your vote on November 4, 2016 and give me the chance to make a difference.

Byron Frost



Our People:

We need a Tribal Council that will put our people first and make our people a priority. I am willing to work with all tribal members to address and solve concerns. This includes our youth, our adults and our elders.

Our current administration is not utilizing our youth. They live in a “connected world” and we can use their knowledge to help shape our future. I have several ideas that incorporate our young tribal members starting from pre-school through 12th grade in to what they can do for our people regardless of which career path they wish to pursue. We need to develop tomorrow’s leaders today.

Our adult tribal members have a lot to offer our people. Ages 18-54 need to be encouraged to take part not only in our business ventures but need to be able to express their concerns and offer ideas to Tribal Council as well as our businesses/ventures without fear of reprisal. This benefits us in the long run. This untapped resource is vital to the survival of our people.

Our elders have a lot of information gained through life experiences that can help us right now.  They have seen how the government has worked for and against our people. By asking for their assistance and knowledge we can work effectively to solve our peoples’ issues. I wish to solicit any and all ideas from our people that can help us make informed and culturally relevant decisions.

Our Future:

Our future is now. We cannot afford to stand still.  Our people have plenty of knowledge and passion about the direction our government is going. If I am elected, we can work toward a common goal, differences aside, to do what is best for our people.

The foundation for Tribal Member employment has already been established. If the current administration can carve out specific instances where we want our people to work then this can also be done across the board for both the Tribal Government and Growth Fund positions that are on our reservation.  If you’ve been told that it is not possible then you must question why your elected representatives do not want to employ our people.

Our language and our traditions define who we are.  We can all work together to preserve our traditional knowledge.  We built a museum as a monument to our past, present and future. If we can spend that amount of money to ingratiate ourselves then why can’t we spend money to preserve our language and culture for our future? Several tribes have already used technology as well as traditional methods to teach their people.  We can do the same by making language and culture a priority. Will this be completed in six months, probably not, but we can lay the foundation so that future administrations can work toward fulfilling this goal in the immediate future.

Some of our people have discussed communication as an important issue. This can be easily dealt with by building kiosks around our tribal campus where members can log on and gather relevant information they choose to research. We can also use these forms of media to help our off-reservation members such as but not limited to digitizing forms across our departments so members can fill out forms electronically. We need to utilize all means necessary to make sure our people on or off the reservation have an opportunity for their voice to be heard.

We can stream general meetings online and allow for our people to discuss their issues/concerns with Tribal Council. There has to be accountability to our people and I believe we need to report to our members how Tribal Council votes, their decision-making process as well as why they need to attend conferences/meetings off the reservation.

Another issue is descendants. We cannot plan for our future as a tribe if we do not know how many descendants we have. We need to make sure we have the ability to offer services to accommodate their needs in the future. We will have to make that decision in the future so it is best to plan for it today.

I have given examples of some things we can accomplish together.  There are many more issues which we can discuss and work together to solve like rewriting our Constitution and protecting our Tribal Member employees so they can discuss what is wrong with their departments without having to worry about losing their job as well as teaching our people how to write a referendum or recall in case the current or future administrations are unwilling to do what is in our best interests. The important thing is to plan for our future together.

Our Time:

We can accomplish a lot together in one three year term. We can prioritize what is important to us and solve the issues at hand as well as prepare for our future. We can make our government and services fair for all of our people. There shouldn’t be a different set of rules when it comes to family members. This will require a lot of work by all of us and the ability to set aside personal differences.

I believe in our people and I know that when challenges arise our people will be successful. No man is an island and there is no “I” in team. We will work together and walk side by side with our people and learn from each other.  I look forward to gaining your respect as a Tribal Councilman, not through my words, but through my actions.


Kevin R. Frost


I am Estelle Monte and I am running for Tribal Council.

My father was the late Lawrence Monte, my mother is Martha Monte, I have three daughters, Trennie Collins, Augusta Burch and Jerrika Rarick, my granddaughter, Shannon Howell and grandson Mr. Lakota TwoCrow.

I know that the only way to make a difference is the willingness to work with the “people”, Tribal Leaders, Elders, Youth and the public in general.

I know that I have a lot to learn and I am open and willing to do so.

I feel that it will take more than an educated person to be a positive movement for change.

It takes understanding, compassion and caring to be an honest and fair advocate for the tribal membership. I am asking for your vote on November 4, 2016 to be given a chance to be THAT CHANGE.

Thank you, Estelle Monte



My name is Howard D. Richards Sr., I’m a candidate for Tribal Council member in the upcoming election.

My biggest fear is that this present Tribal Council is not protecting the tribe’s finances. There seems that there’s no oversight at the Growth Fund which has lost money. I feel that there needs to be an evaluation of the Growth Fund; starting with the question as to why the fund was created. Are we now meeting this objective as I have not heard of any downsizing of the funds employees as you are all aware that our revenues have been in the decline.

My second concern is our Natural Resources on the ground is in such despair, one only has to travel to our reservation to see this happening. IE; Roads, fences, stock pond. More funds have to be allocated to this endeavor. I’m a true believer that an endowment fund can and should be made for Reservation Lands in the name of Natural Resource Protection.

Third concern is the permanent fund; I believe that there’s too much fat in this year’s budget. We also need to start a reduction in force without impacting the services that our tribal members receive and that it doesn’t impact our Tribal member employment. A complete review of our Permanent fund is and should happen. There is too much duplication of service and the inability for those service providers to work together.

Finally, let’s complete our Youth Service Building that is to house our
Boys and Girls club and other programs that would move into this building. There is resistance from tribal departments on this cause; monies have already been allotted for this. The longer council wait to construct this building, the cost to build is going to rise.

I’m asking for your vote and support in this upcoming General Election on Nov. 4th, 2016, for the above reasons and the following:

Proven Leadership

Former Councilmember, Vice-Chairman and Chairman

Assisted in the Development of the Financial Plan and Health Benefits Plan

Knowledge of Tribal Laws and Tribal Code

Have worked with present Tribal Administration

Will work to meet the needs of the Tribal Membership.

Honorably Discharged Veteran

Respectfully submitted, Howard D. Richards Sr.


Good day Tribal-Members, Families and Community members,

My name is Shane Seibel and I am running for a seat on the Southern Ute Tribal Council.

I am committed to paying it forward to the Southern Ute Indian Tribal membership.

The reasons listed below are of relevance as to why I believe I will be a positive and credible asset to the leadership team of the Southern Ute Tribe.

I believe in financial transparency and financial literacy.

a. I have the earned experience and knowledge needed to understand today’s financial environment and most importantly provide valid sense to the decisions that need to be made in benefit of the Tribe.

I am a voice for opportunity and I believe and practice self-accountability as well as speaking and acting with integrity.

a. Opportunities are limitless. Tribal members wanting employment within the tribal organization will be acknowledged.

b. Self-accountability is the key to personal, tribal, and community growth.

I am qualified, educated, fair, trustworthy, and committed.

a. I have Growth Fund business management experience having accumulated 20+ years. I am currently a Business owner/operator.

b. I have earned an Associates of General Studies from the University of Phoenix and Bachelors in Business Management from Fort Lewis College.

c. I believe in treating other’s the way you want to be treated (fair, trusted and committed).

I have a plan for discussion on the topic of our Southern Ute 1st Generation Descendants.

a. I believe that the time is now to invest into our 1st generation descendants by paying it forward through health care, higher education, and TERO preference.

b. Seven Generation thinking and implementation.

I am like many; transforming.

I personally encourage and endorse healthy eating, growing your own food, the discussion and implementation of housing solutions and cultural participation.

I am committed to honoring our Creator, our Southern Ute Nation, as we are Ute proud and Ute Strong.

a. We are, ultimately, One Nation.

As a humble Tribal Council Candidate, I feel the time is now that our Tribe elects members that are experienced, educated, fair, and qualified.

I humbly ask for your vote on November 4, 2016.

Thank you, Shane Seibel


Greetings my fellow Southern Ute Tribal Members:

My name is Tara Vigil and I am seeking a position on the Tribal Council.

My mother is, Southern Ute Tribal elder, Darlene Frost and my father is Pete Vigil who is Navajo & Hispanic, I am also proud to say he is a Vietnam Veteran. I have four children and 3 grandchildren.

I strongly believe that I can be a voice for our people. I appreciate all that has been given to us and fought for by our past Leaders.

I see the Tribe going backwards and not forward with all that we have been given. All the resources we have need to be protected for our future, time stands still for nobody and we have to move with it.

If we cannot be successful within our own reservation we will fail with bad decision making when it comes to investing off the reservation, some of this we have already witnessed.

I have experience in working with employees and Directors from three entities, Southern Ute Growth Fund, Permanent Fund and the Sky Ute Casino as well as with tribal members of all ages. 

I believe in being interactive to make things happen and I believe there is always a way to make things work.

Communication is key to moving forward and if elected I will communicate to the people and if I don’t have the answers I will be one to get them. I do not believe in telling anybody that “my hands are tied” I believe in always putting the people first.

We all deserve support and answers, although that may sound easier said than done and I cannot promise you the world but I can promise that I will not be afraid to ask questions and help our Tribe start moving forward before we lose what we have.

There’s so many issues at hand, just to name a few: Better job security, not just for our people but for spouses who help support a Tribal Member home, as well as moving our people up the ladder not down.

We need to offer high risk insurance for those who have issues with their driving record, and that needs to be done for all not just the few.

We need better education ideas for our kids who are failing with the system as well as find out why the system is failing our kids.

I believe all tribal members would want their kids to start with the tribal school but there are no updates to see how far it’s come and or how much further it can go. 

We need to help our Judicial system be more successful in keeping our youth and tribal members OUT of the system.

We need to start making our language & culture fun for everybody to want to learn and be a part of and the tribe needs to quit buying and selling it because when it comes down to it, it is a CHOICE to those who want to learn it, there are ways that can happen by not giving thousands of dollars to anyone.

The Financial Plan needs to be revamped to make it work for the membership because we have come so far beyond Oil and Gas.

There’s too much red tape for our Elders and people who need the Tribes help.

The tribe needs to change policies because some of these policies make it so hard to even ask for assistance, and lastly what about those who live off the reservation, what do they have to benefit from the Tribe?

You don’t have to live on the reservation to claim your status as a Southern Ute we should benefit as a whole.

The tribe allows investment off the reservation so I would like to help assist those who don’t live here.

There is too much decision making left in control of the Executive Office, it’s too much for one person to have that much control.

The Constitution says the TRIBAL COUNCIL are the decision makers, all of this micro managing needs to stop and the only way to start changing these things around here is to start LISTENING to the people; COMMUNICATING with the organizations and to be ACTIVE with the membership.

I would love to have the opportunity to do that. Being a true leader is being honest and loyal to the membership, the employees and those who help make decisions.

In closing I would like to encourage all the tribal members who aren’t registered to vote to please register.

It’s important to start putting people into Tribal Council who will voice and fight for what we have, this is your future, your children’s future and your grand-children’s future.

I ask for your support in electing me to take a seat on the Tribal Council.

I would also like to say to the rest of the candidates, good luck and please if you are elected be a voice, asks questions and don’t hide behind the scenes, be interactive and work hard for the people as a whole.

Togoiak, Tara Vigil

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