Thu Feb 2nd, 2017
The Southern Ute Drum
Categories: Top Stories
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, about 40 tribal members met at the Southern Ute Multi-Purpose Facility for a tribal membership meeting coordinated by newly elected Tribal Councilman, Kevin R. Frost. The meeting was held to give Frost and fellow councilmembers a chance to hear tribal member concerns. Council members Lorelei Cloud, Tyson Thompson and Adam Red joined Frost for the meeting.
“The meeting is not about me, it’s about the membership,” Frost said in his opening remarks.
Tribal members didn’t hold back either, as much of the meeting was spent with the microphone in the tribal members’ hands, not the councilmembers. Those in attendance brought up their personal matters as well as more generalized concerns shared amongst the many including concerns with tribal health, housing and elder needs.
Much of the time tribal members were discussing problems they have encountered with their health, the tribe’s Health Department and the clinic. Many said they felt the department and clinic were not providing adequate care or services to the membership. Some discussed their personal health struggles saying they felt the tribe was not doing enough to make sure the membership’s health needs were taken care of.
Tribal elder, Marge Borst said she thinks the Health Department needs to be revamped.
Edward Box III agreed saying that, “the clinic hasn’t changed in years” and that he chooses to go elsewhere for his health care needs.
Another topic of concern was tribal housing. Many argued that tribal housing isn’t sufficient in size, quantity or quality. Others mentioned the home loan program and the excessive time it takes to be approved and to get a home built. Some felt the program isn’t ideal since it doesn’t benefit all tribal members.
Tribal elders and their role in the tribe, was another widespread concern at the meeting. Some elders felt they were being left out and advocated for having council bring back the Elder’s Committee.
“The Elder’s Committee needs to come back,” tribal member Dedra White said. “There needs to be a spot on council for the elders to give advice.”
Tribal elders Judy Lansing and Evalyn Russell agreed. Russell discussed the history of the committee and how it was dispelled without any notice given to the elders, she said.
Lansing said it’s worth bringing up the committee again since the “elders know the past” and could help guide Tribal Council.
Wrapping up the meeting, the question was asked, “What will happen from here?” Tribal members wanted to know what council was going to do after hearing all the concerns.
Councilman Frost said that this is the first of many meetings and asked the tribal members to give council time to review all the concerns. Looking forward he sees these meetings becoming more regular and said the next one could be held within the next four to six weeks. Frost said he also invited the Executive Officers and hopes to see them join in the future.
A general consensus at the meeting was that the tribal members in attendance were thankful to Frost for hosting the meeting. Many said it was nice to have a platform to voice their concerns outside of a General Meeting setting.