Tribal and State leaders attend quarterly CCIA meeting

Chairman Clement J. Frost, Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, Ute Mountain Ute Councilwoman Prisllena Rabbit, and Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs Executive Director, Ernest House, Jr. pose with the members of the Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council after a successful CCIA meeting held at the Southern Ute Growth Fund.
State and Tribal leaders in attendance thank Chairman Clement J. Frost for his dedication to the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs on behalf of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. At the quarterly meeting, Chairman recalled many previous CCIA meetings and spoke of the progressive change for the commission.
Chairman Clement J. Frost and Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne are at full attention for updates from Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe.
Lindsay Box | SU Council Affairs
Lindsay Box | SU Council Affairs
Lindsay Box | SU Council Affairs

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe hosted the quarterly Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA) meeting at the Southern Ute Growth Fund on Friday, September 22, 2017. Leadership from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe were in attendance alongside members of CCIA, various State and local officials, and members of the community.

The quarterly CCIA meeting is held to bring together state and local officials to meet with the two Tribes that reside in Colorado. Although, state government does not provide oversight on the Reservation, there are many instances where local, state, and tribal government are required to collaborate.

Discussions were held on law enforcement and judicial services, insurance, human resources, education, infrastructure, and finally health and environmental services. Chairman Frost spoke on the recent cutting of the Council Tree in Delta, CO. “It is very unfortunate that the City of Delta and Delta Historical Society moved forward with the removal without consulting with the three Ute Tribes. The Governor’s office should expect a letter from the Ute Tribes soon regarding the Ute Council Tree,” stated Chairman Frost.

“Among other issues, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council is very concerned about the decline in mental health support and prevention programs. It is sad to see our Tribal Members in this mental state,” pleaded Councilwoman Prisllena Rabbit.

Tribal communities throughout the country seem to collectively see a staggering disparity between the members in the community and law enforcement officers. The CCIA voting members in attendance unanimously agreed to write a letter encouraging the U.S. Attorney’s office to fully staff the Durango office, to better serve the citizens on the two reservations as well as in the area. Member-At-Large, Lucille Echohawk added, “I recommend the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribes pass resolutions in support of this letter.” The motion and comment was also echoed by La Plata County Commissioner, Julie Westerndorff, who stated she would advocate for this addition at the county level.

Another large discussion was held on the Colorado Department of Education’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan. It was shared, the Office of Indian Education requires consultation to take place with both Tribes. The representative from the State of Colorado also shared that throughout the state there are “grey areas” where Native American students reside and are not receiving benefits they are eligible for.

The meeting concluded with various funding opportunities through Human Resources, Department of Transportation, and Public Health & Environment. These funding opportunities will be available department websites.

The second quarterly meeting will be held in Denver, CO on Dec. 8, 2017.

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