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The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s 2017 General Election

Photo Credit: The Southern Ute Drum

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s 2017 General Election: Candidate Statements


Shelly L. Thompson

Mique my fellow Southern Ute Tribal Members,

I am Shelly L Thompson and I am running for the position of Chairman within our Tribe. I would like to introduce myself. I grew up here in Ignacio and Fort Duchesne, Utah and in my late teens, twenties ane early thirties I lived between Ignacio and Towaco, CO. I played sports for Ignacio Schools and in the community and I started working for the Southern Ute Tribe when I was 14. I quit to attend school in 1998 but continued to work temporarily or part-time as needed with Tribal departments while attending college. I earned, with a lot of hard work, my Associates in Criminal Justice, Bachelor’s in Political Science, Master’s in Social Work and Doctorate in Law. While obtaining my education I also completed internships at various agencies and Tribal departments that include, Mercy Medical Center, Southern Ute Head Start, Southern Ute Tribal Council, Southern Ute Legal Department and Native American Rights Fund, also known throughout Indian Country as NARF. Once I returned to the Southern Ute Reservation, I begin working for our Tribe again. I have worked in all departments of the Southern Ute Tribe with the exception of Housing, Construction and Project Management and Culture. I also own two business, one is an oil/gas well service and the other is grant writing for other tribes.

There are several reasons I am running to become Chairman of the Southern Ute Tribe and the most important is that I want to help my fellow membership in having our Tribe supporting us and putting us first. I sometimes wonder if our Tribe has forgotten us and that is where my thought of let’s GET BACK TO BASICS, TRIBAL MEMBERS FRIST was born.

My goal when I started school was to ensure that I used my education to help the Tribe in all ways possible, but especially to help Tribal members in their life. Along with having a book education, I also have an education that you can only get by going through hardships and heartaches in life, that along with living on the three Ute reservations, I saw and went through many hardships which helped expand my empathy, compassion and hard work to get through the toughest times in life. This last type of education is what is most valuable because if you have not been through a hard time in different areas of your life, you have cannot empathize with those who have had their lives turned upside down in a second. You also learn that you do not want others to go through what you have, so I will speak up for Tribal members, I will fight to ensure that policies are followed, I will insure that Tribal member concerns are listened to and a response is given in a reasonable time. I have a heart that is strong for our people, Southern Utes, and with my strong heart comes the ability to stand up against anyone who is harming our people in any manner, whether it be by policy, actions and lack of action.

I will touch upon some issues that I see, as a Tribal member, that we need to deal with as the Southern Ute Tribe to ensure a better future for us and our children.

Accountability – when our leaders and employees are not accountable to our Tribal members, we become weak as a Tribe. When we are weak as a Tribe we are unable to properly care for our membership. Accountability ensures that Tribal members are receiving the best support, encouragement, care, and protection because we as a Tribe have the responsibility to provide these rights for the membership. Lack of accountability has many negative consequences such as wasteful spending, inequality, division of membership, and the most important liability.

Equality – we are all Tribal members, therefore we should all be able to receive the same benefits regardless of where we live. We also have to ensure that the services received are for all and not some. Creating a division amongst the members only adds to the limitations we put on each other. Lateral violence is a way to keep us fighting against each other instead of looking at the real issues facing our Tribe today.

Culture and language – in order for us to identify as Ute, we have to act and speak Ute. If we do not do this, we will lose our identity as Ute People and risk the loss of our status as the Southern Ute Tribe. This is probably the most important issue facing us as a Tribe today and will continue to be an issue until we can create a lasting program that preserves our language and our cultural traditions not just our cultural activities.

Elder care – besides our children our most important resource is our elders and how we treat them indicates the type of people we are. Right now, we throw them a bone, meaning money. We do not check on them regularly, we do not check their home to ensure it is safe, especially those that live alone, we do not show them we value them, we do not ask for their expertise, which is life as a Ute. There was a time that our elders were held with high regard within the Tribe, but that has changed. We need to create programs or update programs that enable our staff to visit and provide care for our elders. When we began to get money back in 1999, a letter was sent to the membership and in that letter, it stated that elder money would never be touched and it would continue to grow. Well that is not the case today, it has been decreased which I see as disrespecting our elders because we, the Tribe, made a statement and we are not following what previous leaders put in place. I believe we need to take a look at what their income should be and make it right.

Veterans – the Tribe offers many services to its members, but it seems that one group tends to get less, which are the veterans. I have heard from several Tribal members that they have submitted their information for acknowledgement from the Tribe with a constant, well we cannot find your information, can you send it again. This type of behavior gives negative light to the Tribe and should have consequences. Also, veterans are eligible for services outside the Tribe and someone should be available to assist Tribal members with these services, not sent to Durango or have limited office time.

Health care – we spend an enormous about of money on health and there are two things that we as the Southern Ute Tribe need to look at to determine if changes are needed to provide good quality care as well as keeping the costs down. The first, is to analyze data to see what doctors our Tribal members are receiving care and if possible contract those doctors to come to the Southern Ute Health Clinic to see their patients. This would allow for us to control the cost through the contract but enable our Tribal members see the doctors they need. Second, determine the level of descendants to be served at the Southern Ute Health Clinic, meaning do we continue to serve the 4th, 5th and 6th generation of Tribal members and see what the cost is associated with providing health care to those individuals.

Employment – we need to provide support, encouragement and opportunities for employment to our membership. This also means becoming creative in ensuring our membership is working. This could be part-time and shared/flex times because occasionally the reason Tribal members are not working is because they are unable to commit eight hours a day and 40 hours a week to work. The reasons could be based on care of family members, illness, disability, etc. We should not discriminate against any Tribal member who wants to work. We also need to ensure that Tribal members are giving the support to succeed, not to fail, along with giving opportunities to Tribal members to see their fit and passion.

Tribal members living off reservation – those who run for office always talk about those who live off the reservation, but there is not any follow through. I have personally lived off the reservation and know the frustration of not being able to receive the services as those who live on the reservation or have the phone answered and not receiving any feedback. One in particular is housing. We need to do better by updating policies to include those who live off the reservation, including allotments in the Tribal Housing Loan Program. There should not be a division, which only helping those on tribal assignments create, nor should Tribal members receive more than the others.

Review and update policies – there are so many old policies and policies that affect Tribal members negatively by which we live and run our government. It is time to update the policies to ensure Tribal members are receiving the best care, services, and safety. Things have changed over time and we have to make sure that our interests are first and foremost. There needs to be review to see if changes are needed to promote the health and safety of the membership.

Membership – I have an idea, which remember it would have to pass Tribal Council in order to happen, so it is only an idea. That is to have a registry of the descendants. This registry would include information that contains, the usual demographics such as name, date of birth, address, etc., but it would also include who the other parent is, the names of other Tribes they belong whether they are enrolled or not, and what other nationalities they are. We already give part of this information for descendants to be seen at the clinic, we would just add more information and readily have it available if needed.

Tribal member responsibility – I believe we all have a responsibility to our Tribe, it is not only our leaders’ but also ours. I want a place where Tribal members will have a place to voice their concerns, because only you have your voice and know your story best. The concerns you have could be one that affects the Tribe as a whole or individually, it could concern waste seen by the Tribal member, or it could be a compliment for an employee who has given exceptional service to the membership. I also want this place to share ideas with my administration so we can discuss, in a positive manner, whether it is viable. These ideas could be to provide better communication between a department(s) and the membership, an idea for job opportunities, ideas for presentations to our membership or youth, ideas about how to preserve our language and culture, and the list can go on and on. We are the voices of the Southern Ute Tribe, we are the ones who feel the effects of the all the policies, all the employees, the services we receive, and the services we could receive.

Solution based decision – I want all solutions to be the basis of discussions being held with my administration. Without solutions, we will continue to have the same issues over and over, and we have lived for too long with the same issues. It is time for action to resolve these reoccurring concerns.

My intention is to be the Chairman who you feel comfortable to approach as well as my administration with any issue, good or bad, and have the confidence that it will be handled with care, accountability with all those involved and a response in a timely manner on the outcome of the concern with a solution. Tribal members are most important and should be first to receive a benefit which includes a service from the Tribe, not be thought of after everything is gone. My promise to every Tribal member is to GET BACK TO BASICS, TRIBAL MEMBERS FRIST.

Thank you for your time and your vote to put you first.

Vote Shelly L Thompson, Southern Ute Tribal Chairman


Shane Seibel

Hello relatives, family and friends

I am Pino Nuchu and my name is Shane Seibel I greet you in a good way. Creator has blessed us with another beautiful day to be alive.

I humbly ask for your support on the position of Tribal Chairman in the upcoming general election on November 3rd 2017. I am ready to serve the membership and be an advocate for transformation of our tribal organizations. I have a plan and platform:

  1. Hiring freeze on all non-emergency jobs within the Permanent Fund and implement a Cost benefit analysis for each department by the Executive team.
  2. Introduce new opportunities for the Growth Fund to increase revenue and job opportunities for Tribal members and community members.
  3. Provide professional leadership and accountability.
  4. Move the Elder’s dividend to the Restricted Fund along with tribal employee 401k’s.

I stand for the youth and those that have been abused and taken advantage of through sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse.

I am voice of action for the tribal members that live off the reservation to be included in the benefits that are made available to tribal members living on the reservation.

I stand up for the native women of our tribe. I have coached High School Basketball for 20 plus years and the last 5 years I have mentored and coached the young ladies of our community, empowering them with a safe environment to be their best.

As a native Ute man it all starts with the woman. I was born from my mother Lillian Seibel and I was blessed to be raised by strong and courageous grandmothers Ruby Garcia Taylor and Euterpe Taylor. I also married my best friend Melanie Box Seibel…she shared with me the importance of responsibility, spirit, and the true meaning unselfish love. These blessings has transformed me into a Ute Native man that encompasses compassion and true strength…that honors the Mother Earth and Creator.

Today presents many challenges and I am ready to offer my experience and professionalism. I have built and managed many projects on and off the reservation including:

  • Main sewer infrastructure for the Tribal campus and Ignacio
  • One of the first Southern Ute Lease operators for Red Willow production company
  • Installed 30 cisterns for the upgrade of clean water for tribal families.
  • Managed the construction of the Growth Fund building, Museum and Three Springs.

As a leader character counts I am a college graduate from the University of Phoenix with an Associate’s Degree and Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management from Fort Lewis College. Over 20 years of expertise in general contracting, oil and gas, land development, and real estate management. 8 years in executive management positions, including senior vice-president of operations for the Growth Fund Real Estate Group. 5 years owner and vice-president of ONE Enterprises LLC, a small minority owned business (8a) specializing in earth restoration.

I believe that we all want Quality of Life, to be healthy and happy.

I am ready to go to work and represent the Southern Ute Tribal membership with professionalism, courage, compassion, and strength.

The time is now to vote for strong leadership to face the challenges of the 21st century.


Thank you.


Ula R. Gregory

Hello to all Tribal Members,

My name is Ula R. Gregory I am a candidate for Southern Ute Indian Tribal Chairwoman. I am the youngest daughter of the late Naomi Rabbit Lopez (Ute Mountain Ute) and the late Virgil Eaton Red (Southern Ute) I identify myself as a Full-Blooded Half Breed. I have four children Sheila Nanaeto, Tim Ryder, Jake Ryder and Erica Howe (a gift from my sister before she returned to the Earth Mother) They have blessed me with Fifteen grandchildren whom I love, and I enjoy being a part of their lives. I kept my last name Gregory to honor my late husband Michael (Mic) Gregory. He helped me raise my children to be who they are today, and by sharing his knowledge of life with all of us. He was a good man. I am a graduate of Ignacio High School, an alumnus of Pueblo Community College and Southwest Indian polytechnic Institute with an Associates of Art degree.

I entered this leadership race in hopes of opening your eyes to the facts that you can achieve anything you put your mind to doing. When we as Ute people unite anything is possible, if we agree to get together and talk about the things that bother us. I will say this to each one of you. “We are in desperate need for a chairman or woman who will put the Ute people first, who will speak with kindness and understanding. A Ute leader who will have no fear of intimidation from those who believe intelligence or wealth makes them powerful. To be a qualified leader you must put all your personal views and assumptions of a Tribal Member aside and look at the facts, listen to them, see the appearance and the frustration to describe their dismal situation and even if they yell or cry you as a leader must allow them to so. Treat a tribal member with dignity, ask them to take the time to compose themselves. Your kindness and words are the true strength a leader should possess. Then make your Decision on what you witnessed and then respond to their situation. Make time to research and help that individual or the Ute people. Stop taking the word of your advisors who chase the money and quick to respond to the people as an asset in the business world and request you make your decision, “For the good of the people” remember the ancestors who fought and gave their lives to protect our gifts from Creator the water, air, land, natural resources and the Ute people. You the Tribal membership will elect me or another person to right to give direction to the Council to protect you and your family’s safety, health and well-being. I will put the very old and the very young first, for they are true spirits that’s why they need help to live on or to return to the Great Spirit. As Chairwoman I will commit my life for three years to open the eyes of the current Tribal Council and to keep you the membership informed on decisions that will affect you.

Technically speaking the Self Determination act states we can determine our futures and allows us to sell our allotted lands. Provide shelter, Food and clothing health, and the means to support the families through education or employment. On paper it reads well all the assistance we receive is adequate for us to live, work, and to support our loved ones. we can sell our land, water, and resources.” It gives us no guarantee of a future, “once you sell your birthrights you can never replenish them”.

Many of you have spoken to me of the health care provided by HIS or Health services. Its appalling to find out a wealthy nation can’t or won’t find a way to help pay for extra health supplies required to live. Accidents happen, and physical therapy is good for recovery but there is no guarantee you will receive it until you are completely healed. Addiction to prescription drugs alcohol and heroine is at an all-time high on the rez. When you’re an elder, physically or mentally challenged, or healing from addictions, there should be NO guidelines to interfere with your medical treatment expenses because they don’t apply to the Health Care policies and procedures. choice to say no to western medicine and using traditional ways such as Sundance, sweat lodge, the Native American Church, or homeopathic medicines and supplements. I would like to get CBD’s legalized on our reservation mainly for the children, they don’t need to be drugged to help them live. CBD’s are made from various strains of the Hemp plant, they do not contain THC which alters your state of mind. Different Cannabinoids are made into medicine for cancer, diabetes epilepsy, attention deficient. We live our lives divided and under the policies and procedures of the corporate world. Many of you whom I have had contact states the issues concerning the Health care for the elders’ is negligent and poor because home care is provided through contract caregivers who assume they know what an Ute Elder is. Do any of you go and visit with an elderly person in their homes and take some food, tobacco and see how they approach obstacles in their daily lives? Listen to their childhood days of growing up, the good or bad things they did and to keep their personal, tragedies to yourself and learn from them.

Education is a main concern of mine because without a Diploma or a GED you are destined to work in the service department of any business unless you further your education. Today I question the Montessori academy, where are all the First Nations teachers and teachers’ aides we were promised years ago our Human resources can’t or won’t find them and hire them? I am not satisfied with the Ignacio School System as I have accompanied parents who were not satisfied with the actions taken regarding their child and bullying. The principal responded by embracing a restraining order and stating, “I love these things”. students get the resources needed because they have attentive parents who stress a good education or good role models in their lives. What about our Ute children who must live with the stereotype enigma placed on their parent’s decades ago. When will our students get counseling and guidance in the school system from native people who know the trauma these children are going through. They become the children who cause trouble, or becoming introverted, turn to drugs and alcohol or speak of suicide.

I have witnessed the unity in tribal employees who quit their jobs due to Human rights violations. all tribal employees must face the Administrative grievance committee with all your evidence to prove your innocence. That committee was put into action by the council in 2014, because our council says they “wish to not deal with its tribal membership.” The committee leader is on a six-year contract for how much money? I believe we are paying for another lawyer. What do you think.

The good neighbor policy must go. In my time community meant the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Members. Today community means anyone who wants our money and our inherited ancestral birthrights our people have protected for hundreds of years. We the Ute people must come together and agree on the value we place on our own lives and put the money second. human rights from our leaders. We are kept divided by technical terms used by those who want all we have. It’s time to say no and ask our leaders for the things we need to make our people comfortable regarding our standard of living and quality of life besides the money. Such as Child Care, Social Services, Housing, Corporate rules are not written to provide the necessities a wealthy Ute Nation deserves. Example: snow removal will be initiated after 6 inches of snow. I have foot deep snowdrifts I bonsai through every winter.

Technically I have seen and lived a similar life before in the 1970’s no Long hair for the boys or they couldn’t play sports, no Native American youth organization, no eagle feathers worn at graduation, until a few of us spoke up for equal rights to express ourselves and be proud to be Southern Ute people.

remember this win or not, I will be the same person you have grown to know, and I will still try to see a smile on all your faces.


Have a Good Life!


Howard D. Richards Sr.


My name is Howard D. Richards Sr., I am a candidate for the position of Tribal Chairman in the upcoming general election. I am asking for your support and vote November 3rd, 2017. I will continue to address wasteful spending in this year’s budget across the board, I.E: Permanent Fund and Growth Fund. There needs to be accountability in all the tribe’s finances [Transparency]. As your Chairman it’s my function to hold all staff accountable.

There have been concerns from the membership access to the 2 funds and casino, with a strong Chairman these issues can be addressed which includes our Tribal Member Health. Our criminal justice system needs to be addressed, I.E: Tribal Court, the Southern Ute Police Department and Tribal Rangers. Reservation maintenance,

  • Repairs of reservation roads.
  • Range needs to be identified:

Fences replacement & repair, Stock pongs and springs need protection, replacement and repair.

  • Erosion of our Tribal Lands
  • Creation of an endowment fund can and should be created for the East Side Reservation.

Growth fund need to illustrate a plan for reclamation of the westside where natural gas has been done.

The above needs and will be done, our Creator has given us all this wealth for our membership that has come from Mother Earth. It appears that we’ve forget to take care of Mother Earth.

  • Completion of our Youth Services building that is to house our Boys and Girls Club and other programs that deal with our youth. There has been resistance for Tribal Department on this cause; monies have already been allocated for this.
  • Consider possibilities of contracting function of the Southern Ute Agency. Dialogue needs to start happening with the Southern Ute Agency’s.

I am asking for your vote ad support for the Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in this upcoming General Election on November 3rd, 2017; for the above reasons and the following:


  • Proven Leadership
  • Former Councilmember
  • Former Vice-Chairman
  • Former Chairman
  • Assisted in the development of the Financial Plan and Health Benefits Plan
  • Knowledgeable of Tribal Laws and Tribal Codes
  • Worked with present Tribal Administration
  • Will always work to meet the needs of the Tribal Membership
  • Honorably Discharged Combat Veteran


Respectfully Submitted,

Howard D. Richards Sr.


Christine Baker Sage

My fellow Tribal members,

On November 3, 2017, we are all going to vote for Chairman and two Tribal Council seats.   Your vote is important that’s why I would appreciate your vote for Tribal Chairman.   Like I stated before I am a serious Tribal member, a strong Ute woman, and caring for all my membership.  I feel that I am highly qualified for this very important position and so ready to start the challenge as Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe if I am elected.   I am not in this election for money issues for myself I’m here for my Tribal membership.

There are many issues that need attention, but the main concern is to get the respect and assistance back to the Tribal members that has been lost.  I want to take this time to say a big “Thank you” to the members that attended my Meet & Greet dinner, the issues that you, the Tribal members are dealing with and felt comfortable informing me of these issues. I enjoy hearing your concerns and plan on taking time to assist you with these issues.  The Tribal members that assisted with the food, and my family for all the support with setting up, taking down the items, THANK YOU!

Here is my platform, “To give the Tribal administration back to the Tribal members” with this I mean show the members respect, concern, and the assistance that they are asking for.  Go by the proper processes, mainly our Tribal Constitution this is the law of the Tribe.  I strongly read, and ask questions with what I am presented.  If I see some issues that are not going to benefit the Tribe or the future of my Tribe I will question these issues to the fullest. All these issues pertain to the elders, the middle aged, and the younger generations of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.  All Tribal members should and will be treated equal nobody’s better than anybody, we are all equal.

So really I ask of you the membership choose your leaders wisely don’t make mistakes by voting for those who are not capable of accepting these great challenges as your Tribal Chairman and Council members.  VOTE CHRISTINE BAKER SAGE FOR TRIBAL CHAIRMAN!

Thank you,
Christine Baker Sage


Amy J. Barry


Nunei nia Amy J. Barry, Nunei nuu-nia Puuchii-vi. I am seeking re-election to Tribal Council on November 3, 2017. Nugat capote uray piwa-n pay-ni piischi-u wa. Nunei pia-n (p) Marge Barry. Nunei mua-n Ben Barry. Nunei caqxa-ci Preston Barry. Nunei toghochi-n Preciliano Barry. Nunei kaguchi-n Jeanette Joy Barry. Nunei kunuuchi-n William S. Thompson. Nunei whchiichi-n Grace Rock.

I have worked for the Southern Ute Tribal Government for 20+ years, the latest role as your Tribal Council member successfully building relationships with families, individuals and employees within the tribal community during my tenure as a tribal leader, a former Co-Executive Officer with the late Chairman Newton’s Executive Team and longstanding Tribal Government employee. The relationships built during my tenure on Tribal Council along with my colleagues, have continued to strengthen our communication and advocacy with government officials on the local, state and national level for the betterment of the people.

My platform today is the same and remains simple – to be the voice of the Nuuciu, no promises. As a Tribal Council member, you are one vote and you must work with your colleagues to create results. Communication between the Tribal Council, Tribal Chairman, Tribal administration and the people must be strengthened to serve the membership effectively.

A unified Tribal Council ensures membership is receiving a quality education, quality mentorships, quality healthcare, quality services and competitive wages for jobs that are reasonably attainable according to Article VII., Section 1 in the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Constitution. Tribal Council needs review policies with the entities and work with the Chairman and his administration to MANDATE change to core services based on the need of the people, not just the need of the Tribal Government while streamlining the budget. Measurable objectives and initiatives must be documented and shared with membership.

My continued efforts will be to continue to advocate for a youth facility that will address the educational needs, physical activity and healthy lifestyles of our young people via SUIT BGC, walking paths, skate parks and/or motocross venues to promote positive tribal community interaction listening to the youth voice rather than dictating their needs. Revive culture by contributing and leading the charge as leaders. We must all take ownership of our identity and foster cultural education amongst our own families, in the home and utilize our tribal culture department. Tribal Health is a vital component to sustaining our existence and identity. If our healthcare is not a priority, we will not exist. Specialized care has been identified for chronic care, physical therapy, massage, pediatrics and acupuncture within our Southern Ute Health Center. The Tribal Health Benefit Plan has also been enhanced based on the demand of specialized services. A comprehensive study of our health resources must be done to ensure we are providing quality care at marginal costs.

#4 Financial Plan – Implement education of the Financial Plan, the history, and what the intent was. Although financial prosperities have blessed this Tribe, the evolution of the financial plan continues. Tribal Council must be accountable leaders of the Permanent Fund, Growth Fund and Casino and become engrained in the practices of all three tribal entities by enforcing quality management at the top level.

It is time for the younger generation to now take the next step, become involved with your destiny. Vote for your voice, who is that leader that carries that through? Let me help, let us become involved, let us continue to mentor, and let us have a chance at demonstrating the younger generation is capable of compassion, humbleness, mindful decision-making and the ability to represent the people into the next generation. We need to become one people, to mentor one another, to let the past and negativity go. Lead by example for the Southern Ute leaders of tomorrow. November 3, 2017, vote for unification, vote to make a difference, vote for a voice, and vote to re-elect Amy J. Barry.

Tavuchi Togoiak!


Yvonne Tree-Davis

Tribal Members,

I stand for the following:

  • Employment and the changes in policy that will remedy the termination of Southern Utes and other natives within the permanent fund.


  • Housing repair and construction services are important divisions within the permanent fund. I feel that these divisions need an increase in budget for materials as well as, additional employees to meet the demands of all members. Policy needs to be changed to fit the needs of the people without the present constraints and divisions among the people. I would like to see consistent contracts for home building and infrastructure accomplished by native owned businesses.


  • I would like to see a hiring freeze and analysis of necessary employees for each department thus keeping in mind an over bloated government that needs to be brought back to essential positions and employees within reason for a tribe of 1509 members. Allocation of funding to departments that clearly service the membership vs. no or minimal service provisions. Construction services and housing would then gain funding while taking unnecessary spending from over bloated divisions.


  • I would like to see the membership have more say in policy that effects the members by utilizing a democratic forum through their vote. The process of changing policy for each department to fit membership need should be the right of the people to have a say in what affects them.


  • Healthcare is essential to the membership, I feel that we need to aid our membership in healing whether it means family support in house, while traveling, aiding a family member in getting to and from a doctor’s visit to provide support. This is necessary while someone is undergoing severe health issues in order to get better.


  • I believe Council and its members need to be responsible and accountable for their time and what their mission is. A three-year commitment to the membership to create change for the betterment of the tribe is good but what is the final outcome? What is achieved during that time? We cannot continue to place our faith in leadership that continues to take from the tribe with no progressive change in lifestyle or advancement of the people. I’ve heard council members say that they are determined to create change for the many vs. the few. We all belong to the tribe, all of us are members, if you will work and advocate for the many you will also affect the few. We need to unite at this point and to work for the progression of the tribe as a whole and to stop separating us one from another. Because as long as we are willing to see each other as an enemy. We are willing that our counterparts continue to run us, take from us and exploit us.


Respectfully, Yvonne Tree-Davis


Matthew J. Box

Good Day Pino Nuche Citizens 🙂, I humbly request a moment of your day to explain why I am a Candidate for The Southern Ute Tribal Council and share my platform for doing so. Thank you in advance for your time.


Perspective: Grandpa onced asked me, when I was young, a question like he always did before giving me something profound to think about. He said, “Grandson, would you say that having those braids is what makes you Ute”? Of course I said “yes”, as I pulled on them and said “these braids let the world know who I am”. He wasn’t smiling, as I was, when he said “No grandson, being Ute is not how you look to other people, but rather, how you look to the Creator”. In other words, it’s how you live your life. He went on to further explain “The Ute way of life is how you wake to greet our friend, the morning, grateful for the blessing of being able to breath the air, walk amongst creation and live as Utes live”. Lastly, He said “The Ute way of life spans the generations and all of time, no matter how technology or the world changes. The Ute way of life is not only to help us in our own individual journey, but also the leaders and Southern Ute Nation as well.”

Application of Culture: Grandpa later asked me, “Do you think that just because the times have changed we are not able to give back and honor our people like the warriors of long ago, who hunted buffalo, risked life and then only took the bone marrow as the rest of the people survived with the warmth of the hide and nourishment from our relative the buffalo”? I said, “I don’t see how we can be like those days of the past and those days are gone”. This time he smiled, chuckled and said “Feel blessed grandson for you are a Ute and Utes survive as a people”. He said, “Similarly to the warriors of the past, we Utes figured out quickly that the battles of today will be done with a pen and not a bow, pike, shield and arrow, but that doesn’t mean they are useless tools.” He told me, “If we understand the purpose of those tools, we can still provide for our people”.

“Grandson, you can be a warrior and give to our beloved people.” He said, “Use this example: the warriors of long ago knew the buffalo was necessary to provide a good healthy quality of life for the people and much more.” He continued with: “What would that be for the people today?” He said, “Answer that question and then go hunt it for them and bring it back to the people, but remember, you do this for them and not yourself, so you may have only a certificate of graduation, which I would say is similar to the healthy bone marrow each warrior was able to nourish themselves with, for the next hunt”.

Today, I can close my eyes and still hear my grandpa tell me so many of these things. I also can hear his voice telling me helpful things he never mentioned. I’ve done my best to live a Ute way of life. Of course, I’m not Mahatma Gandhi or claim to be some spiritual leader or prophet. In times I have had to pick myself up to get back on the red road. But I tell you these things not to preach that you should do these things or live this way. I love all people for the part of creation that is in each and every thing and it is not for me to tell anyone how to do anything. I do this, so you may know what makes me tick, who I am, my guiding principles and what I would be like as your Councilman.

Every decision a Tribal Council makes is easily started with, how does this affect or effect all the Tribal Members in a way that is due all other Tribal Members? Is it good? Is it bad? What should it look like to benefit the many and not the few?

There are many issues worth dealing with, but here’s an example of how we could apply our cultural teachings to any issue. The true enemies of our world are anger, hate, greed, lust, and even drug abuse. Today it is meth. The Tribal leaders have the power to impact this greater than most communities, who suffer the terrible losses and issues that come from this enemy. Yet, some whom are entangled or addicted to meth are our people who we love and care for. This a very tough discussion. Regardless, being Ute is not lying on one’s back like a turtle in the hot sun helplessly. It makes sense that the outer circle of meth is a “no brainer”. The Tribal Council could ban, from the reservation, non-members whose presence may be found to be injurious to members of the tribe. (Article VII (g)) and set up a public web record of those individuals for the people to see.

Granted, I have questions I’m debating in my mind’s-mind about how will we lovingly save all those who are members and ask myself, “what would grandma and grandpa say or do?” But also, “what would the Ute way of life’s teachings advise us in dealing with those other questions?” This is just one example we would not want to turn a blind eye to.

Tribal Member Employment: I envision another segment of the Growth Fund, separate at arms length from the Growth Funds requirements of rate of return, but with the same due diligence. Created with provision to not harm the big work engine “the Growth Fund”. Please know this, the Growth Fund engine and what it is expected to provide for us does not work with cheap no-lead or shawdy preventative maintenance. Unfortunately it is not currently setup to provide discounts, services, or anything that mitigates the rate of return resolution nor liabilities needed to protect the Tribal Government, but I believe this segment or entity of the Growth Fund could be competently established to enhance the quality of community life, employment and preferably water and gas services the membership requires.

This segment, mentioned above, is similar to the business models of the Growth Fund, but it’s only focus is in business that are beneficial towards the reservation, which may seem risky for such a smaller rate of return, but hear me out. Something like 10-12 percent for overhead may work. But let’s consider, some of those endeavors could provide more than 10-12 percent like, like a community hospital or FDIC banking establishment. Why do I see this growth for the community? There are two reasons:

The first is this creates more employment than the three entities that exist today, thus creating a diverse working field with diverse human resource policies (think about that). Additionally, focusing at the community will create a healthy quality of life and I can see that a healthy community is a strong community.

The second reason is paramount, because we cannot control the environment we have faced in the chipping away of our sovereignty, nor the elimination or self-sufficiency pendulum of each president we see. Instead, we should focus at being self-sufficient though our sovereignty. Being a country for our tribal citizens. Being self-sufficient in our agricultural produce and our members energy needs. (I have great ideas on this subject, which starts at every homesites energy needs and minimal reliance on the grid.) Being self-sufficient in our health care with preputial sustainability and levels of service you only see at the Mayo Clinics or Children’s hospitals around the world. This would also include our Justice system with updated Civil codes and enforcement powers of a sovereign nation (this is complex, but if you act and have core competent/ethical laws, like a democratic free world power, then it’s hard to argue that you are not). Encompassing the above strengthens the sovereignty of our nation for the future generations while enhancing the health, wellbeing and quality of life for our people now, today.

This builds to my platform. Everybody has great ideas and thoughts in determining what is the best for us all, but to navigate and apply that into a fruition is not so easy. We are humans and can argue or be personal. I tend to think this is what we signed up for, and disagreements will happen. It is best to find the end of the debate and get on to the resolution. If I could say my platform in a simple statement, I would say: Working together is the means necessary for the sustainability of the financial plan. Additionally, the nation building must go on with the ability to provide sufficiently the quality of life the people benefit from to date (both in revenues and services), but in a manner that remembers who we are and how none of that will matter if it does not incorporate our cultural teachings of history, and wisdom blessed to us by the creator through grandma and grandpa. Blessed to us through our Ute way of life.

Why do I believe in my platform and ability to do good work for my people? Because I ask the questions while in meditation. Because I actually have a desire within to wordsmith, to insure the words in policies and ordinances are not abused nor inadequate. Because I care for us as a people and our survival as a nation. Because I value the meaning of what I say and saying what I mean. While out of office, I have picked myself up and went into the workforce of the Administration to experience the disconnect of Council and the Administration in the field, so to speak. I have continued to be for the people and someday, when my braids are all white, I will go out to pasture, but that is not today. I humbly request your vote for election to the Tribal Council. I have the energy and love to stand fast for my people. I promise to keep the focus with my platform, our lands, and tribal citizens on and off the reservation. In the words my grandma taught us: “Let us be aware, be good to one another.”

In closing, I wanted to demonstrate off the top of my head, how I would say all of the above in a resolution of the Tribal Council, it is as follows below. Please note it has not been through a legal review and is only drafted as an example of my abilities to speak “Tribal Council”.







October 22, 2017


WHEREAS, authority is vested in the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council by the Constitution adopted by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and approved November 4, 1936, and amended October 1, 1975, and August 27, 1991, to act for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; and


WHEREAS, Article VII, Section 1(e) of said constitution states specifically that the Tribal Council may enact ordinances and codes to protect the peace, safety, property, health and general welfare of the members of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; and


WHEREAS, the members of said Council recognize the culture and history embodies “the Ute way of life”(Ute way of life), which is respectful of all living things, the water, resources of the land, the ceremonies and the well being equally due all members of said Tribe; and


WHEREAS, the Council believes it is paramount and indicative that said Ute way of life be applicable in the decision making process discussed in worksessions and archived Council meetings; and


WHEREAS, intentional or unintentional discard of said Ute way of life applicability is unacceptable in the final draft of any resolution, policy, or code brought before the Tribal Council for their consideration of approval or enactment; and


WHEREAS, the Tribal Council acknowledges the core values and known ways of our peoples and the Ute way of life applicability is not meant to hinder, delay, or excuse the need for affirmative required action.


NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Tribal Council of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe hereby approves the utilisation of our Ute way of life in discussions, meetings, policies and enactments, to insure the spirit of the Tribal Constitution and the heart of our people remains into perpetuity for the future generations and herby embraces the Cultural teaching that the Ute Way of life is applicable to the past, present and future generations, regardless of the changing times.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council is hereby authorized to sign the necessary documents to carry out the purpose of this resolution.


This resolution was duly adopted on the XX, day of XX, 2017



Mr. Chairman

Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council



 This is to certify that there were (XX) of the regularly elected Southern Ute Indian Council Members present at the above meeting at which (XX) voted for, (XX) against, and (XX) abstained, it being a quorum and the above resolution was passed. The Chairman not being permitted to vote in this instance due to a Constitutional provision.



Ms. Recording Secretary

Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council


Cheryl A. Frost

Hello All,

My name is Cheryl Ardena Frost and I am a tribal council candidate in the 2017 Southern Ute Tribe General Election. Thank you Southern Ute Drum for this opportunity to say who I am, to explain why I am running for Council, and why I think you should vote for me on November 3rd.

First, for those who do not know me, my parents are Stanley Reed Frost and Shirley Ardena Red Frost. My paternal grandparents are Andrew Frost and Bertha Norris Frost and my maternal grandparents are Bird Colorow Red and Nana Eaton Red. My paternal great-grandparents are White Frost and Theodosia Frost (Andrew) and Anna Norris (Bertha); and, my maternal great-grandparents are Joseph Colorow and Caroline Colorow (Bird) and Peter Eaton and Mary Riley (Nana). In my DRUM write-up two weeks ago, I said my great-grandfather is Nicholas Eaton – he is my mom’s uncle. I attribute this mistake to my mom but she will say it was my fault for not listening to her.

My sister is Vivian and my brother is Vernon. I have two brothers who passed on, Byron James Red, Sr., and Michael Andrew Frost and one nephew, Manual Myore, Jr. My nephews are James Red, Byron Red, Jr., Devin Frost, and Cameron Frost; and, my nieces are JoGenia Red, Kelsey Frost, and Marysa Frost. I have five great-nephews and three great-nieces. My sisters-in law are Alice Red, Joyce Frost, and Wahleah Frost. Two of my nephews are married and their wives are Charlotte and Klarissa.

The second most important detail you need to know about me is, I am a single, never-married Native American woman with no children. Yes, I am a cultural phenomenon but rest assured, my very non status is absolutely intentional. It was my choice and the choices I made, I set for myself at a young age.

Third, I have no campaign platform. I have no promises to make and I make no deals with or for anyone. I will not set a definite timeline to accomplish goals and I have no desire to compromise my personal value.

Ultimately, I am running for Tribal Council because I am tired of sitting on the sidelines, looking in from the outside, and wondering how tribal decisions will benefit not only me and my family but all tribal members. Quite honestly, 89% of the time, I do not feel represented. And, I get it.

I understand that per the Tribal Constitution, the Tribal Council is the governing body on the reservation, authorized to make decisions that affect us all. I know the Chairman is the official speaker for and the governing leader of the Tribe. Still, I want my voice to be heard. I want to be asked my opinion and I think it important that once tribal members are elected to political office, they remember to ask us for feedback. Not just when policies are being changed or when each council member has their own constituent dinner.

Next, please Tribal Council, do not have meetings that keeps tribal members at a safe distance, where questions are censored with a timeline for no debate or elaboration. Give us a voice as much as we give you a voice.

I am tired of complaining about a political system that seems to award the bad behavior of a few tribal members while the rest of us are expected to continue to allow the shortcomings of the few. If the tribal government has policies, then please follow them. Also, the changing of or approving policies that punish tribal members for expecting departments to do their job, is unjustified. For those departments and personnel who consistently bend the rules or make decisions contrary to service to the tribal membership or who support the needs of one or a few members, they need to be accountable not just within their departments, but all the way to Human Resource action, if necessary.

I am tired of complaining about the fact that for each tribal employee, two tribal members could be serviced by that one individual. We are a small tribe and I cannot understand how we have this astronomical fiscal budget? I remember back in 1999, the budget was roughly $34M. The Council was conscientious back then. Now, we are at, what, double that amount? Triple?

It is concerning when Southern Utes are not hired for jobs within our own tribal government. I know how this feels. I am college-educated. I have work experience. I am a former Records Manager in the Tribal Information Services Department. From the time I resigned that position and was re-hired as the Benefits Coordinator at the Clinic, approximately two years went by with no interview for any of the other jobs I had applied. It is hard and extremely difficult to swallow your pride when your own tribe will not grant an interview or hire you for any number of reasons. All you can do is keep trying and hoping. Sometimes, that bitter pill is all you have along with faith and perseverance.

The tribal member medical benefit plan is helpful but troublesome when medical bills seem to not be paid by our plan carrier. The PL 93-638 governance the clinic operates under is confusing for many people. Scheduling appointments at the clinic and the hiring of permanent staff especially M.D.s has been troublesome. The refusal by some tribal members to not schedule or no-show appointments at the clinic or refusing to go to urgent care or refusing to find their own provider, choosing instead to go to the emergency room during business hours, causes high costs for the Tribe to pay. Maybe, tribal members should be responsible for co-pays if refusals or no-shows continue. Unless you are personally paying into a health care system, it is not insurance. What we have is a benefit plan the Southern Ute Tribe pays for each enrolled member and it costs money.

I currently work in the Tribal Health Department as a Benefits Coordinator. Prior to this position, I briefly worked with the Tribal Credit Program. I have worked with the Indian Health Service as a Medical Records Technician, Patient Registration, and Program Assistant.

Whether November 3rd is my time to be on the Tribal Council or not, I am keeping the faith that the membership will vote for the best individuals. As a Tribal people, we need folks on the Tribal Council who will work effectively, productively, and without any thought to their own or their family’s personal benefit. We need those tribal members who are unafraid to speak up and out and who are unafraid to ask questions. Individuals who will do their own research independent of the documents laid out in front of them. One cannot take for granted information contained in a document will always be factual and without error.

As a tribe, we have survived by helping one another. History proves this statement true. Our collective survival as individuals and as a Tribe depends on one another.

If you feel that I meet your criteria, then I ask for your vote. I would appreciate your support; but, in the end, vote your conscience. Vote for the individual or individuals you know will do the best job possible, thinking of our collective benefit, and who will make a positive difference in all our lives.

Thank you.

Cheryl A. Frost


Dedra White

Maykh Pinunuuchiu.

Nunay nia Dedra White.

Nunay nuunia ‘Oawhichi.


My name is Dedra White and I live on the reservation in Durango, Colorado. My maiden name is Dedra Millich. This is my statement as a candidate for Tribal Council. I hope that Tribal Members will vote on November 3, to cast their vote for me in the election because I will “Fight and do what is Right” for each and every Tribal Member. I will stand behind these words because I was one of the petitioners that worked diligently for the Tribal membership to be able vote for the rest of the Sisseton Funds. In a history making election, you the membership came out and voted for what was right. So, together, (Tribal Members and Petitioners) we worked together to bring about change. If elected on Tribal Council, I will have that same passion and drive that I used on the petition, to make the changes needed in both the permanent and the growth fund. I want to increase the benefits, programs, and monetary distributions for both on/off reservation members: to increase our standard of living and the quantity and quality of life for all Tribal Members.

I ask you, Southern Utes, do you want a change or not? If you want change, then vote for Dedra White. Together, we can work toward the changes that we need as a Tribe.

I chose to run for Tribal Council because of my continued dissatisfaction with the government. I am completely appalled by the systematic division of the people, the loss of benefits or programs that directly help members, the “firing” and “not hiring” of qualified tribal applicants, the discrimination of certain groups of tribal members (allottees and assignees), the constant problems with IHS/clinic, and a bloated government with a budget of 93 million for 1,510 people.

The Present Budget

At the last general meeting for the Tribal Members, the tentative budget was revealed at 93 million dollars for a membership of approximately 1,510 members. It was also revealed at a Bluestone (HR consulting firm) meeting with Tribal Members that more than 65 million of last years budget was spent on just the employees, that included 1) salaries, 2) benefits, 3) bonuses, 4) increases in pay. I am guessing that the total for this years’ budget for employee salaries and wages is 70 million. It is an approximate that of the total employees 602, 124 is tribal.

One of my main concerns is a budget of 93 million for 1,510 tribal members. So, as tribal members we are receiving approximately 35% of the tribal budget, while the employees (I’m not talking about the Tribal employees) consist of approximately 65% of the budget. Do you believe that you (as a Tribal Member) are receiving the kinds of benefits from a 93 million dollar budget? LaPlata County’s budget is approximately at $76.9 million for FY 2018. The approximate population of LaPlata County is 51,334 people (based on 2010 census).

I want to downsize the government by at least 40% and pass on those savings to the Tribal Members through programs, benefits, and increased monetary disbursements. Some of the savings could be used by the Permanent Fund to invest with the goal for more individual capital growth for the Tribal Members.

I am concerned that Tribal Members living off the reservation do not have access to many of the benefits that Tribal Members have whom are living on the reservation. With a reduction in budget, the Tribe could increase benefits for those off reservation.

There is a saying, a nation will be judged on how they treat the youth and the elders. I want to see our elders have more of a voice and have their wisdom used in Tribal Council for decision-making; the Elders Committee needs to be reinstated. Also, an allocation of revenue that is used for the elders’ dividend needs to be secured in an endowment, protected from use by the Growth Fund.

As a candidate I will work to revitalize and preserve the Ute language. As a Tribe we need to revitalize and preserve the Ute Language by using the fluent speakers to create curriculum, videos, apps, and other materials to ensure the protection of the language. I was instrumental in creating Ute Language 101 approximately five years ago. I am in a small group of committed students who are starting their sixth year. In the many years of studying the language, I’m still not fluent, but I continue to speak. I want to encourage the Southern Ute people to learn Ute, despite any negativity directed at them for trying. The Ute language was given to us by the Creator, and the spirit of this language is struggling to survive.

The youth have many opportunities and their futures should be secured. It is my intention as a candidate to ensure that the elders and youth are protected. They are both vulnerable populations. As a candidate for Tribal Council, the youth will remain important in programs, especially in education, with special attention on the Southern Ute Montessori School.

Tribal Employment

I have seen the HR Department have tremendous problems with retaining and employing Tribal Members. There needs to be more accountability and assessment of the policies and procedures to ensure that Tribal Members have the “right” to fill positions within the Tribe. I will ensure that the recommendations made by Bluestone Consulting to increase the performance of the Human Resources be implemented.

Tribal Housing and Tribal Credit

Tribal Housing continues to be an important issue. I want to work with Tribal Members both on/off the reservation to ensure that all members have equal access to housing and housing loans. The current policies encourage divisions of the Tribal funds between on reservation, off reservation, and allottees.

All Tribal Programs need to identify all policies and procedures that are not fair to one group of Tribal Members, all programs and procedures should be based on equal access for everyone.

The Southern Ute Health Center and Health Department needs to be seriously assessed for continuous issues and problems. There is a lack of continuity of care for the members, especially for those with chronic and serious conditions. Again, we have to listen to the members and have the resources to create an incredible health department.

I have the utmost respect for all the members of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and I am committed to making the Tribal Members number one. The Creator has blessed us with a beautiful reservation, with a bounty of natural resources, and with economic prosperity; and as members of the Tribe this incredible wealth needs to be used for the membership.

Uvus Agha

Tuvuuchi Toghoyaqh


Cedric J. Chavez

Greetings Southern Ute Tribal Membership,

My name is Cedric J. Chavez and I am running for a seat on your Tribal Council. It is with great humbleness and respect that I am reaching out to you, The People of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. I bring myself before you to ask for your vote and for your support to help bring a change to the path our government is on. We currently see less involvement, less information, and less accountability to the Membership from the Tribe and I would like to see that change!

I have the Membership in mind while running this campaign for a Council seat. Because like you, I have been waiting a long time for changes to occur that affect our Tribe in a positive manner. Changes that will continue to lead our Tribe into future prosperity for The People of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. Changes that bring equality amongst us and bridges our divides so we as a people can work together to better ourselves, our families, and our Tribe. Simply put, we would like to see a change that makes The Southern Ute Indian Tribe responsible to us, its Members.

The Constitution of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe grants the Tribal Council and the Chairmanship “whole power”, “…to administer our Tribal affairs, to preserve and increase our Tribal resources.”, for the direct benefit of the Tribe and its Membership while exercising its right to govern itself.

That being said. We, the Membership, need to ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Is the Tribe currently working to preserve and increase Tribal resources to directly benefit the Tribe and its Membership?
  • Who is making the decisions that affect the Membership?
  • Is the Tribe exercising its oversight on the Growth Fund?
  • Is the Councils budget reduction going to affect the Membership more than it affects the Tribal government?
  • Who is benefitting from Tribal ventures and what information to the success or failures of these ventures is being passed on to the Membership?

As Members of this Tribe we deserve answers. Not only to these questions but to all the questions we have. We are looking for transparency from the people we have put in place to manage our affairs. We are not looking to be called down or ignored. We are looking for and hoping for an open government!

We have been led to believe that as Members, we have no power. I can tell you now that we do have power! We have the power of our vote! From the vote that accepted our Constitution to the vote that passed the recent referendum. It was a vote that showed the power of the people for the people!

I encourage you to exercise your right to vote in our elections and to be a part of our government. Be heard! Together, we can be the change that we are waiting for!

I Thank you for your support and I look forward to serving you!


Cedric J. Chavez


Editor’s Note: Tyson Thompson did not submit a Chairman’s candidate statement for publication in the Drum. 

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