Former Southern Ute Tribal Judge, Elaine Newton proudly holds a certificate affirming that the American flag was flown over the Colorado Capitol in Denver, on January 8, 2016 in memory of her son, the late Jimmy Newton Jr. The flag was also presented to Mrs. Newton in a package given to her from former Colorado Senator, Ellen S. Roberts.
A table full of plaques, certificates and the American flag were given to Elaine Newton. The items are from the Colorado State Senate, House of Representatives and the Colorado Legislature, all of which honored the late Southern Ute Chairman, Jimmy R. Newton Jr. The items were given to Mrs. Newton from former Colorado Senator Ellen S. Roberts.
Photo Credit: Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
Photo Credit: Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
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Honoring of the late Jimmy R. Newton Jr.

Former Southern Ute Tribal Chief Judge, Elaine Newton received a surprising package in her mail Friday, Nov. 10. Seeing the pink packing bubble wrap, Newton proclaimed to herself, “I didn’t order a flag!” The flag was folded, and presented in a ceremonial triangular wooden case.

This particular flag was flown over the Capitol on January 8, 2014 at the request of Senator Ellen Roberts, in honor of the late Jimmy R. Newton Jr., Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, as proclaimed on the accompanying certificate.

The package also contained other items, among them a signed card from Durango based lawyer, Ellen Roberts. Roberts served in the Colorado Senate from 2011- 2016, representing: Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties. The package also included several plaques in honor of the late chairman, who was recognized as a leader, a son, and a father.

Jimmy R. Newton Jr. served on the Southern Ute Tribal Council when elected in 2003. Newton was later elected to Chairman, December 2011, becoming the youngest person to hold the office of Chairman at the age of 35. Among his many accomplishments, one in particular included seeing one of his projects come to life, the formation of the Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council in 2014.


One framed item is from the Congressional Record, of the Proceedings and Debates of the 113th Congress, Second Session. Dated Wednesday, April 2, 2014.

The record, Vol. 160, No. 53 reads in the following:

Remembering Jimmy Newton, Jr.

Mr. Bennet, Mr. President, I come to the floor with a heavy heart to honor the memory of Chairman Jimmy Newton, Jr. of the Southern Ute Tribe. Chairman Newton was a tireless advocate for his fellow tribal members and passed away on Monday, March 31, 2014.

Chairman Newton began his career in public service in 2003 and was a strong and dedicated leader for a new generation. He was one of the youngest people to serve as tribal council member, vice chairman, and acting chairman before he was elected chairman of the Southern Ute Tribe in 2011. Chairman Newton leaves behind a legacy of deep respect for the Southern Ute culture and tradition.

I know I speak for our entire Colorado community when I extend my deepest sympathies to the Newton family and the Southern Ute tribe during this difficult time.


In Memoriam of the State of Colorado to the House of Representatives, Convened in the Sixty-Ninth General Assembly

Hereby extends sincere condolences and expressions of sympathy to the Newton family on the passing of Chairman Jimmy R. Newton, Jr.

The State of Colorado has lost an exceptional citizen with the passing of Jim Newton, Jr. Chairman Newton passed away on March 31, 2014 at the age of 36. He was an intelligent and kind man, who began a career in politics at the age of 26, becoming one of the youngest tribal members to ever hold a seat on Tribal Council. Mr. Newton went on to serve as Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Council. Chairman Newton had great respect and passion for Southern Ute culture, and was an active participant in ceremonies and powwows. The members of the Colorado House of Representatives extend heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Chairman Jimmy Newton, Jr. on their great loss, and express gratitude for his outstanding service to his tribe and to the entire State of Colorado.

On request of Representative, Mike Latchlan.

Given this 4th day of April, 2014, State Capitol, Denver.

Signed Mark Ferrandino, Speaker of the House of representatives.


A plaque, was presented from The Senate of The Colorado Legislature. Convened in the Second Regular Session of the Sixty-Ninth General Assembly honors and remembers the life of: Chairman Jimmy R. Newton, Jr.

We memorialize and honor Chairman Newton for his achievements in politics and as an advocate for the Southern Ute Indian tribe. At age twenty-six, Chairman Newton became one of the youngest tribal members on the Southern Ute Tribal Council and in 2011 he was elected Chairman of the Council. He was a strong voice for his tribe, championing for critical tribal projects such as the Pine River Indian Irrigation Project. Outside the Council, Chairman Newton was actively involved in cultural ceremonies. Chairman Newton’s advocacy and dedication to cultural involvement serve as an inspiration to current and future generations. Colorado will mourn the loss of a great man devoted to current and future generations. Colorado will mourn the loss of a great man devoted to his tribe, state and nation.

On request of Senator Ellen Roberts.

Given this 4th day of April 2014. State Capitol, Denver, Colorado.

Jimmy Newton did believe our children are our future. He did many things to benefit, not only the tribal members, but the youth of the community. His vision lives on today, and we may never know the extent of the lives he touched.

It was only apparent at his funeral that a glimpse was seen of the extent of his influence. Jimmy Newton passed away Monday, March 31, 2014. Services were held April 4, 2014, at the Sky Ute Casino Resort’s Events Center, with a packed house, and some standing. The First Nations Canadian Tribes were represented and spoke at his funeral.

Representatives from the political arena were also present. From the State level to the National level, his personality will be remembered.

As Elaine Newton reflected, “Jimmy always made people smile, he would crack a joke before session, then say ‘it’s time to get down to business.’”

Elected chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in December of 2011, he became the youngest person ever to hold the office.

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