Baker wins bid for Tribal Council seat

Chairman of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Harold Cuthair (right), congratulates recently elected Southern Ute Councilman Melvin J. Baker following the certification of votes on Monday, April, 23 in Ignacio, Colo. Baker will be serving his fourth term as a member of the Southern Ute Tribal Council and is no stranger to politics.
James Washinawatok, Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Legal Department consults with the Election Board during the certification of votes, Monday, April, 23.
Sunshine Youth Advisory Council Chair, Elijah Weaver expresses his appreciation for the Southern Ute Tribal Council, their support of youth programs and welcomes Baker to the newest member for Council.
Following the certification of votes and swearing in, the membership gathered in the Hall of Warriors to congratulate Melvin Baker, including Southern Ute elder Marge Borst.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe held a Special Election on Friday, April, 20, in Ignacio, Colo., to fill one seat on Tribal Council. Following the certification of votes in council chambers on Monday, April, 23 — Melvin J. Baker was confirmed as the candidate receiving the highest number of votes, winning with a total of 120 votes.

“We welcome Baker’s expertise,” Councilman Adam Red stated following the swearing in ceremony. “I think this is very beneficial to the Tribe,” he said, referring to Baker’s knowledge of The Southern Ute Indian Tribe. This will be Baker’s fourth term, serving on Tribal Council. Southern Ute elder, Linda Eagle echoed those sentiments in her comments, “You will provide your hindsight, and your foresight. I’m glad that you got back on Tribal Council.”

In addition to his years on Tribal Council, Baker also served as the Department Director for Tribal Housing. In his career, Baker also spent a total of ten years living off reservation, working as a wildland firefighter.

“I want to thank the membership who supported me,” Councilman Baker said. “I look to the leaders of the past for their wisdom, these are the stepping stones that got us to where we are today — let’s build off that as we look towards tomorrow.”

The Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council welcomed Baker into his new position and reassured the Tribal Council that they wish to continue collaboration on projects for the benefit of the Tribe and surrounding community.

“We are not doing this for ourselves — we are doing it for our people,” Baker stated in closing. “A year and a half will go fast, let’s get as much done for the membership as possible.”

A welcome reception was held in the Hall of Warriors following the swearing in ceremony, where the membership and other attendees were able to congratulate Mr. Baker personally.

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