Tribe bids warm farewell to Pearl Casias

Southern Ute Chairman, Christine Sage wraps outgoing Councilwoman, Pearl Casias in a Pendleton blanket as a token of gratitude, during a farewell ceremony held in the Leonard C. Burch building, Friday, Nov. 30.
Southern Ute Councilman Melvin Baker, takes to the podium to reflect on his years working alongside Peal Casias, Friday, Nov. 30.
Bertha Box speaks with passion, and pride; highlighting her mother’s dedication and commitment over the years — serving four terms on Southern Ute Tribal Council and as the Tribe’s Chief Judge.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum

Southern Ute Councilwoman, Pearl Casias was surrounding by friends, family and close colleagues on Friday, Nov. 30, in the Hall of Warriors. Casias finished a partial term on Tribal Council, which marks her fourth time serving on the Southern Ute Tribal Council. Casias came on board in June of 2018 to fill a vacant seat. “Pearl Casias has done us a great honor in representing the Tribe,” remarked Southern Ute Chairman Christine Sage. “She has been a mentor.”

Sentiments that were echoed by Southern Ute Vice-Chairman Cheryl Frost, “I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to have served with you on Tribal Council.”

Deeply respected throughout her community, Casias previously served as the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Chief Judge for 12 years. Casias also made history as the first woman to be elected as Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in 2011. “She has a lot of history; the elders have a lot of knowledge — I respect that,” Councilman Melvin Baker said.

“Pearl Casias brings a sense of fairness, honesty and integrity. I have seen this in every position she has ever held,” remarked Charley Flagg, General Manager for the Sky Ute Casino Resort.

Many of the Tribe’s employees have had the honor to work with Casias over the years, in one respect or another. Judge Paul Whistler remembers the first day he met Judge Casias in the courtroom, she was cloaked in a fire engine red robe — forgoing the traditional black attire. He was struck the presence and command that she had in the courtroom in those years.

Casias was also instrumental in the establishment of the Southern Ute Growth Fund, while serving one of her first terms on Tribal Council. “The Growth Fund, it wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you for all you have done,” said Darrell Owen, Director of Finance for the Southern Ute Growth Fund.

Pearl recognized her family, and thanked them for their support. She is looking forward to spending time with her daughter, her grandchildren, and their children. Casias is more than a tribal politician or judge, she is a great grandmother, a tribal elder, and an asset to the collective community, something that was made evident by all those closest to her.

“Always do the right thing — that is something that I learned from Casias,” former Southern Ute Councilman Mike Olguin reiterated, speaking on his years serving alongside Pearl Casias.




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