Hickenlooper meets with SU and UMU Tribes

UMU Tribal Chairman Manuel Heart and Southern Ute Chairman Melvin Baker stand with Senator Hickenlooper during his visit to Southwest Colorado.
Southern Ute Chairman Melvin Baker and Council member Vanessa Torres greet Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper, Friday, May 14.
Southern Ute Council member Dr. Stacey Oberly expresses her concerns during a joint meeting between Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute tribal leadership and the State of Colorado in Towaoc, Colorado, Friday, May 14.
Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribal leadership met with Senator John Hickenlooper and his staff to discuss land use issues, Friday, May 14 – in recognition of Colorado Public Lands Day. 
Lindsay Box | SU Council Affairs
Lindsay Box | SU Council Affairs
Lindsay Box | SU Council Affairs
Lindsay Box | SU Council Affairs

Southern Ute Chairman Melvin Baker, Vice Chairman Bruce Valdez, and Council Members Dr. Stacey Oberly and Vanessa Torres traveled over the mountain to the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation to join UMU Tribal Chairman Manuel Heart and Council Members Archie House, Jr., Lyndreth Wall, and Darwin Whiteman, Jr. to meet with Senator John Hickenlooper. The tribal leadership met with Hickenlooper and his staff to discuss land use issues — as May 15, 2021 is Colorado Public Lands Day. 

Tribal leaders shared issues such as the reduction of the Brunot Treaty lands which have been reduced and impacted by illegal land use sales, housing development and land designations. The Brunot Treaty was passed in 1874 and guaranteed the tribes hunting and gathering rights on approximately 3.8 million acres off Reservation. Both tribes thanked Senator Hickenlooper on the Core Act which protected public lands in Colorado, however the two tribes also both agree that the tribal lands should not be considered public lands. 

Other topics included: Land desecration due to wild horses and outdoor recreation which damaged petroglyphs, the vital needs for broadband infrastructure in both tribal communities, and the need for BIA to be appropriately funded. Leaders from the only two tribes in the State of Colorado, shared the frustration around water resources, the appropriate allocations that are not reaching tribal lands and membership, but also the inadequate water delivery infrastructure. Chairman Baker addressed the current drought situation and its impacts on tribal lands as it relates to healthy land management. Both the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribal leadership stressed the importance of meaningful and early tribal consultation. 

“I agree with you that the patriarchal relationship with tribes and the denial of consultation is unnecessary. I will get to work on the challenges each of you shared with me today,” Senator Hickenlooper said 

“This ethnic group is the most regulated of any other ethnic group in this history. Although we are the first ones in this country, there needs to be greater education on the challenges we face,” said UMU Chairman Manuel Heart. “This is a good step forward in the right direction.” 

Like it? Share it!

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail