FROST – Kenneth “Kenny” Frost made his journey to the spirit world on December 29, 2023, in Durango, Colorado. He was born November 12, 1954, in Ignacio, Colorado, to Kathleen Frost.
Kenny grew up on the Southern Ute Reservation and attended Ignacio High School, graduating at age 15. He was a star athlete in fastpitch softball, and in basketball he played center. He led both teams to numerous undefeated championships.
Kenny had a passion for his Ute culture. He participated as a catman for the Bear Dance. He became a Sundance Chief and traveled to many powwows.
After graduating high school, Kenny attended Mesa College in Grand Junction, Colorado. Later he became a dispatcher for the Southern Ute Police Department. He also worked as a director for the resource department. Kenny later attended the police academy in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He took the required written test and passed it on his first try, later conducting the class and teaching other students.
He became a police officer for the Southern Ute Tribe and for the Town of Ignacio. Kenny also served as an EMT and an ambulance driver alongside his mother, Kathleen Frost. He instructed CPR classes.
Kenny moved to Craig, Colorado with his daughter Marettas for a time. He loved the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rockies and the Colorado Avalanche. He enjoyed attending games with his grandboys and traveling all over Colorado with them.
Kenny began consulting and working with all four of the United States Forest Service (USFS) supervisors’ offices on Colorado’s Western Slope in the 1990s. His contributions made a lasting impact on the Native history, policy and governance of the Gunnison-Uncompahgre, San Juan, Routt and White River national forests. His work resulted in three major accomplishments.
First, Kenny helped to organize the United Ute Powwow in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, bringing the three sovereign Ute Nations together for the first time in 118 years. This resulted in quarterly Tri-Ute meetings that still take place today with the Uintah-Ouray Ute Indian Tribe, Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes of Colorado and Utah.
Second was the discovery, study and reburial of the Indigenous 8,000-year-old man in the White River National Forest, in which Kenny ensured the remains were handled appropriately and with ceremony, decorum and respect.
Third, Kenny was instrumental in helping the Southern Ute Tribe’s contribution to USFS forest planning. Those contributions resulted in the first Native American interest section in the Land and Resource Management Plan for the White River National Forest.
Kenny was a devoted believer and steward of his Ute culture and respected other tribal beliefs. He encouraged his family to carry on their traditional ways. Kenny traveled to various states to help with consultation on Native American rights. His last trip was to Hawaii in summer 2023, to express his solidarity with the efforts to free Hawaii from the United States and its unlawful occupation of the islands. He was very eager to support those fighting for Indigenous rights and he loved seeing progress.
Kenny was very positive and encouraging. He carried his sense of humor with him wherever he went and shared it with everyone he talked to. Kenny stands tall among his ancestors.
His daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren were paramount in his life; there was nothing he wouldn’t do for them. Kenny is survived by his only daughter Marettas Frost, his grandchildren Darien Neskahi, Seranden Frost, Jamarr Lang, Katerie Lang, Tatum Lang and Riley Lang, great grandchildren Yizeth Frost, Zayden Frost and his favorite, Justin Bear Lang.
Kenny was preceded in death by his mother Kathleen Frost, grandmother Bertha Frost and great-grandparents George Norris Frost (Naneece Subchief, Medicine Man and War Chief of the Southern Ute Tribe) and Mary Norris.