Express Your Opinions

Employment and the Police Department

This letter went before Tribal Council on May 22, 2015 with regard to

Employment and the police department


Dear Tribal Council,

Once again I come before you asking you for your advice and your help. As I come before you today I want to share with you what it has been like trying to get employed within the tribal government. It’s pretty much near impossible. During the past six months I have applied for at least 15 possible positions, I have had a total of three interviews.


I applied for The Shining Mountain Director Apprentice position, I was not given an interview.   I interviewed for Special Education Advocate/Family Group Decision Making Coordinator Apprentice. I was not selected for this position. Another position I interviewed for was for Family Court Counselor Apprentice where the requirements included a Southern Ute member and one who had a degree in the Human Services field.   I did not get hired even though I had both minimal qualifications. They have since reposted the position again so, I applied for Family Court Counselor and this time I was not given an interview. I applied for Loan Specialist and was not given an interview. I applied for the Dispatcher position but chose not to interview because I filed a formal complaint against the police department for their inability to act. In fact if you look at my “Activities page for position applications” it shows that this position, The Family Court Counselor or the loan specialist were never applied for. Yet, I have included the emails that stated thank you for your application and the date my application was received, however you were not selected for an interview.


I have asked HR to allow me the initiatives with regard to HRs protocol for the Southern Ute Tribe. The reason for my request was to try to understand the prioritization of Southern Utes in the work place as well as, determining whether HR and potential employers were actually adhering to the policies that govern hiring practices. I have yet to be given any information with regard to policy and procedure for hiring practices.


Currently, I had worked 32 hours for purchasing and 8 hours for my brother Thomas as a CHR. I was told that I could no longer be employed for Thomas because he is no longer in home. I understand that now that he has fallen and broken his back I am no longer eligible for employment and he has since been moved to Cottonwood Rehab.   Thomas’ caseworker from health services is going to make a request that some of the CHRs make themselves available to get Thomas up twice daily because the rehab does not have the staff to accommodate Thomas’ need to get up more than twice at the facility. In order to prevent atrophy or a weakening of his limbs, it is imperative that he get up more than twice a day, four times a day would improve his situation. I find this ironic in that they will pay other CHRs to get him up but they won’t allow me to continue employment there. Basically, they are taking from me and giving toward the same cause to others who are also CHRs just as I am or was before my brother broke his back. I still go there and visit, still run to shop for him, still clean and maintain his home.


It was my intention to continue to work at Procurement and Requisitions for the duration of my temporary employment. However, I applied for this position and was not selected for an interview and the position has been allocated to someone else, even though I had been within the position for months. I was not informed that interviews were established or that I had been replaced.   I find HR placates tribal members with temporary menial positions and they have you work throughout various departments until they run out of either money from TERO or other funding sources become obsolete. It is my hope at this time to remain with finance then to be moved to another department for another six month temporary position. I was told the HR generalist was my greatest advocate in trying to place me permanently. I was told I would have permanent placement within a month with higher pay, it will be interesting to see the final outcome. All the while I will continue to apply for any and all full time positions until I find a permanent position.

One of the problems I have seen with the interview process is when I make mention that I need to go to my classes to take care of myself on Fridays, they automatically reason that I will be unavailable to work on Fridays. Since I am Thomas guardian I try to take him to all Drs. Appointments on Fridays as most businesses are closed on the weekends. When potential employers hear this, they don’t consider me for the position. Therefore, I have opted to remedy the situation by no longer attending classes in Durango on Friday. Now I have arranged to work with Vocational Rehabilitation as well as, Jennifer Dr. Young and to discontinue treatment in Durango. I have hired a full time caregiver for Thomas as I did with my mom. Since I have come forward publically about my ADD and other mental health issues, they see me as defective or less than. This is not my issue, what potential employers and others think of me is not of my concern. My concern is to obtain and retain employment. I have to inform you, I am neither ashamed of where I came from, where I have been, or where I am going. However, I am dependent on this government and its potential employers not to discriminate against me because I am different from them or from you for that matter. We are all different and it just so happens that I am not afraid of who I am or who I have become. I am ok with me and I choose not to hide. Now then, if I was choosing to remain unskilled in the social graces and not try to develop myself to the best of my ability, then I might be ashamed. I know that I try even harder than most to overcome barriers in learning. I work hard at becoming proficient at anything I do, and there is no shame in that.


Another concern I have is that of The Southern Ute Police Department. It is frightening. The officers that they send to respond to calls are untrained and unsure of what to do given any situation. I feel that they need to understand what their role is and be privy to tribal law as well as, federal law. Tribal police have been called to my residence twice over the last two months. Once because a window was shot out of one of my vehicles with a Beebe gun and on the other occasion because my sister and I were trying to avoid a confrontation on my property. I am fearful for my safety. When I dial 911 and expect help from our police force, it makes me nervous to know that they do not know what authority they have or whether they have jurisdiction over this matter or that. I feel like someone has handed them a gun and a badge and told them to respond to calls when they are unprepared to respond. Not only are they unprepared but their superiors are unsure about what to do. I have found them to be rude as well. We need a police force that is trained and proficient.







Yvonne C. Tree

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