Southern Ute Air Quality Alert – Smoke Particulate Matter – Very Unheathly

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Environmental Programs Division operates three air quality stations on the Reservation and maintains a website that provides real-time air pollutant and EPA Air Quality Index (AQI) health alerts from data collected at these stations. Smoke from wildfires can cause unhealthy levels of fine particulate matter (PM) in the air.

Particulate matter is continuously measured at the Ute 3 monitoring station near Bondad Hill and the Ute 1 monitoring station in Ignacio.

As of 7:00am, September 27th 2023, stations are currently reading high PM concentrations with a corresponding AQI of Very Unhealthy.  People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors and limit prolonged or heavy exertion.  The general public should avoid prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.    

To view the ambient monitoring program website, and for more information about how to understand the AQI forecast, follow the links below:

Southern Ute Indian Tribe Ambient Monitoring Program Website


EPA Air Quality Index Information Website


Wildfire Smoke Resources to Protect Your Health | US EPA


EPA Air Now Article – How Smoke From Fires Can Affect Your Health



EPD, Air Quality – 970.563.2244


Jacob Henry

Air Quality Technician

Environmental Programs Division

Southern Ute Indian Tribe



For Immediate Release: Biden Administration Initiative Allocates Vital Resources to Address Legacy Pollution


Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.2320

Summer Begay, Communication Specialist– 970.563.2313


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2023

Biden Administration Initiative Allocates Vital Resources to Address Legacy Pollution

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Department of the Interior has announced an initial allocation of nearly $40 million as part of President Biden’s “Investing in America” initiative. This substantial funding represents the first phase of a comprehensive effort to support Tribal communities in addressing abandoned oil and gas wells across Indian Country. The primary goals of this investment include advocating for Tribal land rights, promoting economic opportunities, addressing legacy pollution, and mitigating environmental hazards.

The Southern Ute Department of Energy (DOE), in collaboration with the Tribe’s Contracts and Grants Department, applied for a grant under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Section 40601 Orphaned Well Program from the Department of Interior. Their grant application was specifically tailored to secure funds for conducting technical and field investigations into legacy plugged and abandoned wells, ensuring their integrity and long-term environmental protection. Andy Wetherell, Energy Manager at the Southern Ute Department of Energy, said, “the team is appreciative of Tribal Council’s support and the collaboration with the Tribe’s Contracts and Grants Department to proactively manage the Tribe’s resources and ensure legacy issues related to energy development are managed appropriately.”

Chairman Melvin J. Baker expressed, “The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is honored to have been awarded this funding, which will serve as a valuable resource in furthering our commitment to a clean and sustainable future.” In recognition of their dedication and proactive efforts, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe has been granted $497,850. This financial support will enable the Tribe to play a pivotal role in the broader mission of addressing legacy pollution and enhancing the well-being of Tribal communities.



Summer R. Begay

Communication Specialist | Tribal Council Affairs

Southern Ute Indian Tribe

P.O. Box 737 Ignacio, CO 81137

Office: 970-563-2313

Work Cell: 970-553-0052

Follow the Tribal Council:

Facebook | @southernute

Twitter | @SUIT_Council

Instagram | @suit_tribalcouncil

2023 Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Health Fair

This year’s Southern Ute Health Fair is quickly approaching, and Southern Ute Health Services Division would love to see you participate in this event. Please find the event flyer as well as the vendor form attached below. Vendor admission is FREE, but we ask that you provide a raffle prize for contribution toward this event. Paperwork is due back to me no later than Friday, October 20th, 2023. Thank you for your interest in participation and we look forward to seeing many friendly faces there!




Alyssa Seibel

Admin Assistant I

Community & Home Health Services

Office: 970-563-2348

Cell: 970-553-0118

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund Announces Kava Equity Partners and New Hires

For Immediate Release

August 30, 2023

Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund Announces Kava Equity Partners and New Hires

Kava Equity Partners is the Direct Private Equity Investment Group of the Southern Ute Growth Fund

Southern Ute Indian Reservation, August 30, 2023 – The Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund (“Growth Fund”), the business arm of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, announced today its newest business subsidiary, Kava Equity Partners, LLC (“Kava Equity Partners”). Kava Equity Partners will grow and diversify the Tribe’s investments by seeking majority and minority, private equity investments in lower middle market companies that see business value in partnering with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and are aligned with the Tribe’s cultural, environmental, and economic values.

Growth Fund Executive Director, Mr. Shane Seibel, said, “We are excited to see the investment opportunities generated by Kava Equity Partners that will grow and diversify our portfolio.”

Kava (pronounced “Kah-VAH”) is the Ute word for horse, which has historically been of great importance and profound significance to the Tribe. The horse allowed the Tribe to explore new territory and expand or grow resources for the membership and represents the values of partnership, reliability, and independence critical to the Tribe’s well-being.

The Growth Fund also announced the recent hiring of Mr. Peter Shepard as Assistant Operating Director of the Growth Fund and Mr. James Dudley as Managing Director of Kava Equity Partners. Mr. Shepard oversees the Growth Fund’s GF Properties Group, LLC, which owns and manages a diverse commercial and multifamily real estate portfolio, as well as Kava Equity Partners. Mr. Dudley, as Managing Director of Kava Equity Partners, is responsible for sourcing, underwriting, structuring, and closing private equity investments and actively participates in Kava Equity Partners’ strategy development and portfolio management.

“We are delighted to have Peter join our team,” said Growth Fund Operating Director, Ms. Kourtney Hadrick. “He brings many years of successful investment and operating company leadership experience to the Southern Ute Growth Fund. With Peter’s assistance, we look forward to continued success and acceleration in our real estate and direct private equity investment activities.”

Previously, Mr. Shepard was COO and CFO of Walker & Dunlop Investment Partners (formerly JCR Capital Investment Corporation), a Denver-based real estate private equity firm. Earlier in his career, he founded and served as Managing Director of Athena Business Solutions, a CFO consultancy, and sister company First Business Partners, an out-sourced back-office administration firm. Previously, Mr. Shepard was President and CEO of CapTerra Financial Group, Inc., a publicly traded real estate finance company, and Executive Director of Constellation Real Technologies, a strategic venture capital fund. He received an MS (Real Estate Development) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a JD from Cornell Law School, and a BA from New York University.

“I’m honored and excited to join the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund,” said Mr. Shepard. “The mission of the Growth Fund is to grow the economic prosperity of the Tribe. The Tribe has done a tremendous job over several decades of thoughtfully developing a thriving and diverse investment portfolio. I look forward to working with this outstanding team and building upon that success.”

“We are very fortunate to have James Dudley join Kava Equity Partners as Managing Director,” said Mr. Shepard. “James has a strong background in venture capital and private equity, investing across a range of industries including information technology, biotech, and consumer products, and we are eager to leverage his knowledge and relationships.”

Mr. Dudley’s experience in private markets investing spans early-stage venture capital to growth equity at Colorado-based investment groups Caruso Ventures and Boulder Ventures. Previously, he held technical engineering roles at several companies, including Tesla and Boulder-based Acroname. He has MS (Mechanical Engineering – Mechatronics), BS (Mechanical Engineering), and BA (Archaeology) degrees from Stanford University, as well as an MBA from the CU Boulder Leeds School of Business.

About Southern Ute Indian Tribe

The Ute people are the oldest continuous residents of what is today the state of Colorado. Historically a loose confederation of ten bands, the Mouache and Caputa bands make up the present-day Southern Ute Indian Tribe. In the 1950s, natural gas was discovered on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Nominal royalty payments collected from the 1950s through the 1980s did little to support tribal members. In the 1980s, in pursuit of economic and cultural self-determination, the Tribe created its own gas production company. From that initial investment, the Tribe has grown and diversified its holdings across multiple industries. Today, the Tribe is the largest employer in La Plata County, Colorado, maintains a Triple A credit rating, and oversees a thriving investment portfolio with assets in 14 states and the Gulf of Mexico.

About Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund

Established in the late 1990s and headquartered within the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in Southwestern Colorado, the Southern Ute Growth Fund manages the business investments of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. The Growth Fund holds the Tribe’s diverse array of operating businesses and investment entities engaged in on- and off-reservation oil and gas exploration, production and gathering, carbon-neutral energy infrastructure and innovation, commercial and multifamily real estate acquisition and development, private equity fund of funds, and direct private equity investments.

About Kava Equity Partners

Kava Equity Partners is the direct private equity investment group of the Southern Ute Growth Fund. Based in Colorado, Kava Equity Partners invests long-term, patient capital in visionary management teams of lower middle market businesses seeking to build enduring value. Our ideal partners see strategic and business value in partnering with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and are aligned with the Southern Ute values of economic empowerment, environmental stewardship, and community development. For more information, please visit:


Media Contact

Philip Nunes

BackBay Communications

PSA Tribal Broadband Modernization Project Construction Travel Impacts on CO Hwy 151


Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100

Tribal Council Affairs – 970.563.2319

FOR RELEASE: September 23, 2022

Tribal Broadband Modernization Project Construction Travel Impacts on CO Hwy 151

Project News: Bonfire Engineering will begin construction on two separate sections as outlined in Phase I of the tribal broadband project. The first section will begin at the intersection of CO Highway 172 and CO Highway 151, heading east on CO Highway 151.

Where: Crews will start on construction at the intersection of CO Highway 172 and CO Highway 151 working east on CO Highway 151 to mile marker 12. Construction will take place along the shoulder of the roadway. Please see attached map.

What: The broadband project will include trenching, boring, and plowing to lay fiber, as well as reclamation and seeding. Construction vehicles and fiber spools will be visible on the shoulder.

When: Construction will begin on Friday, September 23, 2022, and conclude on Wednesday, November 23, 2022. Hours of operation will be from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Travel Impact: Traffic lanes will be narrowed on both CO Highway 172. Motorists will be required to reduce speeds and travel safely around the construction taking place on the side of the road. Please remember to slow down in construction zones, eliminate distractions and drive with extra caution. Motorists are also urged to watch for ­­workers and equipment along the roadway.

In the event of an emergency or to report a reckless driver, please contact Southern Ute Police Department by dialing (970) 563-4401.

To find more information about the Tribal Broadband Modernization Project, please visit the project website at

traffic map

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Southern Ute Tribal Council Reaffirms Significance of Tribal Sovereignty


Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100

Lindsay Box – 970.563.2313



Southern Ute Tribal Council Reaffirms Significance of Tribal Sovereignty

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Southern Ute Tribal Council shares their approved Statement on Sovereignty via Resolution No. 2022-126. The Tribal Council’s Statement on Sovereignty arises out of recent events that are an affront to the sovereignty of all tribes in the United States.   The Supreme Court ruling on Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta undermines the true definition of sovereignty, and restrains Tribes’ ability to govern themselves, and ultimately protect tribal members and resources. This is the most significant threat to Tribal sovereignty in many years. Tribal Council believes the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Statement on Sovereignty illustrates the tribe’s position on this threat to tribal sovereignty and governance.

“The Statement on Sovereignty reasserts the foundation for which the Tribe operates and governs itself. The Tribe will continue to fight to protect its inherent sovereignty which our past Ute leaders fought to preserve through treaties and declared by federal law in exchange for the land stolen and the attempted eradication of our Ute culture and language.” stated Chairman Melvin J. Baker.

The Tribal Council’s Statement on Sovereignty begins by emphasizing that the Tribe’s sovereignty is inherent, and it asserts how the Tribe exercises sovereignty now and into the future:

Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Statement on Sovereignty

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is a sovereign and will remain a sovereign. The Mouache and Kaputa bands have retained their sovereignty through European settlement, the formation of the United States, the establishment of the Reservation, and the creation of the State of Colorado. The Tribe’s sovereign authority was not conferred on it by the federal government; rather, its authority is inherent, having always existed and having never been extinguished. The Tribe exercises its sovereignty daily by operating the tribal government; exercising jurisdiction within the exterior boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation; overseeing its current territory; regulating and providing for the tribal membership; and acting on a government-to-government basis with other sovereigns, including the United States, the State of Colorado, and other tribal nations.

The Statement on Sovereignty, which will be incorporated into the Tribe’s living governance manual, goes on to prescribe expectations for protecting tribal sovereignty:

Operating as a government, the Tribe is exercising its sovereignty; the Tribe must also be resolute about protecting its sovereignty from infringement. Protecting sovereignty requires vigilance by Tribal Council Members, tribal officials, and tribal employees. To protect against infringement on tribal sovereignty by other governments, the Tribe monitors federal and state legislation; enacts tribal codes, analyzes federal authority before acquiescing to federal regulations, requirements, and inspections; and is strategic in its interactions with other tribal nations, local and state governments, and the federal government.

“As a sovereign nation, we will continue to enhance the Tribe’s economic development and preserve our culture as we have in the past by working with our neighbors, solely on a government-to-government basis, not as a subordinate party.”

The Statement on Sovereignty is part of a larger effort by the Tribal Council to establish a living governance document that is designed to define roles and responsibilities, oversight functions, and the decision-making process for the benefit of the Tribe, its tribal members, tribal officials, tribal employees, and delegates.


20220719 – Southern Ute Tribal Council Reaffirms Significance of Tribal Sovereignty (FINAL)

Southern Ute Reservation Initiates Stage I Fire Restrictions




Ignacio, CO, June 14, 2021

Due to the current high temperatures, dry fuel conditions and the occurrence of recent wildland fires, Stage I fire restrictions have been implemented for all trust lands throughout the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Everyone on reservation land is asked to be very cautious and use common sense with fire this time of year.

Stage I Fire Restrictions prohibits acts for the general public, commercial operators and industrial oil and gas operators performing work on the Southern Ute Reservation.

The following acts are prohibited for the general public on reservation lands:

  1. OPEN BURNING. Burning of trash and/or yard waste is prohibited.
  2. AGRICULTURAL BURNING. Burning of crop land, fields, rangeland, debris burning, slash piles, prescribed burning and weed burning are prohibited.
  3. CAMP FIRES. Building, maintaining or using a warming fire or campfire outside of officially designated or developed camp sites is prohibited.  The fire restrictions do not include charcoal fires (in suitable containers) for barbeques or fires for sweat ceremonies, however, such fires are not to be left unattended and are to be fully extinguished after use.
  4. Possession, discharging or use of any type of fireworks is prohibited.

Commercial and Industrial restrictions can be obtained from the BIA Fire Office at 575 County Road 517 or by calling (970) 563-4571.

Anyone violating the provisions of this fire ban may be subject to prosecution outlined in the Southern Ute Indian Criminal Code.

The Restrictions will become effective at 06:00 AM, June 16, 2021 and will remain until conditions improve.