For Immediate Release: Southern Ute Indian Tribe Celebrates Bill Protecting Self-Determination

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.2320

Summer Begay, Communication Specialist– 970.563.2313

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 7, 2024

Southern Ute Indian Tribe Celebrates Bill Protecting Self-Determination

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – A major victory for tribal sovereignty unfolded yesterday as Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 24-193, the “Protect Tribal Lands from Unauthorized Annexation Bill,” into law on June 6, 2024. This legislation arose from the City of Durango’s attempt to annex land on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support, passing unanimously through both houses of the Colorado legislature. This strong backing underscores the widespread recognition of Tribal self-governance.

“This is a momentous day for Colorado,” shared Chairman Melvin J. Baker. “The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is incredibly grateful to the sponsors of this bill for their unwavering support. We thank Senator Jessie Danielson, Senator Cleave Simpson, Majority Leader Monica Duran, and Minority Leader Rose Pugliese. Their commitment echoes the deep respect Coloradans have for Tribal sovereignty and the sanctity of Reservation lands. Together, we are sending a clear message: collaboration thrives when we honor treaties and respect Tribal sovereignty.”

Vice Chairman Lorelei Cloud echoed these sentiments, “The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has a long history of championing initiatives that uplift and benefit our local community. This bill aligns perfectly with that commitment. By ensuring our right to self-determination and a voice in actions that impact our Reservation, we will continue serving our People and strengthening the communities that call our Reservation home.”

The bill itself simply necessitates the Tribe’s consent. It ensures that any future annexation efforts within the Reservation’s boundaries must involve the Tribe’s meaningful participation. This crucial step guarantees public safety, environmental responsibility, protection of cultural resources, and the establishment of necessary agreements. With this legislation in place, Colorado can proudly stand as a model for strong and respectful relationships with its Tribes.

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Natural Resources Field Day

The InterTribal Agriculture Council Southwest Region, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and the Southern Ute Department of Natural Resources present the Natural Resources Field Day!
This event is for Southern Ute Tribal Members and will be at the Multi-Purpose Facility from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM.
Monday, June 10, 2024 | Youth Field Day
  • Registration: https://bit.ly/SUteYouth
Tuesday, June 11, 2024 | Adult Field Day 
Attendees will gain insight into resources for regenerative economies, soil health, local regional seeds, demonstrations, and interactive hands-on activities!
This event does not have a registration fee. For more information, contact Janice Lucero (InterTribal Agriculture Council SW Technical Assistant) at  505-514-7438 or janice@indianag.org.
-Summer Begay, Communication Specialist

Sign Up for the Tribal Member Experience!

Southern Ute Tribal Members stay connected with news, departments, and resources by signing up for the Tribal Member Experience!

Please note account holders must be enrolled in the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and be 18 years of age or older.

To create a new account, please follow these steps:
1. Go to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s website at
https://www.southernute-nsn.gov/
2. Select “Members” at the top of the screen
3. Select “I need an account”
4. Complete the Tribal Member Access Request Form & click Submit

The request will be sent to TIS Vital Statistics for verification. SUSS will approve your account.

The login credentials will be sent to the email listed on the form. You may then create your password.

If you already have an account and need help resetting your password:
1. Please visit https://www.southernute-nsn.gov/tmx/
2. Under “Getting Started Resources” select “Password Reset Instructions” and follow the guide.
3. Direct link: https://www.southernute-nsn.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2023/01/TMx-Member-Website-Password-Reset.pdf
Please do not create a new account.

For information, contact Tribal Council Affairs at 970-563-2313 or TIS Vital Statistics at 970-563-2248.
For technical assistance with existing accounts, contact SUDEP at 970-563-5555.

– Summer Begay, Communication Specialist

For Immediate Release: Strands of Strength: The Indian Citizenship Act 100th Anniversary 06022024

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.2320
Summer Begay, Communication Specialist– 970.563.2313
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 2, 2024
Strands of Strength: The Indian Citizenship Act 100th Anniversary
Southern Ute Indian Reservation – Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Indian Citizenship Act, also known as the Snyder Act, a landmark piece of legislation that granted U.S. citizenship to Native Americans born within reservation boundaries. Prior to the Snyder Act, the path to citizenship for Native Americans was a patchwork of treaties, federal policies, and court rulings that varied by Tribe and region.
The Snyder Act, passed on June 2, 1924, was a complex and controversial measure. While it extended citizenship rights, it also aimed to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American society. This followed a dark period of forced relocation and the establishment of Federal Indian Boarding Schools. Before 1924, paths to citizenship were limited and conditional. Common routes included land cessions, honorable military service, or marriage to a non-Tribal male.
“The Snyder Act was a double-edged sword,” said Chairman Melvin J. Baker. “It offered citizenship on paper, but also sought to dismantle our identity. We were expected to abandon our traditions and languages to fit a mold. True citizenship, however, is about respect, not assimilation. It’s about honoring our shared history and upholding our right to self-determination. This fight for genuine citizenship and recognition continues to this day.”
“Though the path has been long, 100 years of Native American citizenship stands as a testament to our resilience. We acknowledge the challenges that remain, yet we celebrate the vibrant cultures that continue to enrich this land. May the next century be one of true partnership, where the Indigenous spirit and identity thrives in the American story,” said Vice Chairman Lorelei Cloud.
The Permanent Fund Executive Office, Cultural Preservation Department, Tribal Information Services, and Tribal Council Affairs have created an exhibit, Strands of Strength: The Indian Citizenship Act 100th Anniversary. This exhibit is located in the Leonard C. Burch building in the Hall of Warriors. Please stop by Monday to Friday between 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
For more information, please contact Tribal Council Affairs at 970-563-2313.
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-Summer Begay, Communication Specialist

For Immediate Release: Southern Ute Indian Tribe Makes History with USDA to Conserve Natural Resources 05312024

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.2320
Summer Begay, Communication Specialist – 970.563.2313
Petra Popiel, CO USDA State Public Affairs Specialist – 720.544.2808
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 31, 2024
Southern Ute Indian Tribe Makes History with USDA to Conserve Natural Resources
Southern Ute Indian Reservation – A historic partnership is forging between the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Through the USDA or NRCS Agency’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the entities have jointly entered an alternative funding arrangement (AFA) to improve rangeland resiliency and health on Tribal lands. This project is funded through the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
“This is an exciting partnership”, said Clint Evans, NRCS State Conservationist in Colorado. “The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is the first Tribe in the nation to enter into an AFA through CSP. We’re proud of what that means for future relations between NRCS and the Tribe. We also get to play a role and join them as they expand their natural resource conservation journey.”
CSP, a Farm Bill program, builds upon existing conservation efforts while strengthening agricultural operations. “The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s forward thinking and resource conservation focused mindset made them the perfect candidate for a CSP AFA,” said Liz With, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships in Colorado. “They already implement top tier rangeland management and monitoring practices, and this agreement will assist in maintaining that high standard while also helping to more widely adopt and implement a strategic invasive noxious weed treatment plan over the next five years. That treatment will target species from Colorado noxious species list to improve rangeland health and resiliency in face of the increasing drought conditions.”
“This partnership will assist with improving our land, it will also honor the legacy of stewardship entrusted to us by our ancestors. By working together, we can ensure these rangelands remain healthy and productive for generations to come, all while setting a strong example of Tribal leadership in conservation”, said Chairman Melvin J. Baker of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
The scope and magnitude of this historic project is also noteworthy.  The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has agreed to enroll all rangeland acres managed by its Department of Natural Resources, totaling approximately 125,000 acres. Conservation practices implemented will help improve and favor deep rooted, native perennial plants that can help sequester more carbon and build soil health. This partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for the Tribe, NRCS, producers, and the environment as a whole.
For more information about the Natural Resources Conservation Service, its programs, benefits, and opportunities, please visit www.co.nrcs.usda.gov. For more information about this partnership, please contact the Southern Ute Department of Natural Resources at 970-563-2912.
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– Summer Begay, Communication Specialist

PSA Tribal Broadband Modernization Project: Phase II Construction Update & Traffic Impacts

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970-563-2320

Summer Begay, Communication Specialist – 970-563-2313

FOR RELEASE: May 30, 2024

Tribal Broadband Modernization Project:
Phase II Construction Update & Traffic Impacts

Where: Crews will be working within the Cedar Point and Ignacio Peak subdivisions along the following roads: Shadow Spirit St, Lodge Pole Way, Burning Cedar Ave, Arrow St, Fry Bread Ave, Sagebrush Ave, Elk St, Rolling Thunder Ave, Mountain Dew Cir, Red Dawn Ct, Gray Stroke Ct, Blue Moon Ct, Ignacio Peak Dr & Jefferson Dr. Crews will also be working along the following county roads: CR-516, CR-519, CR-520, CR-509, CR-509A, CR-514, CR-316, CR-317, CR-510 & CR-513. Construction will take place along the edge of the roadways and/or behind sidewalk. Please see attached maps for more precise locations.
What: The broadband project will include trenching, boring, and plowing to install fiber, as well as reclamation and seeding. Construction vehicles and fiber spools will be visible on the edges of roadways.
When: Construction is ongoing. Hours of operation will be from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Travel Impact: Parking lanes, road shoulders, sidewalks and alleyways may be temporarily closed during operations. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

For Immediate Release: Statement on the passing of Jicarilla Apache Nation President Velarde

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.2320

Summer Begay, Communication Specialist– 970.563.2313

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 14, 2024

Statement on the passing of Jicarilla Apache Nation President Velarde

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of President Edward Velarde of the Jicarilla Apache Nation.

President Velarde was a pillar of his community and a dedicated leader who made significant contributions to the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the State of New Mexico throughout his life.  A Vietnam War veteran, he served as President since 2019, guiding the Jicarilla Apache Nation with wisdom and compassion.

The Jicarilla Apache Nation described President Velarde as “not only a leader but also a cherished member of our community, whose kindness, wisdom, and dedication touched the lives of all who knew him.”

Southern Ute Indian Tribe Chairman Melvin J. Baker and Tribal Council offers their condolences, stating, “The Jicarilla Apache Nation is a valued neighbor. We extend our sincere condolences to the family of President Velarde and the entire Jicarilla Apache Nation. President Velarde was a strong believer in the importance of tribal-to-tribal relationships, which he consistently exemplified throughout his leadership.”

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– Summer Begay, Communication Specialist

For Immediate Release: Bear Dance Fire Burn Area Trail Reopening 05142024

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – (970) 563-0100
Summer Begay, Communication Specialist – (970) 563-2313
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 14, 2024
Bear Dance Fire Burn Area Trail Reopening
Southern Ute Indian Reservation – On June 3, 2022, the Bear Dance Fire ignited on tribal trust land and burned 89 acres north of the Bear Dance grounds and along the Los Pinos River. Following the fire, non-hazardous and hazardous debris was observed on the ground surface in areas paralleling Ute Road by the Tribe’s Environmental Programs Department (EPD). Exposed hazardous materials created a potential concern for public health. Out of an abundance of caution, Tribal Council closed the Bear Dance Fire burn area, including the hiking trail along the Los Pinos River.
After extensive planning, EPD, Cottonwood Consulting, and Emergency Environmental Services initiated a remediation project on April 8, 2024. The project was successfully completed on May 6, 2024. This involved the removal and proper disposal of an estimated 2 million pounds of potentially hazardous materials and soil. Additionally, to enhance the visual appeal of the area, an estimated 340,000 pounds of non-hazardous debris was removed. The remediation area has been backfilled with clean soil and reseeded with an approved local grass mix.
The Los Pinos River hiking trail had been closed during remediation activities. These activities will be completed on May 17, 2024 and Tribal Council has approved the reopening of the trail.
If you have any questions, please contact the Southern Ute Environmental Programs Department at (970) 563-2272.
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– Summer Begay, Communication Specialist.