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

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100

Lindsay Box – 970.563.2313

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 22, 2022

 

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.

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

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Awareness Day

Maykh,

This morning, the Southern Ute Tribal Council convened to approve the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Honorary Proclamation declaring today, May 5, 2022 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Awareness Day. MMIR Advocate, Ms. Daisy Bluestar was present in Chambers for the approval. Tribal leadership thanked Ms. Bluestar and all those who volunteer and fight to bring awareness and justice to tribal communities.

Missing & Murdered Indigenous Relatives Awareness Day
May 5, 2022

WHEREAS, Indigenous communities in the United States have faced unprecedented rates of violence throughout history and continue to experience this rate of violence today; and

WHEREAS, Indian Country has thousands of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives with cases continuing to rise; and

WHEREAS, 83 percent of Indigenous people have or will experience some form of violence in their lifetime; and

WHEREAS, Indigenous women and girls face the possibility of being murdered at ten times the rate of all other ethnicities; and

WHEREAS, This crisis in Indian Country is the result of undervaluing Indigenous lives, underfunding, inaccurate reporting, misidentification, lack of media coverage, and jurisdictional challenges; and

WHEREAS, The Secretary of the Interior formed the Missing & Murdered Unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services to address the lack of resources and the failure to prioritize the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives in tribal communities; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has provided support for the creation of an Office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives in the State of Colorado for the safety of our tribal community; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Ute Indian Tribe remains committed to addressing this crisis and provide protection for all Indigenous people who reside on or visit the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

NOW, THEREFORE, in recognition of the foregoing, the Council of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe does hereby proclaim the 5th of May, as

MISSING & MURDERED INDIGENOUS RELATIVES AWARENESS DAY

This Proclamation was approved and adopted this 5th day of May 2022.

Signed by Chairman Melvin J. Baker

MMIP Awareness Day Flyer