Please find the attached news release detailing the “Southern Ute Indian Tribe confirms discovery of Variant COVID-19”


Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100

Lindsay Box, Tribal Council Communication Specialist – 970.553.0287

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2021 – 12:10 P.M.


Southern Ute Indian Tribe confirms discovery of Variant COVID-19

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The B.1.427/B.1.429 COVID-19 (also known as L452R or CAL20C) variant under investigation has been found on tribal lands within the Southern Ute Indian Reservation boundaries. The State Public Health Laboratory identified the variant after sequencing the laboratory sample from an individual with COVID-19 who recently died. The Tribe is working with San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on the investigation. The Tribal Council and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Incident Management Team (IMT) issued and continues to maintain the public health orders taking the utmost caution to protect the tribal community.

On Friday, February 26, 2021, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe received results from the state lab of the COVID-19 variant B.1.427/B.1.429. The origin of the variant is still under investigation. There is little known about this variant at this time, but variants become a concern when they lead to an increase in disease transmission or severity, when they cannot be detected by current diagnostic tests, or when they reduce the effectiveness of treatments or vaccines. Researchers in California, where the variant appears to be spreading more commonly, have stated that preliminary data suggest it may spread more easily than other forms of the virus, but not to the level of other variants of concern like B.1.1.7  (UK variant).

CDPHE is taking the lead on the investigation, including contact tracing, interviews and re-interviews, and monitoring in close collaboration and communication with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and SJBPH. Mutations are common, as viruses are constantly changing. Public health officials study these variants to learn more about the virus and to control their spread.

At this time, there is no reason to believe the presence of this variant on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation is related to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s case count.

Symptoms of the virus include:


  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestions or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea


If you are sick, please self-isolate and seek testing. If your symptoms begin to worsen, please call your primary healthcare provider or the Southern Ute Health Center at 970.563.4581. Do not arrive at your doctor’s office without calling to notify them of your symptoms.

Quarantine is      more stringent for people who are exposed to a variant. Individuals who are exposed or produce a positive test, should quarantine for 14-days unless instructed to quarantine for a longer duration by a public health or medical professional.

Enrolled Southern Ute tribal members and IHS-eligible individuals can call the Southern Ute Health Center at 970.563.4581 to schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 test. Individuals who are not IHS-eligible can find testing locations by visiting the San Juan Basin Public Health department website at

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has upcoming vaccination and testing events on the following days:

  • March 3, 2021 – 1st Dose (Pfizer) Vaccination Event
  • March 4, 10 & 11, 2021 – 2nd Dose Booster Vaccination Event
  • April 4 & 5, 2021 – Voluntary Drive-thru Viral Testing Event

COVID-19 tests will be optional at the upcoming tribal vaccination events. Those who are not eligible for a tribal vaccination event can find information on local vaccination providers on the SJBPH Vaccination website at

More information is available on the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s website and social media, in the Southern Ute Drum, and on the air at KSUT Tribal Radio. Individuals can also call the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 970.563.0214.

It is important that all individuals within the Southern Ute Indian Reservation follow the safety guidance in place to help slow or stop the spread of the virus. The tribal ‘Stay at Home’ Order and public health order requiring the use of face coverings remain in effect.

Please continue to practice good hygiene by washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects in your home. As a reminder, please stay home and only leave for essential activities. When you must leave your home, continue to practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others. Stay connected with your loved ones and our tribal elders.


Feb. 16 – Tribal Office Delay

Tribal Office Delay

Due to Inclement Weather

Due to inclement weather, Chairman Baker has granted 2-hr delay for on-site employees today, Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Employees working remotely will maintain approved remote work schedule.

Administrative Leave – Due to Inclement Weather

Due to inclement weather, Chairman Baker has granted administrative leave for on-site employees. Employees working remotely will continue work as normal. Health Center appointments will be rescheduled; the vaccination event for today, January 19, 2021 will also be rescheduled.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Southern Ute Indian Tribe swears in new tribal officials

Melvin J. Baker – 970.563.0100
Lindsay J. Box – 970.563.2313
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2020 – 10:30 A.M.

Southern Ute Indian Tribe swears in new tribal officials

Southern Ute Indian Reservation –On Friday, December 18, 2020 the registered Southern Ute tribal voters took to the polls in the 2020 Run-Off Election to vote for Chairman and two Council Members. In accordance with the Southern Ute Tribal Election Code, Section 11-10-102 (3) “the candidate for each office in the run-off election who received the highest number of votes shall be deemed elected.”


The Southern Ute Election Board has confirmed the following election results:

Office of Tribal Chairman                                                        No. of Votes

                                    Melvin J. Baker                                                                                   214

Lorelei Cloud                                                                                       199


Office of Tribal Council                                                           No. of Votes

Lindsay J. Box                                                                                     159

Linda K. Baker                                                                                    205

James M. Olguin                                                                                 165

Stacey Oberly                                                                                       243


Chairman Melvin J. Baker has previously served 9 years on Tribal Council, including as Acting Chairman and Vice Chairman. Baker was born and raised on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Throughout his political career, Baker worked on the development and implementation of the new Sky Ute Casino Resort, Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum and served on various tribal and state committees including the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs and Southern Ute Indian Housing Authority.


“First, and foremost, I would like to thank everyone who supported and voted for me in this year’s election run for Chairman. I look forward to working with the current Tribal Council as well as the two newly elected Tribal Council members.


I ask that you all do your part in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe and wear your mask. Take care of our elders and our children.


I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays,” stated Chairman Baker.


Chairman Baker enjoys spending time with his family including his partner, three children and five grandchildren.

The two vacant Tribal Council seats were filled by Linda K. Baker and Stacey Oberly.


Newly Elected Council Member Baker has previously worked for the Southern Ute Museum as the Museum Director and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in the Anthropology Department. Baker attended Fort Lewis College and received her BA in History and a secondary teaching certification, as well as attending the University of Colorado at Denver; Western Archives Institute at San Diego State University; and Native American Museum Studies Institute at the University of California at Berkley.


“I would like to thank the membership for the vote of confidence and the dialogue with the other Candidates,” expressed Council Member Baker.


In her spare time, she enjoys beading, functional OCR/HIIT training, and providing educational consultation on Native American and Ute history and culture. She is the daughter of the late Archie Baker and Diana Cambridge-Baker.


Newly Elected Council Member Dr. Oberly has obtained a Ph.D in Linguistics, a Masters in Native American Linguistics and Bilingual Multicultural Education, and a BA in Spanish and Early Elementary Montessori Certificate. Prior to becoming an elected official, Oberly worked as the Coordinator of Ute Language and Culture at the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy and an instructor for the American Indian Language Development Institute at the University of Arizona.


“I look forward to serving the tribal membership with clear communication, to create unity and transparency, while adhering to our traditional and cultural ethics,”  Her hobbies include making moccasins, ribbon skirts and shirts, singing Sundance and gourd dance songs, and taking her family on adventures.


Dr. Oberly is the daughter of Mary Inez Cloud and Pete Rivera, and the mother of three children.

Chairman Baker has chosen Council Member Bruce Valdez to serve as his Vice Chairman. The Executive Office appointment will be announced in the coming days. Until the announcement is made, Executive Officer Barbara Scott-Rarick will remain in the role through the transition.



20201220 – Southern Ute Indian Tribe swears in new tribal officials (FINAL)

The Southern Ute Tribal Court has issued Administrative Order 2020-03, modifying their operating services until further notice.

The Southern Ute Tribal Court has issued Administrative Order 2020-03, modifying their operating services until further notice. The attached Administrative Order is effective Monday, November 16, 2020. The Southern Ute Tribal Court will only hear cases that directly affect public safety or are mandated to be heard pursuant to the Southern Ute Tribal Code. Please call the Tribal Court’s communication line at (970) 563-0240, for updated information.

Please click on the following link for more detailed information regarding this order:

Administrative Order 03 COVID.pdf