Southern Ute Indian Tribe



Obituary – Rita Elaine Newton

At the wishes of the family, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe is sharing the obituary and service information for the late, Rita Elaine Newton. 

Obituary for Rita Elaine Newton

Photo Credit: Ace Stryker | The Southern Ute Drum


Southern Ute Indian Reservation – Rita Elaine Newton, passed on January 14, 2020. Elaine was a wife, mother, daughter, sister and grandmother, she was 62 years old.

Elaine was born on January 21, 1957 in Las Vegas, NV to Josephine and Jose R. Olguin.

Elaine is survived by her husband of 43 years, Jim R. Newton, Sr., granddaughter Maylon Newton, brothers James M. Olguin (Dee), Myron Olguin (Diane), and Roberta Lohrey all of Ignacio, CO.

Elaine is preceded in death by her father, Jose R. Olguin, and son, Chairman Jim R. Newton, Jr.

Elaine was a person with a huge heart filled with servitude, compassion, and encouragement to her family, friends, tribal membership and the greater community. She was loved by everyone and her impacts will be forever lasting on both a personal and professional level. On January 26, 1976 she married the love of her life, Jimmy R. Newton and together they welcomed their only child, Jim R. Newton, Jr. Elaine loved being a wife and a mother. The love and passion to serve her people helped shaped the same passions into her son who was elected to Tribal Council and Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. She loved to travel with her husband and other family members. When her son, Jim, was on the powwow circuit, Elaine was known to travel right beside him.

During her years as Judge, her contributions were significant and many of the policies and programs that she created are still intact today. Judge Newton was passionate for traditional forms of justice which aimed to rehabilitate the individuals who came before her. Her sentences were non-traditional in the eyes of many courts, but she understood the unique backgrounds and needs to rehabilitate the entire community that she loved. Elaine spent 34 years in law enforcement and judicial services of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. In 1988, Elaine began her career with tribal court as a paralegal, she was then promoted to Associate Judge for four years and finally Chief Judge for 17 years. She also dedicated her time in Tribal Planning working on Economic Development, Tribal Services, and the Department of Natural Resources.

She enjoyed doing crafts, another passion she passed to her son. In the Spring and Summer months, her family and friends could often find her in her garden. She loved to grow flowers and grew traditional plants, such as tobacco. Elaine will be deeply missed by her family, friends, colleagues, and the surrounding communities.

A rosary will be recited on Friday, January 17, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church. On Saturday, January 18, 2020 beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the St Ignatius Catholic Church, a eulogy will be read, church services will begin at 10:00 a.m., with burial to follow at Ouray Cemetery.

A luncheon will begin at 12:00 p.m. at the Sky Ute Casino Resort, Event Center. The family welcomes everyone to attend.

NEWS RELEASE: Southern Ute Growth Fund hires one of their own as Vice President of Human Resources

Southern Ute Growth Fund hires one of their own as Vice President of Human Resources


Shane Seibel, Executive Director – 970.563.5000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 8, 2020 – 08:20 A.M.

Southern Ute Indian Reservation –

The Southern Ute Growth Fund has hired Maria Baker, a Southern Ute Tribal Member, as the Vice President of Human Resources. She will assume the responsibilities as VP on Monday, January 6, 2020.

“I am excited for this opportunity. I appreciate the support I have received from the Directors and Tribal Council. I am going to build on the foundation I received while working for Cathy Otten, learning from her expertise for the past 14 years,” stated Baker.

Baker started her professional career with the Southern Ute Department of Education in 2001, training under Mr. Lee Briggs, and taking over responsibility as the Distance Learning Coordinator helping to bring degreed programs to the Southern Ute Tribal Members on the reservation. After working in education for four years, Baker received an unpassable opportunity within the Southern Ute Growth Fund, Human Resources as the Tribal Members Employment Coordinator. Her background with education proved to be helpful in transitioning Tribal Members into positions within the Southern Ute Growth Fund. She has spent 18 years with the Tribe and most recently as the HR Training Coordinator and Assistant HR Manager.

Baker received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Fort Lewis College in 2000.

As an avid outdoorsman, she currently sits on the Southern Ute Wildlife – Wildlife Advisory Board and in her downtime enjoys hunting and fishing. She also has sat on the KSUT Board of Directors, Del Alma Board of Directors, and the Durango Adult Education Board of Directors. Baker also enjoys spending time with family.



20200106 – Southern Ute Growth Fund hires one of their own as Vice President of Human Resources

NEWS RELEASE: Southern Ute Indian Tribe Appoints New Director of Energy

Southern Ute Indian Tribe Appoints New Director of Energy


Christine Sage, Chairman – 970.563.0100

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 6, 2020 – 11:05 A.M.

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council has appointed Mrs. Kourtney Hadrick as the new Director of Energy for the Southern Ute Growth Fund. She will begin on Monday, January 6, 2020.

Hadrick has over 22 years of technical and management experience in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries. She has held various leadership roles with the Tribe’s energy businesses since 2012, most recently as the President/COO for both Red Cedar Gathering Company and Aka Energy, LLC. Prior to her employment with the Tribe, Hadrick was employed by BP America Production Company. Her experience with BP included engineering, operations, and multiple management positions for upstream and midstream assets located in Colorado, Louisiana, Texas, and Wyoming.

Hadrick holds her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University and a Management Certificate from MIT Sloan Business School.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the Energy Director for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. I am looking forward to working with the Tribal Council, the Directors, Growth Fund Management Committee and the organization in my new role. Together, we will ensure the Tribe is a strategic leader in safe, environmentally responsible, and efficient energy production; the value of the Tribe’s current energy portfolio is maximized; and the talent within the organization and the membership are developed to meet the current and future needs of the business,” stated Hadrick.

Hadrick has been married to Rob Hadrick for 17 years and they have three children: Will (15), Ellie (14), and Maddi (8). Away from the office, Hadrick enjoys spending time with her family, yoga, running, skiing, and mountain biking.


20200103 – Southern Ute Indian Tribe Appoints New Director of Energy

NEWS RELEASE: Tribal Council Evaluating Status of the Southern Ute Detention Center

Tribal Council Evaluating Status of the Southern Ute Detention Center


Christine Sage, Chairman – 970.563.0100

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 6, 2020 – 10:55 A.M.

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – On October 9, 2019, the Tribe announced the decision to close the Southern Ute Detention Center no later than December 31, 2019. Tribal Council has been committed to determining ways the Permanent Fund could operate in the most cost-effective manner.

Since that decision was made, Tribal Council reconsidered the determining factors, including new solutions to offset operational expenses. The Southern Ute Detention Center will remain open pending additional review.


20191231 – Tribal Council Evaluating Status of Southern Ute Detention Center

NEWS RELEASE: Newly Elected Council Members Make First Female Majority on Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council

Newly Elected Council Members Make First Female Majority on Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council


Christine Sage, Chairman – 970.563.0100

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2019 – 10:30 A.M.

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – On Monday, December 16, 2019 the Southern Ute Election Board presented the certified results from the 2019 General Election. Ramona Y. Eagle received 161 votes and newcomer Marjorie Barry received 157 votes, both securing their seats on the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council. Unsuccessful candidates were James Mike Olguin (151) and Adam Red (135).

Council Member Elect Ramona Y. Eagle successfully earned the most votes to enter her fifth term on Tribal Council. Eagle previously served 11 years on Tribal Council and held positions as Treasurer and Vice Chairman. Eagle has worked in various departments throughout the Tribal organization and prior to retiring, she served as the Executive Officer under Chairman Clement J. Frost for 3 years.

Throughout her four terms on Tribal Council, she has advocated for Tribal Member employment, tribal sovereignty, and education.

Eagle holds her bachelor’s degree in human resources from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She is very strong in her traditional upbringing and actively participates in traditional ceremonies. She enjoys dancing and beading.

“I am very honored to be elected by my people and will do my best to advocate for the needs and overall well-being of the entire tribal membership. Education has always been a passion of mine and I want to ensure the tribal membership receive the best education whether it be at the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy or through programs at the Education Department,” shared Eagle.

Eagle has three daughters including the late Sadie Frost, six grandsons, and two granddaughters. She is the sister of Linda Eagle and daughter of the late Clifford & Annabelle Eagle.

Incoming Tribal Council Member Marjorie Barry tallied 157 votes. After working for both the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs for over three decades, Barry brings a plethora is experience to her seat. She has also held positions on numerous Tribal committees such as Gaming Commission and the Higher Education Scholarship Program Committee.

Barry attended Fort Lewis College, majoring in American Indian Studies. Her education assisted in her position as Acting Culture Department Director. She recently dedicated 6 years as an employee within the Tribal Health Department.

“I would like to thank the Southern Ute people for allowing me the opportunity to take part in our government, to become a tribal representative,” stated Barry.

She has one son, Preston, and daughter, Amy, as well as 7 grandsons, 2 granddaughters and 3 great-granddaughters Barry enjoys beading and attending Native American functions.

“I would like to congratulate the newly elected Tribal Council Members, and I look forward to working with them both,” said Chairman Christine Sage.


20191215 – Two Women Appointed to Southern Ute Tribal Council_

Ramona Y. Eagle
Marjorie Barry

Focus Group for Native American Students, 6th-12th grade



The Colorado Departments of Public Health and Environment and Human Services are developing a new advertising campaign to help parents and other adults better understand what they can do to support Colorado youth – like you!


Participate in a discussion in your community and share your experiences and opinions.


Sunday, Jan 5 – 1:30pm or 2:45pm (Ignacio)

Monday, Jan 6 – 4:00pm or 5:15pm (Durango)


Sign up here:

We will follow-up with your parent or guardian to confirm your participation and specific details.

All of the information discussed will be kept strictly confidential.

For more information contact Ceriss Blackwood at

Minor’s Trust Early Cutoff Dates for 2020

Minor’s Trust Early Cutoff Dates for 2020

Just a reminder that the normal cutoff for Minors/Birthday requests is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays with a Friday distribution date. Because of the holidays, early cut off dates for the rest of this year and next year are:


Noon, Friday, December 20: distribution December 27th

Noon, Friday, December 27: distribution January 3rd


Noon, Friday, May 22: distribution May 29th

Noon, Monday, June 29: distribution July 3rd

Noon, Friday, November 20: distribution November 25th

Noon, Friday, December 4: distribution December 9th

Noon, Monday, December 21: distribution December 24th

Noon, Monday, December 28: distribution December 31st


If you have any questions about a Minors/Birthday payment please contact Anne Flanigan, 970.563.2454. For regular distribution questions or concerns, please contact Barbara Prestel, 970.563.2260.