Southern Ute Indian Tribe



NEWS RELEASE: Assistant Secretary Names Johnna Blackhair as Deputy Bureau Director, Trust Services, and Patricia Mattingly as Southwest Regional Director

Please read the news release from the Office of the Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior.


Assistant Secretary Sweeney Names Johnna Blackhair as Deputy Bureau Director, Trust Services, and Patricia Mattingly as Southwest Regional Director

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced the appointment of two leadership posts within the Bureau of Indian Affairs: Johnna Blackhair, a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe in Montana, will serve as Deputy Bureau Director for Trust Services at the Bureau of Indian Affairs’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and Patricia Mattingly, of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico and the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, will serve as Regional Director of the Bureau’s Southwest Regional Office in Albuquerque, N.M. The appointments were effective September 15 and 30, 2019, respectively.

“I am very excited to announce the appointment of two experienced managers to my senior BIA leadership team: Johnna Blackhair as Deputy Bureau Director of Trust Services, and Patricia Mattingly as Regional Director of the BIA’s Southwest Regional Office,” said Assistant Secretary Sweeney. “They bring deep experience to these high-level management posts, and will provide valuable assistance to me as we increase flexibility in the BIA’s operations and regulations to support tribal self-determination and economic self-sufficiency.”

The Department of Interior is committed to providing consistent and focused leadership in all of Indian Affairs, as well as to actively collaborate with the Department’s senior managers. Among the top priorities is to fill leadership positions with highly qualified managers who will provide continuity and expertise in trust management in accordance with its mission.

“I am extremely pleased that Johnna Blackhair and Patricia Mattingly have joined the BIA’s central office and field leadership corps,” said BIA Director Darryl LaCounte. “Their combined years of experience from working at the agency and regional office levels will prove invaluable as we work to make the BIA more responsive to Indian Country’s needs and priorities.”

Ms. Blackhair has 28 years of federal service starting in September 1991 with the BIA’s Uintah and Ouray Agency in Fort Duchene, UT. From April 2010, she gained extensive experience in the management of land titles and records, real estate services, probate, agriculture, and cadastral surveys, coordinating with the Bureau of Land Management as the Regional Realty Officer in the Southwest Regional Office. She has held a number of BIA field leadership positions including Mescalero Agency Superintendent (2011-2012); Uintah and Ouray Agency
Superintendent (2012-2013); Eastern Regional Office Deputy Regional Director (2013-2014);
and Eastern Regional Office Regional Director (2014-2015). Prior to her recent appointment,
Ms. Blackhair had served as BIA Trust Services’s acting Associate Deputy Bureau Director
since January 2018, and as acting Deputy Bureau Director since April 2018.

“I deeply appreciate the confidence placed in me to lead BIA Trust Services, whose mission is a
basic component of the Federal trust responsibility to the tribes and allottees with trust lands and resources,” Deputy Bureau Director for Trust Services Johnna Blackhair said. “I am very
grateful to the Assistant Secretary and Director LaCounte for this new opportunity to serve
Indian Country. I will do my utmost to see that we in OTS carry out our mission to the best of
our ability.”

The BIA Office of Trust Services is primarily located in Washington, D.C. and Albuquerque,
N.M., and assists tribal governments and allottees in managing, protecting and developing their trust lands and natural resources, which total 56 million surface acres and 60 million acres of subsurface mineral estates. Trust Services programs aid landowners in the stewardship of their resources not only to protect their cultural, spiritual and traditional uses, but in optimizing those which tribal governments depend on through the revenues and jobs they generate.

Patricia Mattingly began her federal career with the Department in 2003 in Albuquerque, N.M.,
as an Attorney Advisor in the Solicitor’s Office. She joined the BIA’s Southwest Regional
Office as Regional Legal Administrative Specialist, then later moved to the BIA’s Western
Regional Office in Phoenix, A.Z., as Associate Director of the Division of Probate and Estate
Services. She eventually returned to the Southwest Regional Office as a Tribal Government
Officer, and where she was later promoted to the post of Deputy Regional Director for Indian
Services. Ms. Mattingly holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of
New Mexico, and a Juris Doctorate from the UNM School of Law.

“I thank the Assistant Secretary and Director LaCounte for this opportunity to lead the Southwest Regional Office,” Regional Director Patricia Mattingly said. “I am committed to improving the level of regional office responsiveness to the needs of the tribal nations we serve, while also supporting their self-determination and economic development goals.”

The BIA Southwest Regional Office is located in Albuquerque, N.M., and oversees nine
agencies serving the 25 federally recognized tribes in Colorado and New Mexico and the Ysleta
del Sur Pueblo in El Paso, Texas.

As the oldest bureau in the U.S. Department of the Interior, established in 1824, the BIA is
within the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, along with the Bureau of Indian
Education. The BIA provides services (directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts) to
approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. With just under 5,000

employees, the BIA carries out its core mission for 573 federally recognized American Indian
tribes and Alaska Natives in the U.S. through four offices:

•Office of Indian Services: operates BIA’s general assistance, disaster relief, Indian child
welfare, tribal government, Indian Self-Determination, and reservation roads programs;
•Office of Justice Services: operates or funds law enforcement, tribal courts, and detention facilities on Federal Indian lands;
•Office of Trust Services: works directly with tribes and individual American Indians and Alaska Natives in the management of their trust lands, assets, and resources; and Office of Field Operations: oversees 12 regional offices and 83 agencies which carry out the BIA mission at the tribal level.

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PRESS RELEASE: Chairman Sage appoints Barbara Scott-Rarick to Administration


Christine Sage, Chairman – 970.563.0100

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 15, 2019 – 1:00 P.M.

Chairman Sage appoints Barbara Scott-Rarick to Administration 

Southern Ute Indian Reservation –Chairman Christine Sage announced the appointment of Mrs. Barbara Scott-Rarick as second Executive Officer. More information will be forthcoming.




PRESS RELEASE: Announcement on Closure of Detention Center


Cheryl A. Frost, Vice Chairman – 970.563.0100

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 9, 2019 – 5:35 P.M.

Announcement on Closure of Detention Center 

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – Over the past two years the Tribal Council has focused on reducing the Permanent Fund’s budget. In fiscal year 2019, Tribal Council cut the budget by over $14 million. In looking at the 2020 budget and performance metrics of the departments, Council continued to look at ways to reduce costs. One area of focus has been the Southern Ute Tribal Detention Center, which serves very few Southern Ute tribal members but costs millions of dollars to operate.  This week, the Tribal Council made a decision to close the Detention Center no later than December 31, 2019.

The Detention Center opened in 1999. Since that time, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe has operated a safe and clean 57 bed facility that provides inmates with Native American-focused programs.  The Detention Center has been available not only to inmates from this Tribe, but those sentenced from other Tribal Courts as well.

However, in recent years the inmate population has declined. Alternatives to incarceration can be more effective for many crimes, particularly those involving alcohol and drug abuse. Community programs and Wellness Court have helped reduce the number of Southern Ute repeat offenders. Over the past fiscal year, the Detention Center held an average of 13 inmates per day, with approximately four of those sentenced through our Tribal Court. The remainder are contract inmates from other tribes.  Therefore, most of these inmates are not Southern Ute tribal members. The cost to operate the Detention Center is over $2 million dollars per year. By using the services of either the LaPlata County jail or the Archuleta County jail, which is scheduled to open next year, we can save the tribal membership between $1.5 and $2 million dollars per year.

The Tribal Council realizes the Detention Center benefited some Southern Ute tribal members.  It was helpful to have a facility on the Reservation close to the inmate’s friends and family.  However, due to the high cost and the small number of Southern Ute tribal members who benefitted from the service, maintaining the Detention Center was not in the economic interests of the Tribe. It is best if these funds can be used for prevention services that benefit the membership more broadly.

Over the next few months, Tribal Council will consider options for the vacated Detention Center space. Tribal members are welcome to reach out to any Council member with questions and comments.



PRESS RELEASE: Travis Garlick takes new role as Sky Ute Casino Resort Assistant General Manager


Christine Sage, Chairman – 970.563.0100


Travis Garlick takes new role as Sky Ute Casino Resort Assistant General Manager

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Sky Ute Casino Resort is the premier entertainment venue in Southwest Colorado. The Casino is located on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and owned and operated by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. The Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council has selected Mr. Travis Garlick as the Assistant General Manager of the Sky Ute Casino Resort.

“Mr. Garlick has been employed with the Sky Ute Casino Resort for twenty-three years. On behalf of the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council, I look forward to working with Mr. Garlick in his new role as the Assistant General Manager of the Sky Ute Casino Resort,” said Chairman Christine Sage.

“Working for the Tribe for the last 23 years, I am honored to take on this new role and responsibility,” said Garlick.

Since 1996, Mr. Garlick has dedicated his career to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, holding positions as the Guest Services Manager, Sales Manager and then as the Director of Operations.

Garlick graduated with honors with his Bachelor’s of Science, Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He also holds certificates in Certified Rooms Division Executive from the American Hotel & Lodging Association Education Institute and Hospitality Management from the University of Phoenix.

Originally from California, Mr. Garlick moved to Bayfield, CO in 1982 and was raised in the area. He is married with five children and enjoys outdoor activities including skiing, boating, and rafting. When time permits his true passion is traveling with his wife, Jennifer.

Garlick will assume the new position on Monday, September 16, 2019.



20190912 – Travis Garlick takes new role as Sky Ute Casino Resort Assistant General Manager