Southern Ute Indian Tribe

News

News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bear Dance Fire Burn Area Closed Until Further Notice

Maykh,

Please read the attached press release: “Bear Dance Fire Burn Area Closed Until Further Notice”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100
Lindsay J. Box – 970.563.2313

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 26, 2022

Bear Dance Fire Burn Area Closed Until Further Notice

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Southern Ute Tribal Council has permanently closed the Bear Dance Fire Burn Area until further notice. The Bear Dance Fire ignited on June 3 on tribal trust land. The riparian area burned 89 acres north of the Bear Dance grounds and along the Pine River.

BIA Fire Management welcomed the Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) team to oversee the BAER planning and implementation. The program brought technical experts to the Southern Ute Indian Reservation to meet with tribal professionals to address safety hazards and begin restoration. While conducting a walk through with Tribal Council, leadership noticed what was thought to be an area where hazardous materials may have been disposed of in years past.

The area housed historic office buildings for the BIA. Like many older buildings, the materials used at the time of construction often contained hazardous materials. The Bear Dance Fire exposed the site and the hazardous materials which has created a concern for public health. Out of an abundance of caution, Tribal Council has closed the Bear Dance Fire burn area until further notice.

The BAER program will be placed on a temporary hold until the area can be investigated by professionals. At the conclusion of the investigation, , alternatives will be evaluated and a plan will be developed to protect public health and the environment.. Additional information will be shared at that time.

If you have any questions, please contact Tribal Council at (970) 563.0199 or the Southern Ute Environmental Programs Division at (970) 563.2206.

“The health and safety of the tribal membership and our tribal community is one of the highest priorities for Tribal Council. We were looking forward to seeing the remediation work by the BAER team and tribal staff, however the safety of all involved takes greater precedence. It is very important that the tribal community take heed to this health advisory and refrain from entering the Bear Dance Fire burn area,” stated Chairman Melvin J. Baker.

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20220726 – Bear Dance Fire Burn Area Closed Until Further Notice (Final)

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)

PSA: Tribal Broadband Modernization Project Construction Travel Impacts on CO Hwy 172 and Three Springs Boulevard

Please find the attached public service announcement detailing the “Tribal Broadband Modernization Project Construction Travel Impacts on CO Hwy 172 and Three Springs Boulevard

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100
Lindsay J. Box, Communication Specialist – 970.563.2313

FOR RELEASE: July 22, 2022

Tribal Broadband Modernization Project Construction Travel Impacts on CO Hwy 172 and Three Springs Boulevard

Project News: Bonfire Engineering will begin construction on two separate sections as outlined in Phase I of the tribal broadband project. The first section will begin at the intersection of CO Highway 172 and US Highway 160, heading south on CO Highway 172 to the Town of Ignacio. The second section will begin at the intersection of Confluence and Three Springs Boulevard also going south on Three Springs Boulevard ending at the intersection of US Highway 160.

Where: Crews will start on construction of Section 1 at the intersection of CO Highway 172 and US Highway 160 working south on CO Highway 172 towards the Town of Ignacio. Section 2 will begin at the intersection of Confluence Avenue and Three Springs Boulevard southbound towards the intersection with US Highway 160. Construction will take place along the shoulder of the roadway. Please see attached map.

What: The broadband project will include trenching, boring, and plowing to lay fiber, as well as reclamation and seeding. Construction vehicles and fiber spools will be visible on the shoulder.

When: Construction on both sections will begin on Wednesday, July, 27, 2022, and conclude on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. Hours of operation will be from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Travel Impact: Traffic lanes will be narrowed on both CO Highway 172 and Three Springs Boulevard. 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.

In the event of an emergency or to report a reckless driver, please contact Southern Ute Police Department by dialing (970) 563-4401 or the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 385-2900.

To find more information about the Tribal Broadband Modernization Project, please visit the project website at https://www.southernute-nsn.gov/broadband-modernization-project/

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20220719 – PSA – Tribal Broadband Modernization Project Construction Travel Impacts on CO Hwy 172 and Three Springs Boulevard (FINAL)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: First Annual Native Artist Market & Juried Show

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100
Lindsay J. Box – 970.563.2313

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 21, 2022

First Annual Native Artist Market & Juried Show

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum (“SUCCM”) announces its first annual Native Artist Market & Juried Show September 9-11, 2022. The Native Artist Market & Juried Show will be held at the Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum during this year’s centennial Southern Ute Tribal Fair.

A host committee will serve as judges for the juried show. Submission categories are:

  • Best of Show
  • Jewelry
  • Beadwork
  • Textiles & Basketry
  • Scupture
  • Painting, Drawing, & Photography
  • Pottery
  • Emerging Artist

Award winners will share $4,000 in cash prizes. The members of the host committee are Ute artists Oreland Joe, Jr., Norman Lansing, and Russell Box, Sr.

Oreland C. Joe Sr. was born in Shiprock, New Mexico, where he grew up on both the Navajo and Southern Ute reservations. His art is influenced by his roots in the Four Corners area of the U.S. Southwest combined with classical influences he gained while studying in France, Italy, and Japan. Mr. Joe works in a variety of media and is world-renowned for his stone and bronze sculpture.

Norman Lansing, a Ute Mountain Ute, who was born in Towaoc, Colorado. Mr. Lansing works in all media and is best known for his sgraffito etchings on ceramic vases. He is also known for his acrylic paintings and pen and ink drawings. His art often explores the “relationship between man, animal, earth, and the spirits of all living entities” that are all needed to form a balanced universe.

Russell Box, Sr., a Southern Ute Tribal Member and Veteran, born and raised on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

The Native Artist Market & Juried Show will bring Native artists from all tribal nations together to showcase their art and provide networking and learning opportunities. Mr. Joe will lead a workshop for emerging artists that will focus on the business aspects of the art profession.

Artists are encouraged to participate in the early bird registration of $50 per booth. Early bird registration ends Monday, August 15, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. The final registration deadline is Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. Registration information can be found on the SUCCM website at southernutemuseum.org
To RSVP, please contact SUCCM employee Ms. Waynoka Whiteskunk, at (970) 563.2979 or via email at wwhiteskunk@southernute-nsn.gov

“The Tribe looks forward to sharing our beautiful reservation and welcoming tribal community with the artists who will be participating in the show. This will provide an excellent opportunity for Native artisans to showcase their talent and skill,” shared Chairman Melvin J. Baker.

The mission of the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum is to foster understanding of and respect for the unique origin, culture, language, history, and way of life of the Núuchiu (Ute People) and to advance people-to-people relations through inclusive and effective programming and services
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2022 General Election

 

Southern Ute Indian Tribe 2022 General Election

The Southern Ute Election Board has announced the 2022 Southern Ute Indian Tribe General Election for two Tribal Council seats.

 

The General Election will take place on Friday, November 4, 2022 from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Voting will take place at 285 Lakin Street, Ignacio, CO 81137.

 

Please see the flyer for important deadlines. If you have questions, please contact the Election Board at (970) 563.2303 or via email at election@southernute-nsn.gov If you are a tribal member residing off the reservation, please contact the Election Board at 1.800.772.1236 extension 2303.

 



PSA: Tribal Broadband Modernization Project Construction Travel Impacts Along Bayfield Parkway

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100

Lindsay J. Box, Communication Specialist – 970.563.2313

 

FOR RELEASE: July 19, 2022

Tribal Broadband Modernization Project Construction Travel Impacts Along Bayfield Parkway

Project News: Bonfire Engineering will begin construction on Bayfield Parkway entering the Town of Bayfield as outlined in Phase I of the tribal broadband project. Construction will take place along Bayfield Parkway beginning at the intersection of CR 516 traveling northeast along Bayfield Parkway into the Town of Bayfield, taking a left on CR 501 ending at the intersection of CR 501 and US Highway 160.

Where: Crews will start at the intersection of CR 516 and Bayfield Parkway working northeast on Bayfield Parkway towards the intersection of CR 501 and US Highway 160. Construction will take place along the shoulder of the roadway. Please see attached map.

What: The broadband project will include trenching, boring, and plowing to lay fiber, as well as reclamation and seeding. Construction vehicles and fiber spools will be visible on the shoulder.

When: Construction on both sections will begin on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, and conclude on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. Hours of operation will be from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Travel Impact: Traffic lanes will be narrowed on Bayfield Parkway. 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.

In the event of an emergency or to report a reckless driver, please contact Southern Ute Police Department by dialing (970) 563-4401 or the Bayfield Marshall’s Office at (970) 884-9636.

To find more information about the Tribal Broadband Modernization Project, please visit the project website at https://www.southernute-nsn.gov/broadband-modernization-project/

 

20220719 – PSA – Tribal Broadband Modernization Project Construction Travel Impacts along Bayfield Parkway (FINAL)

Ute Park Road CLOSED during burn area remediation

Ute Park Road is CLOSED from Bear Dance Road to CR 517 while BIA crews work on the remediation of the Bear Dance Fire burn area. The area will be closed from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

 

For questions, please contact the BIA Fire Management Office at (970) 563.4571.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Fire Crews Hold Cox Canyon Fire to 7 Acres

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100

Lindsay J. Box, Communication Specialist – 970.553.0287

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   July 10, 2022

 

Fire Crews Hold Cox Canyon Fire to 7 Acres

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Cox Canyon Fire, located on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, has been mapped at 7 acres. A smoke check was called in on July 7, but the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Fire fuels include sagebrush and juniper and cedar trees.

Crews from the Southern Ute Agency Fire Management, Los Piños Fire Protection District Brush 88, and Zuni Hot Shots will continue with fire suppression efforts. Air resources were ordered yesterday to aide in initial fire attack allowing ground crews to assess the area and begin spotting to hold the fire in place.

Smoke may be visible from the US Hwy 550 corridor. To observe the air quality status, please visit the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Air Quality Ambient Monitor page at https://www.southernute-nsn.gov/justice-and-regulatory/epd/air-quality/ambient-monitoriting/ .

The Tribe is coordinating with local agencies to minimize the impact of the fire. The Tribe is also working with oil and gas operators in the area to shut-in facilities in the vicinity of the fire to mitigate any potential impact to energy operations and first responder’s ability to contain the fire.

As a reminder, Stage 1 Fire Restrictions were enacted for Southern Ute Indian Reservation on June 21, 2022 and will remain in effect until conditions improve.

Stage I Fire Restrictions prohibits acts for the general public, commercial operators and industrial oil and gas operators performing work on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

STAGE I

General Public:

Prohibited acts:

1.                   OPEN BURNING.  Burning of trash and/or yard waste is prohibited.

2.                   AGRICULTURAL BURNING.  Burning of crop land, fields, rangeland, debris burning, slash piles, prescribed burning and weed burning are prohibited.

3.                   CAMP FIRES.  Building, maintaining or using a warming fire or campfire outside of officially designated or developed camp sites is prohibited.  The fire restrictions do not include charcoal fires (in suitable containers) for barbeques or fires for sweat ceremonies, however, such fires are not to be left unattended and are to be fully extinguished after use.

4.                   FIREWORKS.  Possession, discharging or use of any type or fireworks is prohibited.

Commercial and Industrial restrictions can be obtained from the BIA Fire Office at 575 County Road 517 or by calling (970) 563-4571.

Anyone violating the provisions of this fire ban may be subject to prosecution outlined in the Southern Ute Indian Criminal Code.

For more information on the Cox Canyon Fire, please visit the Southern Ute Indian Tribe website, and follow the Southern Ute Indian Tribe on social media.

To report fires contact:      

DURANGO ZONE DISPATCH (970) 385-1324

For more info or to report Fire Restriction Violations contact:

BIA FIRE MANAGEMENT (970) 563-4571 OR SOUTHERN UTE POLICE DEPARTMENT (970) 563-4401

 

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Photo Credit | Howard Richards, Jr.

20220710 – Fire Crews Hold Cox Canyon Fire to 7 Acres Press Release

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Southern Ute Department of Energy Announces New Leadership

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100

Lindsay J. Box, Communication Specialist – 970.563.2313

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 8, 2022

 

Southern Ute Department of Energy Announces New Leadership

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Southern Ute Department of Energy has hired Andy Wetherell, CPL, as the new Energy Manager. Wetherell will carry out the department’s mission to ensure tribal members receive the maximum benefit from the energy and mineral resources located on the reservation while minimizing impact and protecting natural and cultural resources.

 

After graduating from Dallas Baptist University in 2006, Wetherell began his career as a landman in Texas and Louisiana. He is skilled in lease negotiation, mineral title, production title, curative, rights of way, and surface owner relations. In 2011, he became employed by Chevron to manage assets in the San Juan Basin including on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. He developed a relationship with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and grew his knowledge of the tribe, tribal energy operations and cultural values. He was then hired by the Southern Ute Department of Energy in 2018 as the Land Manager where he worked closely with operators on the reservation to manage the tribal resources.

 

“It is incredible to work for a Tribe that has worked so hard towards self-determination. I look forward to carrying out the mission of the department, making certain all operations within the reservation boundaries adhere to the tribal environmental regulations protecting tribal natural and cultural resources,” stated Wetherell.

 

Wetherell has served as the acting Energy Manager since November 2021. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf and spending time with his children, Whittaker (13) and Molly (9).

 

“The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is thrilled we are able to retain and promote Mr. Wetherell to Energy Manager. His thorough understanding of all aspects of tribal energy development are extremely valuable to the organization,” said Chairman Melvin J. Baker. “We wish him the best of luck and look forward to the department’s bright future ahead.”

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Photo Credit | Lindsay J. Box

 

20220707 – Southern Ute Department of Energy Announces New Leadership (FINAL)

Tribal Office Closure – Southern Ute Sun Dance

Tribal Office Closure – Southern Ute Sun Dance July 11

In observance of the Southern Ute Sun Dance, the Permanent Fund, Growth Fund, and SUSS offices will be closed on Monday, July 11, 2022.

Normal business hours will resume on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.