Southern Ute Indian Tribe



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Southern Ute Reservation Rescinds Stage I & Stage II Fire Restrictions


BIA, Southern Ute Agency Fire Management – 970.563.4571




Southern Ute Reservation Rescinds Stage I & II Fire Restrictions

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – Due to the recent and widespread monsoon moisture, Stage I and Stage II fire restrictions have been rescinded for all trust lands throughout the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

Fire Restrictions have been in place since early May, 2020. During that time there have been a total of 18 fires on the reservation with the largest being the 220 acre Six Shooter fire.  Southern Ute Agency and Tribal fire personnel have also responded to fires throughout the Durango Zone assisting on numerous fires including the 2,000 acre East Canyon fire near Mancos, CO.

Fire personnel are still responding to lightning caused fires within and bordering the reservation and the fire season is expected to continue through the summer and fall months.

Although the fire danger has diminished, we still ask that everyone on reservation land be cautious with fire this time of year.

If you have any further questions, please contact Southern Ute Agency Fire Management at (970) 563-4571.

The Stage I & Stage II Fire Restrictions will be rescinded at 06:00 AM, July 29, 2020.



News Release – SUA Stage I 2 Fire Restrictions Rescinded 7-29-20

SUIT August Voluntary Drive-thru Viral Testing Event

August Voluntary Drive-thru Viral Testing

August 12-13, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Sky Ute Casino Resort Overflow Parking Lot


The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s most important resource is the enrolled Southern Ute tribal members and without its members the Tribe would not exist. On Wednesday, March 25, 2020 the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council in collaboration with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Incident Management Team issued the “Stay at Home” Order and on Friday, July 17, 2020 required the use of face coverings to  prioritize the health and safety of the Tribal Elders, high-risk and immune-compromised members, youth and the entire tribal membership.


At the beginning of the pandemic, the IMT purchased and collected personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, and funding to adequately respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The IMT has developed an agreement with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and International Medical Relief to mobilize a team of qualified health professionals with resources, testing kits, and PPE to conduct free, voluntary drive-thru viral testing for enrolled Southern Ute tribal members and immediate family members, tribal caregivers, tribal staff, enrolled members of the Ute Mountain Ute and Ute Indian Tribes, and local community.


A viral test will be conducted to determine individuals who are currently infected with the coronavirus. This is very different from the anti-body testing which will not be conducted at this time. As the number of positive cases increase in the neighboring jurisdictions, the viral test will help determine how wide-spread the virus is, identify hot-spots within our community, and aid in the tribal priority of keeping our tribal members safe.  Approximately 2,000 tests will be conducted over a 2-day period. Tests are not mandatory, but voluntary for those who wish to have a test performed. Tribal Members and immediate household members (including non-enrolled tribal members) and enrolled members of both the Ute Mountain Ute and Ute Indian Tribe can elect to have the test performed on either day.


Drive-thru testing will be performed over two days, beginning on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. at the Sky Ute Casino Resort overflow parking lot (between the Sky Ute Casino Resort and the TERO building). Tribal Elders and those who identify as high-risk are given priority from 8:00 until 9:00 a.m. on both days. Please see the attached map detailing the testing process, identifying the entrance, testing tents where swabs will be conducted, and exit.


In accordance with the tribal public health order requiring the use of face coverings, face masks will be required at the testing site.


The first drive-thru testing event held in June provided valuable lessons which have been considered and implemented for this and future testing events. The testing schedule modeled after the Spring and Fall Cleanup was determined unnecessary, therefore it will not be used for this event. The upcoming testing event will prioritize the tribal membership; testing will be available to the tribal membership and their immediate family members, enrolled members of both the Ute Mountain Ute and Ute Indian Tribe as well as tribal caregivers on both days, August 12-13, 2020.


Testing for tribal staff will be on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. and testing will be open to the local community on Thursday, August 13, 2020 from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. If you are unable to be tested on the dates identified, please contact the Southern Ute Health Center at 970.563.4581 to determine another day or to arrange a home visit with SUHC staff.


Staff will complete the mandatory Testing and Demographics Release form. Individuals will be required to share the required information for the form. Parents and Guardians will be required to provide information required for the Testing and Demographics Release form for any child(ren) to be tested. Tribal Information Services will be confirming enrollment.


Tribal Elders and tribal members who are immobilized or unable to drive to the drive-thru testing location may contact the Southern Ute Health Center at 970.563.4581 to arrange for transportation.


The result of your COVID-19 test will be communicated to you by phone or email. The time that your result will be available may vary; we do ask for your patience during this busy time. Many laboratories that process COVID-19 tests are overwhelmed leading to some delays in processing. A Southern Ute Health Center staff member will call or email your result. All positive results will be contacted by telephone.  We do ask for your cooperation with assisting us with our contact tracing responsibilities of a positive result.


We would like to reiterate that the viral tests are voluntary and available to enrolled Southern Ute tribal members and their immediate family members (including those who are not enrolled), enrolled members of the Ute Mountain Ute and Ute Indian Tribe, tribal caregivers, on both days and tribal staff and community on identified day and times. If you have questions, please contact the Southern Ute Indian Tribe COVID-19 Call Center at 970.563.0214. The Call Center hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M.


If you are sick, please self-isolate. 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 primary health care provider’s office without calling to notify the professionals of your symptoms.


Please continue to practice good hygiene by washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, cough and sneeze into the bend of your elbow or in a tissue then throw the tissue away. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects in your home. As a reminder, the Tribal “Stay at Home” Order remains in effect until further notice. Please stay home only leaving for essential activities. When you must leave your home, continue to practice social distancing staying 6 feet away from others. Stay connected with your loved ones and our tribal elders.


Mental Health America 2020 Annual Conference

Registration Now Open!

MHA’s 2020 Annual Conference: COVID-19, Mental Health, and the Need for Equity will be held September 3-4 from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM Mountain Time online.

Over the last few months, the world was thrown into a global pandemic. As the number of cases of COVID-19 increased, so did the associated experiences of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. COVID-19 also brought to light what many in the health care and social justice communities already knew – that Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionately negatively impacted and are dying at much higher rates. Adding to that the systemic racism that so many people of color bear every day, the trauma and mental health implications are significant.

The last few months have changed everything – and the world is looking at “a new normal.” Our 2020 Annual Conference – now virtual – will discuss it all. From increases in depression and anxiety rates, to adjusting workplaces and employee mental health, to addressing disproportionate inequities due to systemic barriers and historical adversity – MHA is talking about it. Join us.
This event is free to the public and all are encouraged to register!

Register here:

MHA Affiliates: Please note there is a separate registration for Affiliate Pre-Conference Day held on September 2. You will receive a separate email with all the details!
Speaker Announcements
Take a look at a few of our speakers we have planned for our virtual event.

Bakari Sellers is a CNN correspondent and lawyer. He made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. In 2014 Sellers won the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor and is widely considered to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and leading voice for his generation. Sellers earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he served as student body president, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Dr. Cleveland Sellers, in his tireless commitment to public service while championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity. In addition to his impressive list of early accomplishments, Sellers served on President Barack Obama’s South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election. That coupled with his uncommon ability to reach across the aisle and get things done has led to numerous accolades including being named to TIME Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2010 as well as 2014’s “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans. Sellers has been a much sought-after public speaker and has provided political and social commentary and analysis on many major national news outlets. Sellers practices law with the Strom Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, SC. Sellers is a CNN contributor and is married to Ellen Rucker.

Kenneth Cole is an American designer, social activist, and visionary who believes business and philanthropy are interdependent. His global company, Kenneth Cole Productions, creates modern, versatile, and functional footwear, clothing, and accessories that make daily dressing effortless. For over 35 years, Kenneth Cole has leveraged his passion and unique brand platform seeking to make a meaningful impact on people’s wardrobes, as well as in communities in need. In 1985, with the help of many of the top fashion models in the world, Kenneth launched the first HIV/AIDS public service campaign. He then joined amfAR’s board of directors in 1987, and on World AIDS Day in 2004, he assumed chairmanship, and served in that position for 14 years. Under his leadership, amfAR was instrumental in significant breakthroughs in AIDS research, treatment, and prevention for the betterment of millions globally. In 2016, Kenneth accepted an appointment as a UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador with the goal of helping to end AIDS as a public health crisis by 2030, and in effect, work to achieve one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In 2020, in a shift of focus, Kenneth officially launched The Mental Health Coalition to end the devastating and debilitating stigma attached to all mental health conditions. This effort began with the unprecedented formation of a Coalition of the most respected mental health service providers, leading academics, and influential creative and media organizations. The Mental Health Coalition was launched with an innovative and digital storytelling platform called, “HOW ARE YOU, REALLY?,” which creates a safe social space for individuals to share their stories.

Michelle Williams is a Grammy Award-winning, singer/songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, designer, television host and member of one of the most successful recording groups of all time, Destiny’s Child. In 2018, Williams reunited with Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Kelly Rowland fora long-awaited Destiny’s Child reunion performance during both weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. She has also recorded four critically-acclaimed albums as a solo artist including Journey to Freedom who’s song “Say Yes” was certified Gold. Between recording projects, Williams made her theatrical stage debut as the title role of the hit Broadway musical “Aida”. Williams has since appeared in productions of “The Color Purple”, Broadway and London’s West End productions of “Chicago”. She also was featured in the acclaimed stage play “What My Husband Doesn’t Know,” and a national tour with the musical “Fela!” Williams also starred in the Oxygen network series “Fix My Choir” and has served as a guest host on talk shows such as The View, ET, The Real and many more. In 2019 after making it to the semi-final round, Michelle was revealed as “Butterfly” on the #1 rated FOX television show, The Masked Singer! As an entrepreneur, Williams recently launched Believe at Home by Michelle Williams. A sophisticated bedding collection, featuring exquisite and vibrant comforters, duvets, coverlets, sheets and shams inspired by her grandmother’s quilting. An advocate for mental health and empowerment, Williams is an ambassador for the Office on Women’s Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she promotes awareness for maintaining optimum physical and mental health through nutrition, exercise, and proper medical care.

Learn more about MHA’s 2020 Annual Conference and additional speakers here:

MHA is just getting started – we will be announcing more speakers in the coming weeks! You don’t want to miss this event, so register today!

Copyright © 2020 Mental Health America, All rights reserved.

500 Montgomery Street, Suite 820
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone (703) 684-7722

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Southern Ute Public Health Order requires the use of face coverings




Chairman, Christine Sage – 970.563.0100

SUIT IMT PIO, Ms. Amy Barry – 970.563.2281


Southern Ute Public Health Order requires the use of face coverings


Southern Ute Indian Reservation –



WHEREAS, authority is vested in the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council by the Constitution adopted by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and approved November 4, 1936, and amended October 1, 1975, and August 27, 1991, to act for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; and


WHEREAS, under Article VII, Section 1 of the Constitution, “The inherent powers of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, including those set forth in [the Indian Reorganization Act], as amended, shall be exercised by the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council, subject only to limitations imposed by the Constitution and Statutes of the United States, by the regulations of the Department of the Interior and by this constitution.”; and


WHEREAS, under Article VII, Section 1 ( e) of the Constitution, “The [T]ribal [C]ouncil may enact ordinances and codes to protect the peace, safety, property, health and general welfare of the members of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe”; and


WHEREAS, under Article VII, Section l(n) of the Constitution, Tribal Council has the authority, “To protect and preserve the property, wildlife and natural resources of the [T]ribe, and to regulate the conduct of trade and the use and disposition of tribal property upon the reservation.”; and


WHEREAS, in Res. No. 2004-225, the Tribe approved the Southern Ute Community Emergency Operations Plan (“Plan”), the purpose of which is to identify the emergency management process and principles for managing and coordinating the overall response and recovery activities during periods of emergency/disaster resulting from a natural-or human-caused hazard; and


WHEREAS, Section IV (B) of the Plan identifies Emergency Management operational phases, including the Response Phase, which may include incident mitigation activities designed to limit the loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and unfavorable outcomes; and


WHEREAS, pursuant to the Plan, Section IV(B)(3), response activities may include ongoing public health and testing processes, immunizations, isolation or quarantine; and


WHEREAS, pursuant to the Plan, Section V(F), the Tribal Council’s duties in an emergency or disaster include, among other things, signing a resolution declaring an emergency or disaster to protect life and preserve property and the environment by ensuring prevention, preparation, and response measures are in place; and


WHEREAS, under the Plan, Section V (F), the Tribal Council’s duties in an emergency or disaster include making emergency decisions regarding quarantines; and


WHEREAS, in Res. No. 2020-025, Tribal Council declared a state of emergency to respond to the spread of the coronavirus, which included, among other things, the state of emergency continuing “until the conclusion of response activities including attendant documentation is complete”; and


WHEREAS, in Res. No. 2020-031, Tribal Council approved the Southern Ute Health Center Communicable Disease Response Plan, which allows for, among other things, infection control precautions, including contact, droplet, and airborne precautions; and


WHEREAS, cases of coronavirus continue to rise in Colorado and neighboring states; and


WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recommends face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain and to prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others; and


WHEREAS, based on the danger that the coronavirus continues to pose and the identified cases of the coronavirus in surrounding counties, the Tribal Council finds it in the interests of public health and safety, to require face coverings indoors at all times and outdoors when other social distancing measures are not possible.




  1. The Tribal Council hereby finds it essential that the COVID-19 virus be slowed to protect the tribal membership, the community, tribal employees, and especially our most vulnerable people, including heath care providers.


  1. The Tribal Council hereby ORDERS:


  1. All individuals over two years old must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when entering or moving within any public indoor space.


  1. All individuals over two years old must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth in outdoor public spaces when other social distancing measures are not possible.


  1. Face covering means a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face, and that fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face and remains in place without the use of one’s hands. Face coverings include, but are not limited to, bandanas, medical masks, cloth masks, buffs, and gaiters. Face coverings do not include any mask that incorporates a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling, and such masks are not to be used to comply with this Order. Valves of that type without filters permit droplet release from the mask and can put others nearby at risk.


  1. Public indoor space means any enclosed indoor area that is public or privately owned, managed, or operated to which individuals have access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, and that is accessible to the public, serves as a place of employment, or is an entity providing services. Public indoor space does not mean a person’s residence, including a room in a motel or hotel.


  1. Outdoor public space means any outdoor area that is public or privately owned, managed, or operated to which individuals have access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, and that is accessible to the public.\


  1. No owner, operator, or manager of a public indoor space may provide services to individuals or allow an individual to enter or move within that public indoor space, unless the individual is wearing a face covering as required by this Public Health Order.


  1. Owners, operators, or managers of public indoor spaces must post signs at entrance(s) instructing individuals of their legal obligation under this Order to wear a face covering when entering or moving within a public indoor space.


  1. Individuals two years old and younger are exempt from the requirements of this Order.


  1. Individuals performing the following activities are exempt from the requirements of this Order while the activity is being performed:
  1. Individuals who are hearing impaired or otherwise disabled or who are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication;


  1. Individuals who are seated at a food service establishment;


  • Individuals who are exercising alone or with others from the individual’s household and a face covering would interfere with the activity;


  1. Individuals who are receiving a personal service where the temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;


  1. Individuals who enter a business or receive services and are asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes;


  1. Individuals who are actively engaged in a public safety role such as a law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel;


  • Individuals who are officiating at a religious services, or


  • Individuals who are giving such a broadcast or an audience.


  1. The Stay at Home Order issued on March 25, 2020 remains in full force and effect as originally promulgated.


  1. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Order shall become effective at 11:59 p.m. on July 71, 2020 and will continue until it is no longer necessary as deemed by the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council.


{signed by Vice Chairman, Cheryl A. Frost, July 17, 2020}



20200717 – SUIT Face Mask Order

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Southern Ute Indian Tribe provides status update on reopening plans


Christine Sage, Chairman – 970.563.0100

Amy Barry, SUIT IMT PIO – 970.563.2281


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 30, 2020 – 9:45 A.M.


Southern Ute Indian Tribe provides status update on reopening plans


Southern Ute Indian Reservation, Colo. – The Southern Ute Indian Tribe Incident Management Team (IMT) has been working hard over the last few weeks to develop reopening plans to implement a phased return to work for tribal employees.  The IMT has continued to closely monitor national, regional, and local increases in demand to relax social distancing restrictions, closures, and modifications to work practices.  We understand the pressure is rooted in concern over the emotional and economic toll caused by the pandemic.  Individuals may have experienced frustration and even grief about the loss of opportunity to enjoy the “normal” activities of life. While we continue to take the utmost caution, it is important that we prepare for the “new normal,” beginning with plans to reopen when the health risks to the tribal membership and staff are drastically reduced.


Reopening plans are currently in draft form.  A final plan will be approved before relaxation of any orders or work modifications could begin.  There is no guaranteed timeline for this event, and the phased reopening is dependent on the status and spread of COVID-19. The planning process is a proactive preparation and no implementation schedule has been developed or approved.


Many state and local jurisdictions have made the decision to reopen and return to normal activity levels more quickly than the Southern Ute IMT and Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council.  A disturbing trend has begun to emerge nationally over the last 2 weeks.  More than half of states are experiencing significant increases in the number of new cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19.  It is well documented that Arizona is rapidly approaching a crisis level in both those metrics, setting records for new cases almost daily.  In the last week, both Colorado and New Mexico have shown increases in new cases as compared to the previous week.  The United States, as a whole, has continued to see a rise in new cases.


Neither Tribal Council, nor the IMT, can ignore these trends; therefore, we must reiterate the tribal “Stay at Home” Order is still in effect until further notice.  The highest priority of Tribal Council and the Southern Ute IMT is the health and welfare of tribal members and staff.   The Tribe is quite fortunate to have avoided the virus and its effects, both known and unknown, unlike individuals who reside in San Juan County, NM or on the Navajo Nation.  A few hastily made decisions could potentially have a devastating impact to the Tribe in a matter of days, or weeks. The Southern Ute IMT has been scrutinizing both national and regional trends in new cases and hospitalizations, which appear to be correlated with reopening too early and failing to maintain safe hygiene practices and expectations for social distancing and appropriate face mask use.


Both the Tribal Council and IMT would hope the tribal membership and staff enjoy the upcoming holiday, but must emphasize that everyone do so safely. Please wear face masks in public.  Wash and sanitize your hands frequently.  Avoid group activities.  Stay at home when possible.  Maintain social distance of at least six feet when you must go out.  Please remember we all play a part in the overall safety of others.


The Southern Ute IMT has, and will continue to collect, organize, and evaluate all pertinent data on a daily basis to make safe and informed decisions. When the data clearly shows that we can relax the “Stay at Home” Order and implement an approved return to work program safely, we will clearly communicate any reopening plan and then execute said plan with prowess. The Southern Ute IMT will also announce notable changes in the Tribe’s position on reopening and any other important COVID-19 information. Please continue to observe the tribal websites, Southern Ute Drum website, tribal social media and listen to KSUT Tribal Radio for updated information.


If you have questions related to COVID-19 or modified tribal operations, please call the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s COVID-19 Call Center at 970.563.0214. The Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The Call Center will be closed Friday, July 3, 2020 in observance of the Independence Day holiday.


If you are sick, self-isolate. If your symptoms worsen call your healthcare provider. Tribal members and Southern Ute Health Center patients can call the Health Center at 970.563.4581 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins will not be permitted for the health and safety of patients and staff. Please first call to schedule your appointment and then call upon your arrival.


Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during these challenging times.  Please remain safe.




20200630 – Southern Ute Indian Tribe provides status update on reopening plans v3