Colorado lawmakers recognize contributions of Ute tribes

Friday, March 24, 2017 12:40 AM
Members of the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes were recognized Thursday at the state Legislature. Included in the delegation were the royalty of the Southern Ute Tribe: Alexandria Roubideaux, left, Dominic Goodtracks, center, and Lorraine Watts, right.

DENVER – Colorado lawmakers welcomed special guests from the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes to the capitol Thursday with the passage of a resolution recognizing their unique cultures and contributions to the state.

House Joint Resolution 1020, sponsored by the trifecta of lawmakers from the Southwest – Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, Rep. Marc Catlin, R-Montrose, and Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose – was read in the House and a delegation from the two tribes was recognized.

Tribal members in attendance included Chairman Clement Frost and two Southern Ute council members, Amy Berry and Adam Red, as well as Chairman Harold Cuthair of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe and council members Juanita Plentyholes, DeAnne House and Marissa Box.

Also in attendance was the Southern Ute royalty in full regalia.

Following the reading of the resolution several members of the House shared their experience with the tribes of Southwest Colorado.

Catlin said he has always been impressed by the tribes and their connection to the lands upon which they lived.

“The accomplishments of these people are incredible, from time immemorial they were the people who understood the lands,” he said. “They knew what the land needed, they knew what man needed from the land and they knew how to give back to the land. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from these Native Americans. They’ve done a great job of taking care of their people and of honoring their traditions.”

Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, said every time he is in the Southwest Colorado he finds himself drawn to tribal lands.

“I always stop by in Ignacio and try to contribute to the economy down there,” he said. “I seem to contribute a lot at the casinos for some reason though.”

Along with the visit to the Legislature, Chairman Frost said the delegation was in Denver for meetings, including one with representatives of the Ute Mountain Ute and Northern Ute tribes to discuss the status of the three tribes and consider programs that would promote growth.

The tribes also updated the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs on their accomplishments in the past year and what their focus would be for the future, Frost said.