January 19, 2023
Chairman Manuel Heart, right-center, of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Chairman Melvin J. Baker of the Southern Ute Tribe attended the White House Tribal Nations Summit in Washington, D.C., with hundreds of other tribal leaders. (Courtesy Ute Mountain Tribe)

Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Chairmen Deliver First Annual Address to Colorado State Legislature

KSUT | By Clark Adomaitis

The chairmen of the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes delivered their first annual address to the Colorado State Legislature on January 11.

Ute Mountain Ute chairman Manuel Heart and Southern Ute chairman Melvin J. Baker spoke in Denver at the state capitol. This address is the first of its kind in Colorado for the sovereign tribal nations. A 2022 state Senate Bill, mandates that both tribes be invited annually to address the state legislature.

Last week, Chairman Heart and Chairman Baker spoke about a range of important tribal issues, including water rights, sports betting, and education.

"We have established the first state charter school on Indian Reservation the state of Colorado."

Manuel Heart acknowledged the Kwiyagat Community Academy in Towoac, which the tribe launched last year in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education. Heart said public schools students across the country should learn Native American history too.

"Today, American Indian history is not required in our public schools. In the curriculum, it is important that future generations are provided with this history and knowledge."

Chairmen Heart and Baker received standing ovations for their remarks.

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