December 16, 2022
Ute Mountain Chairman Manuel Heart, (right center) and Councilman Alston Turtle, (left center) attended the White House Tribal Nations Summit in Washington, D.C., with hundreds of other tribal leaders. (Courtesy Ute Mountain Tribe)

Ute Mountain Ute tribe calls on Federal Government to add land to the Reservation

KSUT | By Clark Adomaitis

Ute Mountain Ute chairman Manuel Heart is calling on the federal government to designate a 20,000-acre ranch in Gunnison as reservation land.

The Ute Mountain Ute tribe owns seven ranches in Colorado and Utah that tribal members use for cattle grazing and hunting. Currently those ranches have “unrestricted fee land status,” which means they’re subject to taxes.

The Journal reports that the tribe wants the 20,000-acre Pinecrest Ranch in Gunnison to be designated as Ute Mountain Ute reservation trust land. The ranch is some 200 miles from the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation.

According to Heart, trespassing on the ranch is an issue. And he said local law enforcement officers have told the tribe they lack jurisdiction to enforce the law on tribal land.

To add the Pinecrest ranch land to the reservation, the tribe must complete an application with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and complete a survey of the land’s boundaries.

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