indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Opinion: Southern Ute Tribe sees success in energy industry

Filed Under: Environment | Opinion
More on: colorado, economic development, energy, southern ute
     


Southern Ute Tribe headquarters in Ignacio, Colorado. Photo from Southern Ute Tribe

Writer says the Southern Ute Tribe in Colorado has shown how energy development can bring a positive impact in Indian Country:
Amidst all the negativity one often reads about the predicament of indigenous communities worldwide, particularly with reference to extractive industries investments on their land, it is important to consider some ingredients of successful stories as well. The Southern Ute Indian Reservation in southwestern Colorado presents some cause for optimism about how extractive industries — in this case coal-bed methane (or coal-seam gas as it is called in Australia and the UK) — can potentially serve a constructive purpose when handled with care and good governance.

The reservation covers an area of 1,059 square miles, with the tribal headquarters located in Ignacio, Colorado. The Tribe is relatively small, with only slightly more than 1,400 tribal members, 1,000 of whom reside on the reservation. Unemployment is lower than the national average for Native residents of reservations, and at $20,400, per capita income is sharply higher than the national Native reservation resident level of $11,400. Half of the 1,500 tribal government employees are enrolled Southern Ute tribal citizens.

This remarkably innovative community is among the most successful tribal natural resources developers, estimated in 1994 to produce 82 percent of the nation’s coalbed methane gas within the borders of the Tribe’s southwestern Colorado reservation.108 In leveraging their role as both mineral titleholder and regulatory authority, the Southern Ute have cultivated “thick” internal capacity and diversified their business interests. Deliberate financial forethought and independent leadership have solidified a degree of “financial sovereignty” yet unrealized by any other major extractive tribe; the self-created Growth Fund and Permanent Fund are reported to have had combined unrestricted cash and investments as of 2012 of $1.88 billion, with a AAA rating by Fitch Ratings.

Such extraordinary success is by no means formulaic. The leadership of Chairman Leonard Burch, who, when first elected, was the youngest leader to hold that office, set a vision and laid a path by which the Southern Ute were able to transition from a passive relationship with the federal agencies in which the Tribe acted merely as a mineral lessor for tribal trust minerals. The alternative path taken by Southern Ute has been to be the active and authoritative force in the development of reservation resources, a force that private companies have come to respect and work with to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. As noted by High Country News, “The Southern Ute have achieved cultural, environmental, and economic self-determination through energy self-determination—a feat rarely accomplished, whether by Indians or non-Indians”.

Get the Story:
Saleem Ali: Methane and the Transformation of an Indigenous Community in Colorado (National Geographic News Watch 6/16)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
First Lady Michelle Obama shares story of hope with Indian school (5/26)
Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Santa Fe Indian School (5/26)
Gary Davis of NCAIED joins Small Business Administration council (5/26)
Arne Vainio: A mother's gift carried me through many life journeys (5/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes score big in fights against energy projects (5/26)
Lakota Country Times: Education Secretary hears from Pine Ridge (5/26)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ending Whiteclay beer sales starts at home (5/26)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux youth lead efforts to bring relatives home (5/26)
Gyasi Ross: Drug epidemic sweeping through Native communities (5/26)
Jacqueline Keeler: Shameful and skewed poll on racist NFL name (5/26)
Interview with Melvin Monette about Cobell scholarship program (5/26)
Auction house in France won't stop sale of sacred tribal property (5/26)
United Keetoowah Band installs new leader after impeachment (5/26)
Kewa Pueblo builds new community around historic trading post (5/26)
Eastern Cherokee elder translates 'Charlotte's Web' into Tsalagi (5/26)
Puyallup Tribe works to keep language alive for new generations (5/26)
Iowa Tribe offers free play on poker website ahead of full launch (5/26)
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe offers gaming options closer to home (5/26)
Kaw Nation receives national award for tribal gaming initiatives (5/26)
Indian Health Service reform efforts gaining steam on Capitol Hill (5/25)
Indian Health Service announces more hires at troubled hospital (5/25)
Keepseagle attorneys open application process for $38M in grants (5/25)
Three tribes enter cooperative agreements for buy-back program (5/25)
New leader selected for HUD's Office of Native American Programs (5/25)
Indian relay racers gear up for event hosted by Muckleshoot Tribe (5/25)
Cronkite News: Tribes seek return of property up for sale in France (5/25)
Native Sun News: Anti-suicide effort incorporates tribal traditions (5/25)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge youth showcase film projects (5/25)
Mark Trahant: Native vote victory for Tawna Sanchez in Oregon (5/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Lakota people come together in times of need (5/25)
Editorial: Tribes must come up with plan for return of Black Hills (5/25)
John McCoy: Disenrollment and blood quantum are not our way (5/25)
Adrian Jawort: Addressing race relations and healing in Montana (5/25)
Fort Peck Tribes oppose new directive on transgender students (5/25)
Leader of United Keetoowah Band ousted through impeachment (5/25)
Agua Caliente Band launches software development company (5/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair platform committee for GOP convention (5/25)
Cowlitz Tribe welcomes discussions with opponent over casino (5/25)
Little Traverse Bay Bands open doors to Class II gaming facility (5/25)
Tuolumne Band celebrates 15th birthday with casino expansion (5/25)
Former Winnebago Tribe casino employee denies theft charge (5/25)
Proposed rule brings LGBT equality to tribal housing programs (5/24)
Chairman of Quapaw Tribe endorses Democrat Hillary Clinton (5/24)
Appropriations bill blocks new federal recognition regulation (5/24)
Native American Children's Safety Act clears final Hill hurdle (5/24)
9th Circuit won't rehear Tohono O'odham Nation gaming case (5/24)
Lakota Country Times: Army promises return of tribal children (5/24)
Native Sun News: New business sprouts up at Wounded Knee (5/24)
Mark Trahant: Tulalip citizen lands role in Democratic platform (5/24)
Brandon Ecoffey: Pine Ridge unites for search of missing men (5/24)
Men who went missing found dead on Pine Ridge Reservation (5/24)
Billy Mills: Flawed poll can't justify use of team's racist mascot (5/24)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.