Ute Indian Tribe criticizes Biden monument on ancestral land

Oct 13, 2022, 4:50 AM | Updated: 4:54 pm
President Joe Biden signs a proclamation to designate the first national monument of his administra...

President Joe Biden signs a proclamation to designate the first national monument of his administration at Camp Hale, a World War II-era training site, the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument, on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Camp Hale, Colo. The monument is to honor the 10th Mountain Division soldiers who trained there to fight in Italy in World War II. (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)

(Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)

              Vegetation grows near the remnants of the deteriorating field house at Camp Hale near Vail, Colo., on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022. The camp was where soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division trained in the harsh, wintry conditions of the Rocky Mountains in preparation for fighting in the Italian Alps during World War II.   (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)
            
              Remnants of the deteriorating field house at Camp Hale near Vail, Colo., on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022. The camp was where soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division trained in the harsh, wintry conditions of the Rocky Mountains in preparation for fighting in the Italian Alps during World War II.   (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)
            
              Supporters line the road as President Joe Biden's motorcade passes en route to Camp Hale near Leadville, Colo., Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
            
              Crowd members listen as President Joe Biden speaks before designating the first national monument of his administration at Camp Hale, a World War II era training site, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, near Leadville, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
            
              President Joe Biden, center, joins other speakers on stage before Biden designated the first national monument of his administration at Camp Hale, a World War II era training site, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, near Leadville, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
            
              President Joe Biden talks and hugs with Eagle County Veterans Service Officer Pat Hammon before designating the first national monument of his administration at Camp Hale, a World War II era training site, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, near Leadville, Colo. (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)
            
              President Joe Biden signs a proclamation to designate the first national monument of his administration at Camp Hale, a World War II-era training site, the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument, on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Camp Hale, Colo. The monument is to honor the 10th Mountain Division soldiers who trained there to fight in Italy in World War II. (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)
            
              Deteriorated buildings at Camp Hale near Vail, Colo., on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022. The camp was where soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division trained in the harsh, wintry conditions of the Rocky Mountains in preparation for fighting in the Italian Alps during World War II.   (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)
            Public land advocates, Susie Kincade and Bradley Noone, hike at Camp Hale near Vail, Colo., on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022. The camp was where soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division trained in the harsh, wintry conditions of the Rocky Mountains in preparation for fighting in the Italian Alps during World War II.   (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah-based Native American tribe that frequently has sparred with President Joe Biden criticized the White House again for not adequately consulting its leaders ahead of this week’s creation of a national monument on ancestral lands in Colorado.

The Ute Indian Tribe is one of three Ute tribes in the U.S. West that share ancestral ties but operate independently. Representatives from the other two in Colorado — the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute — were on board with the plan and attended Wednesday’s ceremony with Biden but didn’t speak on stage.

Biden and others addressed the significance of the land to tribes at length, and the White House’s official proclamation included a mention of Ute burial sites in the area.

But the Ute Indian Tribe, which has nearly 3,000 members on lands in an area known for oil and gas operations in eastern Utah, claimed in a news release issued late Wednesday night that it wasn’t on board with the plan.

Shaun Chapoose, chairman of the tribe’s Business Committee, which serves as its governing body, said Thursday that his tribe was only made aware that a new monument was under consideration a week ago in a phone call with the White House. He said his tribe asked for time to assess the idea and provide feedback.

But a week later, the administration informed the tribe the monument would be created this week at a ceremony in Colorado. Chapoose said he was invited and went to Colorado but left early after he says he was made to feel like an afterthought, put on the final bus and never told where to go.

“What frustrated us is that they didn’t want us there to comment, they wanted us there for the photo opp,” Chapoose said. “I don’t expect them to roll out a red carpet, but I expect a little common courtesy. If I’m just going to be one of the Indians that you want to photograph, I’m the wrong Indian to call.”

The chairs of both Colorado tribes supported the designation in letters to Biden sent Oct. 7. The letters were sent by Manuel Heart, chairman of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and Melvin J. Baker, chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council.

Baker noted that for centuries, the Camp Hale area was home to Ute people and remains culturally important to the Utes.

“It has been said that what a country saves is what a country chooses to say about itself. By preserving these areas of cultural importance to the Ute people, you are reflecting the significance of Native people and tribal nations to the history and progress of this country,” Baker said.

Biden administration officials met with each Ute tribe in the development of the proclamation. A senior administration official said the tribes expressed support – not opposition – to the monument. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. And representatives from all three tribes were invited to Wednesday’s event.

“We appreciate the strong support tribal leaders expressed in preserving the sacred lands of Camp Hale as a national monument during our conversations with them prior to the designation, and look forward to continuing that engagement with tribal leaders,” said White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan. He said the administration is committed to a requirement that any management decisions affecting the monument be made in consultation with tribes.

At Wednesday’s event near the Colorado ski town of Vail, Biden spoke primarily about the historic significance of the site being an old alpine training site where U.S. soldiers prepared for battles in the Italian Alps during World War II. But he also made time to speak about it once being home to tribes.

“I’m also honored to be joined by several tribal leaders here, because this is your progeny, this magnificent land,” Biden said. “These treasured lands tell the story of America. For thousands of years, tribal nations have been stewards of this sacred land, hunting game, foraging for medicinal plants, and maintaining a deep, spiritual bond with the land itself.”

The criticism comes as Biden tries to elevate issues of importance to Native Americans. He named Deb Haaland as Interior secretary, making her the first Native American to lead a U.S. Cabinet agency. Haaland’s selection was hailed as historic by Democrats and tribal groups who said it meant that Indigenous people would for the first time see a Native American lead the powerful department where decisions on relations with 574 federally recognized tribes are made.

Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, wasn’t at Wednesday’s ceremony, and her agency isn’t overseeing this new monument. The Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument, which covers more than 53,800 acres near the ski town of Vail, will protected and managed by the U.S. Forest Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Ute Indian Tribe has routinely has criticized the Biden administration.

The tribe rebuked Biden in the first days of his term over the oil and gas moratorium. They accused him of breaking a treaty between the tribe and the U.S. government, saying energy-producing tribes rely on development to fund governments and provide services to tribal members. Biden later clarified the rule didn’t apply to tribal lands.

It also claims the Biden administration hasn’t adequately consulted with the tribe on things like drought in the Colorado River basin and failed to give the tribe more control of land within its reservation boundaries.

The Ute Indian Tribe’s reservation — established before Utah became a state in 1896 — is the second-largest of any Native American tribe in the U.S., at more than 7,000 square miles (18,000 square kilometers). But the land is a checkerboard of ownership, and the Utes don’t control everything within the boundaries.

The Ute Indian Tribe is among tribes that have pushed the administration to move from a tribal consultation process that is often seen as a check-the-box exercise to one where tribes are looped in early in the development of federal actions and consent is required from tribes, as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The concept of free, prior and informed consent hasn’t gained widespread traction in the U.S.

Chapoose said his tribe had hoped the Biden administration would give more attention to his tribe’s need but that it has grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of consultation for the new monument.

“Maybe nobody else wants to say it, but we’re going to say it: We’re done, we’re tired, we’re not going to allow this to continue,” he said.

____

Associated Press writers Colleen Long in Los Angeles, Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff and James Anderson in Denver contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Batool Haidari, 37, talks during an interview with the Associated Press on a train taking her from ...
Associated Press

Afghan academic rebuilds life in Italy, dreams of returning

ROME (AP) — Batool Haidari used to be a prominent professor of sexology at a Kabul university before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. She taught mixed classes of male and female students, and helped patients struggling with gender identity issues. Her husband owned a carpet factory, and together they did their best to provide a […]
1 day ago
The Shchedryk youth choir performs a Christmas concert at Copenhagen’s Church of the Holy Spirit,...
Associated Press

Ukrainian youth choir defies war with messages of freedom

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — From a dank Kyiv bomb shelter to the bright stage lights of Europe’s theaters, a Ukrainian youth choir’s hymns in praise of freedom offer a kind of healing balm to its war-scarred members. The Shchedryk ensemble, described as Kyiv’s oldest professional children’s choir, were in the Danish capital this week for […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Friday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= Bishop Kelly 59, Caldwell 16 Centennial 55, Borah 46 Cole Valley 64, Marsing 10 Gooding 36, Wood River 20 Hillcrest 68, Bonneville 43 Jerome 55, Kimberly 39 Leadore 58, N. Gem 12 Nampa Christian 43, New Plymouth 22 Owyhee 52, Middleton 47 Post Falls 65, Sandpoint 55 Potlatch 54, Clearwater Valley 25 […]
1 day ago
Protesters shout slogans during a rally as they commemorate International Human Rights Day, Saturda...
Associated Press

Philippine protesters decry alleged injustices under Marcos

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Hundreds of people marched in the Philippine capital on Saturday protesting what they said was a rising number of extrajudicial killings and other injustices under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The protesters, led by a Philippines-based rights group, gathered at a public square in Manila before marching toward the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Friday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= Aberdeen 67, Centralia 38 Adna 71, Toledo 22 Annie Wright 47, Charles Wright Academy 2 Arlington 49, Snohomish 48 Bainbridge 48, North Kitsap 45 Black Hills 44, Tenino 25 Bonney Lake 61, Spanaway Lake 42 Bothell 59, Redmond 27 Burlington-Edison 72, Mount Vernon 47 Cashmere 54, La Salle 6 Central Valley 58, […]
1 day ago
FILE -Brandon Clark, behind, injured from the tornado, returns to his destroyed home for the first ...
Associated Press

Kentucky remembers tornado victims as rebuilding continues

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Chris Bullock has a lot to be grateful for as she decorates her new home for Christmas, after spending much of the past year in a camper with her family. One year ago Saturday, a massive tornado obliterated wide swaths of her Kentucky hometown of Dawson Springs, leaving her homeless after […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Ute Indian Tribe criticizes Biden monument on ancestral land