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March 15, 2024

JOINT RELEASE: General Assembly Democrats Welcome Tribes for Annual Address

DENVER, CO – Today, the Colorado General Assembly was joined by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Southern Ute Indian Tribe for their annual State of the Tribes.

Chairman Manuel Heart of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Chairman Melvin J. Baker of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe detailed their top priorities, and how the legislature can support their tribes. SB22-105, sponsored by former Senator Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and Representative Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, created the annual Tribal Governments address to the General Assembly.

“Today marks the second historic address from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Southern Ute Indian Tribe,” said Senate President Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder. “Having an open line of communication is essential to our democratic process as we craft legislation that impacts all Coloradans, including our tribes. As we continue our work to move Colorado forward, today’s remarks are a welcome call for us to reflect on the nature of Colorado’s relationship with our Tribal partners, and a chance to reaffirm our dedication to sincere collaboration in the weeks and months ahead.”

"It was a privilege to welcome back leaders of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and learn more about issues facing their communities," said House Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. "We know when everyone has a seat at the table better policies are formed, and the second annual address by our Tribal partners reaffirms our government-to-government relationship. I'd like to thank Chairman Manuel Heart and Chairman Melvin J. Baker for joining us today and look forward to ongoing collaboration to uplift our Native American communities." 

“We are honored to welcome back Colorado’s federally recognized tribes after the success of last year’s historic address,” Senate Majority Leader Robert Rodriguez, D-Denver, said. “Their moving speeches and celebrations serve as an important reminder that it’s essential we support our Native American communities in the legislature. I look forward to continued dialogue and partnership as we uplift the priorities and concerns of the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes.”

“It is always an honor to hear from the leaders of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and today the General Assembly listened with an open ear as they outlined the priorities of their communities,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “The native Ute people were here long before Colorado was a state, and they deserve to have their voices heard and their needs addressed. This annual address helps us forge a path forward together to ensure we’re fostering a strong inter-governmental relationship.”

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