Ute Indian Tribe Protects Reservation Lands & Waters in Sweeping Federal Public Lands Bill Passed by Congress

Published March 3, 2019

DUSHESNE, Utah — Over the past year, the Ute Indian Tribe worked successfully to protect its Uintah and Ouray Reservation lands and waters from illegal land grabs and attacks by the State of Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), Congressman Bishop, Congressman Curtis and former Senator Hatch. The Tribe’s 4.5 million-acre Reservation in northeastern Utah was reserved as a homeland for the Ute Indian Tribe in treaties and agreements with the United States. The Tribe worked to educate the United States Congress about its homelands to prevent legislation from being included in S. 47, a sweeping federal public lands bill, that would take or impact the Tribe’s lands and waters.

On February 26, 2019, Congress passed S. 47 and the bill is now headed to the President’s desk where it is expected to be signed into law. The Tribe’s Business Committee is pleased that the United States Congress rejected proposals by SITLA, Bishop, Curtis and Hatch as illegal and improper attacks on the Tribe’s Reservation lands and waters. Congress refused to include these proposals and, in some cases, revised them to eliminate attacks on the Tribe’s Reservation.

The Business Committee stated, “For more than 100 years, bad actors in Utah and the Federal government have tried to take the lands and waters that we reserved in treaties and agreements with the United States. These attacks must end.” The Business Committee continued, “By rejecting these attacks and preventing their inclusion in S. 47, Congress is telling SITLA, Bishop, Curtis and Hatch that is time for all Utahns to work with the Ute Indian Tribe in partnership for a better future.”

The Ute Indian Tribe has forged lasting partnerships with many Utahns who understand the importance of responsible energy development as well as the value of a thriving recreational and tourism industry. The Business Committee appreciates the strong statements that the PEW Charitable Trust, the Wilderness Society and others made to Congress in support of the Tribe’s Reservation lands and resources. The Ute Indian Tribe, Utah’s oldest residents, will continue to work with these and other partners to bring prosperity to the State while protecting its sacred and valuable homelands.

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