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From Press Release

Joint announcement inks deal for new, 5-year term 

SALT LAKE CITY —The University of Utah and the Ute Indian Tribe have renewed their memorandum of understanding allowing the university’s sports teams to continue using the name “Utes.” The university has used the name with the full support of the tribe since 1972.

“The Ute Indian Tribe is pleased to continue its partnership with the University of Utah,” said Luke Duncan, Chairman of the Ute Indian Tribal Business Committee. “This agreement renews our shared commitment to building genuine respect and understanding of our tribe’s history, as well as our goal to support our youth in pursuing their education.” 

A key part of the agreement is a continuation of the university’s Ute Proud education campaign (more at uteproud.utah.edu) that explains Ute Indian History and the Ute Indian Tribe’s cultural and economic contributions to the state. The campaign also educates sports fans about inappropriate behaviors that dishonor the Ute and other Native American populations. 

“We are honored to continue using the Ute name and we acknowledge the special responsibility our athletes and fans bear to the Ute Indian Tribe,” said Mark Harlan, University of Utah athletics director. “Ute history is Utah history. We look forward to carrying the name forward with understanding and respect toward our state’s namesake people.” 

Major points of the agreement: 

  • The university will continue to support Ute Indian students and other federally recognized American Indian students while attending the university. 
  • The university will provide annual financial support to the Tribe and other support to enhance K12 education at Fort Duchesne.
  • The university will continue to support and promote campus events to raise awareness of American Indian culture, such as the annual campus Powwow and Native American Month. 
  • Educational materials about the Ute Indian Tribe will be added to first-year student orientation and made available at the university’s American Indian Resource Center. 
  • The university will continue the tradition of Ute Proud games during the football, basketball, and gymnastics seasons.

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