Letter: Comment about Utes

Dear Editor:
Thank you for your articles covering the proposed Ute Casino in the Dinosaur, Colorado area. I do have concerns about a couple of comments made by Mayor Joseph Nielsen. In one article he is quoted as saying the Utes are difficult to work with. I have personal experience working with the Utes and yes, in the beginning it was difficult. It took time to develop trust. Once we developed a trusting relationship, I found the Utes pleasurable and professional to work with. It was challenging at times but rewarding. I still have many friends who live on the Uintah/Ute Reservation.
In the latest article Mayor Nielsen is quoted again saying, “We don’t want to see Northern Utes having a seat at the table in Colorado.” I am curious as to why we would not want them at the table. The Southern Utes and the Ute Mountain Utes have a seat at the table. They are our neighbors and friends. What makes the Northern Utes not fit in Nielsen’s eyes?
The communities of Meeker and Rangely are always looking for ways to diversify their economies and opportunities. There are many communities in the nation who are partners with their local tribes and those partnerships result in strong cultural heritage tourism. Some of those partnerships are right here in Colorado. It might benefit both Meeker and Rangely to develop the same types of partnerships. Thanks again for your coverage.
Liz Hahnenberg
Grand Junction