The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation asks for your support to oppose Utah Congressman Rob Bishop in his ongoing efforts to: systematically erradicate Tribal Reservation Homelands; limit the United States trust responsibility to Tribes; limit the advancement of Tribal water settlements in Congress; and alter the federal recognition process of Tribes to make it a political process.
Examples of Rep. Bishop’s actions on these matters include:
- Rep. Bishop’s H.R. 3764, Tribal Recognition Act of 2015: an attempt by Congress to control and politicize the recognition of Indian Tribes.
- House Natural Resource Committee Memorandum on Tribal Water Settlements - Rep. Bishop is attempting to wrest control over Indian water rights from the Executive Branch to his House Committee on Natural Resources, so he can take away tribal water rights.
- In total disregard of the Judicial branch of the U.S. Government and of Indian Sovereignty, Rep Rob Bishop has introduced H.R. 5780, The Utah Public Lands Initiative.
- H.R. 5780, The Utah Public Lands Initiative would take more than 100,000 acres of the Ute Indian Tribe’s Reservation Lands for the State of Utah.
- Not since the late 1800’s has Congress attempted to take Indian lands that were reserved as tribal homelands.
- These 100,000 acres are within the oil and gas rich Uintah Basin, the very resources that the Tribe uses to fund its government, provide for its members and support the local and regional economy.
- These lands are currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), but are still Indian lands as Congress has never taken Indian title to these lands.
- The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has repeatedly held that these lands, the Tribe’s Uncompahgre Reservation, has never been diminished nor disestablished. The Supreme Court twice refused to overturn this holding.
- Contrary to claims from Congressman Bishop and the State, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has admonished the State and local governments from continuing to pursue their claims.
- The Utah Public Lands Initiative would also violate federal law and the federal-tribal trust relationship by increasing state, county and local government decision-making and jurisdiction over another 300,000 lands within the Ute Indian Tribe’s Reservation.
- The Ute Indian Tribe’s 4.5 million acre Reservation makes up 26% of the land area of the 7 counties involved in the Utah Public Lands Initiative.