Ute Tribe, U. of U. reach new agreement over name

By Lya Wodraska and Matthew Piper, The Salt Lake Tribune

The University of Utah has reached a new agreement over its continued use of the Ute name and drum and feather logo for athletics teams, a university source tells The Tribune.

A memorandum of understanding that outlines collaborative efforts to encourage more Ute students to attend the school is expected to be signed by U. President David Pershing and Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee chairman Gordon Howell 11 a.m. Tuesday in Fort Duchesne. The university will not pay to use the name.

The Ute Tribal Business Committee sent a letter to the University of Utah late last year, requesting a meeting with the school. Attached to the letter was a resolution stating support for the school’s use of the Ute name and drum and feather logo, but also hopes to negotiate tuition waivers instead of scholarships for Ute Indian Tribe students.

The resolution further called for the creation of a special adviser to Pershing on American Indian Affairs, and to appoint a member of the Ute Indian Tribe in this role.

The current memorandum of understanding was established in 2005. U. Vice President Fred Esplin told The Tribune in November that the school and the tribe had been involved in ongoing discussions about the 2005 agreement, which was not immediately available to The Tribune late Monday.

Tuesday’s scheduled signing comes amid objections from within the U.’s own ranks over the school’s handling of diversity. Last week, assistant vice president for student equity and diversity Enrique Alemán resigned in part, he said, because he was accused of leaking the letter the U. received from the Ute Tribe.

Days earlier, chief diversity officer Octavio Villalpando resigned. Alemán said he was told Villalpando was being investigated for human resources issues.

A U. student group in December petitioned the school to drop ties with the tribe altogether, rather than continue to react to evolving notions of political correctness.

Even if handled delicately by the U., the teams’ association with American Indians leads to a problem of “education,” said Samantha Eldridge, a leader of the initiative and now a liaison for Native American Outreach in the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. Fans of the team must be told it is inappropriate to wear mock headdresses or paint their faces red at games.

“We are always going to get a negative, stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans,” Eldridge said Monday night. “We’re always going to get a new cohort of students attending the university who we are going to continually have to educate on what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior.”

Two American Indian Art Organizations Partner to Benefit Native Artists

Source: Native News Network

SANTA FE – The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts and the Institute of American Indian Arts have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue to improve and increase educational and professional opportunities available to American Indian artists at the Santa Fe Indian Market and IAIA. The partnership provides a formal framework for program collaboration and mutual services.

SWAIA COO Dr. John Nez and IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin

SWAIA COO Dr. John Nez and IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin


“It’s a no brainer. SWAIA and IAIA have long had aligned interests, and together, we will produce a positive environment for all Native artists,”

says Dr. John Torres Nez, Chief Operating Officer of SWAIA.

“It’s a way of highlighting the positive impact that IAIA has had on SWAIA in terms of the number of alumni participating in Indian Market,”

IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin says.

“It also highlights the importance of SWAIA in terms of providing a venue for our alums, faculty and staff to showcase and market their talents.”

Although IAIA focuses on contemporary art and media, while SWAIA promotes both traditional and novel art forms, both organizations seek to preserve Native American arts and culture and provide a supportive platform to their respective artists.

These changes will happen in the coming months: SWAIA and IAIA will co-host the State of Native Arts Symposium on Friday, August 16, and the Membership Breakfast in the Park on Saturday, August 17. Both events are part of Indian Market Week. SWAIA and IAIA are excited to present these programs, and eager to strengthen and increase collaboration in the future.

SWAIA is an advocate for Native American arts and cultures and creates economic and cultural opportunities for Native American artists by producing and promoting Santa Fe Indian Market Week, the finest American Indian art and cultural event in the world; cultivating excellence and innovation across traditional and non-traditional art forms; and developing programs and events that support, promote, and honor Native artists year round.

SWAIA is a non-profit organization, and keeps no portion of the sales made by artists during Santa Fe Indian Market Week.

For 50 years, the Institute of American Indian Arts has played a leading role in the direction and shape of Native expression. As it has grown and evolved into an internationally acclaimed college, museum and community and tribal support resource through the Center for Lifelong Education, IAIA’s dedication to the study and advancement of Native arts and cultures is matched only by its commitment to student achievement and the preservation and progress of the communities they represent.