The United States holds legal title to tribal lands “in trust” for the benefit of actual owners of the land, i.e. the tribe and its members. The secretary of the Interior has primary responsibility for administering Native American tribal assets.
Native American trust assets include the trust lands, natural resources found on these lands and income derived from the land and natural resources, i.e. trust funds. However, in 1936, under the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934, as amended by the act of June 15, 1935, that responsibility was given to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe to administer its tribal affairs, to preserve and increase its tribal resources.
It is therefore of key importance that the Tribal Council recognize the importance of its fiduciary responsibilities to the membership. Certainly, the Tribal Council must understand the concepts of responsible leadership, responsive government and oversight of tribal assets.
More importantly, there must be discernible difference between the candidates who must have more financial strengths and management depth than previous Tribal Council members.
Orville G. Hood