Published September 27, 2017
DUCHESNE UTAH — The Business Committee of the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ourah Reservation held a press conference on Monday, September 25, 2017, to welcome Dr. Christine Sleeter to the reservation and to thank her for her generous act of conscience.
Dr. Sleeter announced that she will be “returning what was stolen,” as she phrased it, turning over monies she inherited from Ute Tribe land sales in the early 1900s. Dr. Sleeter’s ancestors homesteaded in the area just outside of Craig, Colorado in about 1881, the same period that the Ute Tribe was being expelled from Colorado.
Dr. Sleeter’s great-grandparents sold that land and bought up property in what was becoming Steamboat Springs. That land was eventually sold in the early 1900s and profits were invested. The estimated amount being returned to the Ute Tribe by Dr. Sleeter today is $250,000.
Dr. Sleeter hopes that other individuals or families who inherited monies from Indian land sales will follow her example in “returning what was stolen.” The Ute Indian Tribe will be receiving Dr. Sleeter’s transfer of funds and current plans are to invest in the improvement of some of the tribal educational facilities.
According to her biography website, Christine E. Sleeter, PhD. (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1982) is Professor Emerita in the College of Professional Studies at California State University Monterey Bay, where she was a founding faculty member.
People tend to think about Indian history ending with the Battle of Little Big Horn or some other romantic version of the past. Indian history, however, continues today and what Professor Sleeter is showing with her “returning what was stolen” is that we must make an effort to reverse the harmful impact of this legacy of stealing from the Indians.The United States has been built from the tremendous wealth of the land and resources stolen from Native Americans, yet tribal communities remain some of the poorest places in America.
The United States is permanently stained by this legacy of crimes against the Indians and only if the nation acts in this manner, to attempt some forms of concrete reparations to Indian tribes, will it then be able to emerge from this black cloud in the nation’s storied history. The attempts to keep the Indians down continue to this day and Professor Sleeter hopes to help reverse this. She hopes that others follow her example and the Ute Indian Tribe hopes the Federal government in particular, sees this and makes more serious,
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