Southern Ute Tribe Expands Hunting Onto Public Lands

Members of the Southern Ute Tribe have long hunted game on the Tribe's reservation land in southwest Colorado. Starting in 2009, Tribal hunters will begin pursuing quarry further afield -- they will hunt on public lands, exercising long-dormant rights under a century-old treaty with the federal government. Under the 1874 treaty known as the Brunot agreement, the Utes relinquished 4 million acres to the United States but retained the right to hunt on the land for "so long as the game lasts and the Indians are at peace with the white people."

One hundred thirty-four years later, the Southern Utes are invoking those rights. "It's really not as much about the animals as it is wanting to protect the treaty rights and the Tribe's sovereign authority," said Steve Whiteman, the Tribe's wildlife management director. Under the agreement, Tribal members don't have to acquire a state permit to hunt on public lands, and the Tribe will serve as the regulatory body overseeing the hunter’s activities. The 1,400-member Tribe's plans have prompted opposition among non-Native hunters, who fear the Southern Utes will hunt year-round or trespass on private land.

The Los Angeles Times has more details on the plan for hunting on public lands.

Find more information about the Southern Ute Tribe.

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Native American Legal Update - January 14, 2009 5:56 PM
Recent articles on this site have detailed a trend among Tribes to expand their wild game hunting activities beyond the boundaries of reservations. Tribal hunters in various regions are exerting long-held treaty rights and are pursuing game on land own...
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