Letter from CCIA Executive Director
Thank you for visiting Colorado Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne's Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs website. Our office has the unique opportunity to serve as the official liaison between the Southern Ute Indian and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes and the State of Colorado. The State and sovereign tribal government relationship is founded on a solid government-to-government relationship. The Commission ensures direct contact with the Tribes and also with Colorado’s urban Indian communities.
As Executive Director of the Commission, I am committed to facilitating communication between the Southern Ute Indian and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribes and other American Indian organizations, state agencies, and affiliated groups. Our ongoing goal is to positively impact the lives of Colorado’s American Indians and communities statewide.
Our office is available to assist you in navigating state government, contacting the Lieutenant Governor and other state officials, applying to serve on a state board or commission, and more. Please search and navigate this website and let us know what you think!
We welcome your questions and comments, please contact us.
Again, thank you for your time and hope to see you soon – Towaoc!
Ernest House, Jr.
Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Member
Representatives from the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes have a direct line of communication to the Lt. Governor’s office. Here, during the December 2013 quarterly meeting, former Lt. Governor Garcia takes notes as Executive Director Ernest House, Jr. explains upcoming legislation affecting tribal communities.
History of CCIA
In 1976, the Colorado General Assembly created the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA) within the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. The Commission was designed to be the official liaison between the two Ute Tribes and the State of Colorado. The Commission is fully committed to work on a government-to-government basis with each of the two Tribal governments and to maintain direct contact with the Tribes and urban Indian communities. Specific duties of CCIA are outlined in the Mandated Responsibilities:
CCIA Enabling Statute, C.R.S. 24-44-101 et seq. statutory duties are set forth at C.R.S. 24-44-103. It is the duty of the commission
- To coordinate intergovernmental dealings between tribal governments and this state;
- To investigate the needs of Indians of this state and to provide technical assistance in the preparation of plans for the alleviation of such needs;
- To cooperate with and secure the assistance of the local, state, and federal governments or any agencies thereof in formulating and coordinating programs regarding Indian affairs adopted or planned by the federal government so that the full benefit of such programs will accrue to the Indians of this state;
- To review all proposed or pending legislation and amendments to existing legislation affecting Indians in this state;
- To study the existing status of recognition of all Indian groups, tribes, and communities presently existing in this state;
- To employ and fix the compensation of an executive secretary of the commission, who shall carry out the responsibilities of the commission;
- To petition the general assembly for funds to effectively administer the commission's affairs and to expend funds in compliance with state regulations;
- To accept and receive gifts, funds, grants, bequests, and devices for use in furthering the purposes of the commission;
- To contract with public or private bodies to provide services and facilities for promoting the welfare of the Indian people;
- To make legislative recommendations;
- To make and publish reports of findings and recommendations.
Structure of CCIA
The Lieutenant Governor serves in the statutory role as chair of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs. CCIA is proud to have 11 voting commissioners and several non-voting members who represent various interests within the Native American community.
Additionally, CCIA has four main committees:
- Economic Opportunities and Resources
- Health and Wellness
For more information about CCIA’s committees, please visit the committees' Initiatives page.
List of CCIA Members
- Donna Lynne
CCIA Chairperson | Lt. Governor
Lt. Governor's Office
- Harold Cuthair
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
- Juanita Plentyholes
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
Southern Ute Indian Tribe
Southern Ute Indian Tribe
County and Tribal Liason
CO. Dept. of Human Services
CO. Dept. of Natural Resources
CO. Dept. of Public Health & Environment
Southwest Regional Manager
CO. Dept. of Local Affairs
Spirit of the Sun
Sheldon Spotted Elk
Casey Family Programs
Ex-Officio (non-voting) Members
- Ernest House Jr.
CCIA Executive Director
Office of the Lt. Governor
- Michael McVaugh
Region 5 Director
CO. Dept. of Transportation
- Georgina Owen
Title VI Coordinator
CO. Dept. of Education
CO. Dept. of Health Care Policy & Financing
- Kirk Machin
CO. Dept. of Corrections
- Steve Moore
Native American Rights Fund
- Steve Turner
- Boby Troyer
Acting U.S. Attorney
Colorado U.S. Attorney
- Elsa Ramirez
Acting Regional Director & Executive Officer
U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Region VIII
CO. Dept. of Regulatory Agencies
- Julie Westendorff
La Plata County
- Lori Haukeness
Montezuma-Cortez School District
- Dr. Rocco Fuschetto
Ignacio School District
- Tom Hooten
County Extension Director
- Jose Esquibel
Office of Community Engagement | Colorado Department of Law