Ute Tribe asks DOI to intervene in jurisdiction dispute with state

A view of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah. Photo from Ute Tribe

The Ute Tribe wants the Interior Department to intervene in a jurisdiction dispute with the state of Utah.

The tribe is accusing Randy Hunter, an assistant attorney general for the state, of making "overtly racist and patently offensive" statements at a recent court hearing. He referred to tribal members as "these people," according to a press release.

"The tribe’s outreach to the Department of the Interior was prompted by the state of Utah’s attempts to curtail long-standing judicial precedent regarding sovereignty and tribal jurisdiction," the press release stated.

In a brief to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Hunter also described the reservation as a "lawless zone where there is no law enforcement against tribal drunken drivers." The tribe wants his words and actions condemned.

"We will review the allegations and take appropriate actions, if warranted," a spokesperson for Attorney General Sean Reyes told The Deseret News in response to the tribe's complaints.

The tribe and the state have been at odds over the boundaries of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation and whether the state has jurisdiction over certain areas.

Get the Story:
Ute Tribe accuses assistant A.G. of making 'overtly racist' statements (The Deseret News 10/9)

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Ute Tribe sues county over arrest within reservation border (12/10)
Ute Tribe accuses county of overstepping criminal jurisdiction (5/2)

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