Ute Tribe won't stop work on center despite threat from city

The Ute Tribe is planning to build a community center near the intersection of 100 South and 100 East in Myton, Utah. Image from Google Maps

The Ute Tribe won't stop work on a new community center in the city of Myton, Utah.

The tribe started clearing the site last month in preparation for the 4,600-square-foot building. Valentina Sireech, the marketing director for Ute Tribal Enterprises, said the land falls within reservation boundaries.

The city believes otherwise. Without local approval, the city is threatening to demolish the structure if it doesn't meet state and local codes.

Maps show Myron lies within the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. But local and state officials have repeatedly claimed that the reservation has been diminished and they have been at odds with the tribe on jurisdiction, law enforcement and other issues.

"According to the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the land on which the tribe is building the local community center is owned by the United States in trust for the Ute Indian Tribe," the tribe said in the February 13 issue of the Ute Bulletin. "Although the building site is located within the original Myton Townsite, the land in question was never included as part of the public domain that was opened to non-Indian settlement in 1905; instead the land was explicitly reserved for the Ute Indians."

"Because the lot meets the definition of 'Indian country' under federal law, it is not subject to Utah state law or Myton municipal ordinances," the tribe said.

The new center would replace a dilapidated one the tribe has operated in Myton. The tribe received $2.7 million from the Uintah Basin Revitalization Fund for the project.

Get the Story:
Myton orders Ute Tribe to stop work on tribal community center (The Salt Lake Tribune 2/17)
Court rulings question legality of community center (The Uintah Basin Standard 2/17)

Related Stories:
Ute Tribe asks DOI to intervene in jurisdiction dispute with state (10/09)

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