U renews agreement to keep ‘Ute’ name

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FORT DUCHESNE -- The University of Utah and the Ute Indian tribe have renewed their agreement that will allow the school to continue using the name “Utes” for its sports teams.

The agreement was signed Tuesday by David Pershing, president of the U and Gordon Howell, chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee, at an event in Fort Duchesne – headquarters of the Ute tribe.

“The Tribe applauds the University’s commitment to respecting the Ute name and culture and to using the name in a manner that accounts for and promotes the interests of the Tribe,” Howell said. “This agreement will do a lot to promote positive educational opportunities for Ute and other American Indian youth and will enhance the positive working relationship between the Tribe and the University.”

Points of the agreement are:

-Term is for five years and will be reviewed annually.

-The tribe gives the University full support for the University’s use of the Ute name.

-The University commits to funding scholarships for American Indian students, including a permanent scholarship category for Ute tribal members.

-The University will work with the tribe to create enrichment and educational opportunities for tribal youth with the aim of encouraging, inspiring and supporting them to lead healthy lives and to pursue post-secondary education.

-The University will appoint with approval from the Utah Tribal Leaders Council, a special advisor to the president on Native American affairs, who will serve as liaison between tribal leaders and the University.

To view the full memorandum of understanding visit http://admin.utah.edu/ute-mou.

“The University is honored to be allowed to continue using the Ute name, which the school has done with Ute Tribe support since 1972,” said David Pershing, University president. “We have pledged to do so with the utmost respect, recognizing that the Ute name is at the core of the cultural identity of the Tribe and its members. In return, we are working actively with the Trive to promote and support access to higher education among its members.”


  • Mary

    How about just being honored to have a University named after your Tribe. Why do they need special privileges for “letting” the University use their name? And please don’t accuse me of being racist or some such. I justvthink it’s enough just to have the honor of having something named after you.

  • Brandy

    I feel that it is about time non Native Americans be responsible for using a tribes name. It is in the very essence to ask for permission first before using a name, idea or anything else that is not yours. I’m sure we have all been taught this as a child. This particular action is no different. People patent and copyright ideas, names and so forth everyday. If they would like to use such, they must first ask for permission and I am sure that many times, they must abide by whatever it is that the copywriter sets forth. It is just the same as the MOU set here. It only seems different to a mind because it is new and the Ute Tribe has finally set up guidelines in using their name. This should have been set along time ago. Now, it is very simple and easy to say, “Why do they need special privileges for letting the University use their name?” when it is not your name being used, but I am sure if you had something that rightfully belonged to you that was being used without your permission or guidelines being met, you very well would make sure an agreement is set in place.

    • jaycee

      Couldn’t have said it better myself!
      I am an enrolled member of the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray reservation, and I am happy to hear the tribe and the school are working together!

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