Tribal land issues pressed
January 19, 2018
A group involved in American Indian issues like the future of Bears Ears National Monument in Southern Utah plans to raise money and provide information about those topics in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival, the second consecutive year of American Indian activism during the festival.
The Ute Indian Tribe Political Action Committee, often referred to as the Ute PAC, set up a small table on Main Street on Thursday, just hours before the festival started. Some of the festival passersby stopped at the table on Thursday afternoon to learn about the issues, talk to a representative of the political action committee and donate money.
Robert Lucero, the director of the Ute PAC, manned the table as people inquired about the cause. He said the table, which was outside the Main Street post office, will be at the location "scattered throughout the festival." The group also intends to participate in the Park City Respect Rally on Saturday morning at City Park.
Lucero said the funds raised during Sundance will be put toward educating people about Congressman Rob Bishop's stands on issues pressed by the Ute PAC, such as tribal sovereignty. The funds will be spent during the congressional elections in November. Bishop, Lucero said, disrespects American Indian tribes.
Bishop, a Republican whose district includes Park City and surrounding Summit County, is the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. It is a powerful position that gives Bishop an especially influential role in public-lands issues.
If the Democrats win the House of Representatives on Election Day, Bishop would lose his chairmanship when the new Congress is seated, Lucero noted.
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"He's not representing his constituents. He's not representing the tribes," Lucero said about the congressman, claiming Bishop instead supports the mining and oil industries.
Lucero said the Ute PAC wants to raise as much as $20,000 during Sundance, saying there has been broad support for the cause in Park City. More people will man the table starting on Jan. 26, he said.
The Ute PAC presence in 2018 follows a year after a march during Sundance centered on a separate American Indian issue, the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline in the Midwest. Up to 80 people participated in the demonstration, held on Main Street on the last day of the festival in 2017.