The Chairman of the Ute Tribe Business Committee gave a powerful address during the Uintah Basin Energy Summit last week. The Ute Tribe has been a major oil and gas producer since 1940 and is one of the oldest tribes to be involved in extraction of fossil fuels. As explained by Chairman Shaun Chapoose, the tribal land is not public and it never will be but that does not mean the tribe is not willing to work with neighbors. “We, as the Tribe, and the County Commissioners have come a long way,” shared Chairman Chapoose. “We’re fully aware of the court battles, fully aware of the issues that arise in the Basin, the home of the Ute nation. We are aware that we have won but there is no reason to sit here and brag. It doesn’t change our circumstance.” Chairman Chapoose emphasized the resiliency of the Ute people and that they plan to face any obstacles including those before the oil and gas industry head on and invited the area leaders to join with them in the fight. “If we as a Basin and Tribe could unite, use our resources and expertise,” explained Chairman Chapoose,” who knows what the future holds for this Basin...It would be nice to have a relationship here in this Basin to be neighbors once again but my hand can only come out so far and if you’re not willing to take it, so be it.” In his address, Chairman Chapoose also emphasized his opposition to the Public Lands Initiative and the powerful position the Tribe retains as a sovereign nation.