Pearl Casias

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Pearl Casias at Colorado State University, Native American Cultural Center

Pearl Casias has lived on the Southern Ute reservation her entire life and is dedicated to seeing through Tribal rights, sovereignty, and the future success of her people. As a former Council Member and Tribal Judge,[1] she has enacted and helped pass several key pieces of legislation that contributed to the prosperity the Tribe currently enjoys. Ute Tribal Traditions are enormously important to her and it is her hope to see them last through future generations; as she carefully balances this with technological adaptations into the 21st century, trying to maintain these customs as well as continuing to move forward and thrive as a people.[citation needed]


She is quoted as saying; “The Southern Ute Indian Tribe (Tribe) embarked on a strategy of taking control of its natural resources for the benefit of our tribal members. In the interim, the Tribe has become a major producer of natural gas in the United States, and along the way has earned “AAA” ratings from national credit rating agencies,[2] to the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “I’m on cloud nine...its phenomenal that in six years we were able to pull this off,"[3] Casias said in a statement after the Tribe was awarded the AAA credit rating, the first American Indian Nation to earn the rare rating.


In 2011 Casias was elected as the first Chairwoman in the history of Southern Ute Tribal council;[4] a symbol of the traditional egalitarian ways the Utes experienced prior to colonization.[5] The special election was held after former Chairman Matthew Box resigned. Her integrity, experience, and dedication to her people, make her an excellent envoy of the esteemed Southern Ute Tribe. Clement J. Frost has preceded her as chairperson.[6] Her dedication to Tribal sovereignty has led her to do consulting work for other Tribes after she retired.[7]


  1. ^ "Southern Ute Indian Tribe - Council Members". Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  2. ^ Casias, Pearl E. (1 December 2011). "Deficit Reduction and Job Creation: Regulatory Reform in Indian Country". United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Oversight Hearing. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Draper, Electa (8 June 2001). "Southern Utes get rare AAA bond rating" (PDF). Denver Post Four Corners Bureau. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Scofield, Heather (13 April 2011). "S. Ute tribe swears in first woman leader". The Durango Herald. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Southern Ute Indian Tribe - History of the Southern Ute". Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  6. ^ "The Southern Ute Drum". 2012-06-14. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  7. ^ "Indigenous Materials Institute" (PDF). Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, & Museums. Retrieved 15 January 2013.