Letter to Senator Orrin Hatch, (R)Utah
As I mentioned in my last Letter to you, our Lawsuit- Felter V. Kempthorne in now before the United States Federal Court in the District of Columbia. This not a frivolous suit; rather this is an effort to reverse years of abuse and neglect that have resulted in me and my people living unnecessarily in poverty and hardship and hanging onto one small shred of hope for overcoming the burdens placed on them by the premature termination of their Federal Trust Status.
I understand how reluctant you must be to introduce legislation to rectify the wrong that has been done by the Ute Partiton Act. Certainly you would not want to take such a step without first satisfying yourself that the evidence is legitimate, clear, and convincing. With that in mind, I invite you to come for a visit; meet the people here who are living under the dark cloud of termination. See what has resulted from the implementation of a Policy that was so ill-conceived that it was revoked and rescinded for virtually every other group it was imposed upon “except the mixed-blood Uintas.” Study the evidence that proves we were subjected to termination in a “backroom exchange deal” that allowed some members of the Tribe to remain “un-terminated” at the expense of hundreds who were forcibly and mercilessy subjected to the “enlightened” policy of termination - a policy that was foisted on them and on Congress in the most devious fashion imaginable.
We will happily make this information easily available for you and your staff to review; we have nothing to hide and we need your help. Senator Hatch, we have been harmed and shamed and damaged repeatedly. Our parents, siblings, and our children have suffered and died because of this policy, and the suffering continues even today. The courts have ignored our pleas because Congress has told them to. Congress has ignored our plight because they believe the information Senator Watkins furnished was accurate and sincere. Sir, that information was not accurate or sincere with Senator Watkins originally presented it, and it cannot and will not become so over time. The harm, however, is magnified with every passing day.
Senator Hatch, we need a champion, a hero, who can help us to help ourselves. We have seen all the good you can do when you see the need please make the effort to learn more, to understand better, to see the need to correct the record so it shows that the Ute Partition Act truly was enacted “against our will” and that the only right response to this problem is the one that “Repeals” the Ute Partiton Act, grants us the same tribal recognition, rights, and Federal Trust status we previously enjoyed as members of the Ute Tribe, and allows us to “Reclaim that which was stolen from us so long ago: Our Culture, Our Honor, and Our Livelihood.”
Thank you for your time and attention. I promise to keep you updated with developments as we continue our efforts to reverse the “racial and political discrimination imposed upon us,” and I promise to post your kind and thoughtful future responses on our Web site and in our Newsletters so everyone who is watching us will know how supportive you wish to be. I hope to learn very soon that you will be coming to visit us and to talk about ways we can work together to help even the lowliest and most needy citizens of Utah.
Again Thank You for responding to my Letter.
Our Web Site is: www.undeclaredutes.net
Lead Plaintiff, Felter v. Kempthorne