U renews agreement to keep ‘Ute’ name

Posted at 3:12 PM, Apr 15, 2014

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

“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.”