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Ernest House Sr.

2015 Inductee

Ernest House Sr. (1945-  2011) served 31 years for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe as both Chairman and Councilman, and was one of the longest serving elected Tribal officials. A member of the Weeminuche Band and grandson of Chief Jack House, the Tribe’s last hereditary Chief, House Sr. was well known for his deep knowledge of Ute history.

Born and raised in Mancos Canyon on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation in southwestern Colorado, former Chairman House was a veteran of the Colorado Army National Guard, Special Forces  Airborne Group.

House’s leadership was defined by collaboration and communication with tribal, local, state, and federal officials. Throughout his tenure he advocated for tribal enterprise and helped develop tribal health facilities and initiatives in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. Under his leadership, the Dolores Water Project (1987) and Animas La Plata Water Project (2009) were completed, guaranteeing water to the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian tribes.

House worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and National  Park Service under the U.S. Department of the Interior and was instrumental in the implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act in Colorado, ensuring Native American remains and funerary objects are cared for and returned to Tribes.