About Us

Thank you for visiting Colorado Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera's Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs website. Our office serves as the official liaison between the State of Colorado and the Southern Ute Indian and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes. The relationship between the State and sovereign tribal governments is founded on a strong government-to-government relationship. The Commission ensures direct contact with the Tribes and also with Colorado's urban Indian communities.

The Commission is committed to facilitating communication between the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the other 46 Historic Tribes of Colorado, American Indian organizations, state agencies, and affiliated groups. Our ongoing goal is to positively impact the lives of Colorado's American Indians and communities statewide. Our office is available to assist you in navigating state government, contacting the Lieutenant Governor and other state officials, applying to serve on a state board or commission, and more. Please search and navigate this website and let us know what you think!

We welcome your questions and comments, please contact us.

Lt. Governor Diane Primavera and Ute Royalty


Representatives from the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes have a direct line of communication to the Lt. Governor's office. Here, during the June 2019 quarterly meeting, Lt. Governor Diane poses with members of Ute Royalty before participating in the yearly Bear Dance Celebration.

History of CCIA

In 1976, the Colorado General Assembly created the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA) within the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. The Commission was designed to be the official liaison between the two Ute Tribes and the State of Colorado. The Commission is fully committed to work on a government-to-government basis with each of the two Tribal governments and to maintain direct contact with the Tribes and urban Indian communities. Specific duties of CCIA are outlined in the Mandated Responsibilities: CCIA Enabling Statute, C.R.S. 24-44-101. Statutory duties are set forth at C.R.S. 24-44-103.

CCIA Enabling Statute, C.R.S. 24-44-101 et seq. statutory duties are set forth at C.R.S. 24-44-103.

It is the duty of the commission

  • To coordinate intergovernmental dealings between tribal governments and this state,
  • To investigate the needs of Indians of this state and to provide technical assistance in the preparation of plans for the alleviation of such needs,
  • To cooperate with and secure the assistance of the local, state, and federal governments or any agencies thereof in formulating and coordinating programs regarding Indian affairs adopted or planned by the federal government so that the full benefit of such programs will accrue to the Indians of this state,
  • To review all proposed or pending legislation and amendments to existing legislation affecting Indians in this state,
  • To study the existing status of recognition of all Indian groups, tribes, and communities presently existing in this state,
  • To employ and fix the compensation of an executive secretary of the commission, who shall carry out the responsibilities of the commission,
  • To petition the general assembly for funds to effectively administer the commission\'s affairs and to expend funds in compliance with state regulations,
  • To accept and receive gifts, funds, grants, bequests, and devices for use in furthering the purposes of the commission,
  • To contract with public or private bodies to provide services and facilities for promoting the welfare of the Indian people,
  • To make legislative recommendations,
  • To make and publish reports of findings and recommendations.

Structure of CCIA

The Lieutenant Governor serves in the statutory role as chair of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs. The Executive Director and Program Assistant are responsible for carrying out the day to day tasks of the Commission. CCIA has11 voting commissioners and several non-voting members who represent various interests within the Native American community.

Additionally, CCIA is able to create special committees to engage with various themes relevant to AI/AN Tribes and communities statewide. CCIA currently has an active Health and Wellness Committee. Past committees have included the Economic Opportunities and Resources Committee, the Education Committee, and the Reinterment Committee which has since become the Colorado Lands Workgroup.

For more information about CCIA's committees, please visit the committees' Initiatives page.

List of CCIA Members

Voting Members

  • Dianne Primavera
    CCIA Chairperson | Lt. Governor
    Lt. Governor\'s Office
  • Manuel Heart
    Tribal Chairman
    Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • Alston Turtle
    Tribal Councilman
    Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • Melvin J. Baker
    Tribal Chairman
    Southern Ute Indian Tribe
  • Marjorie Barry
    Tribal Councilwoman
    Southern Ute Indian Tribe
  • Michelle Barnes
    Executive Director
    CO. Dept. of Human Services
  • Dan Gibbs
    Executive Director
    CO. Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Rachel Bryan-Auker
    Tribal Liaison
    CO. Dept. of Public Health &, Environment
  • Patrick Rondinelli
    Southwest Regional Manager
    CO. Dept. of Local Affairs
  • Lucille Echohawk
    Executive Director
    Denver Indian Family Resource Center
  • Crystal LoudHawk-Hedgepeth
    Research Associate/Program Officer
    American Indian College Fund

Ex-Officio (non-voting) Members

  • Kathryn Redhorse
    CCIA Executive Director
    Office of the Lt. Governor
  • Julie Constan
    Region 5 Director
    CO. Dept. of Transportation
  • Katy Anthes
    Title VI Coordinator
    CO. Dept. of Education
  • Kim Bimestefer
    Executive Director​​​​​​
    CO. Dept. of Health Care Policy &, Financing
  • Dean Williams
    Executive Director
    CO. Dept. of Corrections
  • Brett Shelton
    Staff Attorney
    Native American Rights Fund
  • Steve Turner
    Executive Director
    History Colorado
  • Bob Troyer
    Acting U.S. Attorney
    Colorado U.S. Attorney
  • Elsa Ramirez
    Acting Regional Director &, Executive Officer
    U.S. Dept. of Health &, Human Services Region VIII
  • Patty Salazar
    Executive Director
    CO. Dept. of Regulatory Agencies
  • Marsha Porter-Norton
    County Commissioner
    La Plata County
  • Dr. Risha Vanderwey
    Superintendent
    Montezuma-Cortez School District
  • Chris DeKay
    Superintendent
    Ignacio School District
  • Gregory Felson
    County Extension Director
    Montezuma County
  • Matthew Baca
    Director
    Office of Community Engagement | Colorado Department of Law