Carol Harvey dismissal: Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs looking for her replacement

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The e-mails were flying before last Wednesday's Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs meeting, which had one agenda item: the dismissal of executive secretary Carol Harvey, who'd been on the job since March 2010 and was let go in early November. But during that conference-call meeting, two Colorado tribal leaders agreed with the action of Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia, and told him to move forward with hiring Harvey's replacement.

Here's the statement released after the meeting by the Lieutenant Governor's office, which oversees the commission:

The Lieutenant Governor and the leaders of the two recognized tribes in Colorado, Chairwoman Pearl Casias of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Chairman Gary Hayes of the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe, want to thank Executive Secretary Carol Harvey for her two years of service to the State of Colorado and to the tribes.

The undersigned agree, however, that it is time to improve the overall effectiveness of the government-to-government relationship of the State of Colorado, the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe, and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. We are committed to working together to recruit the best possible advocate for the State and the tribes to serve in the role of Executive Secretary. This person may be from any federally recognized Indian Tribe. We also arecommitted to working together to build upon the successful work of the past and to ensure the successful efforts of the tribes and the State to advance their shared interests. We believe that a strong and effective leader in the role of Executive Secretary can help to provide a stronger voice for our tribes and for all indigenous people in Colorado.

Joseph A. Garcia Lieutenant Governor

Gary Hayes, Chairman Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe

Pearl Casias, Chairwoman Southern Ute Indian Tribe

And here is Harvey's reaction to the conference call, in which she did not participate:

I was never advised that the Tribal Chairs had complained until the week I was terminated me when the LG said in a two sentence conversation that the Tribes said I did not engage in tribal consultation. They may have talked to the LG but he will never be able to say he counseled me because he did not. When we were at Ernest House, Sr.'s funeral he said I should be proud that Ernest House, Jr.. used my eulogy. I was completely unaware of the complaints from the Tribal Chairs and I was never given the opportunity to improve because there never was a conversation on the subject.

Harvey is from the Dine, or Navajo, nation, and not Ute Mountain Ute (Ernest House, who passed away in September, was the leader of that tribe) or Southern Ute -- the only tribes based in Colorado. Some have speculated that's the reason for her ouster. Garcia would not go into any specifics during the meeting, citing the possibility of litigation -- and since Harvey's also an attorney, it's a good guess that a case is coming Colorado's way.

In the meantime, applications for the executive secretary post are being accepted through Wednesday, November 23; find the details here.

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