Memorandum of Understanding between the Ute Indian Tribe and the University of Utah

The Great Seal of the Ute Indian Tribe
The University of Utah logo

Memorandum updated and signed March 3, 2020.


The Ute Indian Tribe encourages the University of Utah to use the Ute name for the University's sports programs with its full support. The University recognizes that the Ute name is at the core of the cultural identity of the Tribe and its members, and that it constitutes an inseparable element of their rich cultural traditions. The University is honored to be allowed to continue to use the Ute name with due respect and integrity.
The Ute Indian Tribe acknowledges that its association with the University of Utah- the flagship institution of higher learning in the state of Utah - raises tribal visibility and community awareness and generates a source of pride to members of the Ute Indian Tribe. The Tribe desires to reaffirm the long and valued relationship between the University and the Tribe to promote educational benefits for its youth.

The Ute Indian Tribe acknowledges that its association with the University of Utah – the flagship institution of higher learning in the state of Utah – raises tribal visibility and community awareness, and generates a source of pride to members of the Ute Indian Tribe. The Tribe desires to reaffirm the long and valued relationship between the University and the Tribe to promote educational benefits for its youth.


The Ute Indian Tribe's goals are two-fold: first, to build genuine respect and understanding of the Tribe's history, culture and contributions to the state (past, current and future); and second, to have the University assist tribal members in helping their children lead healthy lives and be prepared to pursue a college education.

The University of Utah shares the Tribe's interest in fostering a respectful and informed understanding of the Ute Indian Tribe, and, by extension, other American Indians. To that end, the University will use the Ute name in a considered and respectful manner, reflecting the pride and dignity of indigenous people and their traditions. The University will use its position as the flagship institution of higher education in the state of Utah to support that commitment.

In addition, the University will devote human and financial resources toward the Ute Indians and other American Indians to encourage, inspire and support tribal youth to lead healthy lives and to pursue post-secondary education.


  • Permission to Use the Ute Name – The Ute Indian Tribe reaffirms its permission for the University to continue its respectful use of the Ute name as a representative symbol of its athletics organizations.
  • Education campaign – The University will use the Ute name with honor and respect, and share that commitment with the larger community by:
    • Preparing educational materials that explain the Ute Indian history and the Ute Indian Tribe's ongoing cultural and economic contributions to the state, subject to review and approval of the Ute Indian Tribe. The Ute Indian Tribe will assign a tribal representative to work with the University to develop and approve campaign elements in a timely fashion. Materials are intended to be used in presentations for students, sports programs, in media guides and on University web pages, and other communications channels as appropriate.
    • As part of the preparation of these aforementioned educational materials, the University will assist the Tribe with in-kind staff support in the preparation of the Tribe's educational and marketing print, video, and digital materials.
    • Widely disseminating Standards for Appropriate behavior to students, athletic fans, campus groups and the broader community. The Tribe shall have the opportunity to review and comment on such materials before they are disseminated.
    • Supporting and promoting campus events to raise awareness of American Indian culture, such as the annual campus Powwow and Native American Month.
    • Arranging for the aforementioned educational materials on the Ute Indian Tribe to be added to freshman orientation and to be made available at the University's American Indian Resource Center.
  • Educational Access
    • The University shall secure funding to support Ute Indian students and other federally recognized American Indian students while attending the University. The administration and use of the specific Ute scholarship category shall be determined by separate agreement between the Parties to this MOU, attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit A.
    • During each year of the term of this MOU, the University shall provide the Ute Indian Tribe with One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) to support and enhance Tribal educational programs and opportunities. It is contemplated by the parties that these funds will be used by the Ute Indian Tribe to hire fundraising and other consultants, to conduct due diligence and planning for a school to be built on the Ute Indian Reservation and for such other purposes as advance educational opportunities for Tribal youth.
    • The University shall assist the Ute Indian Tribe in identifying and hiring a qualified fundraising consultant and will assist the Tribe and its consultant in developing and implementing fundraising strategies, including grant writing as well as advice and assistance in establishing an endowment fund to support the educational goals of the Ute Indian Tribe, should that be among the Tribe's goals.
    • A Task Force will be created (as described in the VII "Maintenance of the Agreement" below) and shall meet within 60 days of the execution of this MOU to create an action plan for the development of Tribal educational programs which shall include meaningful activities and in-kind support to benefit the Tribe with concrete, specific programs and activities for the parties to work together to fully realize.
    • The Tribal educational programs to be identified by the Task Force will be narrowly tailored to fit the Tribe's needs. The programs can include but are not limited to: mentorships, direct assistance, training resources, early childhood programs, tutors, summer programs, truancy committees, parent advisory committees, student support programs, adult education programs, community library, dual credit programs offered by the University for high school students, resume building, interview workshops, computer and internet skill workshops, and nutritional programs. The Tribe recognizes that the University does not itself have expertise in all the fields outlined above but will be an active partner with the Tribe in helping identify resources to address these needs.
  • Advisor/Advisory Board
    • The University shall appoint, with approval from the Ute Tribal Business Committee, a Special Advisor to the President on Native American Affairs. The advisor will serve in an unpaid, part-time capacity to function as a liaison between the tribal leaders and University to address issues related to the University that may arise from time to time.
    • The Ute Tribal Business Committee shall appoint at least two members to the advisory board of the American Indian Resource Center. In addition, the Ute Tribal Business Committee will be invited to an annual meeting with the University President and other senior University administrators.
    • As described in the VII "Maintenance of the Agreement" below, the Task Force composed of four members-two appointed by the Ute Tribal Business Committee and two appointed by the University of Utah - will serve in an advisory capacity to the President.


  • The University agrees to work with the Ute Indian Tribe to create enrichment and educational opportunities for Ute Indian Tribal Member youth, both on the Reservation and on the University campus, as appropriate and possible, including programs and activities as mutually agreed upon, such as the following:
    • Summer youth programs for students, which shall be housed on campus as well as on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, which may include interaction with international students. Consistent with NCAA regulations and the availability of student athletes during the summer, these will include sports camps. At the request of the Tribe, they will also include STEM summer camps, either on campus or on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.
    • Consistent with NCAA regulations, an annual opportunity for Tribal member youth to attend University of Utah sporting events and practices and meet players as a motivational outreach for the students.
    • The University will continue to provide educational pathways services to Tribal students and their parents with the goal of increasing college attendance, pursuant to the aforementioned Task Force action plan.
    • Honoring Ute Indian Tribal Members through a Ute Indian Tribe designated design that will be incorporated into team uniforms at one home game annually in recognition of Native American Heritage Month. In addition, the Tribe shall have the right to have its Honor Guard bear the flags at the opening ceremony at one home game during Native American Heritage Month.
    • The University will be open to pursuing other programs and activities as agreed upon to enhance educational programs and promote academic successes. As of the renewal of this MOU these include the pursuit of selling Ute-produced products at University of Utah venues; the pursuit of the digitization of the Tribal newsletter, and possibly other audio, video, and print materials in the Tribe's archives; and assistance from students within the College of Architecture & Planning in conceptualization of educational facilities at Fort Duchesne;
  • Academic support
    • The University will assist Ute Indian Tribal Member students and their families with application and admissions processes.
    • The University will provide support for Ute Indian Tribal Member students once on campus to enhance social, economic and academic success while attending the University.
    • The Tribe acknowledges and supports the University's commitment to academic freedom and freedom of speech on campus.


  • The University will collaborate with the Ute Indian Tribe in the preparation of an overview of the economic impact of the Tribe on the State and the Uintah Basin.
  • The University will continue the tradition of Ute Proud games during the football, basketball, and gymnastics seasons, including reserved seating for tribal members attending the games. The University will reserve seats that are easily accessible for Tribal elders.
  • The University will assign to the Ute Indian Tribe ownership of the University's trademark, as recognized under federal and common law, for merchandise sales incorporating the "Ute Proud" logo and Ute Indian Tribe seal. During the term of this Agreement, the Ute Indian Tribe will license to the University the use of the "Ute Proud" logo for all merchandise, and will authorize the University and its licensing partner IMG College Licensing to protect the "Ute Proud" logo from pirated sales and other trademark violations. The terms of the assignment and license shall be memorialized in a separate agreement between the Parties to this MOU, attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit B.
  • Subsequent to assignment of the "Ute Proud" logo to the Ute Indian Tribe, the University will assist the Tribe with Federal trademark registrations on the Ute Indian Tribe seal and for the "Ute Proud" logo. The University agrees to spend up to $10,000 in legal fees seeking such trademark registrations. The Task Force shall meet within 60 days of the execution of this MOU and work toward the creation of an action plan regarding trademarking.



The University of Utah is the flagship institution of higher learning in Utah. Founded in 1850, it serves more than 33,000 students from across the United States and the world. With more than 100 major subjects at the undergraduate level and over 90 major fields of study at the graduate level, including professional programs in law, medicine and dentistry, the University prepares students to live and compete in the global workplace.

The mission of the University of Utah is to educate the individual and to discover, refine and disseminate knowledge. As a major teaching and research university, the University of Utah strives to create an academic environment where the highest standards of scholarship and professional practices are observed and where responsibilities to students are conscientiously met. It recognizes the mutual relevance and interdependence of teaching and research as essential components of academic excellence. It welcomes students who are committed to learning and who conform to meet high academic standards. The right of free inquiry is zealously preserved; diversity is encouraged and respected; critical examination and creativity promoted; and intellectual integrity and social responsibility are fostered. The University is fully committed to the goals of equal opportunity and affirmative action, which are designed to ensure that each individual be provided with the opportunity for full, unhampered and responsible participation in every aspect of campus life.


The state of Utah derives its name from the Ute Indian Tribe. The home of the Ute Indian Tribe is the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, located in Northeastern Utah (Fort Duchesne), approximately 150 miles east of Salt Lake City. The reservation is located within a three-county area known as the Uintah Basin. It is the second-largest Indian Reservation in the United States and covers over 4.5 million acres.

The Utes have a tribal membership of 3,157 and over half of the membership lives on the Reservation. They operate their own tribal government and oversee approximately 1.3 million acres of trust land. The Utes also operate several businesses, including a super market, gas stations, bowling alley, tribal feedlot, Uinta River Technologies, Ute Tribal Enterprises LLC and Water Systems. Cattle raising and mining of oil and natural gas is big business on the reservation.

The Ute Indian Tribe is made up of three bands: the Uintah, the White River and the Uncompahgre. Two representatives from each of these bands are elected to serve four-year terms on the Tribal Business Committee, the governing body of the Tribe. However, governmental decisions by the Business Committee are made by resolution. Once resolutions are adopted, they become law and Business Committee members then realize that they must abide by those laws.


The parties agree that this MOU is a public document and that each party will appoint a single representative to respond to inquiries on issues addressed in or affected by the MOU.

As referenced above, the parties to this MOU shall establish a joint Task Force composed of four members. Two members shall be appointed by the Ute Tribal Business Committee. Two members shall be appointed by the University of Utah. The Task Force shall oversee and implement the provisions set forth in this MOU and address ongoing student issues. The Task Force shall make recommendations to the parties as to how the MOU might be improved based on its review, and the parties shall take appropriate action to implement the recommendations.

The parties agree to meet on an annual basis at a mutually agreed upon date not more than one year from date of signature, to review activities, performance or satisfaction with the arrangement outlined in the MOU.

Any commitments are binding and if not fulfilled then either party reserves the right to terminate the agreement. Should terms of this agreement be violated, then the parties shall enter into a suspension period while the parties attempt to work out their differences and proceed with the terms of the MOU (the "Suspension Period"). During the Suspension Period, the University will not enter into any new agreements for the manufacture or licensing of products containing the Ute name and marks or create any new promotional materials utilizing the Ute name and marks. During the Suspension Period the University's sports teams may continue wearing apparel that bears Ute name and marks and the University may continue selling existing Utes branded merchandise.

The term of this Memorandum of Understanding is five (5) years from date of signing.