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Utes reject flags atop construction cranes

Brief by Allen Best

Mountain Life – June 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council has prohibited either a U.S. flag or, for that matter, a tribal flag, on top of construction cranes on the reservation, located in the Four Corners area.

Clement C. Frost, the tribal chairman, told the Durango Herald that he rejects using flags atop cranes as wind indicators -the use purported by the contractor -as inappropriate. The tribal leaders, he said, believed that flags should only be flown in places of honor.

Frost said the flag flown atop a crane being used to construct a casino on the reservation was not being treated with respect. “It blew off the crane two times and hit the ground,” he said. “I, as a veteran, believe that you never let your flag touch the ground. Even when you take it off the pole, you do not let it hit the ground. Even when you carry it during wartime, you don’t let it hit the ground.”

He said the flag prohibition caused some people to say that the tribe is anti-American. In reality, he said, the tribe has a deep respect for the U.S. flag as well as its own flag.

“We have given our lives for that, whether it’s Vietnam, whether it’s Iraq, whether it’s Desert Storm, Korea, all those places.”