The Film Subjects (Who's Who)

Image of Michael Black

Michael Black has lived in the Four Corners area since 1971. He has been a river guide for 26 years, working in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. He joined Taxpayers for the Animas River (TAR) in 1983 as a way to protect his livelihood as well as the river. Over the 20+ years he's fought the Animas-La Plata project, many TAR members have passed away or moved, but Michael has kept up the fight both in the courts and the community.

Image of Leonard Burch

Leonard Burch was first elected tribal chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in 1966 at the age of 32. With the exception of two three-year breaks, Burch remained tribal chairman until December 2002. During his tenure, the Southern Utes, whose reservation is located in southwest Colorado and whose membership is close to 1,400 people, rose from relative impoverishment to become a major economic player, particularly in the field of natural gas development. The tribe now owns investments that extend from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, with assets over $1.4 billion. Leonard worked to get the Animas-La Plata built for over three decades.

Image of Pat Greer

Pat Greer was raised in southwest Colorado on a ranch in an area known as the Dry Side, west of Durango. He took over the farm from his father in 1953, but supported his family by working as an engineer with the Colorado Dept of Highways. He was the President of Red Mesa Reservoir and Ditch Company for almost thirty years. He has served on the Animas La Plata Water Conservancy Board for over 20 years, and worked for decades to get Congress to fund the Animas La Plata project so he could get irrigation water to his farm. He is currently serving on the La Plata Water Conservancy District Board trying to get a reservoir built on a tributary of the La Plata River called Long Hollow Draw.

Image of Sam Maynes

Frank E. "Sam" Maynes, born to a miner’s family in Silverton, CO, became a powerful lawyer and water lobbyist both regionally and nationally. From the mid-sixties on, he represented white farmers in Colorado as attorney for the Southwestern and Animas-La Plata water districts. He also became the lawyer for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in 1968. A controversial figure, his allies credit him with forging a crucial alliance between the farmers and the tribe while his critics accuse him of a conflict of interest. Sam worked to get the Animas-La Plata project built for almost four decades.

Image of Arlene Millich

Arlene Millich was raised on the Southern Ute Indian reservation. A member of the tribe, she has been part of the Southern Ute Grassroots Organization since its founding in 1993. She has worked for the tribe for many years in different capacities: Director of Peaceful Spirit Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center, Education Director for the tribe, and Manager of the Career Development Program for the Sky Ute Casino. She is currently a member of the Tribal Elder Committee, an advisory committee to the tribal council. She is also working as an artist and writes articles for the Southern Ute Drum, the tribal newspaper.

Image of Sage Remington

Sage Remington was raised on the Southern Ute Indian reservation. He worked for the tribe early in his career, and later helped found the tribe’s public radio station, KSUT, and the Southern Ute Museum. With a background in activism dating back to the takeover of Alcatraz Island in the 60s, he became spokesperson for the Southern Ute Grassroots Organization (SUGO) in 1996. He is currently the Chairman of the Tribal Elder Committee, an advisory committee to the Tribal Council. He is also a member of the Tribal Member Health Benefits Committee and is involved with indigenous groups opposing Desert Rock, a proposed coal-fired power plant in New Mexico.

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Cowboys, Indians, & Lawyers is coming to PBS starting April 2007
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