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Posted By: Kassandra (#9777)
Date/Time: Sun Aug 9 17:14:52 2009
Subject: Hard Times, Great People

It is another glorious day in Park City, just outside of Salt Lake City. The band White Rabbit is playing two back to back sold out nights at the Snowy Pines resort while vendors are making money hand over fist selling memorabilia, chips of the show, and t-shirts. Just down the block the Morimoto, an upscale Japanese eatery, has a waiting list of three hours on the weeknights. The weekends? The waiting list is three *months*.

Things are not doing so well elsewhere in the Ute Nation. Poverty is not just another word in the Nation, but more of a national disease. Entire towns have lost ground, some disincorporating entirely. Outside of the Salt Lake City Autonomous Zone, Las Vegas, and Provo, the rest of the cities make only 9 percent of the nation's gross income, and that number has steadily declined over the last decade. Early projections indicate that the number will fall to less than five percent in the coming year, a problem exacerbated and illuminated by Saeder Krupp's decision to open a second mine at Kennecott, and IKG's new plant coming on line at the Great Salt Lake.

Rumblings have started deep in the Ute Nation as well as in the neighboring California Free State and Pueblo Corporate Council about a radical shift, one that could signal doom for the Ute Nation: Las Vegas moving. Both the CFS and PCC would love to absorb nearby Las Vegas and the billions in sheer profit that it represents. Las Vegas representatives have been mum on any changes, though some residents of the city do not support a change to either other nation, but rather a move to their own autonomy, creating a Free State of Las Vegas.

Sam Brightmoon of the Nation's Council on Economic Repair doesn't think either change will happen. "The Nation is a good place for Las Vegas, and Vegas is good for the Nation. We will do everything in our power to keep it here." When asked about the failing economy, Brightmoon had this to say, "Things are a little tight right now, but we have a lot of companies courting us. We have the land and the work force to make a good deal for just about anyone, and I think that is a good selling point for us. The numbers in those reports don't show the whole picture, not the spirit of hard work and determination of this great Nation."

Optimism aside, it will be hard for the Ute Nation to repair its image, to reclaim any past glory, and to move on to better times without a significant investment from outside sources and companies. Some predict it will go the way of Tsimshian, another country that has a significant controlling interest held by a megacorporation. That may be the key to a renewed interest in this great nation and great people.

— Dana Cook, with contributing information from Robert Stillwater and Kendra Burke.

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