As Executive Secretary for the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA), Ernest maintains the communication between the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe, and other American Indian organizations, state agencies and affiliated groups. Ernest works closely with Governor Hickenlooper, Lt. Governor Garcia, and the CCIA members to maintain a government-to-government relationship between the State of Colorado and tribal governments. The CCIA is an 11 member commission, chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and comprised of both Ute Tribes, their appointees and several state department representatives and ex-officio members. Ernest represents the CCIA at various state public policy meetings and provides legislative and government-related information to community stakeholders.
Ernest is an enrolled member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and has sat on various local, state, and federal boards and committees regarding Native American issues. He previously held the position of Executive Secretary under Governor Bill Owens and Governor Bill Ritter from 2005-2010. Ernest is a 2012 American Marshall Memorial Fellow and currently serves on Governor Hickenlooper’s Education Leadership Council, the Colorado Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Council, and the Colorado Indian Education Foundation. He holds a rich tradition in his position as son of the late Ernest House, Sr., a long time tribal leader for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and great-grandson of Chief Jack House, the last hereditary chief of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.
His term will expire on December 31, 2020.