Southern Ute Tribe Traditional Spiritual Leader Edward Bent Box Dies at 92
by Watch Staff
Oct 04, 2012 | 2441 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

WESTERN SLOPE – Edward Bent Box, Red Ute, Traditional Spiritual Leader of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, died on Thursday, Sept. 18, at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., of natural causes.

Box (92), a member of the Moache-Capote Bands the Ute Nation, was the eighth child born to Jacob and Bertha Bent Box on April 1, 1920 in Bayfield. He attended the Allen Day School and the Albuquerque Indian School through grade 12.

In 1942, he volunteered for service in the United States Navy in Denver, and served in the South Pacific during the Solomon Island Campaign in World War II as a motor machinist’s mate, second class. He was honorably discharged in 1946.

He was employed at La Plata Motors, in Durango, as a Ford mechanic after the war, and deejayed for KIUP in Durango, the first radio announcer to broadcast in his native Ute language in the Four Corners Area. He will also be remembered for playing saxophone in an all-Indian jazz band known as The Pine River Boys.

Box served for 16 years on the Southern Ute Tribal Council, and served on the Committee of Elders for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, as well.

One of his greatest passions of the past 60 years was traditional Indian flute-making, and said he "make wood sing." He was a member of the Indian Arts and Crafts Assn., Southern Highland Craft Guild, and the International Native American Flute Assn.

Red Ute (Box’s Indian name) began to follow the traditional spiritual path of the Ute People in 1952,entering the Sundance Lodge on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation, south of Towao. He danced there for four years before being asked in 1956 to lead the Southern Ute Sundance by the late Sundance Chief and Tribal Elder Edwin Cloud in Ignacio, Colorado. Red Ute served his beloved Ute People for 42 years in this capacity before choosing his successor, Neil Buck Cloud, in 1994, and appointed Kenneth Frost as his last successor in 2010.

Red Ute also served as Chief of the Annual Beardance Ceremonial for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe for 38 years.

As per his wishes, cremation took place at sunrise on the fourth day after his passing. "I want to leave this world the same way I came into it – in a very humble way," he said. His ashes will  be scattered at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to: Eddie Bent Box Memorial Fund c/o

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