FORT DUCHESNE, Uintah County - Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in Fort Duchesne for Lester Mack Chapoose Sr., 52, former Ute tribal chairman, who died
Wednesday afternoon in a Salt Lake hospital after a long illness.The services for Mr. Chapoose, who had diabetes for many years and who required dialysis treatment for about the past 15 years, will be held in the Fort Duchesne Multipurpose Center. Friends may call at the Chapoose family home north of Fort Duchesne, from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and at the center until time of the services. Burial will be in the Fort Duchesne Cemetery.
Mr. Chapoose, who resided in Murray, Salt Lake County, where he began paralegal training 11/2 years ago, was appointed the tribe's executive director in 1970 and was elected to the Ute Tribal Business Committee, the tribe's governing committee, for three terms. He had been tribal chairman a number of times.
He was chairman in the late 1970s when the tribe instituted the jurisdictional lawsuit that established reservation boundaries. Mr. Chapoose was a strong advocate for Ute water rights, negotiating the Ute Indian Compact with the State of Utah and the federal government in 1988.
After graduating from Union High School, Mr. Chapoose served four years in the U.S. Navy, after which he worked in the Los Angeles area in trucking and other businesses. He returned to Utah, where he studied business at Southern Utah State College and later received a bachelor's degree in political science at the University of Utah.
The Indian leader was known for his work to help his people become self-sufficient. He was general manager of the Ute Tribe Enterprise System, which included a cattle ranch and Bottle Hollow Resort. He had been a member of the Utah Board of Indian Affairs.