Stories from the Wind River Reservation

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The Wind River Indian Reservation is as beautiful as its melodic name!  It’s one of the largest Reservations in the United States, spanning over 2.2 million acres and contained within the boundaries of the state.  Its scenery ranges from high grassland to some of the most majestic and least populated mountain ranges. Wyoming Public Media serves the Wind River Reservation through Lander (KUWR 91.9, Riverton (KUWT 91.3) and Dubois (KUWR 91.3) locations.  Our reporters tell the stories of the Reservation, focusing on issues that affect the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes.  You can hear these stories on this page.  They reflect the lives of people on the Reservation, their history, hopes, and ambitions. 

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News
9:49 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

WDE Holds Native American Education Conference In Riverton

Credit Jimmy Emerson via Flickr Creative Commons

The Wyoming Department of Education will hold its fifth annual Native American Education Conference this week in Riverton. The goals of the conference including boosting communication between schools and the Native American families they serve—and integrating tribal culture into curriculum.

Last year, the high school graduation rate for Native American students in Wyoming was 42 percent, compared to 78 percent for all students. Conference coordinator Keja Whiteman says that gap signals the need for this event.

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Open Spaces
4:25 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

High Number Of Tribal Candidates Running In Upcoming Primary

Democratic tribal candidate, Sergio Maldonado.

Over the years it's been a challenge to drum up political engagement on the Wind River Reservation. But things may be different this year with eight tribal members running for office in multiple parties. It's an unusually high number. Democratic Representative Patrick Goggles says it’s his theory that what has inspired so much political gusto is the shifting dynamic in the Republican Party. He says the politicizing of the right wing is happening everywhere, including Wind River.

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News
6:56 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

100th Anniversary Of Arapaho Pack Trip To Be Held In Estes Park

Rocky Mountain National Park
Credit Amit Rawat via Flickr Creative Commons

This weekend, the Northern Arapaho Tribe and Rocky Mountain National Park will celebrate the 100th anniversary of a historic pack trip through Estes Park with presentations and performances in Bond Park.

The 1914 trip was a collaboration between three tribal leaders from the Northern Arapaho and translators and historians from areas around the park. The tribal leaders shared place names, histories and stories with Oliver Toll who compiled them in a pamphlet which is still available at ranger stations today.

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Arts
1:34 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Tribes And State Collaborate To Tell Wind River Reservation History

Historical marker on the Wind River Reservation.
Credit americanindian.net

In coming years, visitors to Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation will see new historical perspectives on roadside signs and markers. That’s the proposed outcome of the new Wind River Interpretive Plan. It's believed to be the first such collaboration between tribes and state government on a reservation-wide interpretive plan.

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News
11:16 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Anti-Reservation Group Hosts Conference In Riverton

Credit Wyoming's Wind River Country

An organization that's working to end tribal sovereignty hosted a national conference in Riverton this weekend. The group is protesting the Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision that the city of Riverton falls within Wind River reservation boundaries. That has led to tensions between tribal members, the state, and Riverton.   The group--known as Citizens Equal Rights Alliance—posted on their website that it isn't fair that tribal members receive special status because it threatens the individual rights of all Americans.  

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News
9:33 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Eastern Shoshone Tribal Liaison Resigns

The Eastern Shoshone tribal liaison has stepped down from her position, saying the governor and legislature were disrespectful to her, both as a woman and tribal member. But the Governor's office says she wasn't fulfilling her responsibility to mediate between the tribes and the state. 

Tensions have been mounting between the governor’s office and the Wind River Indian tribes for months. The Environmental Protection Agency recently ruled that the city of Riverton falls within reservation boundaries, setting the state and tribes at odds.

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Open Spaces
4:33 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Report Suggests That Problems Exist At The Northern Arapaho Department Of Family Services

The tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation run their own family services agencies, funded by the tribes themselves, federal grants and contracts with the state. But the Northern Arapaho Department of Family Services and the larger family welfare system on the reservation has some work to do.

Reviews over the years have pointed to big problems and some of them have gone years without being addressed effectively. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov has the story.   

IRINA ZHOROV:  22-month Marcella Yellowbear died on July 2nd, 2004.

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Open Spaces
3:44 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Governor Mead Discusses Wind River Reservation Boundary Dispute And Education

It’s been a few months since we’ve had Governor Matt Mead on the program.  He joins Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck to discuss a dispute over boundaries in Riverton and Education.

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News
7:37 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Wind River Tribes Plan Ahead For Settlement Checks

WILLOW BELDEN: In 2012, the tribes who share the Wind River Indian Reservation, the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho Tribes, came to a settlement with the federal government for a mineral royalties mismanagement case dating back to the 1970’s. The federal government has finally released the money from the settlement, and tribal members on Wind River are anxiously awaiting their checks. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov joins us to talk about the settlement and what it means to the Wind River Community.

To start, could you tell us what this settlement is all about.

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News
6:43 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Money Heads To The Wind River Indian Reservation

Long-awaited money from a settlement on the Wind River Indian Reservation is finally on its way. The 157 million dollar settlement between the tribes and the federal government is for underpayment of royalties on oil and gas development…and improper management of royalties that were paid.

Northern Arapaho spokesman Mark Howell says some people don’t have bank accounts…and there were concerns they would not be able to cash their checks.

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News
4:34 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Settlement Money For Tribal Members Finally In Sight

Long-awaited money from a settlement on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming is finally on its way.

The federal government is paying the tribes $157 million for underpayment of royalties on oil and gas development and improper management of royalties that were paid. Northern Arapaho spokesman Mark Howell says some people don’t have bank accounts and there were concerns they would not be able to cash their checks.

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News
10:06 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Eastern Shoshone Business Council Members Voted Out

On Saturday, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe's General Council dismissed two elected tribal officials.

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News
10:52 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Sen. Enzi Drafts Bill To Define Wind River Reservation Border

As Wyoming’s appeal to an Environmental Protection Agency decision about the Wind River Indian Reservation’s borders waits for its day in court, U.S. Senators Enzi and Barrasso have drafted a bill “to clarify” those borders.

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News
10:21 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Indian Housing Block Grant Program Can Be More Efficient, Report Says

Credit Wind River Reservation

A report by the Government Accountability Office says some things need to change in order for Indian tribes to be able to effectively carry out affordable housing activities under the Indian Housing Block Grant program. The program provides grants to tribes to build affordable housing. Remoteness of reservations and lack of infrastructure was one major challenge the report identified. But lack of coordination among federal agencies also delays initiatives and makes it harder to lump funds from various agencies for one project.

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Open Spaces
4:28 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Representative Patrick Goggles Reflects On His Time In The Legislature

Patrick Goggles has been serving in the Wyoming House of Representatives since 2005. But at the end of the recent budget session, he announced that he won’t be seeking reelection in 2014. Goggles is a democrat from House District 33, which includes a piece of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fremont County.

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News
4:55 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Tribes To Truck Trash To Casper

Credit Rebecca Martinez

The tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fremont County will start hauling their waste to a Casper landfill soon. Fremont County has been transporting the reservation's waste to nearby landfills, but an agreement signed between the tribes and the county last summer transferred those duties to the tribes. Executive Director of the Wind River Environmental Quality Commission, Ryan Ortiz says the hold-up has been getting a truck, which is now scheduled to arrive in April.

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Wyoming Stories
2:21 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Wyoming Stories: Mark Soldier Wolf Talks About Life on the Res

Mark Soldier Wolf
Credit county10.com

Mark Soldier Wolf is a Northern Arapaho tribal elder. He grew up on the Wind River Indian Reservation, outside of Riverton. For him, the past is forever inscribed on the present, a sentiment he shares in this lesser known version of the Battle at Little Bighorn.

When Soldier Wolf returned to Wyoming from the Korean War, there were very few resources for veterans. In this story, he describes how he got his life back together, and the atmosphere of Riverton during wartime.

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News
4:04 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

WY Appeals EPA Decision On Wind River Borders

Wyoming has filed an appeal in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for the Environmental Protection Agency decision that drew the borders of the Wind River Indian Reservation to include Riverton.

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Open Spaces
3:58 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Negotiation Vs. Litigation: A Look At The Reservation Borders Decision

The governments of Riverton, Fremont County, the state, and of the two tribes who share the Wind River Indian Reservation are arguing, again, over the reservation’s borders.

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News
4:54 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

EPA Puts Hold On Wind River Border Decision

The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to put a hold on its decision to grant the tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation status as a state for the purpose of air monitoring.

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News
7:24 am
Tue February 11, 2014

N. Arapaho Tribe Says A Stay On EPA’s Border Decision Could Provide “Breathing Room”

The Northern Arapaho Tribe has written a letter asking the Environmental Protection Agency to put the brakes on an agency decision regarding the Wind River Reservation’s borders.

The EPA recently granted the Wind River Indian Reservation status as a state for the purpose of air monitoring, and in the process determined that Riverton is on tribal land. That decision has brought up civil and criminal jurisdictional issue for the city, and the state has requested that the EPA hold off on implementing it.

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Open Spaces
4:33 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Federal Courts’ Distance From Wind River Reservation A Hardship

Federal Court House in Cheyenne.

Major crimes committed on the Wind River Indian Reservation end up in federal court. But federal courthouses in Wyoming are really far from the reservation, which leads to logistical, constitutional, and social problems. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports.  

IRINA ZHOROV: John Crispin’s son was murdered in 2011. He told me about it on a snowy night in the parking lot of a convenience store in Ethete, Wyoming, on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

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News
7:29 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Showing Up To Federal Court Can Be A Hardship For Wind River Residents

Accessing federal courts for Native Americans living on Wind River Reservation can be a hardship for those forced to use federal judicial services.

Native American offenders and victims of major crimes that occur in Indian Country go through the federal court system, yet for Wind River residents showing up to court can mean a 600-mile roundtrip. That’s because trials are held primarily at the federal court houses in Casper and Cheyenne.

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News
6:40 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Law enforcement gearing up to protect tribal members when settlement checks arrive

As eligible Native Americans in Fremont County await checks owed them as part of a settlement with the federal government, law enforcement is preparing to institute extra security measures to protect tribal members.

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News
8:01 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Tribes concerned over state response to EPA's reservation boundary ruling

Agreement over the boundaries of the Wind River Indian Reservation seems to be a long way off between the state’s tribes and Governor Matt Mead. 

The dispute is over an Environmental Protection Agency ruling that the city of Riverton falls on tribal land. In a letter to the governor Wednesday, the Northern Arapaho tribe says it was surprised by the governor’s reaction to the EPA ruling.  They say in the past, the state has actively promoted the idea of giving the tribes Treatment as a State status and allowing the EPA to settle the 1905 Act boundary dispute, once and for all. 

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Wyoming Stories
10:24 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Wyoming Stories: Sergio Maldonado reflects on Native identity

Sergio Maldonado
Credit P. Solomon Banda, Associated Press

Sergio Maldonado is a Mexican-Arapaho who grew up on the Wind River Indian Reservation outside of Lander, Wyoming.  He now teaches at Central Wyoming College in Riverton.  In these two stories, Sergio talks about his experience with the Arapaho and Shoshone tribes.  His personal history informs his understanding of Native identity.

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News
6:36 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

UPDATE: EPA issues Wind River Reservation state status for air monitoring, rules on res. border

After five years of deliberation, the Environmental Protection Agency has declared the Wind River Indian Reservation its own state for the purpose of air quality monitoring. The decision, made under the Clean Air Act, will allow the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes to apply for grants to support air monitoring programs, but it doesn’t give the tribes regulatory powers.

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News
5:12 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Fractionation of Indian lands continues to grow

The co-ownership of a parcel of land, or land fractionation, on a dozen Indian reservations has doubled from 1992 to 2010. That’s according to a recent study which compared 2010 statistics on land fractionation to a government study from 1992, the only publicly available study of fractionation.

Fractionation happens when several heirs inherit undivided interests in the same allotment of land. Over generations, allotments can end up being shared between dozens of owners.  

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News
4:54 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Tribes still waiting for answer from EPA on air quality monitoring

Almost five years ago, the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes submitted an application to the federal government asking for the Wind River Indian Reservation to be treated as a separate state for monitoring air quality. They're still waiting on a response. 

Eastern Shoshone tribe chairman Darwin St. Clair says it’s a matter of tribal sovereignty as well as stewardship of their land. He says with a coal power plant and oil and gas fields nearby, air quality is a high priority.

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News
5:11 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

E. Shoshone leader says time with federal administrators will help with issues on Wind River

The White House recently hosted its fifth Tribal Nations Conference in Washington D.C. This was the first time that Darwin St. Clair, Chairman of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council, attended the conference. He says it “felt like we were actually making progress. It may not have been big steps, but we’re making steps forward.”

St. Clair said a highlight of the trip was a consultation he had with administrators from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior.  

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