Tribal News

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. 

The city of Riverton hosted a community forum last week to help reduce racial tensions that have been building there. In July, a white city employee shot two Native American men at a detox center, killing one and seriously injuring the other. Some tribal leaders say it was a hate crime. And with a federal court decision pending on whether Riverton falls within reservation boundaries, tensions have been escalating.

South Dakota Historical Society Press


One of the most controversial figures in the history of the American West is Ogalala chief Red Cloud. To some a brilliant warrior and politician, to others, to blame for the Ogalala’s loss of the Black Hills. Now, there’s a new biography called Red Cloud: Ogalala Legend.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards talked with research historian John McDermott about how the Ogalala ended up in Wyoming, and why giving up these lands meant the end of their way of life.

Aaron Schrank

On September 26, six Native American high schoolers from the Wind River Reservation were visiting UW with 600 other prospective students for a weekend event called ‘Campus Pass.’ They planned to tour campus and watch a Cowboy football game.

“We got there in the morning, and we had some free time to go walk around and check things out, so we went to the campus bookstore,” says Kaleb Groesbeck.

Lander Art Center

Friday, November 6, the third annual Native American Art Show opens in Lander. This year, the exhibit is breaking new ground by featuring the works of contemporary performance artists alongside traditional art.

At the opening, performance artists will showcase spoken word, hip hop, music, and poetry at the Middle Fork restaurant in downtown Lander.

At the Lander Art Center gallery, artists will collaborate on a painting.

Two Wyoming groups have started a petition urging lawmakers to pass a hate crimes bill in the state.

Hate crime laws impose tougher penalties on criminals who target their victims because of things like the victim's race or religion. Wyoming is one of just five states that does not have one.

The Wind River Native Advocacy Center and Wyoming Association of Churches are gathering signatures. They say their efforts are in response to the July shooting of two Northern Arapaho men by a white Riverton parks employee at a local detox center. One man was killed in that attack.

County 10

A longtime Eastern Shoshone Business Council member and World War II veteran has died at the age of 102. 

Morning Starr Weed Sr. led a remarkable life.  He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was even a prisoner of war.  

His grandson, Layha Spoonhunter, says Weed was an important tribal member who worked to protect water rights, hunting and fishing rights and to preserve the Shoshone religion and language.


This year Wyoming’s Junior Senator, John Barrasso, took the gavel as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. It’s a new spotlight for Barrasso who frequently appears on CSPAN or cable news railing against the Affordable Care Act.

But as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee he’s got one of the largest portfolios in Congress because of all the daunting issues facing Indian Country.

Amy Martin

In south-central Montana, plans are underway to get more coal out of the ground and onto ships headed to Asia. The Crow Tribe of Montana and Cloud Peak Energy of Wyoming are partnering to develop a new coal mine on the reservation and to open a new export terminal in Washington’s Puget Sound. Although coal prices are in decline and a protest movement is growing, the Crow are undeterred. For them, coal equals survival.

Aaron Schrank

Most people on the Wind River Reservation have seen Craig Ferris on the sidelines of the basketball court at Wyoming Indian High School. As head coach, he’s led the Chiefs to four state championships. But most days, Ferris can be found driving around and knocking on doors—putting the full-court press on a major problem for reservation schools: attendance. Ferris works for Wyoming Indian Elementary. Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank spent a day on the job with him, and has this report.

The University of Wyoming launched a new program Monday that hopes to create a bridge between the school and the Wind River Indian Reservation, home of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. Associate Director Torivio Fodder says the aim of the High Plains American Indian Research Institute is to help the state’s two tribes overcome a long history of distrusting governmental and academic researchers.


A University of Wyoming report found that race was not a factor when University police detained a group of Native American students from St. Stephens High School in the campus bookstore last weekend.

The students were there as part of a campus-visit day for students. A customer in the bookstore told employees there she suspected one student of shoplifting, and described the t-shirt he was wearing.

Craig Blumenshine / Wyoming PBS

Wyoming’s first ever Job Corps center was dedicated in Riverton on Monday. The Wind River Job Corps center serves students between the ages of 16 and 24 and will train them to work in the oil and gas industry. 

Officials are hopeful that it will specifically help young people on the Wind River Reservation. U.S. Senator Mike Enzi worked with Riverton officials to secure the funding and he said it’s a thrill to see the operation open. Enzi said it will help the entire state.           

Wyoming Public Media

Tonight at 8:00 pm, Wyoming PBS will broadcast ‘Steps To Success For Wyoming’s Native American Students,’ a co-production with Wyoming Public Media.

For information on where to find Wyoming PBS in your area, click here. You can also be part of the discussion online. Share your questions and comments throughout the broadcast on Twitter, using the hashtag #WindRiverEducation.

Ten years ago, a young Arapaho man was charged with killing an eagle without a permit for a Sun Dance ceremony. The Northern Arapaho tribe decided it was their duty to stand behind any tribal member legitimately practicing their tribal religion and a federal court agreed with them.

But now, the United States is appealing the decision.  

In a recent press release, Northern Arapaho Chairman Dean Goggles says quote “eagles are an important part of [the tribe’s] most sacred ceremonies” and says the decision to take an eagle is never undertaken lightly.

Melodie Edwards

By some estimates, sexual assault on U.S. Indian reservations is the worst in the world with one in three Native women assaulted during their lifetime. Unbelievably, it’s higher even than war-torn Serbia or the Republic of Congo. And the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming is no exception.

Blue Mountain Associates

Through a $2.5 million dollar grant, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes will be able to study the health benefits of starting backyard gardens. The project is called Growing Resilience and is a collaboration between tribal health groups, the University of Wyoming and the nonprofit, Action Resources International.

Jimmy Emerson via Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Riverton will hold a peace march this Saturday to celebrate tolerance and equality in the wake of the shooting of two Native American men by a white city parks worker last month.

Both victims were sleeping inside the Center of Hope detox center when they were attacked. James "Sonny" Goggles, Jr., 50, was seriously injured and Stallone Trosper, 29, died.

The event was organized by Ron Howard, an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe who teaches preschool on the Wind River Reservation.

The Riverton Police Department will soon hire a staff member to investigate claims of race-based discrimination.

The person hired for the position will not be a police officer, but will work closely with police when conducting investigations, says Riverton police chief Mike Broadhead.

“I see this as a position to serve as an educator,” he says. “To help people who have been victims of bias to have an outlet that is healthy and to make them feel like they don’t have to go home frustrated. I want to give them a voice.”

Aaron Schrank

On July 18, a white city parks employee walked into Riverton’s Center of Hope detoxification center with a .40-caliber handgun and shot two Native American men in the head while they slept.

The confessed shooter, 32-year-old Roy Clyde, told police he was targeting transients who he perceived as a nuisance to the city’s public spaces.

Aaron Schrank

The very name ‘Frontier Days’ is meant to conjure up images of the old West. And that includes Native Americans, who have been a part of Cheyenne Frontier Days pretty much from the beginning. The North Bear Singers and Little Sun Drum and Dance Group, from the Wind River Indian Reservation are the main attraction this year, occupying the arena at the center of the Indian Village.

Following the adoption of the Affordable Care Act, Wyoming’s Northern Arapahoe tribal members signed up in high numbers for fully subsidized health insurance, many of whom had never received any before.

Now, a federal judge in Casper says it’s not the responsibility of the federal government to pay for tribal health care. It’s the responsibly of the tribe. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled against the tribe in its lawsuit with the IRS, arguing that under the ACA the Northern Arapaho tribe qualifies as a large employer.

Andrew Cowell



The Arapaho language is one of many indigenous languages considered endangered. But a new book of bilingual Arapaho stories attempts to help the problem by collecting hundreds of songs and prayers into one place.

J. Stephen Conn via Flickr Creative Commons

Central Wyoming College is home to the state’s only Film & TV program. This summer, that program will become a full-fledged production company to put together a pilot for a crime drama set and shot on and around the Wind River Reservation.

The show will be called “Wind River,” and will star several professional actors from the Riverton area as well as Reservation locals.

Aaron Schrank

Fort Washakie senior Keenen Large watches from the bleachers as his grade school counterparts parade through the school gym in traditional dress. This is what the school calls ‘Indian Days.’ Keenen remembers what it used to be.

“When I was a kid it was like five days,” says Large. “Man, every day was fun. They actually brought a buffalo here and they really performed a gutting ceremony—and then we ate it afterwards. It’s good.”

Wyoming Public Media

The four-year graduation rate for students on the Wind River Indian Reservation hovers around 50 percent, compared to 80 percent in the rest of Wyoming. In this hour-long forum, Wyoming Public Radio's education reporter Aaron Schrank explores the many factors—from historical trauma to family poverty—that contribute to below average education outcomes for Native American students.

Andrew Cowell

This week, Riverton will host a conference on how to save the native languages of indigenous peoples across the globe. It’s the first time in its 22 year history that the “Stabilizing Indigenous Languages” symposium has been held in Wyoming. Last year it took place in Hawaii.

Linguist Andrew Cowell from the University of Colorado says indigenous speakers are expected to come from all over the world to discuss new strategies for rescuing dying languages.

Aaron Schrank

Fort Washakie High School is a small, struggling school on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The students there have been pushing towards one major goal: graduation. And, today, as part of our series on the school, we’ll hear some of those students cross the finish line. 

As family and friends file into the Fort Washakie gymnasium, the class of 2015 is outside posing for a final group photo. English teacher Mike Read offers a quick pep talk as he snaps his camera shutter.

Melodie Edwards

This year, while Wyoming lawmakers were voting down Medicaid Expansion in the state, they also approved a Medicaid Waiver for the state’s two tribes, potentially pumping some $16 million of aid into the reservation’s health system. The health crisis on the Wind River Reservation is now at critical levels, but tripling the amount that the tribe’s receive for health care could help.

In March, Northern Arapaho member Cherokee Brown’s daughter brought her a tooth. She didn’t think much about it. Kids lose teeth.