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. 

  

Over the past few months, we’ve been looking at the housing crisis on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The shortage of homes there—and the lack of funding to build more--has led to overcrowding and homelessness. Many Native Americans are often forced to find rentals in border communities off the reservation. Even there they still struggle to find places to live because of racial discrimination.

  

On Monday, January 16 at 9 p.m., Wyoming PBS will air a new documentary set in Wyoming called What Was Ours, directed by Mat Hames. It’s about three Native Americans on the Wind River Indian Reservation and their relationship to artifacts and ceremonial objects and how hard it can be to keep such things within the tribe. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards spoke with two people who appear in the film, Northern Arapaho members Jordan Dresser and former Powwow Princess Mikala Sunrhodes.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

William F. Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill, died in Denver, Colorado on January 10, 1917.  One hundred years later, his name adorns a 300,000 square foot museum complex in Cody, Wyoming: The Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

That complex holds a Buffalo Bill Museum, but it also houses a research library and four other Museums, featuring Western Art, Plains Indians, guns, and the wildlife and wild places of the Yellowstone area. What else did the world famous showman leave behind?

National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

In December, the Northern Arapaho tribe sent a letter to a grizzly bear management subcommittee they sit on, casting their vote against a management plan that would be implemented if the bear is removed from the endangered species list.

Angus Thuermer / WyoFile

In this week’s issue of the online magazine WyoFile, reporter Angus Thuermer talks about his trek to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. There he met and talked with Native American activists from Wyoming’s tribes. Melodie Edwards talked to him about what it was like to arrive at the camp in extremely harsh winter conditions.

Grizzly bear on Swan Lake Flats, Yellowstone National Park; Jim Peaco

Last week, the Northern Arapaho tribe issued a statement expressing frustration about being left out of a meeting on removing the grizzly bear from the Endangered Species List. The disagreement has left some people wondering if grizzly delisting could be the Dakota Access Pipeline of Wyoming in which local tribes assert themselves as sovereign nations.

 

Yufna Soldier Wolf is the director of the Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation Office, which might make you wonder, what's so historic about grizzly bears? 

commons.wikimedia.org

The Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation Office has expressed frustration with not being invited to a meeting on delisting the grizzly bear in Cody in November. Preservation Director Yufna Soldier Wolf said under a new policy adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year, the Traditional Ecological Knowledge of local tribes must be considered in such decisions.

Melodie Edwards

There’s a housing crisis going on at the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming. For its fast growing population of 15,000 residents, there aren’t nearly enough homes to go around, and very little funding to build more. The problem has led to high rates of homelessness in Fremont County. But on rural reservations like Wind River, homelessness doesn’t look much like it does in big cities.

Henry Mulligan

  

 

Yellowstone National Park officials said at a meeting in Nevada last week that their wild bison population is larger than ever, with over 5,000 animals in the herd. This could be a challenge for the park, which is charged with controlling the numbers that migrate into Montana. The park met with a group of federal and state agencies to discuss updates to their Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). 

 

Celia Talbot Tobin / Inside Energy

  

Protesters have been camped out on federal land at the Dakota Access construction site in North Dakota for months, and now winter has arrived, dumping almost two feet of snow on the encampment the last week of November. The winter storm hit just before news that president-elect Donald Trump indicated he supports completion of the pipeline.

Alexis Bonogofsky

For as long as 75-year-old Dick Baldes can remember, his tribe has tried to bring wild bison back to the Wind River Indian Reservation.

“Some of the old timers would talk about that and how important the bison was. I mean, that’s always been that way,” said Baldes.

Associated Press

Northern Arapahoe Schools have launched an iPad application that will help teach both children and teachers the Arapahoe language.

Currently only one percent of Northern Arapaho members speak their language fluently. To grow that number, last May schools gave students in Pre-K through 12th grade 450 iPads installed with a new app that teaches the Arapaho Language.

In our language, our words are strong, they are powerful,” said Wayne C’Hair, an Arapaho elder.

“Sometimes it takes four English words to make one Arapaho word.”

Where do you you stand on Standing Rock?

Nov 16, 2016
Standing Rock Sioux

Where do you you stand on Standing Rock?  

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

By contributing your comment, you consent to the possibility of having it read on the air. 

(Standing Rock Sioux Tribe)

Melodie Edwards

On a plaza on the University of Wyoming campus, Northern Arapaho member Micah Lott told his story of serving on the frontlines of the pipeline protests. He said he even saw his sister arrested there. He said, they both underwent nonviolence training before going. But with Donald Trump's election, it’s unclear what’s next for the protests.

“A lot of people felt like we’d be comfortable with a different candidate, but now we have to accept reality” said Lott. “And reality is Donald Trump is going to be our president and we have to work with him.”

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Keepers of the Fire, a Native American organization at the University of Wyoming, is hosting a rally and dance performance on campus Tuesday to educate the community about the pipeline protest in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been blocking the completion of the pipeline for months because of fears that leaks would contaminate their water source.

Taylor Albert is the co-chair of the United Multicultural Council, another university group collaborating on the rally. She says Wyomingites could learn a lot from the Standing Rock protests.

Edward S. Curtis

  

It’s been a long time since a large market book has tackled the history of the Indian Wars in the American West. But just last month, a new one hit bookstores, titled The Earth Is Weeping.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards chatted with author Peter Cozzens about why he felt it was time to get people thinking about this tragic era in American history.

Alexis Bonogofsky

For the first time in 130 years, wild bison left their hoof prints on the land on the Wind River Indian Reservation last Thursday.

It’s a goal the Eastern Shoshone tribe say they’ve been working toward for over 70 years. And Wind River Native Advocacy Center Director Jason Baldes has been working toward it his entire career. He said, while only ten young bison were released this time around, the goal is to breed them and eventually grow a larger herd.

Volunteers Work To Get Out The Vote On Wind River Indian Reservation

Nov 4, 2016
Matthew Copeland and Scott Christy

Wyoming’s Native American community is more affected by government decisions than perhaps any other group in the state. Yet, low voter engagement among those affiliated with the Wind River Indian Reservation continues to frustrate tribal leaders.

 

The Wind River Native Advocacy Center — a nonprofit that works to empower Native Americans in Wyoming — has launched an ambitious new program aimed at getting out the native vote in Fremont County. Micah Lott is spearheading the organization’s “Every Native Vote Counts” campaign.

 

Melodie Edwards

  

Look around Lynette St. Clair's Shoshone language and culture classroom at Wyoming Indian Middle School, and you’ll see this isn’t the usual Wyoming social studies class. There’s vintage photos of famous Shoshone people, a miniature tepee, and the white board is scribbled with Shoshone words and translations. And what the kids are learning is unusual too. The students are reading a speech by Shoshone chief Washakie from the 19th century. St. Clair teaches them key words from the speech in Shoshone.

Northern Arapaho Tribe

Eight women ran in the recent tribal primary election and two have advanced to the general election. Currently, no women serve on the Northern Arapaho Business Council and only four women have ever served. 

Clarinda Calling Thunder is one of the two finalists. She said there's still a reluctance to vote women into leadership roles. 

Melodie Edwards

Wyoming educators will have access to a new curriculum focused on conveying an accurate history of the state’s two tribes. 

Wyoming PBS collaborated with Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribal leaders to create videos showing native elders and educators discussing the history, culture and government of each tribe. Each of the six videos comes with follow-up lesson plans aligning with Wyoming state standards. 

Edward S. Curtis

A new history of the Indian Wars of the late 19th century hit bookstores on Tuesday. The author set out to debunk myths about the settling of the American West. Historian and author of The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West, Peter Cozzens, said he wrote the book because he saw the need for an objective account of the Indian Wars.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

The fight over the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota has brought to the fore tensions over whether tribes are adequately consulted about development that could affect them. Now, the Secretary of the Interior has issued an order addressing that.

Secretary Sally Jewell’s order directs agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to collaborate more with tribes on resource management.

Piikani Nation Administration

On Sunday, tribes from the U.S. and Canada are convening in Jackson to sign a historic treaty to pledge their dedication to protecting the grizzly bear. The signing comes in advance of a proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the Yellowstone grizzly from the Endangered Species List by the end of the year.

Pipeline Drama Casts Shadow Over Oil Industry

Sep 30, 2016
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

The Obama Administration’s decision to temporarily halt construction on part of the 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline has the oil industry on edge.

It was evident at the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s annual meeting, where the pipeline protests cast a shadow over an industry struggling amid low oil prices.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

A tribal court judge issued an order Thursday that prevents the Eastern Shoshone tribe from making management decisions about programs shared with the Northern Arapaho tribe.

The tribes share the Wind River Reservation, but two years ago the Northern Arapaho left the Joint Business Council, which had cooperatively managed the court system, the wildlife department and other programs on behalf of both tribes.

A federal court decision is expected next week that could decide how the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs can and can’t manage the affairs of the Northern Arapaho, now that the tribe has dissolved their Joint Business Council with the Eastern Shoshone.

Two years ago, the Northern Arapaho walked away from a Joint Business Council with the Eastern Shoshone, saying the Northern Arapaho tribe was growing faster and needed more independence. Both the Eastern Shoshone and the Bureau of Indian Affairs claimed the Northern Arapaho had no right to do that. 

Jordan Vandjelovic, Rocky Mountain Tribal Epidemiology Center

Health officials from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes have a new tool to help them improve the health of residents on the Wind River Reservation. Several health advocates recently attended a training to learn how to use software from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to better collect information about health care on the reservation.

Amy Sisk

Opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline continues to grow beyond its North Dakota roots, with solidarity protests Tuesday in dozens of cities across the country and the world.

A new documentary that premiered in Wyoming on September 9 and 10, tells the stories of three Native Americans from the Wind River Indian Reservation and their quest to find and reclaim tribal artifacts locked away in museums and other storage facilities.

Mat Hames is the director of the new film, What Was Ours, which was commissioned by Wyoming PBS. Hames says the film follows an Eastern Shoshone elder and two Northern Arapaho youths, a journalist and a powwow princess, as they track down artifacts that belonged to Native Americans at the turn of the last century.

Pages