Native American

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After allegations of sexual assault piled up against Harvey Weinstein, Wind River movie director Taylor Sheridan announced he would donate all future royalties to a Montana-based Native American women’s advocacy group. The film was originally distributed by the Weinstein Company and is about the rape and murder of a Northern Arapaho woman.

Lucy Simpson, director of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, said her organization is still in shock over the announcement.

Sheridan College

In late September, two Native American women enrolled at Sheridan College were the target of multiple incidents of racist hate speech. Thursday, Sheridan College President Paul Young announced an action plan to address inclusion and safety for all students on campus.

 

Darrah Perez

Half of American Indians living in native majority areas say they or a family member feel they’ve been treated unfairly by the courts, according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It’s a lack of justice that Wind River Reservation residents say they live with every day. Now the tribes are working together to solve the problem.

One morning, Northern Arapaho member Rose was sitting at the table with her 14-year-old daughter, Latoya.

Photo by Jimmy Emerson, DVM via CC BY-NC-ND 2 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Last February, the 10th Circuit Court ruled that the city of Riverton is not inside the Wind River Reservation boundaries, prompting the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes to ask for another hearing. This week, the court rejected that request. Wind River Native Advocacy Center board chair Sergio Maldonado said the next step for the dispute is the U.S. Supreme Court.

Darrah Perez

The Wyoming Arts Council recently hosted 50 Years of Art in Lander. Director Michael Lange said the summit emphasized that it is looking to the future, by connecting arts from people with different social and cultural backgrounds, giving them the means to learn from each other.

Wyoming artist Robert Martinez is co-founder of the Northern Arapaho Artists Society and the Creative Indigenous Collective, and he is also one of the recipients of the 2018 Art Fellowship for the Wyoming Art Council.

Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum

Comic books get kids reading and thinking about complex issues. That's definitely the case for an art show now up at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. All the comic book art in this show is by Native American artists.

 

The museum's marketing director Morgan Marks gave Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards a tour that started with the illustrated robe of the great Eastern Shoshone Chief Washakie, showing just how deeply ingrained picture storytelling is in Native American cultures.

Jackson Hole’s annual SHIFT Festival kicked off this week with Native American leaders defending Bears Ears National Monument. Each year, SHIFT gathers outdoor enthusiasts from around the nation. This year, Native American leaders took center stage.

Darrah Perez

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Wildlife Federation and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe invited participants to witness the release of ten more bison south of Pilot Butte on the Wind River Reservation.

Jola Lebeau, an Eastern Shoshone tribal member, said a prayer before the release of the ten bison.

“Grandfather Creator you see us here, we are standing here with the sun to the east, that gateway of love. We thank you for this beautiful day and that the buffalo that came here from Montana, that they will love living here upon our lands,”Lebeau said.

Darrah Perez

 

Large crowds turned out for the grand opening of the new Native American Education, Research and Cultural Center on the University of Wyoming campus. Eastern Shoshone elder Stanford Devinney blessed the new center with a prayer while the building received a cedaring ceremony from Northern Arapaho elder Crawford White.

Melodie Edwards

On the Wind River Reservation, on the far edge of a wind-swept cemetery filled with white crosses and colorful flowers, a fresh mound blended in with all the others. It was surrounded with stones and gifts. 

“[A] little buckskin horse, I believe that's a bracelet and some tobacco pouches,” said Olivia Washington as she bent down and arranged the gifts around a metal plaque with the name Horse.

Anna Rader

As part of its effort to improve the quality of education for Native American students on campus, the University of Wyoming will host a grand opening of its new Native American Center this Friday, September 29.

Wyoming’s first Native American woman legislator, State Representative Affie Ellis, will serve as master of ceremonies and the student group, Keepers of the Fire, will offer a Native American hoop dance. 

Anna Rader

The University of Wyoming has a job opening for a Native American Program Advisor. The hope is for the person to help bring up native enrollment numbers which are at an all-time low.

Since her arrival, UW President Laurie Nichols has made Native American enrollment a priority. James Trosper is the director of the Native American Education and Research Center. He said her message of inclusion is already starting to resonate and more Native Americans applied for tribal scholarships this year than last.

Melodie Edwards

After numerous requests by the Northern Arapaho tribe, the remains of children buried in a cemetery at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania in the late 1800’s have been returned to them so they could re-bury them on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Last month, the army college that now owns the former boarding school and graveyard agreed to exhume three of the graves.

Central Wyoming College

 

Central Wyoming College in Riverton sits in a very unique spot in the state: right next door to the Wind River Indian Reservation. Many of its students are Native American. But now, the school is stepping up to do even more for the tribal community and are well underway in designing a program to educate future Native leaders.

Martirene Alcantara

The artist residency program Ucross in north central Wyoming has created a new fellowship for Native American visual artists. Ucross President Sharon Dynak said they decided to pursue the fellowship because they haven’t seen as many applications from Native artists as they’d like, even though their ranch is located near both the Wind River and Crow reservations.

Darrah Perez

Today in Riverton, a class full of Native American jewelry makers are learning how to screen print. Eastern Shoshone member Hope Abeyta wants to screen print her logo on a child-size tepee. The Central Wyoming College course was created specifically for the eclipse since Riverton and much of the reservation falls inside the eclipse’s shadow. The goal is to get these artists the business skills they need to be ready for the event. Abeyta says she found the class on Facebook and signed up.

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

This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially removed the Yellowstone area grizzly from the endangered species list, pronouncing it a success story. But several tribes including the Northern Arapaho, Northern Cheyenne, Standing Rock Sioux and Blackfeet are suing over the decision. Ben Nuvamsa is a member of the Hopi Nation Bear Clan that’s also part of the lawsuit. He said, by law, the federal government should have consulted tribes before delisting the bear.

Last week, the Riverton Ranger reported that councilors from both tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation signed a memorandum of understanding to help them manage their shared programs.

It’s the first time they'll manage them together since the Northern Arapaho disbanded the joint business council back in 2014.

Since the Joint Business Council was dissolved three years ago, the Northern Arapaho, the Eastern Shoshone, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have been wrangling in the courts over how to move forward. The new MOU is an attempt to resolve those conflicts.

At an event on economic opportunities for the Wind River Reservation this week, keynote speaker and former Eastern Shoshone business Councilman Wes Martel said Wyoming’s two tribes are suffering from the same boom-and-bust cycles facing the rest of Wyoming. But he said, the reservation could have more control over what happens on their land. 

Darrah Perez

It's been two years since a white city employee opened fire at a Riverton detox center, killing one Native American and wounding another. To commemorate the tragedy, the community hosted a peace march.

About 80 people walked from the Center of Hope detox center down Main Street to the city park. Children carried signs that read, “Peace,” and “Lives Matter” and “Humanity 4 All.”

Organizer Ron Howard said the goal of the march was to raise awareness so the children of Riverton can grow up safely here.

Caroline Ballard

  

Fifteen-year-old Kade Clark stood shirtless at a water spigot outside the Niobrara County Fairgrounds in Lusk. He reached into a bucket full of red-brown dirt, grabbed a handful, and ran it under the water. Then, he began to paint himself.

“So we look like Indians and stuff. Yea you get it wet, it gets on easier,” said Clark.

Clark is white, and is one of the dozens of people, from toddlers to the elderly, playing Sioux Indians in The Legend of Rawhide, the annual July Pageant and Wild West re-enactment.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

The National Congress of American Indians recently adopted a resolution to document the stories of Native American families who lost relatives during the boarding school era of the late 1800's through the 1970's. Those testimonies will then be submitted to the United Nations.

The hope is to heal the historical trauma of the boarding schools by getting the federal government to acknowledge and apologize for the harm they caused tribal communities.

Maggie Mullen

Throughout the month of June, the National Park Service asks visitors to refrain from climbing Devils Tower to respect American Indian ceremonies. However, the closure is voluntary and the number of climbers in June has been on a steady rise in recent years.

 

Native American Student Summit

Historically, many say the University of Wyoming has not been a supportive place for Native American students. In 2015, the UW Bookstore falsely accused several visiting Native American high schoolers of shoplifting during a recruitment visit. And a general lack of support has caused some tribal students like UW senior Mia Holt to feel unwelcome.  

 

Rebecca Huntington

On the Wind River Reservation, students are learning how to use futuristic tools to stretch the bounds of what's possible in the classroom.

What if you could put a swimming pool in the middle of your classroom?

“Me, me, me, me...” students gleefully shout.

That's just what students at the Arapahoe Elementary School couldn't wait to do...

“Let's be careful to not stand on the swimming pool,” a teacher says. “So now we're going to push select. I think we probably want a really big swimming pool so everybody can fit in it, right?”

The Modern West 23: The Native West, Part 1

May 16, 2017
Aaron Schrank

Part one of two-part series, featuring stories that take us into the heart of the Wind River Reservation.

Native Women's Society of the Great Plains

On February 12, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating a day of awareness for missing and murdered Native women on May 5, the birthday of Hanna Harris, a 21-year-old Northern Cheyenne woman who disappeared in 2013.

Carmen O’Leary, director of the Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains, said the resolution was passed in Harris' name.

Wyoming Indian High School

This past week, the Wyoming Department of Education held listening sessions at tribal schools to see how the state can better serve Native American families. Rob Black, social studies consultant with the WDE and liaison to the Native American community, said students on the reservation are a vulnerable population. Graduation rates and achievement levels there lag behind non-native communities.

Black said before addressing specific issues the WDE wanted to open up dialogue.

University of Wyoming

After years of requests, administrators at the University of Wyoming have granted Native American students an American Indian Center on campus. The center will move into the Red House, a prominent location right across the street from campus.

The Faces From The Land

Photographs of Native Americans in full powwow regalia and make up will appear at an art opening in Buffalo tonight. Photographer Ben Marra said he started his career doing portraits, and so it came naturally to him to present powwow dancers with that kind of controlled lighting.

“I felt comfortable that way and it gave me more control,” Marra said. “And now we have probably the largest present day collection of this type of photographs in the world.”

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