race

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.

Tennessee Watson

Wyoming Senator Anthony Bouchard has had his share of media attention over the last month for a tense exchange with three University of Wyoming students and a professor. The controversy revolves around a class project about how African-American males are stereotyped as dangerous, which Bouchard said was anti-gun and an example of the one-sided approach to the issue he says is pervasive on campus.  

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.

Brooklynn Gray

Hundreds of University of Wyoming students, faculty, and community members protested the outcome of last week’s election with a Solidarity Walk Out Monday.

Reports of discrimination and harassment of minorities have increased across the U.S. in recent days. The solidarity walk, which started at the Wyoming Union before heading downtown and back, was meant to show support for LGBTQ individuals, Muslims, immigrants and other marginalized groups.

University of Wyoming

  

The University of Wyoming’s new president, Laurie Nichols, recently met with tribal leaders to talk about recruiting more Native American students to the school. In her previous position as provost at South Dakota State University, Nichols says welcoming Native students was a big priority, and she’d like to do the same at UW.

She says both the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone business councils explained that their tribal populations are growing, and that means a lot more young people will be reaching college age in the coming years.

An African American woman was injured in what she said was a racially motivated attack in Laramie early Sunday morning. 

The victim is a former Laramie resident who posted on her Facebook page that she and two other African Americans were returning from a night at Laramie’s Jubilee Days when they were approached by a small group who shouted racial slurs at the victim's group and threatened to kill them. 

The 20th anniversary of the Shepard Symposium on Social Justice kicks off Wednesday, April 6th. The event was started by two members of the College of Education at the University of Wyoming. In 2002, it was renamed in honor of slain UW student Matthew Shepard. Since then, the symposium has grown into a network of organizations and individuals working toward equality. On this milestone, symposium organizer Michelle Jarman says it’s time for a retrospective. 

The Modern West 8: The Contemporary Black Western Experience

Feb 16, 2016
PALACE OF THE GOVERNORS PHOTO ARCHIVES 050884

In honor of Black History Month, we’ll hear about the highs and lows of the black experience in the Modern West. 

Art collector Jordan Schnitzer bought his first painting as a teenager. Since then, he’s amassed one of the largest private collections in the country: 9000 prints by contemporary artists.

Alejandra Silver / Riverton Ranger, Inc.

    

Next Thursday in Fort Washakie on the Wind River Indian Reservation, tribal and non-tribal community members will gather together to talk about how to solve the problem of escalating racial tensions in the area. The U.S. Justice Department offered to sponsor the meetings following the shooting of two Northern Arapaho men by a white man last summer at a detox center in Riverton. The forums are part of a four-part curriculum intended to build toward a set of practical goals that the community can agree to implementing.

The Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue takes place this week at the University of Wyoming. The week-long event features a march, a movie panel, and numerous presentations and discussions.

Organizer Ryan McGarry says this year, there has been a change in who is driving the conversations. "One of the things I am most proud of is the extent to which student voices being showcased but also given space to drive the conversation, and I think it’s a fantastic week of programming because of the level of student involvement," she says.

Wyoming Association of Churches

The Wyoming Association of Churches shines a light on racism and diversity in Wyoming in a workshop. “Doing Justice in a Red State” will address recent instances of racism in Wyoming, proposed hate crime legislation, and how churches can become involved in social justice issues.

Chesie Lee, the executive director of the Wyoming Association of Churches, says one of the biggest challenges in stomping out racism in the state is the lack of discussion about the topic.

Miles Bryan

A group of UW student protestors called “BreakthrUWYO” staged a walkout of a discussion on diversity put on by the school and attended by UW president Dick McGinity Tuesday night.

 

Tom Rea

  

The news that African American football players at the University of Missouri threatened not to play a football game against Brigham Young reminded some Wyoming players of the time they got kicked off of their team prior to a game with BYU. In Wyoming lore, they are known as the Black 14.

facebook.com/uwyostore

 

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.

Caroline Ballard

Protesters filled Simpson Plaza in front of the University of Wyoming last Thursday. They were calling for an end to police brutality and racism, following grand jury decisions to not indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. Protesters and observers had a variety of viewpoints:

Caroline Ballard

 

A protest organized by University of Wyoming Students called for an end to police brutality, following grand jury decisions to not indict police officers in the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

Protesters chanted slogans like “hands up, don’t shoot”, “no justice no peace” and “I can’t breathe.” Black armbands dotted the arms of attendees and neon and cardboard signs were dispersed throughout the crowd.

Keenan Montgomery is a native of Minnesota. He moved to Laramie to study English and play football at the University of Wyoming. In his poem "My Black Experience" he recounts several anecdotes about race, living in Laramie, and what these experiences mean in the larger context of American race relations.

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Racial diversity is not one of the things for which Wyoming is best known. According to census data, only one-point-five percent of the state’s population is African American. Now, a class at the University of Wyoming is documenting the largely untold history of black people in the West. The class is confronting black invisibility—real and perceived.