Eastern Shoshone

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.

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.

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.

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

Paintings of Chief Washakie that have spent more than 40 years in storage are now on display in the Capitol Rotunda in Cheyenne. The 24 pieces by western artist J.K. Ralston were originally commissioned for the dining room of the Noble Hotel in Lander in 1945.

They depict scenes from the life of the Eastern Shoshone chief, including battles, encounters with white settlers, and treaty signings that are part of Chief Washakie’s legacy of diplomacy and peace.

Wyoming State Museum Education Curator Nathan Doerr says the collection tells a sweeping story of the American West.

Edward Wadda, Tribal Liaison between the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and Governor Matt Meads office, passed in a car accident last night (Thursday) at the age of 42.

Wadda served as Tribal Liaison since 2005. While also volunteering as an adviser for Wind River United National Indian Tribal Youth, which works to promote drug-free, healthy lifestyles… promoting education, and keeping culture and traditions alive.

Judith Antell is the director of American Indian Studies at the University of Wyoming. She first met Wadda in 1993, and says they have remained friends ever since.

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