Native American

Taylar Stager

Wyoming has a short growing season and one non-profit is already starting the new year preparing to combat food insecurity on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Missing And Murdered Indigenous People

Gov. Mark Gordon's Taskforce on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People has released a report on the severity of the problem in Wyoming. It found that Indigenous people make up 21% of homicides in the state even though only 3% of the population is Indigenous.

But Wyoming Survey and Analysis Research Scientist Emily Grant said these numbers could be underestimates. For instance, murder rates could be off because coroners misclassify victims.

Map of cultural resources, historic trails, and Native American concerns in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Converse County Oil and Gas Project
Bureau of Land Management

Several tribes have filed letters of protest against the recently approved Converse County Oil and Gas Project. The U.S. Interior Department signed off on the project at the end of last year; it allows for the drilling of 5,000 wells over the next decade by five operators.

Elizabeth Ridgely

Food insecurity is being without access to affordable, healthy food. Historic racism and long drives to a grocery store impede Native people on the Wind River Reservation from access to healthy food.


Soon after she was elected as one of America's first Indigenous congresswomen in 2018, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland paid a visit to her constituents at the Pueblo of Sandia, just outside of Albuquerque. 

"She came to the Pueblo for one of our feast days," said Stephine Poston, a tribal citizen and advocate for Native women leadership. "And the young girls, a couple of them were following her around and she stopped to talk to them. It was an amazing thing to see and witness." 

Poston said Haaland may as well have been a celebrity to those girls, but she didn't act like one. 

"She's just that person who will stop and see you," Poston said. 

And she said that's how Pueblo people, and Indigenous people across the country, have been feeling since Haaland was nominated to lead the Department of the Interior: Seen.

Not Our Native Daughters

Last year, at a UW campus march for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Not Our Native Daughters Director Lynette Greybull pressed Gov. Mark Gordon to start a task force to study the problem. He agreed on the spot and since then the taskforce has been working to meet several goals.

Ben Pease

In some Native communities getting to a grocery store can take up to an hour and requires access to a vehicle. And there is no guarantee that the food there is fresh, often being trucked in from days away. Tsanavi Spoonhunter is the director of Crow Country: Our Right to Food Sovereignty.

The documentary explores food insecurity on the Crow Reservation in Montana. Wyoming Public Radio's Taylar Stagner spoke with her about the award-winning film and the inspiration that brought her to Montana.

Karen Snyder has never been afraid to use her voice. She learned that from the women who raised her on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.

"I come from a very long line of strong women. Grandmothers, mothers, a very strong line of women that are very outspoken," Snyder said.

That came in handy in 2016, when she was elected as one of two women on the six-person Eastern Shoshone Business Council.

Sue Reynolds

Since August of 2019, there has been a 200 percent increase in teachers, administrators, and the public utilizing a free web service called Everyday Native. It's an online resource that aims to provide educational material.

Taylar Stagner

Riverton Library is quiet today. And sure, libraries are supposed to be quiet places but right now it's extra quiet. Before COVID-19 heath restrictions the Riverton Library was seeing 450 people on average per day with a staff of ten assistant librarians.

Jordan Dresser

On the heels of the national election, the Northern Arapaho Tribe just wrapped up the election of their business council. Jordan Dresser was a new name on the ballot and won a seat with a lot of support, especially from the tribe's youth. He's known as a mover and shaker.

Over the last few years Dresser worked to find and repatriate numerous artifacts from around the country. Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards talked with him about his vision going forward.

Amid America’s racial reckoning spurred by the killing of George Floyd, a number of controversial historical monuments were torn down by protesters or removed by authorities this year, including some in the Mountain West.

Lynnette Grey Bull for Congress

 

A record 14 Indigenous people ran for Congress this year from both parties, including six candidates in the Mountain West. Most of them were not successful. But Aliyah Chavez, a reporter and producer for Indian Country Today, says their campaigns still had an impact. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio's Savannah Maher about the outcomes of those races, the six Native people who will serve in Congress in the upcoming session, and whether they will be able to work across the aisle for Indian Country.


Talia Mayden of HUMAN

About a week before Election Day, as the Wind River Reservation was bracing for snow, Wyoming state Rep. Andi Clifford squeezed in some roadside campaigning outside of a community hall in Arapahoe.

"Normally we would've been inside," she said. "But we can't, so we're out here."

Last weekend, as the Wind River Reservation was bracing for snow, Wyoming State Rep. Andi Clifford was squeezing in some campaigning in the parking lot of Great Plains Hall in Arapahoe. 

Savannah Maher

 

After getting an initial COVID-19 outbreak under control, tribal leaders on the Wind River Reservation are reporting a renewed wave of community spread. During a virtual address this week, Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Lee Spoonhunter called on community members not to allow "coronavirus fatigue" to influence their behavior.

F Is For Fake: How Likely Fraudulent Indigenous Artworks Landed On Museum Walls In Wyoming

Oct 20, 2020
Graphic by Michael Patti, Texas Observer

This article was reported in collaboration with The Texas Observer and created in partnership with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

It's a modest museum on the edge of a modest town. The Lander Pioneer Museum is dimly lit, a nod to its log cabin beginnings, and its mismatched display cases house everything from antique saddles to applesauce mills-artifacts of early settlers in what is now Lander, Wyoming. In the main gallery, a placard announces the institution's major show, "Tribal Warrior Art." The exhibition, which debuted in fall of 2018, contains about 100 ledger art drawings- narrative illustrations created by Indigenous artists from the Plains on discarded account books, mostly during the late 19th century.

Savannah Maher

 

This fall, the White Buffalo Program took a group of young tribal members to the Big Horn Mountains on the Crow reservation for a buffalo hunt.

Savannah Maher


Growing up, Lavina Antelope and her little brother Andy were close. She calls him the baby of the family, even though he wasn't the youngest of his nine siblings. She says he was funny and tenderhearted. In his final years, he struggled with severe and chronic alcoholism. Lavina Antelope worried that her brother's addiction would kill him. She never imagined she would lose him to police violence.

Damen Bell-Holter

 

Former NBA player Damen Bell-Holter is concerned about the lack of mental health resources for men of color. Identifying as a Black man and a member of the Haida Nation, Bell-Holter has seen first hand how men of color often don't seek help for mental illnesses.

Senate Democrats are pushing the Federal Communications Commission to expedite progress on broadband connectivity in Native communities. 

Hila Shamon with Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Swift foxes are reddish-brown, a bit smaller than a house cat, with big ears and a long tail. They do their best to sound intimidating when they're live-trapped, but they tend to be quite docile. They were historically found across the Great Plains region from Alberta, Canada down through the central part of the United States, but today, they're only in about 40 percent of that area.

Loring Schaible


It's a bright August morning in the northeast corner of Montana. Robbie Magnan, Game and Fish director for the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, rose before dawn to round up 40 buffalo into a corral.

If you're experiencing quarantine fatigue, these bulls can relate.

LORING SCHAIBLE

Millions of bison used to roam the west but by the early 1900's, only a couple dozen were left inside Yellowstone. That's because the animal was over-hunted by western settlers. Yellowstone Chris Geremia, the Yellowstone National Park bison coordinator, said decades were spent to recover the population.

Ron Howard (Northern Arapaho) leads the Anual Peace March, Lance Goede of the Solutions Committee was also in attendance.
Taylar Stagner

In 2015 two Northern Arapaho men were shot at the Center of Hope detox center in Riverton Wyoming. They were shot by a white city park employee with a 40-cal. handgun while they slept. The confessed shooter said he was targeting homeless people who he perceived as a nuisance to the city's public spaces. The thing is neither man was homeless. This was a racially motivated shooting, but change has been slow.

Lately I've been spending my Wednesday mornings in Riverton City Park. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, it's safer to interview people outdoors, and I've been asking everyone I run into the same question: Is Riverton, Wyo., on the Wind River Reservation?

TARYN JIM

This week, a federal cold case task force office opened in Billings to investigate unresolved cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous people [MMIP]. It’s one of seven established across Indian Country this summer, part of the Trump administration’s multi-agency initiative, called “Operation Lady Justice,” to combat violence against Native people.

Savannah Maher

After four months under a strict stay-at-home order, residents of the Wind River Reservation will now be able to gather in small groups, enter tribal buildings, and return to work at non-essential jobs on the reservation. Tribal offices and businesses, including casinos, hotels and restaurants, will also be permitted to re-open.

Reservation Districts Opt For Virtual Instruction

Aug 6, 2020
Arapahoe School District

 

Hundreds of students on the Wind River Reservation will begin the school year online. This week the Fort Washakie, Wyoming Indian and Arapahoe districts, as well as St. Stephen's Indian School, became the first in the state to officially opt for virtual instruction.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

The U.S. Census Bureau has announced it's ending the 2020 count a month early, a move that's likely to have a big impact on Indigenous communities in the West.

 


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