Native American

courtesy of Christie Wildcat

Every year at Gathering of Nations Powwow in New Mexico, Dozens of young Indigenous women compete for the title of Miss Indian World. This year, Northern Arapaho citizen and University of Wyoming senior Christie Wildcat was among the contestants. But the powwow and the pageant were cancelled to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

As Wildcat told Wyoming Public Radio's Savannah Maher, her preparation won't go to waste, as she plans to compete again next year.

Savannah Maher

With six cases of COVID-19 now confirmed on the Wind River Reservation, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes have enacted some of the strictest measures in Wyoming to slow the spread. The tribes have jointly directed their citizens to remain in their homes except for emergencies, stay far away from elders and avoid gathering in groups of more than 10.

But for many tribal households, those directives contradict one another.

Charlize Branch

Ethel Branch is the former attorney general of the Navajo Nation. A few weeks ago, when she went grocery shopping in Flagstaff, Arizona, she noticed that the shelves were already pretty bare. That worried her. For shoppers from the nearby Navajo Nation, a grocery store can be hours away.

Wind River Family and Community Healthcare/Lisa Yawakia

With the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on the Wind River Reservation, tribal members are being asked not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary. There are currently 14 total confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Fremont County.

Eastern Shoshone Tribe

The Eastern Shoshone Tribal Housing Authority (ESTHA) will build 24 new homes on the Wind River Reservation this year. That's thanks to a $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Indian Housing Block Grant Program.

The National Congress of American Indians warned reporters in a press conference Friday that COVID-19 is a “recipe for a disaster” for tribal nations. 

WIND RIVER FAMILY AND COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE/LISA YAWAKIA

With eight cases of COVID-19 now confirmed in Fremont County, the Wind River Reservation's federally funded healthcare facilities are bracing for impact. Meanwhile, the Indian Health Service (IHS) has announced that $40 million in federal funds will be distributed to help tribes across the country combat the coronavirus.

Savannah Maher

With eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fremont County, the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes are preparing for the coronavirus to reach the Wind River Reservation.

Fort Washakie School District

Nearly all of Wyoming's school districts will remain closed in the coming weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Many are scrambling to provide meals to the 37 percent of K-12 students in our state who typically rely on free or reduced-price school breakfast and lunch. Two districts on the Wind River Reservation have devised a plan to feed kids in need while complying with social distancing recommendations.

Savannah Maher

During the legislative session, Representative Andi Clifford's days start before dawn. So, when her friend Representative Sara Burlingame picks her up from her hotel early on a February morning, the first thing on their agenda is getting caffeinated.

WyoFile/Flickr Creative Commons

County Clerks in Wyoming could soon be required by state law to accept tribal ID cards for voter registration, provided the ID lists the applicant's driver's license number or last four digits of their social security number.

Industrial Hemp
Mountain Xpress

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe could soon take steps to launch its own cannabis business on the Wind River Reservation. The tribe's General Council, a governing body composed of all tribal members over the age of 18, will take up the issue during a meeting on Saturday​, March 14.

Savannah Maher

Wyoming Indian High School's girls and boys basketball teams received a warm welcome back to the Wind River Reservation after​ once again sweeping the 2A state championship.

Robert Martinez

Governor Mark Gordon honored five Wyoming artists with the 2019 Governor's Arts Award, including visual artist and graphic designer Robert Martinez. Martinez is Northern Arapaho and Chicano, and grew up in a family of talented painters and beadworkers on the Wind River Reservation. He draws and paints portraits using bright, contrasting tones in a style intended to challenge the viewer's assumptions of what Native people and Native art should look like.

"You see many depictions of Natives as black and white or sepia toned, and that connotes to a dead culture," Martinez said. "So, one of the things I was doing with this bright paint was I wanted to show that we're not dead, we're alive and strong."

Wyoming Public Radio's Savannah Maher visited Martinez at his studio outside of Riverton and talked with him about his work and what it means to be one of only a few people of color ever awarded the state's top artistic honor.

Northern Arapaho Business Council

The Northern Arapaho Business Council has declared a state of emergency amid a crisis of methamphetamine addiction on the Wind River Reservation.

Catherine Wheeler

On the eastern edge of the Sheridan VA Medical Center campus sits a peaceful view over northern Sheridan. In the winter, the grass is dead and the mud is thick when there isn't any snow covering it. Along a path, there are signs marking a sacred circle.

Crystal C'Bearing/Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation Office

On a Saturday afternoon in January, Great Plains Hall in Arapahoe was packed with hundreds of people standing in line to bless themselves with cedar smoke, and visit with the very imposing 6-foot-long headdress. Hand-sewn and beaded, each of the dozens of eagle feathers adorning it commemorates one of Chief Black Coal's greatest accomplishments.


Savannah Maher

A $4.1 million grant from the Federal Communications Commission has allowed the Northern Arapaho-owned company Wind River Internet to begin a broadband expansion project on the reservation. During a visit this week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had the opportunity to see the project's progress firsthand.

The Cordero Rojo Mine - taken when Cloud Peak was still the operator
Cloud Peak Energy

Governor Mark Gordon and the Navajo Transitional Energy Company have agreed to a Limited Waiver of Sovereign Immunity. The move resolves a barrier for the Navajo Nation-owned corporation in acquiring its mining permits.

Back in October, NTEC paid the recently bankrupt coal company Cloud Peak Energy in order to assume operations of three mines: Cordero Rojo, Spring Creek, and Antelope.

CJ Oliver/Flickr Creative Commons

Housing in tribal communities across the country has led to numerous social problems, including those in Wyoming. On the Wind River Reservation, it has led to a severe housing shortage with overcrowding in the homes that are available and to homelessness in the community. Housing stock has grown old and is falling into disrepair and about 600 new housing units are needed to fill the need.

Southern Utah’s red rock desert is home to towering canyons and the clear, shallow Escalante River. It’s also home to many ancient petroglyphs. Jonathan Paklaian is trying to find one along the banks of the river. He scrambles along a cliff wall until he spots it — a petroglyph he says was drawn more than 800 years ago by the Indigenous Fremont people. 

WYDOT

Wyoming Indian High School's team colors are red, white and blue. But at Monday's basketball practice, there was a lot of purple and gold on the court. The Chiefs and Lady Chiefs - who swept last year's 2A boys and girls state championships - wore the LA Lakers' team colors to honor the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Wyoming Public Radio's Savannah Maher stopped by practice to talk with the players and their coaches about what Bryant meant to them.

John K. Hillers/Wikimedia Commons

A headdress belonging to Chief Black Coal, one of most influential Arapaho leaders of the late 19th century, has been repatriated to the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

Alejandra Silva/Eastern Shoshone Tribe

After a narrow win in last week's special election, former Chief Judge of the Wind River Tribal Court John St. Clair has been sworn-in as the sixth member of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council.

Savannah Maher

Temperatures dipped below 10 degrees in Riverton on Monday, Jan 20. But that didn't stop more than 100 people from participating in the city's 17th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day "Walk for Unity."

A fight is brewing in eastern Utah over whether the National Park Service should include nearly 200 rock art sites in the National Register of Historic Places.

In March of last year, a group of volunteers and preservationists submitted a proposal to add 199 rock art sites to the Register, an effort that took a decade to complete.

Taylar Stagner

Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone youth will soon have access to more parks and playgrounds, outdoor trips, and recreational facilities on the Wind River Reservation. 

A new veteran's memorial sculpture is set to be completed in Fort Washakie this summer. Organizers are asking for the public's help identifying veterans who have roots on the Wind River Reservation.

Savannah Maher

Social studies teachers from 27 Wyoming school districts gathered in Riverton this week for a two-day professional development workshop. Many used the time to learn about Wyoming's new Indian Education For All standards, which were approved by then-Governor Matt Mead in 2017.

Savannah Maher

Every Wednesday afternoon, one hallway at Wyoming Indian High School turns into a robotics arena.

During an after school scrimmage in December, two teams were using remote controlled robots — which they built and programmed themselves — to move big yellow blocks called “stones” around an obstacle course. 12th grader Maranda Blackbird explained the rules.

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