Native American

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.

Patrick Goggles has been serving in the Wyoming House of Representatives since 2005. But at the end of the recent budget session, he announced that he won’t be seeking reelection in 2014. Goggles is a democrat from House District 33, which includes a piece of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fremont County.

School of the Museum of Fine Arts

Eminent Artist in Residence Bently Spang is spending the spring semester at the University of Wyoming. His exhibition 'Bently Spang: On Fire' is on display through March 22 at the UW Art Museum, and he'll host the multi-media Tekcno Pow Wow III April 2 at the Wyoming Union Ballroom.

P. Solomon Banda, Associated Press

Sergio Maldonado is a Mexican-Arapaho who grew up on the Wind River Indian Reservation outside of Lander, Wyoming.  He now teaches at Central Wyoming College in Riverton.  In these two stories, Sergio talks about his experience with the Arapaho and Shoshone tribes.  His personal history informs his understanding of Native identity.

A national, bi-partisan commission has released a report about safety in Indian Country. Tribal communities are often more dangerous than non-Native communities. The report - A Roadmap for Making Native America Safer - looks at Native American communities nationwide and makes recommendations for closing those gaps in public safety. Affie Ellis is from Wyoming and she sits on the Indian Law and Order Commission, which put out the report. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov about the Commission’s findings.

A report released by the Indian Law and Order Commission says law enforcement responsibilities on Indian reservations should be placed with tribes, rather than with federal and state governments, as they are now. The report, titled “A Roadmap for Making Native America Safer,” looked at public safety issues in Native American communities nationwide and made recommendations to close the public safety gap by 2024. Public safety in tribal communities often lags behind non-Native communities. 

No action taken on Medicaid proposals

Nov 6, 2013

The Legislature’s Joint Health and Labor Committee took no action on three bills that would address expanding Medicaid Services in the state. 

The committee will vote on the legislation in January, although a pilot project that would provide Medicaid expansion on the Wind River Reservation was assigned to another committee that deals with Native American issues.  

Author, poet, and filmmaker Sherman Alexie spent the past several days on the University of Wyoming campus as a guest of the American Indian Studies Program. His visit started with a public lecture--more like an improv comedy sketch about Native American identity--and Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer sat down with Alexie to discuss some of the themes in his talk.

An environmental consulting firm is considering anti-erosion measures for a pair of historical sites east of Gillette.

 This summer, the Bureau of Reclamation hired S.W.C.A, formerly Steven W. Carothers and Associates, to map and collect samples at archeological sites near Keyhole Reservoir which had suffered water damage in 2011. The bureau feared the sites are vulnerable to erosion.

 S.W.C.A Field Director Andrew Owens says the historical sites were home to early cattle ranchers and Native Americans, respectively.

Sherwin Bitsui, an award winning writer and poet, will hold a reading at the University of Wyoming later this week. Bitsui grew up on the Navajo Reservation, and his poetry features themes of the natural world.

The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 requires record-keeping of federal agencies’ activities with violent crime occurring in Indian Land. In compliance with the law, the Department of Justice has released a report detailing investigations and prosecutions of violent crimes in tribal communities for 2011 and 2012.

The report says federal efforts to prioritize criminal investigations and prosecutions in Indian Country have led to a 54% increase in that caseload.

Federal budget cuts are causing schools on the Wind River Indian Reservation to tighten their belts.

Wyoming provides funding to all public schools in the state, but 10 districts – including several on the reservation – also receive money from the federal Impact Aid program.  That supplements funding to school districts that include federal land that is not subject to property taxes.

Gary Small and the Coyote Bros. have been nominated for ‘Artist of the Year’ and ‘Best World Music Album’ for the Native American Music Awards. Small is a Northern Cheyenne Indian, living in Sheridan, Wyoming. He says he plays everything from surf and rockabilly, to blues and zydeco, but he says this album is dedicated to telling Native American stories.

The Violence Against Women Act has now passed both the Senate and House of the US Congress.

The law seeks to address violent crimes against women, to aid in the prosecution of offenders, and to provide resources for victims. But Wyoming’s three congressional lawmakers all voted against renewing the bill.

Representative Cynthia Lummis says for her, the provision allowing tribal courts to prosecute non-Native people who abuse Native women on reservations was the deciding factor.

New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that people in Wyoming reporting to be American Indian in combination with one or more races grew 24%.

In 2010 over 13-thousand people in Wyoming reported American Indian as their only race. However, those who chose multiple races - American Indian in combination with something else – was nearly 19-thousand. That’s up from 15-thousand a decade ago.

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