Native American

Wyoming Groups Push For Hate Crimes Law

Nov 3, 2015

Two Wyoming groups have started a petition urging lawmakers to pass a hate crimes bill in the state.

Hate crime laws impose tougher penalties on criminals who target their victims because of things like the victim's race or religion. Wyoming is one of just five states that does not have one.

The Wind River Native Advocacy Center and Wyoming Association of Churches are gathering signatures. They say their efforts are in response to the July shooting of two Northern Arapaho men by a white Riverton parks employee at a local detox center. One man was killed in that attack.

CSPAN

This year Wyoming’s Junior Senator, John Barrasso, took the gavel as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. It’s a new spotlight for Barrasso who frequently appears on CSPAN or cable news railing against the Affordable Care Act.

But as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee he’s got one of the largest portfolios in Congress because of all the daunting issues facing Indian Country.

Wyoming Public Media

Tonight at 8:00 pm, Wyoming PBS will broadcast ‘Steps To Success For Wyoming’s Native American Students,’ a co-production with Wyoming Public Media.

For information on where to find Wyoming PBS in your area, click here. You can also be part of the discussion online. Share your questions and comments throughout the broadcast on Twitter, using the hashtag #WindRiverEducation.

Michael Coles for winterinthebloodfilm.com

On Thursday, an award-winning film based on a classic James Welch novel makes its Wyoming debut. Winter in the Blood follows the story of a Blackfoot man, Virgil First Raise, through his journey of self-discovery. The movie is directed by brothers Alex and Andrew Smith.

Native Americana Blues Guitarist Cary Morin On Morning Music

Sep 22, 2015
Mike Vanata

Cary Morin recorded live on 9/22/15 during Wyoming Public Radio's Morning Music show.

Melodie Edwards

By some estimates, sexual assault on U.S. Indian reservations is the worst in the world with one in three Native women assaulted during their lifetime. Unbelievably, it’s higher even than war-torn Serbia or the Republic of Congo. And the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming is no exception.

The Riverton Police Department will soon hire a staff member to investigate claims of race-based discrimination.

The person hired for the position will not be a police officer, but will work closely with police when conducting investigations, says Riverton police chief Mike Broadhead.

“I see this as a position to serve as an educator,” he says. “To help people who have been victims of bias to have an outlet that is healthy and to make them feel like they don’t have to go home frustrated. I want to give them a voice.”

Shooting Stirs Racial Tension In Fremont County

Jul 31, 2015
Aaron Schrank

On July 18, a white city parks employee walked into Riverton’s Center of Hope detoxification center with a .40-caliber handgun and shot two Native American men in the head while they slept.

The confessed shooter, 32-year-old Roy Clyde, told police he was targeting transients who he perceived as a nuisance to the city’s public spaces.

Aaron Schrank

The very name ‘Frontier Days’ is meant to conjure up images of the old West. And that includes Native Americans, who have been a part of Cheyenne Frontier Days pretty much from the beginning. The North Bear Singers and Little Sun Drum and Dance Group, from the Wind River Indian Reservation are the main attraction this year, occupying the arena at the center of the Indian Village.

The Modern West 2: Rodeos And Pow Wows

Jul 14, 2015

Cowboys and Indians are icons of the old West. But how do they live in the modern West? 

Wyoming Public Media

The four-year graduation rate for students on the Wind River Indian Reservation hovers around 50 percent, compared to 80 percent in the rest of Wyoming. In this hour-long forum, Wyoming Public Radio's education reporter Aaron Schrank explores the many factors—from historical trauma to family poverty—that contribute to below average education outcomes for Native American students.

Shawn Lawrence Otto Reads From "Sins Of Our Fathers"

Apr 30, 2015
Shawn Otto

Shawn Lawrence Otto is a screenwriter, novelist, and science advocate who wrote and co-produced the movie House of Sand and Fog, which was nominated for three Oscars. His novel Sins of Our Fathers, a literary thriller, is a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize. Otto is also the producer of the US Presidential Science Debates between Barack Obama and his opponents Mitt Romney and John McCain, and author of Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America, which won the Minnesota Book Award.

Al Hubbard

Last week, the Lander Art Center hosted an opening for its second annual Native American art exhibit. The show runs through December 20 and boasts more than 50 artists, most of them from the Wind River Indian Reservation. One artist in the exhibit is Al Hubbard, a 42-year-old Navajo and Arapaho artist who says traditional Native American images are fine, but Hubbard says he’s more interested in using pop art and other contemporary styles to express his ideas about tribal history and spirituality.

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.

Artist Sets UW 'On Fire' With Exhibit, 'Tekcno Pow Wow'

Mar 7, 2014
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.

VAWA passes Congress without Rep. Lummis' support

Feb 28, 2013

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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