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Veteran Memorial In Fort Washakie Moving Forward Despite Pandemic

Jon Cox

Native Americans serve in the military at five times the national average. On the Wind River Indian Reservation a new memorial will honor them and their non-Native neighbors that have also served in the armed forces.

The Frank Wise building in Fort Washakie has just finished the gazebo where a new memorial will be housed to honor the reservation's veterans. The memorial will include veterans from first military contact to most recent service.

Scott Ratliff has been involved with the project for the last two years. Ratliff was drafted in 1966 at age 24 to serve in Vietnam. He said the memorial is stone and resembles a buffalo.

"What it looks like they'll be four stones. Everyone of the stones will have faces of veterans from the beginning of when there were scouts through current times," he said.

Ratliff is also excited about the digital aspect of the memorial. The plan is that the stone of the memorial will have faces of different veterans, and using a phone you can learn more.

"You can hold your phone up to the stone and it will tell you about that era and we are hoping it will tell you who that person was and what they were all about," he said.

Planning had to be pushed back nine months due to the pandemic.

The memorial is expected to be finished later this summer. Anyone who lives on the Wind River Indian Reservation is invited to submit their name for the memorial. Here is the link to submit a name.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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