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Tribal organizations help feed hundreds of people through food distributions on Wind River Reservation

Food distribution in Fort Washakie, Wyoming in November 2022.
Eastern Shoshone Newsletter, Newe News
Food distribution in Fort Washakie, Wyoming in November 2022.

The tribes on the Wind River Reservation have been doing regular food drives since 2020. Until this past fall, they didn’t know what food they would receive from their partners like the Food Bank of Wyoming and The Food Bank of the Rockies. But they made a point to create this communication so they can plan better.

The Eastern Shoshone Housing Authority expects to feed 300 families this Christmas. The Northern Arapaho are expecting to feed 250. Because of an increase in need and an increase in communication with partners the drives can now plan out what food they will receive for the holidays.

Hope White is with the Eastern Shoshone Housing Authority. That’s the group that puts on the distribution in Fort Washakie. She said they still have some specific needs.

“We would like to see a lot more meat come. And I mean, they [partners] do a very good job with sourcing us with our fresh vegetables and fruit,” she said. “And we're completely thankful for those items. But the meat is kind of scarce in the last few months.”

White said there is an increase in the need for food on the Wind River Reservation.

“Last month, we served close to 316 children, 346 adults and 157 seniors just in that one food distribution for November,” she said.

White said when they started in 2020 they only served 100 families. She attributes the rising cost in groceries and fuel to the increase in need during the holidays.

The two food distributions in Fort Washakie and in Arapaho are both largely put on by volunteers in the community.

Katie Law is with the Arapaho food distribution and said there are student volunteers from Arapaho schools, as well as the Northern Arapaho transportation department to help get food where it needs to go.

“We would see families in line an hour early because we had run out the month before,” she said.

Dec. 19 is the last food distribution on the Wind River Reservation of the year. It is at both Arapaho Schools and at the Fort Washakie Powwow grounds.

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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