Stories from the Wind River Reservation

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The Wind River Indian Reservation is as beautiful as its melodic name!  It’s one of the largest Reservations in the United States, spanning over 2.2 million acres and contained within the boundaries of the state.  Its scenery ranges from high grassland to some of the most majestic and least populated mountain ranges. Wyoming Public Media serves the Wind River Reservation through Lander (KUWR 91.9, Riverton (KUWT 91.3) and Dubois (KUWR 91.3) locations.  Our reporters tell the stories of the Reservation, focusing on issues that affect the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes.  You can hear these stories on this page.  They reflect the lives of people on the Reservation, their history, hopes, and ambitions. 

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News
9:55 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Tribes seek greater role in Pavillion investigation

In the wake of a congressional hearing over a draft report by the Environmental Protection Agency that links hydraulic fracturing with water contamination in the town of Pavillion, the Wind River Tribes are pushing to take a bigger role in the investigation.

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News
2:50 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Pavillion Residents Urge Support For EPA Ahead Of Subcommittee Hearing

EPA

Tomorrow, the U-S House of Representatives’ Energy and Environment Subcommittee will hear about the Environmental Protection Agency’s ongoing investigation of groundwater contamination in the town of Pavillion. However, Pavillion residents say they were not invited to testify.

In December the EPA released a draft report on its three-year water contamination investigation. It indicated that ground water in Pavillion’s aquifer contains compounds that are “likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing.”

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News
4:27 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Census Data Shows Wyoming's American Indian Population Growing

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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News
9:49 am
Tue January 24, 2012

UW considering American Indian center

The American Indian Studies program at the University of Wyoming says that they have contracted architect Johnpaul Jones to develop a proposed American Indian center at U-W.

Jones has worked as lead-consultant for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, as well as numerous other cultural centers, museums and parks.

Judith Antell is Director of American Indian Studies at UW.

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News
6:59 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Native American Farmers And Ranchers May See Repayment Soon

Some Native American farmers and ranchers in Wyoming could be receiving checks and debt forgiveness in the coming year in the wake of a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
 
It’s estimated that Native American farmers and ranchers lost over 770-million-dollars in revenue between 1981 and 1999, because the USDA denied them loans and services based on their race. Many Native Americans also lost their land in the process.

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News
7:54 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Public comment period extended on EPA Pavillion report

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it is extending the public comment period on the draft Pavillion ground water investigation to March 12. It's an attempt to allow all stakeholders and the public additional time to review the report and its related documents. On Tuesday, the EPA invited the public to nominate scientific experts to be peer reviewers of the draft report. Nominations will be accepted through February 17th. In December, Gov.

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Open Spaces
5:02 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Wind River Tribes might head back to court over mineral mismanagement

Listen to the Story

In the class action lawsuit Cobell vs. Salazar, plaintiff Elouise Cobell accused the Federal Government of mismanaging nearly 150-billion dollars in royalties owed to Indian landowners due to the loss and destruction of records. The government agreed to a $3.4 billion dollar settlement – and government data estimates there are up to 8,000 possible beneficiaries here in Wyoming.

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Wind River Tribes
5:26 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Wind River tribes take Dept. of Interior back to court

Wind River Reservation

On Monday, the Federal Court of Appeals reinstated a claim filed by the Wind River Tribes against the federal government which accuses the Department of Interior of mismanaging mineral royalties for the two tribes.
 The Shoshone and Arapaho claims were initially filed in 1979. Since then, most have been adjudicated and settled, however, one big piece remains: oil and gas leases initially established in the early 1900’s.
 Allegedly, the Department of Interior managed those leases, then illegally transformed them into new leases in the 1930s.

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News
5:38 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Encana Asks EPA To Suspend Public Comment

Encana Oil and Gas says the Environmental Protection Agency is moving too fast with its draft analysis of ground water contamination in the town of Pavillion, and has asked the EPA to suspend the public comment period.

In a letter dated January 6th, Encana oil and gas asked the EPA to suspend the public comment period until the agency’s plans were better explained and additional critical data could be disseminated.

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Open Spaces
11:49 am
Thu January 5, 2012

October 21st, 2011

Open Spaces
10:56 am
Thu January 5, 2012

September 30th, 2011

News
6:55 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Governor Mead Asks For Clarification On Pavillion Peer Review Groups

Governor Matt Mead has asked for the Environmental Protection Agency to clarify how the peer review process will work, when it comes the groundwater investigation in Pavillion.

Earlier this month, the EPA released a draft report indicating that ground water in the aquifer contains compounds that are “likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing”.  

Governor Mead's policy director Sean Reese says Mead sent a letter asking for state involvement.

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News
6:42 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Encana Responds To EPA

Canadian energy corporation Encana says “the EPA made critical mistakes and misjudgments” when it released a draft report linking water contamination in the town of Pavillion to hydraulic fracturing.

Earlier this month, the EPA released a draft report on their three year water contamination investigation… indicating that ground water in the aquifer contains compounds that are “likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing.”

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Open Spaces
9:26 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Eagle Feathers: Religious items as contraband in Indian Country

Listen to the story

INTRO: Most U.S. religions have no problem carrying out their spiritual exercises. But, for Native Americans in Wyoming and elsewhere, practicing traditional religious ceremonies isn't so simple: They can be heavily regulated by federal authorities, especially when it comes to the use of sacred items like eagle feathers. Wyoming Public Radio’s Tristan Ahtone reports.

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News
5:07 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Methodist Church to apologize for Sand Creek Massacre

This week marks the 147th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre, in which nearly 200 members of the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes were murdered.

The soldiers who carried out the atrocity were led by a Methodist minister. This spring, the Methodist Church plans to formally apologize.

The apology is part of a string of “Acts of Repentance,” in which the church is acknowledging wrongdoing to indigenous peoples around the world.

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News
6:38 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Sale of gas properties near Pavillion cancelled

In early November, a Texas-based company called Legacy Reserves LP announced that it would purchase oil and gas properties in Fremont County: primarily properties owned by Encana in the Pavillion area. Late last week, Legacy Reserves pulled out of the deal.

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News
9:07 am
Mon November 14, 2011

Tribes could regain authority to prosecute non-natives

On October 31 U.S. Senator and Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka proposed legislation that would give tribal courts jurisdiction over non-Indians who committed crimes on tribal lands.

The authority to prosecute non-Natives in tribal courts was stripped in a 1978 Supreme Court ruling. Supporters of Senator Akaka’s bill say that the 1978 ruling led to an increase in violence on reservations and has resulted in unprosecuted and unpunished offenders.

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News
5:40 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

Meeting over wolf plan to be held in Riverton

Federal wildlife managers are soliciting public comment on a plan that could see an end to federal protections for Wyoming wolves as soon as next year.

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News
4:55 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

EPA releases new Pavillion data

In 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency launched an investigation in the Pavillion area after residents complained of health problems and changes in the odor, taste and color of their well water. Last night, the EPA released new data from deep monitoring wells in the area. 

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News
4:53 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

Mead: Pavillion contamination is concerning, but sale of Encana gas properties isn't

Over the years, Pavillion residents have complained about health problems, which they blame on oil and gas development in the area. Governor Matt Mead says he's keeping an eye on what happens at a public meeting over the situation tonight.

"I think everyone should be rightfully concerned about the Pavillion issue because we're not sure what's been going on out there," Mead said. "I know the EPA today is going to release some additional data that we're going to be eager to take a look at hopefully before any big conclusions are drawn one way or another."

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Open Spaces
2:18 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

August 5th, 2011

News
7:07 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Pavillion residents fear Encana could shirk cleanup duties through land sale

Residents of the town of Pavillion say a company called Legacy Reserves LP has entered an agreement to purchase natural gas properties in the area from the current owner, Encana. 

Representatives from Legacy Reserves did not return calls to confirm the sale, but according to their website,  the Midland, Texas-based company will purchase several properties in Freemont County, where Pavillion is located, for 45-million dollars.

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News
6:42 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Northern Arapaho man loses bid to appeal ruling in infant death case

A Northern Arapaho man has lost another bid to challenge his conviction in the beating death of his infant daughter.

Andrew John Yellowbear Jr. is serving a life sentence in the death of 22-month-old Marcela Hope Yellowbear in 2004.

He had argued Wyoming lacked authority to prosecute him because the area of Riverton where Marcela died was legally part of the Wind River Indian Reservation. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year declined to consider that argument.

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Open Spaces
2:20 pm
Wed October 26, 2011

Tribal officials fear uranium contamination could be causing cancer on Wind River Reservation

Last year, the Department of Energy released well monitoring data from the Wind River Reservation. What they found was that uranium levels in a number of their wells had spiked up to 100 times the legal limit. But while the data points to the fact that there may be a serious problem with the area, it's nothing new: residents in the area have been complaining of health problems for years, and now both the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes, as well as a truckload of other federal agencies, are trying to figure out what's going on, and what to do next.

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