Native narratives

Our Shared History—Our Shared Future

Wyoming Humanities respectfully acknowledges that we serve a region that is home to, and rich with the history and culture of, several Indigenous communities including the Eastern Shoshone, Northern Arapaho, Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Ute, and Lakota Nations. We recognize our obligation to give voice to all people as we explore our past and envision our future.

As an organization we are committed to working with the Indigenous Nations of our region as we use the humanities to expand the Wyoming narrative. Our Native Narratives Initiative includes educational and cultural preservation projects designed in collaboration with American Indians in and around our state.

Read our commitment to working within our organization, with scholars and culture-bearers, with the people who attend our programs, and with the State of Wyoming to actively model cultural and racial equity here.

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Expanding Wyoming's Cultural Narrative

In response to the Indian Education for All Act passed by the Wyoming Legislature in 2017, Wyoming Humanities launched a project to raise awareness of the historical and legal events that led to the creation of the Wind River Indian Reservation as it is bounded and governed today.After eighteen months of research, Wyoming Humanities designed and manufactured portable, easy-to-assemble exhibits, called “pop up kiosks,” for use in classrooms and public venues throughout the state. Valued at over $1,500 each, to date we have provided more than 125 kiosks free of charge to every school district, every county library system, community college library, and other interested museums and public institutions.

Crowdsourced Content in
Consultation with Tribal Experts

This project introduces the complicated story of how two sovereign nations, the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho—historical enemies with different languages and cultures—were forced to share the lands of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming as a result of treaties, legal actions, and historical events.

Recognizing this history is complex and fraught with social and political injustice impacting the people and governance of the reservation today, as many voices as possible were included to create the exhibit and its supporting curricular material. Consulting with Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho scholars, educators, experts, culture-bearers, and tribal members, as well as non-native scholars, we created an extensive and intensively vetted research document that drove the design of the exhibit.

An Ongoing Impact

Two Nations One Reservation exhibits, Kids Guides, Adult Guides, and Host Guides, remain available for classrooms and public display. These companion guides are available from Wyoming Humanities, just contact or can be printed from the connections below.

Accompanying articles and educational toolkits, designed in partnership with can be found below:

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Plains Indian Sign Language

Plains Indian Sign Language, PISL, developed as a way for Native Americans of different tribes to communicate with each other across the barrier of different languages.

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Tribal talks

A series of talk held in 2018 to discuss issue facing the Wind River Reservation and people from the Arapaho and Shoshone tribes in Wyoming.  The CWC Institute of Tribal Learning Center, Riverton WY operates to better understand relationships and respectful behavior toward the tribes and amongst non-natives and native populations.

The Wyoming Humanities/ThinkWY Two Nations - One Reservation Exhibits introduce the story of the treaties, laws, events and people that shaped the history of the Wind River Indian Reservation.Native American Tribal Talk Series presented by the Wyoming Humanities, Central Wyoming College.

UW Professor Joy Landeira's Saturday University Talk: Dodging Bulls and Bullets: Ernest Hemingway in Spain

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