Wind River

Indian Reservation

Native American Living Culture

The Wind River Indian Reservation is open totravel and visitors, and there are numerous historic and cultural sites to visit and events to attend. Please respect private property and that some areas are sacred. Lakes on theReservation are open to the public with a permit. If you wish to recreate on tribal lands you must first purchase a tribal fishing license, also known as a trespass permit.

 

Ask our staff about local Native American tour guides or pick up a copy of the Self-Guided Tour of the Wind River Indian Reservation to visit sites of historical, cultural, and contemporary importance.

 

CASINOS

Win big in the only casinos in the state:

  • Shoshone Rose Casino & Hotel, 5 miles from here
  • Little Wind Casino, 17 miles from here
  • Wind River Hotel & Casino, 22 miles from here
  • 789 Smokeshop & Casino, 23 miles from here

 

DANCE EXHIBITIONS

Lander’s Museum of the American West holds weekly dance exhibitions. The emcee will entertain and educate you and explain the history of various styles of song and dance. You’ll even be invited to join in the friendship dance at the end of the performance.

 

WILD HORSE SANCTUARY

One of three wild horse eco-sanctuaries in the country, the BLM’s Wind River Wild Horse Sanctuary is the onlyone located on an Indian Reservation. It has a free visitor center with displays about Native American horse culture. Schedule a guided tour to visit the wild horses. 8 miles from here

 

SACAJAWEA’S GRAVESITE

As a young Shoshone, Sacajawea guided the Lewis and Clark expedition on its historical expedition across North America. She and her sons, Bazil and Jean Baptiste, are now buried with their people, with a large statue in her honor, at the Sacajawea Cemetery near Fort Washakie. 17 miles from here

 

POWWOWS

Celebration, prayer, a reunion, and competition are reasons for Native American powwows, or gatherings. Feel the intense drumbeat and admire the beadwork of dancers’ regalia as they perform competitively. Sample fry bread, stew, Indian tacos, and more.

“The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho are resilient people who have sustained their traditions, environment, communities, and cultural values in the face of land theft and cultural suppression.”

—Wind River Indian Reservation Interpretive Plan

Native American History

Lander is adjacent to Wyoming’s only Native American Reservation, the Wind River Indian Reservation.

 

For thousands of years, the Shoshone, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Crow, Lakota, Dakota, and others have lived in the area now known as Wind River Country. The 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty established lands adjacent to what is now the Wind River Indian Reservation for Arapaho and other tribes. During the 1860s, respected Shoshone leader Chief Washakie negotiated for the lands of the Warm Valley (as the Wind River Valley was known to the Shoshone) to be the reservation for the Eastern Shoshone people. A treaty in 1863 established loose boundaries for a nearly 45-million-acre reservation. The Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868 formally created the Shoshone Indian Reservation and significantly reduced its size to approximately 2.8 million acres.

 

In 1878, the U.S. Government placed the Northern Arapaho on the Shoshone Indian Reservation for “temporary keeping.” The government failed to move the Northern Arapaho to a reservation of their own and, in 1938, the Shoshone Indian Reservation became the Wind River Indian Reservation. Today, Wind River Indian Reservation is home to both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.

 

CHIEF WASHAKIE

Chief Washakie, Shoshone, lived from about 1808 until 1900 and saw the world change. He fought alongside the U.S. Army and was given his choice of a reservation—choosing the Wind River Valley. Nearby Fort Washakie is the only U.S. military outpost named after a Native American.

 

CHIEF BLACK COAL

Chief Black Coal participated in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and later became the principal chief of the Northern Arapaho. Chief Black Coal and Chief Sharp Nose traveled to Washington, D.C. in 1877 to meet President Hayes and secured permission to relocate to the Shoshone Reservation.

 

CHIEF SHARP NOSE

Chief Sharp Nose belonged to the “Bad Pipes” band of Northern Arapaho. He was a brave, loyal warrior and also a good orator. He officially became chief in 1893, after the death of famous chief Black Coal.

 

SACAJAWEA

Sacajawea is one of America’s most famous women. As a young Shoshone, she guided the Lewis and Clark expedition on its historical expedition across North America. She and her sons are now buried with their people, with a large statue in her honor, in nearby Fort Washakie.

 

WHAT LOCALS HAVE TO SAY

Patricia Bergie, Eastern Shoshone Elder“From my tribal ancestors, travel has always been a part of our being. So we appreciate others who travel this land with and among us; to enjoy the land’s beauty and respect its continual offering to us with fresh air, water, plants, and animals who inhabit this wonderful place.”

 

“Walk with awareness, be mindful and respectful.”

-Al Burson, Northern Arapaho elder

 

The public is welcome and invited to share in the cultural and historical sites and public events on the Wind River Indian Reservation.