Wind River Education

What are the futures of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes? How will the tribes retain their culture and tradition while preparing to move into the future?

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Shoshone Drum

A drum like this is made from thinned deer hide or rawhide. It is fancy and has lacing which was placed on the drum when wet. This drum has a bird on it that could be a crane with a snake in its mouth. There are two basic colors: sky colors and grass colors. Everything on this drum seems to talk about life as described by the bird and the florals in front.

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Arapaho Drum

The drum is the heartbeat of the Arapaho Tribe. The drum represents thunder and the drumsticks represent lighting. Our old people would make songs for the family. If some person was going to war, the would make songs. Traditionally women wore blankets or a shawl. The drums were for singers to use. When a woman took off her shawl, they would sing a song for a style of dance. But it has changed. Now, it's the other way around and the women put on their shawls. Today we call it round dance, participation dance, or social friendship to get everybody together. The drum was very important and was considered sacred. It still is.

External Resources

Shoshone Buffalo Return

Since 1885 the Shoshone people have been without buffalo on their land. After decades of effort beginning in the 1990’s a coalition of individuals and organizations have taken the first step in returning the North American Bison to their native lands. Nowhere is this action more culturally and ecologically significant than on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming.

External Resources

Lived History – the Story of the Wind River Virtual Museum

Over the years, pipes, cradle boards, parfleches, and other ancestral artifacts from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming have accumulated in museums, far from their place of origin. 'LIVED HISTORY' documents the creation of a high definition video 'virtual museum' of ancestral artifacts, currently stored in museum collections, for the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.

External Resources

Path of Honor

Fort Washakie, Wyoming is now home to a moving memorial to the veterans that have ever lived in the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation. Scott Ratliff and artist Jon Cox outline the project, what it means for the community, and commemorate the Warrior Spirit of those who have served.

Wacipi: Celebrating Native American Dance and Song

Native Americans demonstrate traditional dances and songs, explaining their cultural significance. Includes examples of Grass Dance, Jingle Dance, Northern and Southern Fancy Dance, Shawl Dance, and Flag Song.

Fancy Feather Dancing

George Abeyta shares his knowledge and skill of Fancy Feather Dancing, and explains the traditions and culture of the “powwow way of life."

Star Society Rattle

These are medicine rattles used to connect to the spirit world and are constructed from rawhide, rocks, eagle feathers and magpie feathers. It was the power that these birds possessed that was given to a person like a medicine man. These medicine rattles used spirituality to heal our people. The Star Society Rattle was used in certain songs. The sound represents rain. When the Europeans visited, came and stayed on this continent, at that point in time, slavery was prevalent. European visitors would capture young men and take them overseas where they were sold and used as slaves. Eventually, they devised a way to escape. They would travel at night under stars. The stars and constellations guided them back to our people. During the day, they would stay concealed and would stay in places like caves. Eventually they made it back. The people were happy and there was a celebration. When they were asked how they made their way back, they explained that they used the stars to bring them back home. Therefore, they were called the Star Society.

Major funding for the Wind River Education Project was provided by the Wyoming Legislature. Additional funding was provided by the Matthew & Virgie Dragicevich Wyoming Foundation Trust. © 2016-21 KCWC-TV/WyomingPBS

9th-12th Grades Standards Mapped to Lesson Plans

8th Grade Standards Mapped to Lesson Plans

3rd-5th Grade Standards Mapped to Lesson Plans

Teacher Bios

If your school blocks YouTube, you can access the Wind River modules here.