4 Things To Learn From Wyoming Native American Tribes
In state legislation now is a bill to establish school curriculum on Wyoming's Native American tribes? What a great idea! Surely original cowboys, themselves, learned a lot from the people they called Indians.
Already passed unanimously in November 2016, by the Select Committee on Tribal Relations, was a bill called “Indian Education for All.” The State Board of Education will "consult and work with tribal governments" to develop standards for Wyoming students.
Our State Board of Education Chairman Pete Gosar is a former social studies teacher who makes it clear he would love to have had that curriculum, “This has been missing. It’s been a disservice to all children, not just Wind River children, but all children.” One hope is that this real history will truly help ease racial tension.
Two Wyoming tribes are still federally recognized, and the Shoshone and Arapaho will contribute greatly to the new education program. Imagine the wealth of history just they can provide.
11 other original tribes were here long before this was ever Wyoming Territory, including The Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Crow, Kiowa, Sioux, and Ute. Maybe following generations will be able to answer more questions about them all.
4 things we can learn from Wyoming native tribes:
The Shoshone were the first tribe to arrive in this part of the continent. They used only medicines of herbs and plants. They didn’t need prescriptions and had no side effects.
Originally from another part of America, the Arapaho became no longer farmers, turning nomadic after escaping eastern settlers, they would only encounter more in the west. Losing land to the Federal government was a constant. A treaty that no settlers would be able to trespass on their lands was signed, but settlers violated it with very little governmental intervention. The lesson is still true for us all today: Don't trust the Federal government.
The Arapaho were a more similar culture to The Cheyenne, and they had a legend called Nihancan (also spelled Niatha, and several other ways). It was the spider trickster, but was given as "White Man" in an older translation, which was misleading because the Arapahos named white people after the trickster character, not vice versa. And meanings just keep getting lost in translation right on down through history.
In the book, “Wyoming Indians” (a children’s book), one of kid's biggest misconceptions is that tribes are all the same homogenous group who look alike, speak alike, and share the same customs and history. We grow up to learn that’s not even close to true, and as we discover more, we see we still had no idea about the vast diversity. Maybe we adults could learn from that book. There was amazing adaptability in just one tribe. From the time The Shoshone met their first English speaking explorers, it was almost another 100 years before Lewis & Clark came through. They could already communicate with them, and practically led the rest of the expedition, themselves. It was actually not just their Sacagawea they sent to guide them.)