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Tetona Dunlap is a graduate student in journalism at the University of Montana. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Tetona Dunlap

Tetona Dunlap

Fremont County in Wyoming, which includes the Wind River Indian Reservation, has been declared a disaster area by the state due to flooding.

Melting mountain snowpack and rain are responsible for record water levels. Washakie Reservoir on the Wind River Reservation near Fort Washakie is at capacity and access has been closed. The dam sits on the South Fork of the Little Wind River.

The Little Wind River was measured at 11.96 feet on Wednesday, well above the flood stage of 8 feet. The previous record was 10.85 feet set in 1963.

About 200 members of the Wyoming National Guard have been deployed to help evacuate people and sandbag homes.

Wind River Reservation residents have been advised not to use 17-Mile Road bridge that crosses the Little Wind River west of Arapahoe due to damage caused from floodwaters.

The water treatment plan in Ethete was also compromised earlier on Wednesday, but according to the Fremont County Public Health the water was testing clean and is back up and running.

The flooding in Fremont County is forcing the Wyoming National Guard to make its biggest in-state activation since 2000.

The flooding is affecting a 22-square-mile area of Fremont County with about 2,100 homes flooded or threatened by flooding.

Currently there are no accurate count of homes with actual water damage or the number of people displaced.

The Ralph Engelstad Arena, a sports arena on the University of North Dakota campus in Grand Forks, N.D., features thousands of American Indian head logos that are the subject of a recent North Dakota Supreme Court case in Bismarck. This logo is inlaid in the arena's front lobby, with a statue of Engelstad overlooking it. (AP Photo/Dale Wetzel)

The Ralph Engelstad Arena, a sports arena on the University of North Dakota campus in Grand Forks, N.D., features thousands of American Indian head logos that are the subject of a recent North Dakota Supreme Court case in Bismarck. This logo is inlaid in the arena's front lobby, with a statue of Engelstad overlooking it. (AP Photo/Dale Wetzel)

Tetona Dunlap is a graduate student in journalism at the University of Montana. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Tetona Dulnap

Tetona Dulnap

The other day I was eating lunch with two friends in the cafeteria at the University of Montana. It was crowded as it often is around noon, students filled tables while chatting loudly, the sound of utensils clattering against ceramic plates. However, no matter how crowded or noisy, none of us at our table could help but notice the grinning red face across the room.

Seated at the table next to us was a guy wearing a Cleveland Indians T-shirt and baseball cap. His back was to us, but emblazoned across it was Chief Wahoo. All of us at the table were from different tribes, but we are all equally offended by this stereotypical and racist image smirking at us as we ate. We made sarcastic remarks like, “Is that what we look like?” noting its red face, big nose and sky-high feather. We laughed at its absurdity, our laughter blending with the laughter of our fellow students enjoying their lunch.

When I first learned that the North Dakota State Board of Education ordered the University of North Dakota to drop its Fighting Sioux mascot, I was overjoyed. In 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association banned college logos and nicknames it considered “hostile and abusive.”
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Tetona Dunlap is a graduate student in journalism at the University of Montana. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Tetona Dunlap

Tetona Dunlap

If well-behaved women seldom make history, this explains why two influential women who passed away this past week will never be forgotten.

On April 6, Wilma Mankiller died after battling pancreatic cancer. Three days later Minnie Two Shoes died after her own struggle with cancer. I had the chance to meet both of these inspiring Native American women through journalism.

Mankiller came to speak to my class when I participated in the American Indian Journalism Institute in South Dakota in 2003. Mankiller was the first woman to serve the Cherokee people as principal chief. She was an advocate for Native American and women’s rights. She has also written two books. One is an autobiography titled, “Mankiller: A Chief and Her People” and “Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women.” As a result of her activism, she was received several awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. She was also inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in New York City in 1994.

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Wyoming Indians junior Tom-Elk Redman, senior John Redman and senior Santee Moss celebrate their Class 2A championship after beating Southeast on Saturday night. (Tim Kupsick/Casper Star-Tribune)

Wyoming Indians junior Tom-Elk Redman, senior John Redman and senior Santee Moss celebrate their Class 2A championship after beating Southeast on Saturday night. (Tim Kupsick/Casper Star-Tribune)



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Tetona Dunlap is a graduate student in journalism at the University of Montana. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Tetona Dunlap

Tetona Dunlap

It came down to milliseconds this year in the Wyoming Class 2A boys basketball championship.

The Wyoming Indian Chiefs players, coaches and fans held their breath as they watched senior guard Colby Sturgeon of the Southeast Cyclones put up the ball. Sturgeon’s shot bounced off the backboard and into the basket, but it was too late, as the final buzzer sounded a repeat championship for the Chiefs.

The final score was 52-51. Both teams entered the state tournament with almost perfect seasons of 25 wins and one loss.

Senior Caleb Her Many Horses told the Casper Star Tribune, “It went down to the end, all the way down to the end,”

Senior Slade Spoonhunter and junior Brian Willow Jr. were selected for the All-State team. Spoonhunter was also selected as Player of the Year and Coach Craig Ferris was honored as Coach of the Year for the Southwest Conference. Spoonhunter, Her Many Horses, Willow and junior Lorenzo Underwood all received All-Conference honors as well.

The Wyoming Indian Lady Chiefs also made it to the state tournament. They placed fourth after losing 46-55 to Lovell. Junior Ranell Oldman received All-State and was the player of the year for the Southwest conference. Oldman was also selected for the all-conference team and was joined by fellow players junior Ambrosia Brugh, senior Kristen Washakie and senior Kirsti O’Neal.

Wyoming Indian teammates Slade Spoonhunter, left, and Caleb Her Many Horses walk together after their second and first-place finishes, respectively, in the boys 2A class of the 2009 Wyoming State High School Cross Country Championships last October. (Dan Cepeda, Casper Star-Tribune)

Wyoming Indian teammates Slade Spoonhunter, left, and Caleb Her Many Horses walk together after their second and first-place finishes, respectively, in the boys 2A class of the 2009 Wyoming State High School Cross Country Championships last October. (Dan Cepeda, Casper Star-Tribune)


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Tetona Dunlap is a graduate student in journalism at the University of Montana. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Tetona Dunlap

Tetona Dunlap

One of the reasons why I came to graduate school at the University of Montana was to write stories concerning Native American issues. I must admit it is strange learning alongside my peers about issues and problems that I have learned to accept on some levels.

I have recently found myself consumed with the negative. It is disheartening to learn about all the problems facing Native country, even though I have been quite of aware of them for a while.

But after one class period of discussing issues of suicide, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy and drug abuse; I was for a moment uplifted after reading a story in my hometown’s newspaper about Caleb Her Many Horses, a senior at Wyoming Indian High School on the Wind River Reservation.

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BillyMillsKirstina BarkerTahneeRobinsonUNevada
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Tetona Dunlap is a graduate student in journalism at the University of Montana. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Tetona Dunlap

Tetona Dunlap

I remember the first time I met Billy Mills [above left, Rapid City Journal photo]. I was at the National Indian Gaming Association’s conference in San Diego. I was more excited and nervous to meet Mills than I was to meet actor Adam Beach. Beach, of course, had the most people lined up to meet him, mostly women, but for me, Mills signified a different honor.

Growing up on a reservation, sports culture is prevalent. However, I never knew about Mills until I was a senior in high school. I was writing an essay about Native Americans and came across an article online. Since I was a student-athlete at the time, I was excited to discover that a Native American from the Pine Ridge Reservation had won an Olympic gold medal.

Before that he was an All-American cross-country runner at the University of Kansas. The footage from the 1964 Olympic 10K race still gives me chills. It is still considered one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history and he is still the only American to ever win that race.

There is a great pride in the Native American community that follows those in sports. I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox because of Jacoby Ellsbury. I also follow New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain’s career, even though I am not a fan of the Yankees. Ellsbury and Chamberlain are two of only three active Native American players in Major League Baseball.

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Tetona Dunlap

Tetona Dunlap


When I was in college I took a Native American Law and Policy class. One of our big projects was to research a local tribe. My group was given the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska. I never really thought much about tribal economics until I learned about Ho-Chunk Inc. and how this Winnebago company helping create an economic infrastructure on the Winnebago Reservation.

Ho-Chunk Inc. was formed in 1995 to funnel the tribe’s investments away from gaming. It is a company that now has 18 subsidiaries that market products and services to a national and international market. Some of the subsidiaries products and services they provide include office furniture and equipment, communications and computer hardware, telecommunications, transportation, media, marketing and public relations. HCI has grown to more than 500 employees with operations in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Louisiana, Florida, Washington, D. C., Mexico and Iraq according to their Web site.

The reason why I bring up this company is because recently the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes received $33 million in a settlement from a 1979 federal lawsuit over alleged mismanagement of tribal trust funds and resources. Northern Arapaho tribal members were awarded $1,550 and Eastern Shoshone members received $3,500. The settlement was split equally between the two tribes. The Eastern Shoshone have fewer enrolled members than the Northern Arapahos and received more per individual.

According to the Wind River News, local businesses and banks reported a boom in purchases and bank account openings. Banks that were normally closed on weekends opened their doors specifically to cash settlement checks.

In this struggling economy, this settlement check was a blessing for local businesses outside the reservation lines. Tribal members bought expensive merchandise such as televisions, furniture and vehicles. But with 85 percent of the total settlement going to tribal members, and the remaining 15 percent going towards tribal government programs, most of the money awarded to the tribes was circulated in an economic infrastructure outside of the reservation. If one wants to buy groceries, household items, clothing and vehicles; you have to travel off the reservation.

Right now the Eastern Shoshone tribe has some enterprises that include the Shoshone Rose Casino, which is currently expanding their building to include a restaurant and more gaming space. The Northern Arapaho have three casinos including the Wind River Casino. In 2008, the Wind River Casino commissioned the independent study by GVA Marquette Advisors as a follow-up on a study conducted in 2001. The study found that the Wind River Casino has contributed 90 million to the local economy. Furthermore, as a result of the Wind River Casino, the total annual sales tax revenue added to Fremont County is $800,000 and the total annual sales tax revenue added to the state is $1, 600,000. This does not include the more than 500 jobs created.
The fact is, there is a great deal of money circulating on the reservation, we just have to find a way to channel it back onto the reservation.

Both tribes could see further payment from the ongoing litigation dealing with the mismanagement of tribal resources and trust funds by the Federal government. How great it would be to have this money remain inside of the reservation economy, but until then, future settlement checks will probably be spent in neighboring off-reservation towns and cities.

Tetona Dunlap