Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Shoshone’

Tetona Dunlap

Tetona Dunlap

Networking in the competitive art world is half the battle to becoming a successful artist. Starting in September Native American artists on the Wind River Reservation will have the opportunity to enroll in a 10-month program designed for emerging artists.

“In art school they teach you how to create art, but they don’t teach you how to transfer that to the real world,” said Native Emerging Artists Training (NEAT) instructor Dannine Donaho, “learning how to network is something that is lacking.”

Each month the class will focus on one topic leading up to a juried exhibition at the Lander Art Center. Some of the topics included photographing artwork, digital editing, and framing, matting and packing. The ultimate goal of the program is to teach people how to apply to juried shows.

The juried art show is also open to professional Native American artists not participating in the program.

“With each juried show an artist applies to the more people will recognize your name,” said Donaho, “this shows your dedication as an artist.”

Tetona Dunlap

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When it comes to their heritage, anyway. That’s the opinion of Marty Conrad, a member of the Choctaw/Creek Tribe of Oklahoma, with long experience as both a Native teacher and, of course, student.

Conrad is one of two “instructional facilitators” in Wyoming’s Fremont County School District 1, who recently completed a course helping them to better teach Native students, according to this release from the University of Wyoming.

Fremont County encompasses the Wind River Reservation, of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, and its public schools have a large population of Native students. Those students, says Conrad, “learn better when there is something about their tribe or culture that is integrated into the curriculum.”

He and Christine Rogers are the first graduates of the new University of Wyoming graduate program for teachers of American Indian children.

Gwen Florio

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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

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