Background of the Wind River Reservation
Developed by: Raphaella Stump
River Indian Reservation is a large 2.2 Million acre reservation
of which 1.8 Million acres are owned by the Shoshone and Arapahoe Tribes. The
reservation is located in west central Wyoming
and is a vast part of Fremont
County. The reservation
known to the Shoshonean people as “Warm
Valley” is surrounded by the Wind
River Mountain Range to the west, the Owl
Range to the north, and Absaroka
Mountains to the south.
On the southwest and western boundaries of the reservation are the Bridger-Teton National
Forest, with the Shoshone
National Forest to the
northwest. One hundred and thirty miles northwest of the reservation are the
Greater Yellowstone National Park and the Teton National Park.
Much of the reservation’s natural environment is in a pristine state of being
and some parts have never been touched or walked on by humans. Both the
Shoshone and Arapahoe Tribes are strongly tied to the land, water, and sky
through basic tribal customs and traditions.
There are 365 fresh water lakes and
reservoirs; on the Reservation, creating over 10,000 surface acres of water.
The Reservation has over 1,100 miles of river streams, and waterways which
are some of the most scenic in the State of Wyoming, and a lot of these waterways
provide for a blue-ribbon fisheries. Some of the major highways through the
Reservation run parallel to these waterways which creates a great concern for
Highway Safety. Reason these roadways follow the rivers and streams so close,
these waterways have cut natural passageways through the hills and mountains,
which provided the means of early access to Transportation canoe and other
The reservation communities are Fort Washakie,
Crowheart, Ethete, Arapahoe, Mill Creek, Boulder
Flats, and Johnstown.
Also on the reservation are the towns of Hudson, Pavillion, and Riverton, Wyoming.
Just off the Reservation are the towns of Lander, Shoshoni, and Dubois, Wyoming, all
these towns are in Fremont
County. The distance
from Lander to Dubois across the reservation is approximately 120 miles on U.S. Highway 287,
and from Riverton to Dubois on U.S.
Highway 26 approximately 95 miles through the
Reservation. From Riverton to Shoshoni on U.S. Highway 789 is approximately 21
miles, and from Riverton to Lander on U.S. Highway 789 is approximately 36
miles. The reservation roadway of 17-mile Road is a major thoroughfare for
inside reservation travel which is currently under construction with portions
being in plan and design status. Total reservation road miles are 1,205,595,
which includes Federal and State highways 127, 824 miles, Fremont and Hot Springs Counties, 961,793
miles, and BIA Routes 142, 684 improved road miles.
to the 1990 census the population of the reservation is 21,851. The
population of each tribe totals to 10,450 enrolled members. A Wind
River Indian Needs Determination Survey (WINDS-2) 1999, was recently
completed that was a follow-up of a survey completed in 1987 (WINDS), the
follow-up was conducted by the Tribes, through the University of Wyoming
in partnership with John
photos are copyright materials from the Wisconsin University
done by Louis J. Maher, Jr. called “Geology by Light Plane” in 2001. You may reference other photos for Wyoming at http://www.geology.wisc.edu
and Bull Lake in the background.
Wind River Canyon to
Wind River Mountains and Lakes
© Sam Silverhawk 1997-2000. All