Everything that is alive has SPIRIT... AHO! Lara
So is Johnny Depp putting a bunch of Indians on the back of horses for this Lone Ranger Jerry Bruckheimer car crash gonna be good for us? Hell no. I’m not looking forward to it, I don’t think we should be happy about it, and I don’t think we should immediately go to that excited-happy-place everytime we see ourselves on TV. Because more oftentimes it hurts us more than helps us.
Also: read this: http://nativeappropriations.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-tonto-matters
US Presidents in Their Own Words Concerning American Indians
Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents.
WASHINGTON – American Indians have a different worldview than do non-Indians of the federal government including American presidents. That is not to say, American Indians are anti-American or even anti-government. This is evidenced by the large percentage of American Indians who serve in the United States military.
However, given the history of American Indians in the United States understandably American Indians view history differently. This is true of even how the men who have been president of the United States are viewed by Native people.
The following quotes about American Indians are from various presidents since President George Washington and up to President Barack Obama. The quotes here do not include all presidents. However, there are quotes from every president since President Franklin Roosevelt.
The reader will get a sense of how the hostility towards American Indians has lessened during the past 200 plus years. Just as federal policies toward American Indians have altered, so too have attitudes by presidents. Of course, US presidents set forth policy.
Given 2012 is a presidential election year, the statements made by US presidents through history should let us know that it does matter who the president is:
“Indian’s and wolves are both beasts of prey, tho’ they differ in shape.”
“If ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe, we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or driven beyond the Mississippi… in war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy them all.”
“My original convictions upon this subject have been confirmed by the course of events for several years, and experience is every day adding to their strength. That those tribes cannot exist surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and ere long disappear.”
“Ordered that of the Indians and Half-breeds sentenced to be hanged by the military commission, composed of Colonel Crooks, Lt. Colonel Marshall, Captain Grant, Captain Bailey, and Lieutenant Olin, and lately sitting in Minnesota, you cause to be executed on Friday the nineteenth day of December, instant, the following names, to wit… ” Text from President Lincoln to General Sibley ordering the execution of American Indians in Minnesota.
“I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”
“All of our people all over the country – except the pure blooded Indians – are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, including even those who came over here on the Mayflower.”
“The United States, which would live on Christian principles with all of the peoples of the world, cannot omit a fair deal for its own Indian citizens.”
“There has been a vigorous acceleration of health, resource and education programs designed to advance the role of the American Indian in our society. Last Fall, for example, 91 percent of the Indian children between the ages of 6 and 18 on reservations were enrolled in school. This is a rise of 12 percent since 1953.”
“For a subject worked and reworked so often in novels, motion pictures, and television, American Indians remain probably the least understood and most misunderstood Americans of us all.”
“The American Indian, once proud and free, is torn now between White and tribal values; between the politics and language of the White man and his own historic culture. His problems, sharpened by years of defeat and exploitation, neglect and inadequate effort, will take many years to overcome.”
“What we have done with the American Indian is its way as bad as what we imposed on the Negroes. We took a proud and independent race and virtually destroyed them. We have to find ways to bring them back into decent lives in this country.”
“I am committed to furthering the self-determination of Indian communities but without terminating the special relationship between the Federal Government and the Indian people. I am strongly opposed to termination. Self-determination means that you can decide the nature of your tribe’s relationship with the Federal Government within the framework of the Self-Determination Act, which I signed in January of 1975.”
“It is the fundamental right of every American, as guaranteed by the first amendment of the Constitution, to worship as he or she pleases… This legislation sets forth the policy of the United States to protect and preserve the inherent right of American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiian people to believe, express, and exercise their traditional religions,” as he signed into law the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
“Let me tell you just a little something about the American Indian in our land. We have provided millions of acres of land for what are called preservations – or reservations, I should say. They, from the beginning, announced that they wanted to maintain their way of life, as they had always lived there in the desert and the plains and so forth. And we set up these reservations so they could, and have a Bureau of Indian Affairs to help take care of them. At the same time, we provide education for them – schools on the reservations. And they’re free also to leave the reservations and be American citizens among the rest of us, and many do. Some still prefer, however, that way – that early way of life. And we’ve done everything we can to meet their demands as to how they want to live. Maybe we made a mistake. Maybe we should not have humored them in that wanting to stay in that kind of primitive lifestyle. Maybe we should have said, no, come join us; be citizens along with the rest of us.”
“This government to government relationship is the result of sovereign and independent tribal governments being incorporated into the fabric of our Nation, of Indian tribes becoming what our courts have come to refer to as quasi-sovereign domestic dependent nations. Over the years the relationship has flourished, grown, and evolved into a vibrant partnership in which over 500 tribal governments stand shoulder to shoulder with the other governmental units that form our Republic.”
George Herbert Walker Bush
“Let us rededicate ourselves to the principle that all Americans have the tools to make the most of their God-given potential. For Indian tribes and tribal members, this means that the authority of tribal governments must be accorded the respect and support to which they are entitled under the law. It means that American Indian children and youth must be provided a solid education and the opportunity to go on to college. It means that more must be done to stimulate tribal economies, create jobs, and increase economic opportunities.”
“Tribal sovereignty means that. It’s sovereign. You’re a… you’re a… you’ve been given sovereignty and you’re viewed as a sovereign entity.”
George W. Bush
“We also recommit to supporting tribal self-determination, security, and prosperity for all Native Americans. While we cannot erase the scourges or broken promises of our past, we will move ahead together in writing a new, brighter chapter in our joint history.”
Last year, around this time, the President instructed agencies to work closely with State, local, and tribal governments to identify any Federal barriers that prevent efficient use of taxpayer dollars to achieve the best results.
On Friday, we released a report highlighting examples of where these new partnerships are leading to real benefits for state, local, and tribal governments. Among other areas, the report focuses on actions to create opportunity for economic growth in Indian Country. The Obama Administration has partnered with tribal leaders and taken decisive action to support infrastructure and workforce development to drive economic growth. These actions include expanding access to broadband under the Recovery Act; providing Federal loan guarantees; investing millions of dollars in businesses in Indian Country; building the capacity of Native Community Development Financial Institutions; implementing an Executive Order to Expand Educational Opportunities and Improve Educational Outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native Students; and supporting the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives, which channels contracts through tribal corporations to qualified businesses to help them gain greater access to Federal and private procurement markets.
These actions are spurring entrepreneurship in Indian Country by increasing business infrastructure such as broadband, making resources such as business loans more accessible, and improving community and economic development. Moreover, they are helping prepare Native American youth to compete for the high-skilled, good jobs of tomorrow by investing in tribal colleges and universities and improving educational outcomes.
Additionally, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been working with federal agencies and the grants community, including collecting feedback from tribal stakeholders, to develop a streamlined set of rules for Federal grants that focus resources on targeting high-risk areas to improve performance and target waste, fraud, and abuse. OMB has now published these suggestions in an Advanced Notice of Proposed Guidance, “Reform of Federal Policies Relating to Grants and Cooperative Agreements; Cost Principles and Administrative Requirements (including Single Audit Act).”
Other examples highlighted in the report include:
New job and workforce opportunities through the $37 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to promote economic development in high-growth industries, the $15 million Rural Jobs Accelerator to support jobs development, and $166 million to hire veterans under 2012 grants for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency (SAFER).
A forthcoming Executive Order to clear away the red tape that can slow down the construction of infrastructure projects.
In addition, in January 2011, the President issued an Executive Order that emphasized the importance of obtaining the views of State, local, and tribal governments in making and revising Federal regulations to protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.
The Administration also established the Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation, which brings together stakeholders from across all levels of state, local, and tribal government, to engage in ongoing collaborative forums with Federal agencies and to provide constructive feedback and ideas to improve program administration.
The Administration is committed to reducing the disproportionately high unemployment and poverty rates in Indian Country by making investments today and preparing the next generation to face the challenges of their time.
Kimberly Teehee is Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs with White House Domestic Policy Council
(I met Kimberly a few years ago and she is Tsalgi like me!…Lara)
Local Documentary Focuses On Native Americans In Media
By Will Wadley February 25, 2012
MISSOULA, Mont. — A local documentary that follows a group of Native Americans working in the film industry premiered Saturday at the Wilma.
“Visionary Insight,” created by Longhouse Media, drew crowds on the final weekend of the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. The documentary tracks eight Native American interns as they work on the crew of the upcoming feature film “Winter in the Blood,” which was filmed last summer on Montana’s Hi-line.
“There’s not much representation in film and media by native directors and producers and film makers,” said Executive Producer Tracy Rector. “Our mission outlook at Longhouse Media is to train the students to step into those roles and have the skills to tell their own stories.”
Click here: BBNC information and link to commercial http://www.bbnc.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=203:helping-preserve-our-heritage&catid=36:news-a-events&Itemid=44
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY TO EVERYONE EVERYWHERE...LARA/TRACE
Is it time to rename Mount Rainier to its former Native name?
- ROY, Wash. – Mount Rainier was once known by its many Native names. Now, an alliance of tribal members is moving forward with a proposal to restore an original name to this Northwest landmark. But a long bureaucratic process lies ahead. British explorers named Mount Rainier for a Navy captain who fought to put down the American Revolution. Puyallup tribal member Robert Satiacum says what he’s proposing is not a name change so much as a restoration.
“When they showed up here it got changed. They changed it. That’s part of the process I think when you conquer,” Satiacum says.
The question then becomes which original name to use.
“Tahoma, Tacobeh, Pooskaus, Tacoma … There are all these different names,” he says.
Satiacum says members of his group pondered and prayed before choosing Ti’Swaq’.
“And what that means is the sky, the sky wiper. It touches the sky,” Satiacum says.
Native names for other Northwest peaks:
- Mt. Adams = Pah Do
- Mt. Baker = Kulshan
- Mt. Hood = Wy’East
- Mt. St. Helens = Suek
This subject is also covered extensively on my other blog: www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com
On July 29, 2012, The Squaxin Island Tribe will host the 24th annual Canoe Journey, an intertribal celebration of Pacific Northwest canoe culture and tradition. More than 100 canoes will land at the Port of Olympia, in Washington state, with thousands of people joining together to welcome each arrival.
Charlene Krise, Squaxin Island Museum Executive Director said, “The power of the canoe journey reaches into the very depths of the spirit, mind and body of our tribal people. The canoe journey is so powerful in helping to retrieve, revive and empower tribal people. We gain a positive outlook for the present and future generations.”
Ms. Krise went on to say , “The Squaxin Island Tribe has chosen to honor the Teachings of Our Ancestors as our guide for Paddle to Squaxin 2012. These teachings are the center of our lives and cultures. Our ancestors teach us that we must care for our elders, each other, our children, and the earth because each is a part of our past, present and future. The Canoe Journey is a reflection of this connection.”
For centuries, Pacific Northwest tribal people navigated the waterways in intricately carved dugout canoes. The Salish Sea, the body of water that encompasses Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia in Canada, was the central force that connected canoe cultures for intertribal communication and trade. But early federal government mandates outlawed many tribal traditions, resulting in the almost lost art of canoe building, and ceremonial practices. In 1989, the Canoe Journey event, originally called the “Paddle to Seattle”, was organized as a revival of the canoe culture
traditions and the Native American contribution to the Washington State Centennial. Today, tribes from Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and the Seminole Tribe in Florida participate.
The Bella Bella, from British Columbia, will travel more than 1,000 miles over 23 days. As the canoes arrive at the host site on July 29th, each canoe family asks for permission to come ashore, according to their own culture and protocol. Paddles are raised, signifying “We come in peace.” The Squaxin Island Tribe will then host a week of traditional potlatch ceremonies and festivities with daily performances by dancers, singers and storytellers. Potlatch ceremonies and performances will take place on the Squaxin Island Reservation. The public is welcome but is asked to respect ceremonies, while in the protocol tent.
The Tribe is currently working in partnership with the City of Olympia and the Port of Olympia on a transportation and parking plan to accommodate visitors and participants.
For additional information about activities in the surrounding Olympia and Thurston County area, visit the WWW.visitolympia.com.
Steh-Chass…The Great Earthquake – During the time when human and animal nations could speak the same language, all were required to follow sacred teachings. At one time, the teachings were forgotten and the Changer came. He caused the ground to shake with such force that it dammed up the river. The river became impassable to the Salmon People and they had to find different creeks. – Told by Squaxin Island Tribal member Bruce Johnson, Budd Inlet Watershed
READ MORE HERE:
Wandering Spirit – One man’s journey back to his roots!
by Johnathan Brooks (Northern Cheyenne)
I was born a Native American then adopted in a hotel lobby in San Francisco where the mothers met, probably over a coffee as one does, there they made the exchange. My new adopted mother being Countess Barbara von Bismarck returned to Europe, as my adopted father Steve Brooks worked as a Hollywood Exec for Yul Brynner (actor) was based in the south of France, and she wanted to be nearer to her family but not too near!
I eventually found and met my birthparents August 1989 and eventually became a recognised enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe. The missing part of my life puzzle was complete.
The Adoption Agencies and ex-American Indian Movement members really don’t like my cross cultural adoption story. It’s now illegal to adopt Native Americans.
This was published in Spirit & Destiny national (UK) magazine November 2011.
Listen to a live interview here: http://spiritualwarriortoday.com/on-air-now/ (look in archive for Johnathan Brooks)
Read more here: http://www.nativetelecom.org/thick_dark_fog
For Immediate Release:
The Thick Dark Fog, a feature documentary that tackles the psychological trauma of Indian boarding schools, available on DVD this March
Lincoln, Neb: Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc. (NAPT) proudly announces the DVD release of The Thick Dark Fog, “Best Documentary” winner at the 2011 American Indian Film Festival, from filmmakers Randy Vasquez and Jonathan Skurnik. The film documents the life-long journey of Walter Littlemoon, a Lakota man who heals the wounds of his Indian boarding school experience so that he can move forward with his life. Co-produced by High Valley Films and NAPT, The Thick Dark Fog addresses the mandate of many Indian boarding schools in the mid-1900s which was to “kill the Indian and save the man.”
“The children were not allowed to speak their language or express their culture or Native identity in any way,” commented the film’s producer, Jonathan Skurnik, “How do you confront something like that?”
Confronting his past is exactly what Littlemoon had to do in order to heal himself and his community. Like many Native Americans, Walter acted out his unresolved Indian boarding school trauma through alcoholism and domestic violence.
Walter’s wife, Jane, encouraged him to talk about his past with professionals. Jane also aided in Walter’s decision to write a book and publish his memoirs so that he could help his estranged children understand why he struggled so much as a father. However, when Walter revisited his Indian boarding school memories, he found it nearly impossible to continue writing the book. Despite the struggles, at age 67, Walter’s book entitled, They Called Me Uncivilized: The Memoir of an Everyday Lakota Man from Wounded Knee was published. In the book and film, Walter explains that he did not have a name for the pain and confusion that he felt, so he called it “the thick, dark fog.”
“Like so many, I have lived a life blocked by fear, led by fear and governed by fear that was created in those childhood days,” stated Littlemoon.
“Walter’s mission was to let other Native folk around the country know that they can deal with what happened to them at the boarding schools–those that had a traumatic experience like he did,” said the film’s director/producer Randy Vasquez.
Despite the impact of the Indian boarding schools on Native American communities across the U.S., their impact on Native culture and history has been largely withheld from America’s mainstream Native American narrative. “Here was the legacy of oppression that was on par with slavery that American children don’t learn about in school,” added Skurnik.
As time has passed, more positive accounts have surfaced from Native Americans about their boarding school experiences such as being saved from poverty and making life-long friends. However, The Thick Dark Fog tells one man’s story of healing from the destructive aspects of the Indian boarding school experience and how he gave back to his community.
About this episode
Walter Littlemoon is a 69-year-old Lakota man born and raised in Wounded Knee, South Dakota. At the age of five, he was removed from his family to attend a Federal government boarding school where his culture, language and spirituality were suppressed. The Thick Dark Fog profiles Walter’s journey to heal himself and his community while reclaiming his heritage. The film’s title comes from Walter’s own self-diagnosis of the state-of-mind that he lived in for so many years until he began to tell his story and heal from his childhood trauma.
There’s no need to keep one’s eyes peeled for tonight’s lunar phenomenon—it will be in your face with the luminescent Snow Moon, which is attracting a lot of online chatter both for being a spectacular display and for being an Algonquin term, at least according to the Farmers’ Almanac.
Every tribe has names for the moon, a different one for each month in many cases. With Earth’s satellite changing shape and color in the sky almost daily, and its lighting and position varying month by month, it’s not surprising that the orb has earned many monikers.
“The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon,” states the Farmers’ Almanac, the principal source quoted by numerous media outlets. “Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred.”
Tonight Mother Earth will bask in the full glow of the Snow Moon, which according to the Farmers’ Almanac earned the designation because of what is usually happening on the Algonquins’ traditional turf, the territory stretching from the Great Lakes through what is known today as the northeastern United States.
“Some tribes also referred to it as the Full Hunger Moon or Little Famine Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult,” the Farmers’ Almanac says. “Forced to gnaw on bones and sip bone marrow soup for sustenance, the Cherokee named it the Full Bony Moon.”
The Algonquin name may have the world abuzz, but it is just one of dozens of tribal names for the February moon. Some samples are below, thanks to the site AmericanIndian.net, which actually lists the Algonquin name for February moon as wapicuummilcum, or Ice in River Is Gone.
Other tribal February moon names, according to the site: the Abenaki call it piaôdagos, Makes Branches Fall in Pieces Moon; the Anishnaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe), from the Great Lakes, named it the Sucker Moon, or namebini-giizis. The Apache had a cheerier epithet, Frost Sparkling in the Sun, while the Assiniboine called it Long Dry Moon, and the Choctaw nicknamed it hotvlee-hv’see, or Wind Moon. Back in the wintry realm, the Comanche of the southern plains called it positsu mua, Sleet Moon, while the Canadian Cree of the northern plains called it the Old Moon. Up north in Alaska it’s also known as cepizun, or Old Moon, among the Haida, while the Hopi call it powamuya, Moon of Purification and Renewal.
On a more pessimistic note, the Kalapuya of the Pacific Northwest, in what is today Oregon, called it atchiulartadsh, Out of Food. Cannapopa wi was the name given the moon by the Lakota of the northern plains, Moon When the Trees Crack Because of the Cold.
One name unlikely to surface soon is 51st State, USA, Republican Presidential hopeful Newt Gringrich’s vow to colonize the moon notwithstanding. The moon’s rutted dark side, which the Earth never sees, bears the scars of interplanetary bombardment, as the recent NASA video shows.
Tonight’s abnormally springlike temperatures will not deter the Snow Moon from shining brightly, however. Stay tuned for the full brilliance starting at 4:54 p.m. EST (2154 GMT), according to Space.com. The moon has been blazing since yesterday and will continue into tomorrow night, but tonight is the actual full moon, Space.com said.
“The full moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all night long,” Space.com said, quoting a February 2012 skywatching guide written by contributor and astronomer Geoff Gaherty.
Tracking Bigfoot – Farmington Daily Times. And the Lakota have their own – I heard it scream back in the early 1990s…Lara
Brutal Crimes Grip an Indian Reservation
A rambling stretch of scrub in central Wyoming the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, Wind River has a crime rate five to seven times the national average and a long history of ghastly homicides.
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS, February 2, 2012 WIND RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION, Wyo. — At a boys’ basketball game here last month, Wyoming Indian High School, a perennial state power, was trading baskets with a local rival. The players, long-limbed and athletic, are among the area’s undisputed stars, and their games one of its few diversions. On this night, more than 2,500 cheering, stomping people came to watch.
Matthew Staver for The New York Times
“This place has always had the gloom here,” Kim Lambert, a tribal advocate on the reservation, said as she drove by a line of small houses people refer to as “murderers’ row” because of its violence.
Tribal police officers, above, at a checkpoint last month on the Wind River Indian Reservation, a stretch of scrub in Wyoming as big as Rhode Island and Delaware combined. “This place has always had the gloom here,” says Kim Lambert, right, a tribal advocate.
Outside the gym, in a glass trophy case, are photographs of players from recent championship teams. Someone peered in and, moving his finger along the line of smiling faces, delivered a cruel counterpoint: killed in a car accident at 19 while intoxicated; murdered in his 20s; struck in the head with an ax not long after graduation.
The Obama administration, which has made reducing crime a priority in its attempt to improve the quality of life at dozens of Indian reservations plagued by violence, recently ended a two-year crime-fighting initiative at Wind River and three other reservations deemed to be among the country’s most dangerous.
Nicknamed “the surge,” it was modeled after the military’s Iraq war strategy, circa 2007, which helped change the course of the conflict. Hundreds of officers from the National Park Service and other federal agencies swarmed the reservations, and crime was reduced at three of the four reservations — including a 68 percent decline at Mescalero Apache in New Mexico, officials said. Wind River, as has been true for much of its turbulent history, bucked the trend: violent crime there increased by 7 percent during the surge, according to the Department of Justice.
Despite its bucolic name, the reservation, nestled among snowcapped peaks and rivers filled with trout, is a place where brutal acts have become banal. A rambling stretch of scrub in central Wyoming the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, Wind River has a crime rate five to seven times the national average and a long history of ghastly homicides.
During the initiative, which increased the number of officers on the reservation to 37 from 6, crimes included the murder of a 13-year-old girl who had been missing for four days and whose partly clothed body was found under a tree, and the killing of a 25-year-old man, who the police say had been beaten with a child’s car seat and a dumbbell by two friends after a sexual encounter.
“This place has always had the gloom here,” Kim Lambert, a tribal advocate on the reservation, said as she drove by a line of small houses people refer to as “murderers’ row.” “There has always been the horrendous murder. There has always been the white-Indian tension. It’s always been something.”
Crime may be Wind River’s most pressing problem, but it has plenty of company. Life, even by the grim standards of the typical American Indian reservation, is as bleak and punishing as that of any developing country. On average, residents can expect to live 49 years, 20 years fewer than in Iraq. Unemployment, estimated to be higher than 80 percent, is on a par with Zimbabwe’s, and is approaching the proportionate inverse of Wyoming’s 6 percent jobless rate.
The reservation’s high school dropout rate of 40 percent is more than twice the state average. Teenagers and young adults are twice as likely to kill themselves as their peers elsewhere in Wyoming. Child abuse, teenage pregnancy, sexual assault and domestic violence are endemic, and alcoholism and drug abuse are so common that residents say positive urinalysis results on drug tests are what bar many from working at the state’s booming oil fields.
On one section of the reservation, people must boil drinking water because chemicals, possibly the result of the oil and natural gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, have contaminated the water supply. And fearing that the chemicals might explode in a home, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered residents to run fans and otherwise ensure ventilation while bathing or washing clothes.
The difficulties among Wind River’s population of about 14,000 have become so daunting that many believe that the reservation, shared by the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes, is haunted — the ghosts of the innocent killed in an 1864 massacre.
“Anywhere, there are good spirits and bad spirits around,” said Ivan Posey, a member of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council. “But when people are struggling in their lives, those bad spirits come around more often. It’s kind of a yin and yang.”
Why the other reservations were able to curb crime while Wind River was not has been a matter of grave speculation. Some blame Wind River’s geographic isolation and a general apathy on the reservation, while others point to the numerous troubled children being raised by grandparents unable to keep track of them.
During a recent Friday night patrol on the reservation, Michael Shockley, a Wind River police officer whose department lacks even the basic ability to track crimes, said he was surprised to learn that the surge had not reduced violent crime.
Even with 10 fewer officers than it had during the surge, Officer Shockley said, the Police Department responds to all calls, not just the most serious ones. Crime, he said, has appeared to ebb, especially when compared with what he referred to as the bad old days, when on a single night about a year ago, he drove a total of 400 miles, logged 42 calls and arrested 19 people.
Still, signs of disillusionment are ubiquitous: piles of empty Black Velvet whisky and vodka bottles; discarded prescription bottles for painkillers; gang graffiti; burnt-out homes.
As far as criminality, this is the pinnacle,” Officer Shockley said. “You see everything here.”
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, which oversees the Wind River Police Department, says the rise in violent crime was a result of people reporting offenses they might have ignored before — which suggests that the reservation’s crime rate is even higher than previously thought. In fact, the bureau says, crime has fallen since the surge ended in October, although it did not provide statistics.
Joseph Brooks III, the Wind River police chief, said that one resident, shocked that the police response had gone from hours to minutes, told him, “Chief, if I knew you were going to come immediately, I would have called you later.”
One crime the surge was unable to prevent was the death of Marisa Spoonhunter, an eighth grader at Wyoming Indian Middle School who was killed in April 2010. Her parents recognized her body by the coat they had recently bought for her in Denver.
Marisa’s 21-year-old brother, Robert, and 19-year-old stepcousin were arrested and convicted. The three had been drinking in a trailer home when Robert Spoonhunter said he blacked out and awoke to find his sister and cousin having sex. An enraged Mr. Spoonhunter said he choked his sister for about 20 seconds before flinging her away. Marisa’s head hit a weight-lifting bench.
The men fastened a rope to her ankles and dragged her under a tree. Before resuming drinking, they put her clothes in a burn barrel.
At the sentencing, Vern Spoonhunter, the father of Marisa and Robert, said Marisa had been in the third generation of Spoonhunters to be murdered at Wind River — meeting the same end as his father and brother.
“Now we have two rooms in our home that are empty,” he said, referring to his children. “And that’s what we have to deal with.”
A version of this article appeared in print on February 3, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: An Indian Reservation in Crime’s Deadly Grip.