Wind River Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation, located in the central-western portion of the U.S. state of Wyoming, where Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Native American tribes currently live. It is the seventh-largest Indian reservation by area in the United States, encompassing a land area of 3,473.272 sq mi (8,995.733 km²), or land and water area of 3,532.010 sq mi (9,147.864 km²), and the fifth-largest American Indian Reservation by population. The reservation constitutes just over one-third of Fremont County and over one-fifth of Hot Springs County.
The reservation is located in the Wind River Basin and is surrounded by the Wind River Mountain Range, Owl Creek Mountains, and the Absaroka Mountains. The 2000 census reported the population of Fremont County as 40,237 inhabitants. According to the 2010 census, only 26,490 people now live on the Reservation. Tribal headquarters are located at Fort Washakie. The Shoshone Rose Casino (Eastern Shoshone) and the Wind River Casino, Little Wind Casino, and 789 Smoke Shop & Casino (all Northern Arapaho) are the only casinos in Wyoming.
The Wind River Indian Reservation was established by the United States for the Eastern Shoshone Indians in 1868, restricting them from their formerly vast territory. Camp Augur, a military post with troops, was established at the present site of Lander on June 28, 1869. In 1870 the name was changed to Camp Brown and in 1871, the post was moved to the current site of Fort Washakie. The name was changed to honor the Shoshone Chief Washakie in 1878 and the fort continued to serve as a military post until the US abandoned it in 1909. By that time, a community had developed around the fort. Sacagawea, a woman guide with the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806, was later interred here. Her son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, who was a child on the expedition, has a memorial stone in Fort Washakie but was interred in Danner, Oregon.
A government school and hospital operated for many years east of Fort Washakie; Arapaho children were sent here to board during the school year. St. Michael's at Ethete was constructed in 1917–1920. The village of Arapahoe was originally established as a US sub-agency to distribute rations to the Arapaho. At one time it also operated a large trading post. In 1906 a portion of the reservation was ceded to white settlement and Riverton developed on some of this land. Under the Dawes Act, communal land was allotted to individual households. Many Arapaho names were anglicized at the time. Irrigation was constructed to support farming and ranching in the arid region. The Arapaho constructed a flour mill near Fort Washakie.
Of the population in 2011, 3,737 were Shoshone and 8,177 were Arapaho. 1,880,000 acres of Tribal Land with 180,387 acres of Wilderness area, compared to the population in 2000, 6,728 (28.9%) were Native Americans (full or part) and of them 54% were Arapaho and 30% Shoshone. Of the Native American population, 22% spoke a language other than English at home.
According to A Suicide Epidemic in an American Indian Community, a study done regarding suicide on the Reservation in 1985, the months of August and September produced very high suicide numbers. There were 12 reported deaths, and 88 additional verified instances of suicide threats or suicidal attempts. This epidemic is nothing new to Native American tribes, due to high unemployment and extensive abuse of alcohol. An alarming statistic is that 40 of the attempts were between the ages of 13-19, and 24 attempts were between the ages of 20-29. Of the 88 attempts, alcohol was involved in 47 cases, with 46 male and 42 females attempting suicide. Many events were created to attempt to stop this suicide epidemic that hit the Reservation so hard. Parents, and elder community members, closed Bingo nights for children recreational activities instead. The schools extended hours for learning centers and gymnasiums time. An alcohol treatment program began holding weekly alcohol-free teen dances, which were very popular and had a high attendance. These initiatives were designed to provide a safe, and alcohol-free, environment for the children and young adults. This ultimately helped the epidemic, and prevent mass suicide attempts across such young age groups.
A study conducted titled, Delinquency Among Wind River Indian Reservation Youth, showed that large amounts of the Reservation's youth were charged with a variety of crimes. This study shows that from the years 1967-1971, 1,047 juvenile cases were examined by the Court of Indian Offenses on the Reservation. A large majority, 693, of the 1,047 cases dealt with delinquency, with 470 of these cases involving a young male defendant. The distribution of juvenile charges showed that 251 of 917 total charges involved alcohol-related crimes (public intoxication, minor in possession, and driving under the influence). These alcohol-related issues have also been shown in another study involving the Reservation. An article published in 2001, The Social Construction of American Indian Drinking: Perceptions of American Indian and White Officials, has discovered, by interviewing 12 Native Americans residing on the Reservation and 12 Whites who also reside on the Reservation, that alcoholism is present and thriving on the Reservation. 10 of 12 Natives have said that alcohol is a problem shared by both minors and adults, while all 12 Whites have said this. 10 of 12 American Indians said that alcohol is strongly linked to crime, while 11 of 12 Whites have agreed. The biggest outlier was that only 8 of 12 American Indians have said that alcohol is a very serious problem on the Reservation, while 11 of 12 Whites have said the same.
In 2009, 3 young Native American girls (13, 14, and 15 years of age) were murdered on the Reservation. They were found in the bedroom of a small home in Beaver Creek, which is a low-income tribal housing community. They had overdosed on methadone, a painkiller which is used to wean heroin addicts off of heroin. However, no one knows how they received the painkillers, which is why the coroner ruled their deaths homicides. The Reservation has a very thin police force, which led to the FBI being the lead investigators on the homicide. The Reservation has 6 officers who are responsible for patrolling an area about the size of Rhode Island. Two teenage boys were arrested in connection with the girls' deaths. One boy had given them his grandmother's methadone, saying that the girls were already high and he wanted to help them, because they didn't want to go home and have their parents see them. 
In the early 21st century, the media reported severe problems of poverty and unemployment, resulting in associated crime and a high rate of drug abuse. In 2012, the New York Times released an article titled, Brutal Crimes Grip an Indian Reservation. According to this article, written by Timothy Williams, an Iraq war strategy, "the surge", was used to attempt to fight crime taking hundreds of officers from the National Park Service and other federal agencies. This had major success at other reservations, but on the Wind River Indian Reservation, violent crime increased by 7 percent. The Reservation has a crime rate that is 5 to 7 times higher than the national average. Life is seen as bleak, and punishing, with life expectancy at age 49, 20 years fewer than that of Iraq, and unemployment at an astounding 80 percent, which is on par with Zimbabwe. The Reservation has a high school dropout rate of 40 percent, which is more than double the Wyoming state average. 
The reservation was experiencing a methamphetamine crisis that has since been significantly reduced, even while addiction continues to be a problem. Other residents say the Wind River Indian Reservation is a more hopeful place than is often portrayed in press reports. The tribes have re-established populations of big game, such as moose, elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope, and have passed hunting regulations to conserve these species. In November 2016 the Shoshone introduced ten bison to the reservation, the beginning of what is planned as a 1000-head herd. They were the first bison to be seen on the Wind River Reservation since 1885. Area suited as buffalo habitat is estimated at 700,000 acres on the west side and another 500,000 acres on the north of the reservation.
The Wind River at the Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming
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