When you visit the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, there are several must-do activities and must-visit places to put on your list. With 2.2 million acres to explore, it can be hard to know where to start. To help make the most of your visit – and to give you ample opportunities to soak up as much Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho history and culture as possible – here are nine things to do on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
1. Northern Arapaho Experience Room
Located inside the Wind River Hotel and Casino, the Northern Arapaho Experience Room offers visitors the chance to see the past, present and future of the Northern Arapaho. They also offer tours, language lessons and storytelling.
2. Eagle Spirit Dancers
Every summer, the Eagle Spirit Dancers – made up of Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho dancers – perform at the Museum of the American West in Lander.
3. Wild Horse Sanctuary
The Wind River Wild Horse Sanctuary, located near Lander, is the only sanctuary located on a reservation. They have a free visitor center that has an interpretive display, while they offer guided tours of the wild horse preserve as well.
4. Sacajawea’s Gravesite
One of the most famous and revered women in U.S. history is Sacajawea. A member of the Shoshone Tribe, Sacajawea guided Lewis & Clark as they journeyed across America. And while legend has it that she is buried in the nearby Wind River Mountains, you can pay tribute to her at the Sacajawea Cemetery in Fort Washakie. As you wander the grounds, be sure that you’re respectful and reflective. Take a minute to think about the people who are buried here and the impacts they have had on their tribes, their communities and their families.
5. Fort Washakie and Chief Washakie’s Grave
One of the most well-known members of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe is Chief Washakie. A prominent leader among his people, Chief Washakie was instrumental in welcoming the Northern Arapaho to the reservation. He sat in many treaty negotiations with the U.S. government – including the Treaty of Fort Laramie and the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1863 – and hunted with famous mountain man Jim Bridger. Today, a large headstone marks his grave.
6. St. Stephens Indian Mission & Heritage Center
Founded in the late 1800s, St. Stephens Indian Mission holds mass and services and is worth a visit, especially as the church is painted with colorful Native American designs.
7. Wind River Trading Company
Located in Fort Washakie, the Wind River Trading Company should be on any visitor’s must-stop list, as it has an array of artwork, crafts, clothing, blankets and jewelry.
8. Crowheart Butte
Between Dubois and Riverton in rural Fremont County is Crowheart Butte. Viewable from U.S. Highway 26, this is where Chief Washakie battled Chief Big Robber of the Crow Tribe, and Washakie came out victorious.
9. Eastern Shoshone Tribal Cultural Center
Take a deep dive into the history and culture of the Shoshone people at the cultural center, where you can see artifacts, artwork, photography, maps and even treaties.