July 2, 2018

The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho People Share Their Culture

“Our culture is a celebration of life. We honor our ancestors this way. They preserved what they could to make sure life goes on for the ones that are here today. We are proud to now share this with all who come.”  Jermaine Bell, White Bull Singers

Summer is the time to take in one of the many Native American dance performances and powwows and learn about the history and traditions of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation as they share their music and dance.

George Abeyta and the Eagle Spirit Dancers, Photo: Jennie Hutchinson
George Abeyta and the Eagle Spirit Dancers, Photo: Jennie Hutchinson

Each week you can watch and participate in two dance performances.  Each begins with a grand entry where the dancers enter the circle.   After the grand entry various styles of dance are performed – traditional, fancy feather, grass, jingle dress, fancy shawl and hoop dancing.  You’ll learn about the dance styles, meet the dancers and the drum group.  At the end you have the opportunity to join in the friendship or circle dance.

George Abeyta, a fancy feather dancer himself, is the MC for the Eagle Spirit Dancers at the Museum of the American West in Lander.

“We are very pleased, privileged and honored to work with the Museum of the American West. It’s always a blessing to celebrate life through song and dance. During our 45-minute presentation we share the powwow way of life and the Native American culture to breakdown cultural barriers and to dispel myths, half-truths, and misunderstandings”.

The Eagle Spirit Dancers and White Bull Singers perform every Wednesday night through August 8 at 7 p.m.  Bring a lawn chair or blanket, or sit on the benches.  Get there early and enjoy a snow cone.  The public is invited to participate in the ‘wanna be’ contest where you can try to dance one of the styles and are judged by the dancers.  The evening ends with the friendship dance where the public and the dancers join together. Note: There will not be a  performance July 4th.  

Northern Arapaho Experience Photo: Jennie Hutchinson
Northern Arapaho Experience Photo: Jennie Hutchinson

The Northern Arapaho Dance Experience gives you a glimpse into the vibrant, alive and thriving culture of the Arapaho people.  Enjoy Herb Augustine as the MC and Arapaho Nation Singers at the Wind River Hotel and Casino south of Riverton.  The hour long program is every Tuesday at 6 p.m. through August 28.   Note: There will not be a  performance July  17th.  

All performances are free.  Children and cameras are welcome.  Both locations feature local dancers who compete professionally locally and nationally on the powwow circuit.

Museum of the American West 
307-335-8778
1445 W. Main St.
Lander, WY

Wind River Hotel & Casino
307-855-2600
10269 Hwy 789
Riverton, WY

There are three big powwows in Wind River Country. The Eastern Shoshone Indian Days (June 22-24, 2018), Ethete Celebration (July 27-29, 2018) and the Northern Arapaho powwow (August 31- September 2, 2018). These powwows draw top dancers and drum groups from around the US and Canada.

Load up your camp chair and cameras and make sure you’ve got enough cash for fry bread, Indian tacos and a raffle or two. Then settle in for 3 days of dancing, drumming and contests.  Read more about powwows….

Learn more about the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes at one of the cultural centers or pick up the Wind River Indian Reservation Driving Tour Map at the Dubois, Lander and Riverton Chamber of Commerce.

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