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Reader claiming tribes want control of city was wrong

Sep 29, 2017 John Vincent, Riverton

Editor:

Recently you published a letter from one of your readers claiming that members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes were not qualified to manage Riverton's city government.

This point was made on the mistaken belief that the boundary/EPA case is intended by the tribes to have "Riverton moved onto the reservation, giving the tribes control over Riverton government."

The reader claimed the tribes "can't handle their own government affairs very well and never have." The boundary/EPA case does not seek that the tribes obtain governmental control of Riverton nor to move Riverton on the reservation.

In the past I was honored to serve as Riverton's mayor for eight years. During that time, representatives of the Shoshone tribe, Arapaho tribe, and Riverton city government met on many occasions to resolve issues of common concern - to try and make lives better for all of our people. I found the tribal representatives to be committed to working for the common good of American Indian and non-Indian people living on or off of the reservation.

The tribal representatives were well informed on the issues involving taxation, boundaries, jurisdiction, land use planning and regulation, and were willing to seek common ground for resolution of these issues. Agreements reached with the Arapaho tribe facilitated construction of a water well and storage tank that serves the city and the Wind River Job Corps, accepted the city's land use plan, and agreed in writing to resolve issues of common concern via negotiation rather than extended and expensive court battles.

We must concentrate on cleaning our side of the street at all levels of government and not judge others based on second hand views, racial stereotypes, or name calling. I hope we learn to judge people by their character and treatment of others, rather than simply labeling people based on their race, religion or political views.

We would do well to make acceptance of others a part of our lives and government operations.

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2017-10-18