Wadda, state tribal liaison, killed in wreckJun 1, 2012 By Martin Reed, Staff Writer
Eddie Wadda, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe's liaison to Gov. Matt Mead's office, died in a car crash sometime Thursday night or early Friday morning, his sister said.
"There was a vehicle accident late last night. The family is still awaiting the call from Highway Patrol to get more details. We lost Eddie," Deanne Large said.
Large said Wadda was returning home to Fort Washakie from Gillette when the crash happened.
She heard it was possibly about five miles east of Buffalo, but she has not received confirmation.
"I don't know if that is right. Everything we have is third-hand information," she said.
"There were other passengers, but I would rather not release their names."
She believed that her brother was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Troy McLees, in a phone interview on Friday, said he was unable to get information on the crash immediately because the investigating troopers were not available.
Wadda would have turned 42 years old in a month, Large said. In addition to his work with state government, he was a teacher at Wyoming Indian Elementary School for several years, she said.
"He's been a teacher for more years than I can remember," she said. "He was a teacher there and also a coach for them" in basketball.
Wadda was also a leader and organizer of the Wind River UNITY Council that helped youth on the Wind River Indian Reservation through programs and activities.
Layha Spoonhunter, who worked closely with Wadda in the youth council and other activities, said there will be a gathering organized by the group in his memory at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Lander City Park.
"That was our mentor. That was our adviser," Spoonhunter said on Friday.
The family on Friday continued to work on arranging funeral services.
"We're looking at Wednesday for the funeral" at Rocky Mountain Hall in Fort Washakie, Large said.
"Some of the youth are going to do a presentation during his services. I've got people calling from all over the United States," she said. "It's just unbelievable."
She said her brother was born in Lander and grew up in Fort Washakie. He was a basketball standout for the Lander Tigers and graduated from Lander Valley High School before obtaining a teaching degree from the University of Wyoming and a master's from Oklahoma City University.
He was returning from Gillette, where he had been attending activities with Wyoming Indian High School standout player John Soundingsides for the South Dakota-Wyoming all-star basketball game, she said.
"It was just a very, very tragic accident, and it was a huge loss for our community," Large said.