Oct 25, 2012 - Diana Mitchell, RivertonEditor:
Chief Washakie was the only chief in history who chose his reservation. Washakie chose the area of Wind River, but his hunting range was over wide areas from the Bitterroot to the Montana plains, to southern Wyoming, south to the Uinta Mountains.
The government and the settlers and miners were happy to see the reservation happen, because this would prevent raiding war parties of Sioux from interfering with development. To put in blunting -- a reservation for the Shoshones at Wind River would shield whites from Sioux attacks. This explained the willingness of settlers to tolerate a nearby Indian reservation.
In 1868, the government made a treaty with the Shoshones, and at the same time granted them the right to hunt off reservation on "unoccupied lands of the United States." How long did this happen, if at all, but complications started with the reservation's beginning, and have continued today. One complication would be the jurisdiction of the city of Riverton, since it is within the historical boundaries of the reservation.
In 1904, lands were taken at the insistence of the United States. The Shoshone lost about two thirds of their reservation. The United States disposed the lands under the "homestead," town-site, by sale for cash, and agreed to pay the tribe the amounts received by the government. Despite all of this, the tribe remained equitable owners of the land and minerals owner
the land with the United States Trustee of the land, for purposes by disposing the land. Through the years, beginning about 1906, portions of
the 1904 Shoshone lost land was potentially valuable for oil and leases. In order for the tribe to benefit from oil and gas deposits within the ceded portion of the reservation.
Congress empowered the Secretary of the Interior to lease the "ceded" Lands for development "under such terms and conditions as shall be made, with the proceeds, bonuses, and royalties from the leases to be "applied to the use and benefit of the tribe." Congress authorized the Riverton Project in 1920, it provided that the proceeds from the sale of the lands to reclamation homesteaders be given to the Shoshone tribe. All business transactions were done in the Lander Land Office. In 1953, to treat Shoshone lands as
public lands to use establish rights of ways for canals, ditches, transmission lines and sanction the removal of building materials, sand and gravel -- all unauthorized and without the consent of the Shoshone Tribe. Money made from land sales were used to build canals for the farmers, using the tribe's money, from land sales supposed to go to tribe.
Chief Washakie and the other chiefs chose this reservation for the future generations of Shoshone people. He respected other people of different races, and believed they had a right to live on Mother Earth. Washakie would want justice for his people, and for his people to be prosperous have a home, to be successful on their own land for future generations to come.
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