Arapaho at the State Fair, 1909

Arapaho at the State Fair, 1909

The first official state fair was held in 1905 in Douglas, Wyoming and from the beginning, the Arapaho attended the fair as both performers and exhibitors. For the first few years, the Fair was an adult only event that drew merchants and producers to sell their goods and show their livestock. In 1924, Chief Yellow Calf of the Arapaho attended and brought many of his men to perform. According to the State Fair website, the Wyoming State Fair had its roots back as early as 1886 in an event called the “First Annual Wyoming Territorial Fair” conducted by the Board of Trustees of the Wyoming Fair Association. The original 80 acre site is lost to history but was somewhere along the old Cheyenne and Northern Railroad right-of-way, near Cheyenne. The main emphasis at the early State Fair were agricultural exhibits and the winners were showcased proudly in the Cheyenne newspaper. One section in November 1909 was titled Indian Department and listed the Arapaho women who had won ribbons that year. The majority of these women lived in Arapaho, Wyoming and their descendants still live on the Wind River Reservation today. Wyoming Industrial Journal no. 6 November 01, 1909, page 4   Indian Department Mrs. Thos. Crispen, Arrapahoe, four first, and three second. Angelia Spoonhunter, Arapahoe, four firsts and two second. Mrs. Judith W. Bell, Arapahoe, two firsts. Mrs. Duck Dewey, Arapaho, two first Alice S. Head, Arapahoe, one first and two second Sara Enos, Wind River, one first and one second. Mrs. Chas. Whiteman, Arapahoe, one first and two second. Pearl Cullins, Arapahoe, one first. Mrs. Kathryn Crook, Arapahoe, one first. Mrs. Matilda Spoonhunter, Arapahoe, one first. Sun Road, Arapahoe, one first. Mrs. Brokenhorn, Arapahoe, one first. Lottie Monroe, Arapaho, one first. Emma Lajeunnesse, Wind River, one second. Mrs. Duck, Arapahoe, one second. Mrs. Paul Sleeping Bear, Arapahoe, one second. Sleeping Bear, Arapahoe, one second.   The Arapaho and Shoshone Indians have actively participated for generations in the state fair and continue to do so. For more about the history of the Douglas State Fair, visit http://www.wystatefair.com/about/history.php Hohou!   By Jackie Dorothy 2017, the Many-Great-Granddaughter of Matilda Spoonhunter, winner of a first place...

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I Will Work & Ride Horses, Part III of 1897 Goals

I Will Work & Ride Horses, Part III of 1897 Goals

To the Arapaho, the coming of the horse improved our way of life vastly. The horse, woxhoox, was ridden into battle and in the hunt for buffalo. They helped us move camp and were traded for brides. When a young warrior died, his favorite horse was often buried with him. After moving to the Wind River Indian Reservation, the horses remained important to the people and by the age of four, most children had a horse to call their own. The students in the boarding schools were homesick for both their families and for their beloved horses as is evident from their essay answers of what they would like to do when they were grown and out of school. This is the final section from the 1897 newspaper article highlighting the goals and dreams of the Arapaho and Shoshone students on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Excerpt from The Indian Guide no. 4, September 1, 1897, page 3 Shoshone Agency Expression by Language The pupils of Fourth Grade, Mr. Betz teacher, were asked to give a short answer to the Question, “What I will be when I am a man or woman?” and following are the uncorrected answers: James Munroe, Arapahoe, aged 18 It is not so very long till I will be a man. I will work and ride horses. Walter Waters, Arapahoe, aged 18 When I go home I will work hard. I will have lots of horses and three wagons. I am strong and well and I don’t want to go to school again. I can read and writ and talk English. I have been at school some 9 or 10 years. I don’t want to stay here next vacation. Willie Ground Bear, Arapahoe aged 12 When I go home after school I will go to work on our farms and I will ride on horse back. Fred Anandoah, Shoshone, aged 15 I will go home after this school is out. I try to work the farm. Martha Eagle Chief, Arapahoe, aged 15 I want to live in a house. I will go to live on Big Wind River. Thomas Striker, Arapahoe, aged 16 When I am a man I will work hard. I will make a house. I will try to talk English. I will ride my horse. Veda No Name, Shoshone, aged 16 I will try hard to talk English. I never talked English before I came to school. I have been here a long time. I will live by myself and hard at every thing I will work in my house. I will clean it and cook and make bread. Stanley Antelope, Shoshone, aged 16 When I go home I will stay home...

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1897 Students Share Future Goals Part II

1897 Students Share Future Goals Part II

Training for an Arapaho child began at birth and by five, they were usually fluent in the Arapaho language and knew their place in our close knit society. Our ancestors would begin joining lodges as preteens to gain the knowledge and secrets of both day to day survival and the way of the Creator. Our age graded society and the lessons they gave came to an end after we moved onto the reservation. The children’s Arapaho education was interrupted and replaced by another type of schooling provided by the federal government and churches. These schools taught English, writing, arithmetic and new life skills such as farming. Our leaders spoke of the importance of learning this new way of life to ensure the success of the tribe as a whole in this new era. On the Wind River Indian Reservation, boarding schools were built so the children would remain closer to home. The following is part two of a newspaper essay from these children sharing their dreams of a future for themselves and their families. Many of the descendants of these children still remain on the reservation today. Excerpt from The Indian Guide no. 4, September 1, 1897, page 3 Shoshone Agency Expression by Language The pupils of Fourth Grade, Mr. Betz teacher, were asked to give a short answer to the Question, “What I will be when I am a man or woman?” and following are the uncorrected answers: Amoretti Yellow Bear, Arapahoe, aged 15 I will like to work when I am a man I am only a little boy and not yet a strong man. When I am a man I will work in the field. I have a wagon and horses. I work hard now and I am only a boy, when I am a man work with my brother. Henry Snake, Arapahoe, aged 19 When I go home from school I will hard at my home. I have a wagon at home to ride in whin I am working. Lucy Lamrouex, Shoshone, aged 15 When I go home I am going to keep house for my mother and would like to go to another place I am getting tired of this country, and then I will keep house for myself. Emma Murray, Shoshone, aged 16 When I leave school I am going to Montana and live with my aunt and learn dress making. Then I am going to start a millinery shop of my own. John Anandoab, Shoshone, aged 14 I can not tell what I will be I think I will work. I will try to talk English. I will make a good house and live in it. Harry Friday, Arapahoe, aged 13 I...

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1897 Students Share Goals for the Future

1897 Students Share Goals for the Future

Instead of sending their children to boarding schools off the reservation, the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone had the option to keep their children closer to home to receive an English education. Many of our early leaders, such as Chief Black Coal and Sherman Sage, believed learning English and other such skills were vital to our tribes’ success in this new world. In 1871, the first known school was opened for the Arapaho and Shoshone children on the Wind River Indian Reservation. In 1884, a one and one half story adobe building was built on Trout Creek, southwest of Fort Washakie with Father John Roberts as the first superintendent. The following are the student’s own words recorded in 1897 about their futures after they graduate with school. It speaks of their homesickness but also of their determination to succeed. Keep in mind, this is the unaltered text from 1897 told by the students and editor of the paper using terms acceptable during that time. Excerpted from The Indian Guide no. 4, September 1, 1897, page 3, Shoshone Agency Expression by Language The pupils of Fourth Grade, Mr. Betz teacher, were asked to give a short answer to the Question, “What I will be when I am a man or woman?” and following are the uncorrected answers: Margaret Friday, Arapahoe, aged 13  I will go to help my mother when I go away from this school. I will be at work hard. I guess when I am through work in my home I will go way to my other mother and help work in the garden and I will stay with her all the time.  – Editor’s Note, Margaret’s father has more than one squaw and Margaret calls two of them her mother. Winnie Iron, Arapahoe, 15 I like to go home I like to help my mother at her work. When I get through at school. If I am a woman I won’t like school any more. I will try hard at every thing this year. I like sewing and cooking. When I go home I like to keep my mother’s room clean. Rosella Washington, Arapahoe, aged 18. I like to stay home. I think I will not come back to school. When I am a woman I will like sewing. Delfinio Hurtado, Shoshone, aged 12 I like to go home and stay down home. All I am going to do is work on my house when I get a big man and never leave my papa and my mamma to live by themselves and I will never get married to go away. Fred White, Arapahoe, age 14 I will work in my house and I will work on the...

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The Buffalo Jump

The Buffalo Jump

The Arapaho people depended on the buffalo for our livelihood. Our warriors hunted them on foot, on horse, by stealth and by making loud noises. These brave hunters would sneak into the midst of a herd disguised as wolves to bring down one buffalo. At other times, the entire tribe would come together to drive an entire herd off a cliff. One such account of how the Arapaho came to use these buffalo jumps was recorded by an English Professor from the Washington State University. In the 1930’s, Miss Ella Elizabeth Clark, recorded the following story of the origin of the buffalo jump from an Arapaho informant. “A man tried to think how the Arapahos might kill buffalo. He was a hard thinker who would go off for several days to fast and think. At last he dreamed that a voice spoke to him and told him what to do. Going back to his people, he made an enclosure of trees set in the ground with willows wound between them. At one side of the enclosure there was only a cliff with rocks at the bottom. Then four runners who never tired were sent out to the windward of a herd of buffalo, two of them on each side of the herd. They drove the animals toward the enclosure and into it. Then the people drove the buffalo around inside until a heavy cloud of dust rose. Unable to see in the dust, the animals ran over the cliff and were killed.” The Western Photographer Edward S. Curtis described seeing a buffalo jump: “The manner of driving and decoying the bison was a varied as the form of the slaughter-pen; but whatever the method, the purpose and results were the same — the object was to stampede the herd, or a part of it, and to direct the rapidly moving animals to a given point, the Indians knowing that, once well in motion, they would run into their own destruction. The Sioux (allies of the Arapaho) built out in rapidly diverging lines from the pen a light brush construction, not in truth a fence, as it was only substantial enough to form a line. Men concealed themselves behind this brush, and when the herd was well inside the lines the hunters rose up and by shouting and waving their blankets frightened the animals on. Sometimes a man skillful in the ways of the bison would disguise himself in one of their skins and act as leader of the drove to the extent of starting them in their mad rush. By this method the Indians simply took advantage of a characteristic habit of the buffalo — to follow their leader blindly. The movement grew...

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Arapaho Hair Traditions

In the early days, hair was part of an Arapaho’s identity. It was worn in such a way to signify who we were and our role in the tribe. For example, the Keeper of the Pipe was not allowed to comb his hair. In the old days, before the 1900’s, an Arapaho man parted his hair on each side in either a braid or tied together. Over his temples, the hair was cut into a zig zag edge and stood upright on his forehead. This style was down to make the wearer look fierce and resembled the ‘mohawk’. In the 1900’s, the style evolved so that the hair was worn in braids or masses tied together over the ear and scalp. The old men did not comb their hair and instead rolled it. When it was sticky and matted, they would gather in in a bunch over their forehead much like the dreadlocks of today. Hair styles also changed over the years for woman. Before the reservation, they would wear their hair loose with paint on it. The paint along the part of their hair was called “path of the sun”. They also painted streaks down their face, on their cheeks, forehead and nose, to signify war. Black paint symbolized victory and Red was the color most used which represented old age and happiness or a wish for happiness. When in mourning, women and men did not paint their face and the first painting after completion of mourning would be with red paint and is called “washing” or “cleansing”. The old women wore their hair loose and tangled. They painted a spot on each cheek bone and one on the forehead, the latter which signified a buffalo calf. A line from the mouth down to the chin represented a road. These symbols together signified peace. By the 1900s, women wore two braids tucked behind their ears. Their hair was parted from the forehead to the nape of their neck. The old woman continued to wear their hair loose. These traditions fell out of use after the boarding school era and the loss of the age grade society of the Arapaho. Hohou! The information for this article was found in “Arapaho People” by Kroeber, pages 25 – 27. Jackie Dorothy,...

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Signs of the Warpath

Signs of the Warpath

The warpath that our ancestors followed was not without rules or regulations. Prayers were sent to the Creator Above (Houu) and roles were assigned. All the warriors knew the sign language particular to their tribe and were on alert for any sign of danger. In September 1880, Little Raven and Left Hand of the Southern Arapaho and Bobtail and Big Horse of the Cheyenne were part of a delegation to Washington, D.C. on behalf of their tribes. During their visit, they shared some of the signals they used when on the warpath. They explained that when the Arapaho or Cheyenne warriors would leave their family camp to go on the warpath, there were certain rules and ceremonies that were observed to ensure the success of the raids. They would first announce their intentions and receive the blessings of the old men through ritual and ceremonies. They would then send runners so that neighboring friends could join them. The pipe-bearers were the first ones appointed a post, usually after already being on the warpath a few days. These men carried the sacred pipes and preceded the war party while on the move. The success of the expedition would be endangered if anyone crossed ahead of these pipe-bearers so warriors joining the war party would avoid riding up before the head of the column. All new arrivals would instead join the group from the rear or the side. When the war party approached a potential elevated lookout, they hid themselves in the surrounding areas. Just before dawn, scouts approached the area with caution to make sure that none of the enemy had reached the summit before them. The scouts would then watch the site for any objects in motion and would closely monitor the flight patterns of the birds. If any bird landed on the hill or butte, it would indicate that there was nothing to scare them off. However, if a large bird, such as a raven, crow or eagle, flew towards the hilltop and then made a sudden swerve to either side and disappeared, it would indicate that something or someone was there. If the scout suspected the enemy were near, he would signal “danger” to the rest of the war party watching him. He would do this by grasping the blanket he wore with his right hand and wave it downward from a shoulder position. If there was no enemy visible, the scout would ascend to the lookout slowly and undercover as much as possible. After scanning the horizon and finding no one, the scout would signal the all clear or “clear surface” by grasping his blanket and waving it horizontally from right to left and back again repeatedly. However, if the enemy was...

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