CTF E-Newsletter March 19, 2018

This e-newsletter is designed to provide a brief update on the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund and the happenings of its grant recipients.

It is our promise that this e-newsletter be brief, interesting and hopefully something that will provide you with ideas and contacts with other organizations around the state. If you wish to have your activity highlighted in this e-newsletter, please contact Renée Bovée, WCTF Program Coordinator.

Cultural Trust Fund Postmark Deadline, April 2

WCTF_FullTag_ColorThe postmark deadline for the next round of Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund (WCTF) grants is April 2.

This grant deadline is for projects/events/activities which begin after July 1, 2018.

The WCTF provides grant funding for all forms of arts and culture, including but not limited to: visual art, performing arts, crafts, design arts, media arts, literature, museum, folk/traditional arts, humanities, historic and architectural preservation, archaeology, community cultural celebrations, cultural and heritage tourism.

“Envisioning Wyoming as a place where the cultural life and heritage of the state thrives, and is valued, enjoyed, and supported by all,” according to the WCTF Vision Statement.

For guideline and application information, go to the WCTF website, www.wyoculturaltrust.com. For more information you may also contact the WCTF Program Coordinator, Renée Bovée, 307-777-6312 or via email at renee.bovee@wyo.gov.

The Historic Arapahoe Mansion Project

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Historic Padlock Ranch Barn

The holdings of the Arapahoe Ranch have been in use for raising livestock since 1870. The ranch was started by Colonel George Sliney. Sliney’s lasting imprint on the Ranch is the irrigation ditch system, there is still a ditch just north of the Ranch Headquarters called the Sliney ditch. In the early days it was a sheep operation and was known as the Padlock Ranch. Sometime before 1918 the Padlock Ranch was purchased by a Midwest Industrialist by the name of Lee Simenson.

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Current Mansion front entrance

Simenson kept the name but changed to a cattle operation, constructed an enormous barn and erected a mansion in hopes that his wife would leave Chicago more often to join him at the ranch. Construction of the mansion started in 1918 which makes the Arapahoe Historic Mansion 100 years old this year. 

Simenson’s owned the Padlock Ranch until 1928 when they lost much of their wealth in the stock market crash. The ranch went into receivership and was controlled by a bank until 1940 when the Northern Arapaho Tribe purchased the ranch at which point it was re-named the Arapahoe Ranch and has continued to be a cattle operation. (Note the two spellings: Arapaho without the e is people, Arapahoe with an e designates place.)

The Northern Arapaho Tribe has purchased several smaller ranches and property since 1940 adding substantial acreage to the ranch which is now over 300,000 acres. 

The Historic Arapahoe Mansion is in remarkable condition for its age but preservation and restoration are needed. The Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund awarded a proposal in 2017 to begin the restoration process. The first thing being worked on is the plumbing which has not been working since 2008. The Mansion has 4 bathrooms and one powder room, kitchen and another kitchen and bathroom in the caretakers quarters. With the first round of funding water and plumbing were restored to the kitchen and powder room of the Mansion and the bathroom of the caretakers quarters. A temporary “bath house” has been created for the next 3 to 4 years of work to be done on the mansion.

A program of the Arapaho Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – Summer Youth Program called The Ranch Safari, brings youth to conduct service learning projects at the Mansion each summer as part of the restoration process. Projects for this program are coordinated by Maker Space 307 and cultural activities for the youth include horse culture, traditional Arapaho games, arts, food, visitation of cultural sites on the Ranch and visits from Tribal Elders and Tribal Fish and Game. Youth from this program are painting the exterior of the barn, corals, and have done major clean up in and around the Mansion.

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Playing the grand piano inside the Mansion

The goal is to get the Historic Arapahoe Mansion restored for use as a retreat center for the Tribe, the surrounding communities and for tourism. Primary contact regarding the Arapahoe Ranch and the Arapahoe Historic Mansion contact Arapahoe Ranch Board Member, Marvene Thunder, 307-332-5286.

— Lorre Hoffman,
Maker Space 307

More information about the Arapahoe Ranch and the Ranch Safari.

“Pride of the Tribe,” photo essay by Melissa Hemken can be found in the Sept. Oct. 2016 issue of Working Ranch Magazine

Link to Ranch Safari Video by Alan O’Hashi, https://vimeo.com/194187424

Wyoming PBS and Content Lab Documentary: The Carlisle School

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Little Plume, Little Chief, and Horse are the names of three Northern Arapaho youth who died in the 1880s while attending the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. We have a picture of them as they arrived at Carlisle – an event that brought the locals to the train station to gawk at the youngsters in their native dress. Millie Friday, who runs the White Buffalo Youth group on the Wind River Indian Reservation, looked at the picture and said: “I imagine them scared, hungry, just trying to understand what was happening.”

At the Content Lab, we as well are trying to understand what was happening over a century ago, with the help of Millie, Yufna Soldierwolf, and a delegation of tribal elders and youth who journeyed to the Carlisle school grounds last summer. Their mission was to retrieve the remains of the three Arapaho boys, who died and were buried at the school in 1883, and re-bury them on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Normally reticent about sharing their language and traditions, the elders have welcomed our camera crew into their ceremonies and private thoughts; as Crawford White put it: “We want this story to be told. It’s time.”

U.S. Army officials are making an effort, after decades of delay, to accommodate the tribe – and others likely to follow – by disinterring the children’s remains. The facility is now the U.S. Army’s War College, an irony not lost on visitors interested in the Indian school. The remains of nearly 200 children lie beneath simple white tombstones. They were the victims of a little-known experiment: to assimilate Native American children into the dominant non-Indian society by separating them from their families and traditional cultures. Children at Carlisle were stripped of their tribal clothing and put in military uniforms and dresses; their hair was cut short; they were punished whenever they spoke their native tongue. “Kill the Indian to save the man,” wrote founder Capt. Richard Henry Pratt.

Aided by ground-penetrating radar, and bolstered by elders’ blessings, forensic anthropologists and archaeologists disinterred the remains from under the three tombstones. Crawford White talked about how “heavy” the air felt when he arrived, and how it lifted as the job was done. Soldierwolf donned her traditional garb and expressed her hope that this effort would allow the next generation to move on, “and become engineers, doctors, whatever they imagine.”

Only moments later, behind the cemetery privacy walls, an emotional Sonny Trimble, lead archaeologist for the disinterment process, told Soldierwolf that one of the graves did not, after all, contain the remains of 14-year old Little Plume, but two other skeletons, of older boys from a different tribe or tribes.

So only two of the children came home, and the journey of the Northern Arapaho to retrieve the third is not over. Nor is the work on this documentary.

With the help of the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, the Wyoming Humanities Council, and various foundations and individuals, we are using the story of Little Plume and his classmates to tell the larger story of Carlisle and the many other boarding schools, some of which continue operating today. We are digging into records at the U.S. National Archives, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, the Smithsonian Institution, and other collections, to assemble written and visual records that will bring the history to life. We are interviewing more tribal members in their homes and on their reservations, both elders and youth, and talking to academics who have studied the “settler colonialism” that led to the boarding schools.

The journey to repatriate human remains from Carlisle links today’s America to its past. The aim of the documentary, “Home From School”, is to provide audiences with a larger understanding of the boarding school era and its historical significance, and to follow its impact over the century since it began. Ultimately, it reaches an aspiring younger generation seeking to heal itself, and forge ahead. In addition, the documentary is a personal and moving story of the individuals who will not let three children buried far from home be forgotten.

— Geoff O’Gara, The Content Lab

The Wyoming Frontier in Photographs: The Encampment Photographs of Lora Webb Nichols

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Encampment Mercantile Co., Babe Alfred on porch

In December 2016 the University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center was awarded a $7,500 Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund grant to digitize and make available online over 20,000 photographic negatives from the Lora Webb Nichols papers, collection #1005. The images document life in Encampment and Carbon County, Wyoming from the late 1890s to the 1960s.

Lora Webb Nichols (1883-1962) was born in Boulder, Colorado. She lived most of her life in Encampment, Wyoming where she was married to Albert (Bert) Oldman in 1900, and to her cousin Guy H. Nichols in 1914. She worked in the Encampment post office, owned and published the Encampment newspaper, and worked as a ranch cook. In 1935, she moved to Stockton, California, where she became superintendent of the Stockton Childrens Home. Upon retiring, she returned to Encampment, where she wrote her unfinished memoirs, “I Remember: A Girl’s Eye View of Early Days in the Rocky Mountains.” The collection contains transcripts of her diaries (1897-1907), an unfinished manuscript for “I Remember,” and photographs of the Encampment, Wyoming area.

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Me (Lora Oldman) on Colonel

Currently 500 images have been uploaded to the University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Digital Collections website and are available for use online (http://digitalcollections.uwyo.edu/luna/servlet/uwydbuwy~6~6) or go to the University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center Website http://www.uwyo.edu/ahc/, View Digital Collections, Lora Webb Nichols papers.

More information regarding the Lora Webb Nichols papers can be found in the on-line finding aid at: https://rmoa.unm.edu/docviewer.php?docId=wyu-ah01005.xml

–Jamie J. Greene, Archives Specialist
University of Wyoming American Heritage Center

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