Coronavirus News and Resources

Wind River Reservation in Riverton, WY hit hard by COVID-19 (Native American Sunday Series)

April 28, 2020
The Wind River Indian Reservation has been hard hit by the COVID-19 where the county has ranked in the top three in Wyoming for testing positive since mid-March.  Often three generations with 6 to 20 people live in one household.  Diabetes, nearly five times higher on the WRIR than for the rest of Wyoming along with high rates of other chronic illness, increases the risk of death from the virus.  The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho have issued stay at home orders.  Because many do not earn enough to file a tax return, it’s access to stimulus funds is a challenge.  Many are without Internet and cell service.

The Riverton Peace Mission helped to form a network for Wind River Mutual Aid.  In cooperation with the Wyoming Interfaith Network, we have raised $14,000, much from churches, that has gone for a newly formed foodbank and for hygiene products on the WRIR.  Deliveries are being made to homes as well as curbside distribution into car trunks community by community for those with transportation. Plans are being made to expand gardening this summer.  Much more is needed.

Jordan Bishop, Executive Director, Wyoming Interfaith Network, said:

"This effort has been spearheaded by tribal members and residents on the Wind River Reservation. It’s been incredible that people from all different parts of society- from non-profits, local businesses, faith leaders, to the countless compassionate individuals- have been able to come together and help those in need. If there is such a thing as “Wyoming values”- helping out your neighbor in a time of need has to be one- and that’s what we’re seeing right now."

Our Father's House received and continue to receive funds for emergency aid from the Riverton Peace Mission plus funds they had gotten from the Foundation of the Episcopal Diocese. The White Buffalo program is assisting in the preparation and distribution of food to all in need on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The Riverton Peace Mission is working to organize the Wind River Mutual Aid network, supporting efforts to get hygiene products to people, and supporting a new grassroots group to help families start gardens this summer.

Donations can be made at www.rivertonpeacemission.org.  For more information, contact Chesie Lee at 307-761-0755 or chesie@vcn.com.