Wind River Indian Reservation (Wyoming)

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United States Gotoarrow.png American Indians Gotoarrow.png Wyoming Gotoarrow.png Indians of Wyoming Gotoarrow.png Wind River Indian Reservation (Wyoming) 

The Wind River Indian Reservation is a federally-recognized reservation, located in west-central (Fremont and Hot Springs Counties)  Wyoming.

Established -- 1868
Agency (BIA) -- Wind River Indian Agency located at Fort Washakie, Wyoming
Principal tribes -- Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone
Population -- 6,544 Arapaho and Shoshone (2000 census). Total Reservation population 23,250 (2000 census) [1] 1969: Tribal enrollment 4,594 [2]


In 1868 the war being fought in northeastern Wyoming, southeastern Montana, southern Idaho, southwestern Montana, and western Wyoming was negotiated to a peaceful end. In southern Idaho, southwestern Montana, and western Wyoming, the war is known as the Snake River War. In northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana, it is known as Red Clouds War. Both conflicts were the same war. On July 3, 1868 a treaty was signed which ended the Snake River War and established the Wind River Reservation. The Shoshone settled down to live on the large Reservation but the Arapaho continued to resist ceding land. They continued to fight the invading whites up to 1878, when they were forced to relocate to the Wind River Reservation.

Originally, the Reservation was considerably larger but the United States refused to honor treaty agreements. Through srupulous dealings the United States used Reservation leaders to reduce the size of the large Reservation. Arapaho leaders strongly opposed ceding Reservation land, while Shoshone leaders fell easy to the land acts.The land cession agreement of 1904 led to the Arapaho murdering the Shoshone leader, George Terry, who signed the land cession agreement.

The once large Reservation was significantly reduced in size and white settlers eventually settled down on the Reservations best farm land. The white city of Riverton is located within the Reservation. And a large area in the east central part of the Reservation is disputed land. The Arapaho never agreed to cede that land.

Brief Timeline

A.D. 1851

The Fort Laramie Treaty established the territories of the various tribes under Algonquin subjugation. The area where the Wind River Reservation is located is within the territory of the Gros Ventre (the Crow who are an admixture of Algonquin and Lakota) who are a sub-tribe of the Algonquin's and are the northern most Arapahoes. In North Dakota, the Crow are known as the Hidatsa, The Hidatsa Tribe are also known as the Gros Ventre. The Gros Ventre are Algonquin.

A.D. 1868

On July 3, 1868 the Fort Bridger Treaty ended the Snake River War and set aside the Wind RIver Reservation for the Arapaho and other Indians who agreed to live there.

A.D. 1872

Through a probable shady deal the Brunot Cession further corrupted the tribes living on the Wind River Reservation. Arapaho leaders did not agree to cede the land.

A.D. 1897

An agreement is reached with the Arapaho in which Arapaho leaders agreed to set aside a 10 sq. mi. area for a tribal park. It is known as the Big Horn Hot Springs State Park. The United States did not honor the agreement with the Arapaho. The park is managed by the State of Wyoming. The corrupted actions of the United States angered Arapaho leaders.

A.D. 1904

An agreement was reached with non Arapaho leaders in which the Reservation was significantly reduced in size. The non Arapaho leader who signed the agreement was murdered by the Arapaho. The 1904 Wind RIver Reservation Land Act coincides with the United States ratifying the infamous Chippewa 10 cent an acre treaty, or the 1892 McCumber Agreement.

Tribal Headquarters

Northern Arapaho Tribe 

533 Ethete Road 

Ethete, Wyoming, 82520 

Shoshone Tribe 

P.O. Box 158 

Fort Washakie, Wyoming 82514


Many of the records of individual Indians living on the Wind River Reservation were kept by the Wind River Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Others are kept by the Tribal Office.

Land records: Tribal land: 1,776,136 acres.  Allotted land 109,344 acres

Web Sites

Wind River Reservation -- description and history


  1. Census 2000 Tribal Entity Counts for American Indian Reservations and Off-Reservation Trust Lands. U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division. Available online. {Note: This census figure only accounts for tribal members living on the reservation or trust lands. Other enrolled tribal members may live off-reservation.)
  2. Indian Reservations A State and Federal Handbook. Compiled by The Confederation of American Indians, New York, N.Y. McFarland and Co. Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, c. 1986. FHL book 970.1 In2


  • Confederation of American Indians. Indian Reservations: A State and Federal Handbook. Jefferson, North Caroline: McFarland & Co., c1986. WorldCat 14098308; FHL book 970.1 In2.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30, 1906. This publication lists the 22 states which had reservations in 1908. Available online.
  • Kappler, Charles J. Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1902. 7 volumes. WorldCat 74490963; FHL book 970.1 K142iAvailable online.
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  • Prucha, Francis Paul. Atlas of American Indian Affairs. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1991 WorldCat 257331735; FHL book 970.1 P95aa
  • Prucha, Francis Paul, ed. Documents of United States Indian Policy. 3rd Edition. Lincoln, Nebraska: Univeresity of Nebraska Press, 2000. WorldCat 50416280; FHL book 970.1 P95d.
  • Prucha, Francis Paul. Guide to the Military Posts of the United States, 1789-1895. Madison, Wisconsin: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, c1964. WorldCat 522839; FHL book 973 M2pf.
  • Schmeckebier, Laurance F. The Office of Indian Affairs: Its History, Activities, and Organization. Service Monographs of the United States Government; no. 48. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1927. Reprint. New York: AMS Press, 1972.  WorldCat 257893; FHL book 973 B4b v. 48.
  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published
  • Tiller, Veronica E. Velarde. American Indian Reservations and Trust Areas. [Washington, DC]: Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1996. WorldCat 35209517; FHL book 970.1 T463a.
  • United States Department of Commerce, Frederick B. Dent, Secretary. Federal and State Reservations and Trust Areas. 1974. FHL book 970.1 Un3fe/1974.
  • United States Department of the Interior. Executive Orders Relating to Indian Reservations. Washington: [United States] Government Printing Office, 1912 (v. 1), 1922 (v. 2). Vol. 1 – May 14, 1855 to July 1, 1912. Vol. 2 – July 1, 1912 to July 1, 1922. FHL film 1440543 Items 8-9.
  • United States Federal and State Indian Reservations, Map. Available online.
  • Waldman, Carl. Atlas of the North American Indian. New York: Facts on File, 2009. 3rd ed. WorldCat 244771132; FHL book 970.1 W146a 2009.
  • Waldman, Carl. Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. New York, New York: Facts on File, 2006. 3rd ed. WorldCat 14718193; FHL book 970.1 W146e 2006.