Willow Pingree, a student at Fort Washakie Charter High School on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Wind River Student Responds to New York Times Article


A February 2 article published by the New York Times has drawn a response from a Native American student. The story, "Brutal Crimes Grip an Indian Reservation," details the Obama administration's crime curbing plan and notes that crime on the Wind River Indian Reservation actually increased by 7 percent during his crime reducing "surge."

The story also details other problems at Wind River, including an 80 percent unemployment rate, alcoholism, suicide, child abuse and teen pregnancy. But Willow Pingree, a 19-year-old student at Fort Washakie Charter High School on the Wind River Indian Reservation, see his reservation differently. He wrote to the New York Times to let them know how he feels about Wind River.

In his letter, Willow concedes that there are problems on the reservation, but "that does not mean that there are not positive aspects of the reservation," he says. He talks about how important education is and how the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho, who have shared the Wind River Indian Reservation since the Arapaho people were forced onto it since 1876, still have their language and traditional values.

Willow points out that the problems faced on reservations are also faced elsewhere, but he says he will "not give up the war to save our culture or our languages, the war that all Native people in America have been fighting for since 1492."

Read Willow's inspiring letter, published online as a Guest Post by the New York Times, here.

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terrypowless's picture
Submitted by terrypowless on
In every way worthy of my Highest Respect.

curtj's picture
Submitted by curtj on
There needs to be a alcohol and drug prevention education program instituted into all Indigenous school districts for grades K-12, so our kids learn of the effects and dangers of drugs and alcohol and what it has done to our people through the centuries we've been exposed to it. I suggest that all Indigenous people reading this, google "Low IQ, Conservatism and Prejudice" and think about it, If more of our young people be aware of the people who have low IQ's, do poorly in school and are most likely to grow up into people with racist attitudes, maybe the Indigenous would be aware of the dynamics of what makes white America hate the First Peoples and want only to steal what is left of ours, and p-ss and sh-t on what they can't steal. Maybe if our young realize that the elders are still content to live and deal with issues foisted on our people in the perspective of deliberatly looking out of a box(boxed in by a dominant colonial power), instead of looking from the outside, into a box. If you notice, our leaders still refuse to take our issues to the Indigenous Peoples Forum of the United Nations, even though it is a chance to force ALL to listen to our grievances against the policies of colonialism and its theft and murder. Our leaders are still stuck in that box.