The Northern Arapaho Tribe is based on the Wind River Indian Reservation, where a number of schools are working to teach their native language to children there. It’s a drastic change from 50 years ago, where white teachers — sometimes violently — discouraged the use of the Arapaho language. Now, those students are grown, and their own children and grandchildren are unable to speak Arapaho, so the tribe is desperately working in disparate programs to instill this vital part of its heritage in its youth before the last fluent speaker die. It’s a bittersweet story, but I really enjoyed talking with these people.
“The number of Northern Arapaho tribe members who speak their native language is dwindling. Tribal entities have been working for decades trying to preserve the language. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports that they’ve been having mixed success.”