Tribal land is important for both energy production and education

Jul 9, 2017 John Enos, Fort Washakie


After reading the articles on the land North of the Wind River being rich in natural resources: The Shoshone and Arapaho tribes own oil and gas fields at Circle Ridge, Maverick Springs, Rolff Lake, Sheldon Dome, Steamboat Butte, Muddy Ridge, Pavilion and Sand Mesa.

There have been major oil and gas companies from Canada, Oklahoma and Texas still interested in searching for new oil and gas reservoirs. There is also the possibility of deep gas.

The Shoshone and Arapaho tribes have information on current oil and gas reserves which will assist in determining the life of the existing field. These oil and gas fields are valuable through taxes to the state, Fremont County and the tribes. With dual taxation, there are oil and gas companies still wanting to do business with the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes.

Bentonite and gypsum deposit also have been core-drilled. The Shoshone and Arapaho tribes have data on quantity and quality of these mineral deposits. Shoshone oil and gas, BLM Lander district, and BLM Worland district have located areas that can also be mined for sand and gravel.

The Shoshone and Arapaho tribes also have collected data for a wind farm. This information gathered identified wind speed and duration from Boysen Park to Mexican pass and Sheldon Dome, and having an electrical grid at Diversion Dam.

Chief Washakie, the last true leader, being the only native chief given the right to choose where he wanted to live, chose the Wind River Basin, which he referred to as Warm Valley. Chief Washakie stated back in the 1800s that "education is the weapon for the future."

All these valuable minerals have been set aside for the next generation of entrepreneurs and graduating young native professionals, with all the young native graduating from the various colleges across the country.

Wes Martel, a former Shoshone Business councilman, has always stated "get an education and come back and help your people." With these valuable minerals there would be something to come back to.

From oil and gas exploration and development needing petroleum engineers, with all the produced water, there is also a need for water and soil conservationists, open-pit mining engineers, wind farming, business managers, accountants and all the spinoff from mineral development.

The land north of the Wind River is not only valuable in minerals but also wildlife.This land is definitely rich in natural resources. The loss of this land would be detrimental to the future of the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes.