Tribes Control Their Future With Oil And Gas
In December 2019, the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes made the brave decision to allow Merit Energy’s lease to produce oil and gas at Circle Ridge Field expire. This was an important decision for the Tribes and a considerable step towards asserting Tribal sovereignty over mineral assets on the Wind River Reservation. In addition, Merit planned to reduce the royalty amount paid to the Tribe, which would have directly affected the per capita payments of individual Tribal members.
After holding their ground in a lengthy legal battle with Merit, the Tribes won a significant victory in the arbitration and began extracting oil from the Circle Ridge Field on June 1st, 2021. The Tribes' inter-tribal governmental agency created the Wind River Energy Commission. This commission's purpose is to oversee the Circle Ridge Contract Operator and act as a regulatory agency for oil and gas development and production on the Wind River Reservation.
The Wind River Energy Commission has five members – two appointed by the Northern Arapaho Business Council, two appointed by the Eastern Shoshone Business Council, and one member jointly appointed. The Northern Arapaho appointees are Milton Trosper Jr. and Brian Williams Sr, while the Eastern Shoshone appointees are Eastern Shoshone Business Council member Mike Ute and Delwayne Compton. Roger Knight is the fifth commissioner, and they all have experience in the oil and gas industry.
MI3 Petroleum Engineering was selected as the Contract Operator for the Circle Ridge Field after a lengthy RFP process. MI3 manages Circle Ridge on behalf of the Tribes, while the Tribes retain 100% ownership of the field and all associated mineral assets.
In the last 50 years, the Circle Ridge Field has been operated to maximize cash flow for the lease operator with no investment into the field. Northern Arapaho Councilman Stephen Fasthorse, says the Tribes will be able to invest back into the oil field and increase the operation even further.
"We're exceeding what the field's average has been. We're very invested because it's our own oil and gas field. Every tribal member for both tribes should be proud because up to this point, we've been very successful in taking over production on one of our own oil and gas fields and this is only the beginning," said Fasthorse.
The Tribes are prioritizing training tribal members to learn all aspects of the operation, with the hopes of having tribal members manage the fields. One of the Councils’ goals is to provide scholarships for tribal members to go to school and receive specialized training, and come back to assist the Commission. Operating the field and related services is expected to create a number of new jobs for the Northern Arapaho people.
Brian Williams Sr said he got out of the oil industry because he was ready for something new, but when the Northern Arapaho Council approached him, he was prepared to help the Tribe.
“What [our council] did is monumental. This is something that can go down in our history. For your kids and the next generations, the ones I won’t get to meet, this is something that’s really going to help. I’d really like to see our younger people get into this because they don’t realize it but they already have the skills for it. I have the most severe gratitude because I look at my grandkids and I see something that can help them,” said Williams Sr.
The Tribes' are also looking to replace all private contractors with their own services. For example, the Northern Arapaho Tribe has a system for delivering liquid natural gas to the Circle Ridge Field instead of relying on a private corporation. The current contract operator then buys the gas to fill their tanks on Circle Ridge, keeping as much revenue as possible on the Reservation.
The Tribes' decision to stand up to a large energy corporation like Merit will benefit the tribal members on the Wind River Reservation, bringing job opportunities and royalties back into the community. While this venture is in its early stages, it is a significant step toward providing a better future for the Northern Arapaho people.
Get out of bed— 3owo3ii
Click the video below to hear a fluent elder pronounce this week's phrase.
The audio is from the Arapaho Language App, which is made possible by our fluent elder speakers and Arapaho School district #38
Support Local Reservation Business, Berta’s Stand
In Arapaho, Wyoming, there is a brown food stand with a cheeseburger that can compete with the best powwow burgers around Indian country. It’s called Berta’s Stand.
The business is the dream of the late Roberta (Berta) R Oldman, who sadly passed away before she could see it open. Berta loved having family dinners, and her passion for cooking sparked the idea to open the stand. After Berta’s passing, her husband, Don, and her sons, Derrick and Robert, continued building the stand. Her grandkids, Sumner and Machelle, helped paint and lay tiles.
Berta and her daughter-in-law, Misty White Wolf, carefully curated the menu with an assortment of food, drinks, and snacks, including hamburgers, cheeseburgers, cheese fries, nachos supreme, Indian tacos, and Indian cheese wheels. They will be selling daily specials in the near future.
“We continue to honor and open for [Berta]. It’s all in her memory,” said White Wolf.
Berta’s Stand is located at 1563 17 Mile Rd.
They are open Monday-Friday from 10 am-5 pm.
Customers can order at their drive-through window or call in at 307-840-0513.
Letter From Wind River Family and Community and Healthcare
Wind River Family and Community Healthcare wish you the best this coming year. Maintaining your health during these times of COVID are very important. Here are some important updates for our patients.
Clinic hours are Monday through Friday 8am till 4:45pm at Arapahoe, Ethete, and Riverton Clinic. Urgent Care Clinic Hours are until 10pm Monday and Friday then 1pm till 10pm Saturday and Sunday at our Riverton Clinic. Pharmacy Services are available during Urgent Care hours until 11pm.
Same day and next day appointments can be made with your Primary Care Provider now. Dental Emergency (walkins) with Dr. Cozort at Arapahoe Clinic is 8am till Noon Monday through Friday.
The Strengthening Generations Team will be in Ethete until January 14th Monday through Friday. They will be on location from 10AM till 4PM and break for lunch from Noon till 12:45pm. Cash incentives are for enrolled Northern Arapaho Tribal Members ages 12 and up. Any tribal member that receives either of the COVID vaccines and booster shot can get the cash incentive. Your vaccination and enrollment documentation is needed to claim the incentive.
COVID cases in Fremont County continue to rise. Here is updated information from Dr. Ebbert.
To All Northern Arapaho Tribal Members,
As we head into the weekend be aware that Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly across the country and also in the state of Wyoming and in Fremont County. Our cases in the tribe have more than doubled over the last couple of weeks. This is probably due to a spike in cases after the holidays, but is almost certainly an indicator that the Omnicron variant has reached Wyoming, Fremont County, and the tribe.
Please avoid crowds and large gatherings. Wear your mask, social distance and if you haven't gotten your vaccine or your booster please get them. Wyoming had almost 1,000 new cases yesterday alone and if we follow the pattern of the rest of the country this will continue to go up.
So please stay safe and protect yourself, your elders and your families by continuing to do what you have been doing throughout this pandemic.
Paul J. Ebbert, MD
Public Health Authority
Wind River Family and Community Health Care
Northern Arapaho Family Language Immersion Project Offers Free Language Classes
Beeteenoo’ Hinono’ eitiit (Arapaho Language Is Sacred)
Star Quilts For Valor
An article from County 10 released on November 12, 2021, shared Quilter Betty Mathews plans to honor Tribal Veterans who reside on the Wind River Reservation by gifting them a star quilt.
“The idea came from Quilts of Valor, where Betty helped make quilts for the Fremont County area Veterans. She plans to get Star Quilts for Valor off the ground around the first of the year in preparation to give them out in 2022. She explained the star quilts come from the Sioux Tribe and are a way to honor a person,” the article stated.
When the Northern Arapaho Newsletter spoke with Betty, she said she had wanted to do this for native veterans for a while.
“I had a lot of military in my family. They have been defending our land and country for years and will continue to do so in future generations. This is a good time for us to honor them and show them our gratitude and appreciation for their service to America and our way of life,” she said.
Betty is currently taking donations for the project. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Facebook. Donations can also be given to her GoFundMe page.
You can read the original County 10 #Activate10 article here.
Wind River Cares Diabetes Awareness Program
The Diabetes Awareness Program is focusing on diabetes prevention in 2022. They are currently recruiting for upcoming classes.
The classes they will be offering are:
Healthy U– A 6-week program that focusses on self- self-management of chronic diseases such as Diabetes, Arthritis, Lupus or Fibromyalgia, and more.
Strong Heart– Classes that focus on learning how to maintain a healthy heart and through fitness, movement, and utilizing the fitness centers. You do not need to be a diagnosed diabetic to participate in either class.
Case Management will also be offering assistance with Eyeglasses, Dentures and Podiatry services. To qualify for these services you do need to be a diagnosed diabetic and be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe.
Great Plains Fitness Center Hours
Blue Sky Fitness Hours
They are open during construction. The entrance is at the back of Blue Sky Hal.
Case Managers: Elizabeth LeBeaux, Annette Shakespeare, and Blaine Oldman
Blue Sky Fitness Techs: Robbie Valdez and Shane Willow
Great Plains Fitness Techs: Clarence Oldman and Jacob Logan
For more information, follow on Facebook or contact their office at 332-8035.