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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 18, 2003 - Issue 98


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New Center Helps Keep Shoshone Traditions Alive


Fort Washakie SchoolFort Washakie, WY - The Eastern Shoshone tribe dedicated a cultural center in honor of a longtime contributor to the tribal community.

The Rupert Weeks Traditional Center is part of a new wing at the Fort Washakie School which includes an Internet-accessible computer lab, classrooms and a new school and community library.

"Our mission here is to focus on our children and get them speaking Shoshone," center director Reba Teran said at last week's dedication. "We also want to build a museum and develop our language curriculum."

The Shoshone language is "really rich," she said, adding that elders will help pass it on.

"Here our children will learn and read about our culture and history. We're right next door to our children, who will be our people for the future."

The previous Eastern Shoshone Business Council helped start the project and the current one kept it going, Chairman Vernon Hill said.

"This will be more open to the public being at the school, and I hope people will make use of this building and library," he said. " ... Here we will hand down customs, beliefs and traditions _ the story of our people's past."

All of the students at the school are American Indian, but only 3-4 percent of the teachers are, said Gene Meier of Fremont County School District 21.

The new wing will help address that issue, he said.

Weeks, who died in 1983 at age 63, was an Army veteran, active community member, author and elder. He lectured on Shoshone history, language and culture at area schools and the University of Wyoming.

A collection of some of Weeks' music and stories is stored at Central Wyoming College in Riverton. Several of his paintings are on display at the traditional center.

Fort Washakie, WY Map

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