Washakie, WY - The Eastern Shoshone tribe dedicated a cultural center
in honor of a longtime contributor to the tribal community.
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.
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."
Shoshone language is "really rich," she said, adding that
elders will help pass it on.
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
previous Eastern Shoshone Business Council helped start the project
and the current one kept it going, Chairman Vernon Hill said.
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."
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
new wing will help address that issue, he said.
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.
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.