Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Photographs tell the stories of Arapaho Journeys in a special exhibition at the BBHC

April 29 – October 2, 2011 - Special Exhibitions Gallery


Tessa Bell and her daughter, Patricia Wallowing Bull, at their home in 2000. Photo by Sara Wiles, on view in Arapaho Journeys: Photographs and Stories from the Wind River Reservation at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, April 30 – October 2.

Arapaho Journeys: Photographs and Stories from the Wind River Reservation, a special exhibition featuring the photographs of Sara Wiles, opens Saturday, April 30 at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Through intimate portraits of Northern Arapaho people of all ages, at work and at play, at home and at tribal activities on the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming, the images share the stories of contemporary life entwined with tradition.

The exhibition opening coincides with the launch a book of the same name. The book and exhibition are based on more than thirty-five years of research and photography by Wiles among Northern Arapaho people of the Wind River Reservation. Both include images of elders, children, families, leaders, and tribal activities that emphasize the struggles of Northern Arapaho people to preserve their culture and language amid the challenges of reservation life.

In the book’s preface, Wiles says of her work, “I needed to involve Arapaho individuals, families, and organizations in each stage of the process, from the selection of the photographs to the writing of their stories.” The result is “not a definitive account of Arapahos and their world,” according to Wiles, “but instead a mosaic ethnography that touches upon some histories, traditions, revitalization efforts, and the lives of a few individuals.”

Emma I. Hansen, senior curator of the Historical Center’s Plains Indian Museum, worked with Wiles in organizing the exhibition and in developing grant support that led to the publication of the book. The museum is a partner in the publication by the University of Oklahoma Press.

According to Hansen, “Arapaho Journeys provides insight into the cultures, values, and philosophies that guide contemporary Arapaho life as well as honors individuals who have contributed much to their own communities as leaders, artists, and traditionalists. While providing a historical background for the Northern Arapaho, the book and exhibition also depict the experiences of younger tribal members growing up on the reservation as they participate in traditional cultural activities.”

The book that accompanies the exhibition is for sale in the Center’s Museum Store. A special preview for Historical Center patrons takes place from 5 – 7 p.m. April 29 for both Arapaho Journeys and Yellowstone to Yukon: Freedom to Roam, another special exhibition that opened April 15.

Arapaho Journeys remains on view through October 2. The exhibition and book were funded in part by grants from the Wyoming Cultural Trust, a program of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, and the Wyoming Humanities Council, as well as a donation from the Wind River Casino.

Two more special exhibitions—Dressed Just Right: An Evolution of Western Style from Function to Flamboyance and Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: Arts and Crafts from the Heart Mountain Internment Camp open in early June. More information is at

Committed to connecting people with the Spirit of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center weaves the varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms technology and Yellowstone natural history—into the rich panorama that is the American West. The Center, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily through April; on May 1, hours expand to 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. For general information, visit, or call 307.587.4771.


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