Open Collective
Open Collective

Sovereign School House

Sovereign School House is an Indigenous two-spirit led learning center based on the wind river reservation. We provide a space for Intergenerational exchange and cultural revitalization.


Sovereign School House is all of us

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Sovereign Schoolhouse's mission is to provide a physical space and capacity for intergenerational learning, leadership, and organizing within the Eastern Shoshone & Northern Arapaho communities. The goal is to bring together the elder and youth members of the community to share and document their knowledge, culture, language, stories, traditional medicines, crafts, songs, and lifestyle. We aim to revitalize cultural practices and rights of passage ceremonies that have been lost in the community. Our community is very at capacity so when it comes to getting involved to protect our land and make the necessary shifts very few are able to commit or show up. We want to support this in changing. We address the negative impacts of oil, gas, and mineral extraction on the community. We intend to introduce and implement a combination of traditional ways and off-grid technologies that benefit and support the earth, rather than furthering the destruction. The organization hopes that the community will get to see these alternatives in real-time and how they work, and that this will encourage the community to adopt more sustainable practices.The organization has a strong focus on healing and bringing the community together. It aims to introduce mediation in real-time and air out unspoken judgements and tensions. We know we need to heal in order to walk together. Our collective hopes to strengthen the connection between the community and the land, and to protect the future of the community. We know that time is of the essence and it's important to act now to preserve the knowledge and culture of the Eastern Shoshone & Northern Arapaho communities. Most of our team, our full time caregivers of elders and children as full we are losing them both at equal rates. Our people need a place to share and a place to belong. Our elders are passing everyday and they are taking their knowledge with them. Without a designated place for this to happen everything will be forgotten and we will be peoples without a culture. We will not let this happen
 We are supporting in revitalizing Indigenous language and food systems but most importantly our connection to ourselves, family, and earth. We know it is an important step in preserving cultural heritage and promoting self-sufficiency within tribal communities. By focusing on getting resources to create the school house and having a place of learning for language immersion programs, traditional farming practices, and Intergenerational exchange we breath life and purpose back into our people
Additionally, providing access to places where tribal members can rest and ask for help can build capacity for them to speak up and defend their land from harmful decisions. We choose to remind our community of our power through the act of self organization.. The Wind River Reservation in Wyoming is home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. Historically, the reservation has been affected by extractive industries such as oil and gas development, which has led to a range of negative impacts. Scientific studies have shown that these extractive industries have led to air and water pollution, which have been linked to health problems such as cancer clusters and respiratory illness. Additionally, the extractive industries have caused disruptions to the local ecosystem and have negatively impacted traditional hunting, fishing, and gathering practices that are important to the culture and livelihoods of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. The extractive industries have also contributed to a housing crisis on the reservation, with many tribal members living in overcrowded and substandard conditions. Substance abuse and poverty are also prevalent on the reservation, which have been linked to the trauma caused by the extractive industries and the long-standing racism from the border towns of Riverton and Lander. These issues have intergenerational effects, as the trauma and poverty caused by extractive industries on the reservation have been passed down from one generation to the next. This has led to a cycle of poverty, poor health, and lack of access to basic resources like food and water. The long-standing racism from the border towns of Riverton and Lander has added to the trauma and poverty of the reservation and have a lasting effect on the future generations, as it leads to reduced education, job, and healthcare opportunities, which exacerbates the problems caused by the extractive industries and further perpetuates the cycle of poor health and suffering. This extraction has led to the degradation of land and water resources, as well as cultural and spiritual sites. Studies have shown that oil and gas development on the reservation has led to negative impacts on air quality, with increased levels of ozone and particulate matter. Additionally, the extraction of resources has led to the contamination of surface and ground water, making it unsafe for drinking and irrigation. The development has also led to the displacement of wildlife. Overall, the extraction of resources on the Wind River Indian Reservation has had significant negative impacts on the health, environment, and cultural heritage of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. We are dedicated to healing soil , water, and all the life around us. It is in our stories, our ways of life we know that we have a responsibility to our homelands to protect them to protect all life connected to them. We are Indigenous water protectors and land defenders and we organize under those values and principles.

We work with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribal members, serving our communities on the reservation. We also collectively dream with other tribal nations who are dedicated to creating a designated space for our elders and youth to come together, share, and document our language, stories, traditional medicines, crafts, songs, and lifestyle for future generations. We aim to break the cycle of patriarchal silencing by centering the voices of our elder women and 2SLGBTQIA+ By amplifying their voices and experiences. Our collaborators include members of our own tribes as well as the larger circle of solutionaries globally , as we aim to introduce and implement a combination of traditional ways and sustainable technology to benefit and support our earth. Our ultimate goal is to heal and strengthen our connection to the land and each other for future generations. It is essential that elders and youth alike see that we can create and come together on our own terms. By the community for the community. This will benefit both of our tribes greatly by restoring our purpose and healing our connection to each other.

Our team