Created By: University of Wyoming
Today, this 24 ft. tall statue commemorates Chief Washakie and his contributions to the West and Wyoming. Chief Washakie was born in the early 1800s and served as Chief of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe for ~50 years. Chief Washakie played a role in the territorial statehood development of Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. Also, as a result of his relations with non-Natives, Washakie was able to secure the Wind River Reservation for the Eastern Shoshone Tribe.
When Washakie died in 1900, he was buried with full military honor--the only Native American Chief to receive this type of burial--at the Fort Washakie cemetery on the Wind River Reservation. The ceremony included a funeral process of Native and non-Natives that stretched miles.
When we recall Chief Washakie, the development of the West and the push for Native American rights are fundamental elements of his identity and impact. As a figure of public memory, Washakie is remembered as a statesman, warrior, and fearless leader. These characteristics are memorialized in this statue. The inscriptions on the statue reinforce this re-presentation of Washakie and commemorate his efforts to fight for his beliefs, develop relations with Western settlers, and secure a place for his people in Wyoming. Today, Washakie’s memory is a reminder of what can be accomplished when collaboration is chosen over confrontation.
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Contributed by Makayla Kocher
This point of interest is part of the tour: Public Memory: Laramie & the University of Wyoming