Online Events Highlight Indigenous And Emigrant History Of The Red Desert

This story first appeared on Cowboy State Daily

The public is invited to two online events exploring the rich history of Wyoming’s Red Desert. 

At noon Wednesday, April 7, Central Wyoming College professor Todd Guenther will discuss the emigrant history of the Red Desert and the significance of the Great Migration.

Between 1830 and 1912, an estimated 500,000 people traversed South Pass on their migration westward, using the network of the Oregon, California, and Mormon trails.

The worn ruts of these trails still mark the northern edge of the desert. Guenther brings a passion for anthropology and the Red Desert, and has previously worked for the Office of the Wyoming State Archaeologist, South Pass City State Historic site and the Lander Pioneer Museum.  

And at noon Wednesday, May 5, experts from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes will share the Native American history of this same landscape.

Since time immemorial, the Red Desert has been an important home, hunting area, and spiritual epicenter for Indigenous people.

Panel members will include Wes Martel, a former longtime member of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council; Jason Baldes, the tribal buffalo coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation; and Yufna Soldier Wolf, the Wind River Reservation organizer for the Wyoming Outdoor Council and former tribal historic preservation officer for the Northern Arapaho Tribe. 

Both events are free and will be held over Zoom. These are casual conversations with plenty of time for discussion, so bring any questions you may have! 

To register, visit the Citizens for the Red Desert page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CitizensForTheRedDesert

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