Wind River Reservation Welcomes Their First Little Free Library (and it’s the world’s 125,000th!)

By Margret Aldrich

 A very special Little Free Library has arrived at the Wind River Reservation! We were thrilled to grant the world’s 125,000th Little Free Library book-sharing box to Wind River to increase book access, bring people together and provide books by Indigenous authors about Indigenous characters.

The library, located at the Shoshone Tribal Gas Station in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, was granted through our Impact Library program, which offers Little Free Libraries full of books at no cost to selected applicants.

“We are honored that the 125,000th Little Free Library stands on the Wind River Reservation where it will serve Indigenous youth and their families,” said LFL Director of Programs Shelby King. “Giving us even greater joy is that the community members who use this little library will see their own reflections in the characters and books inside.” 

 Amanda LeClair-Diaz, a graduate student at the University of Arizona originally from Fort Washakie, submitted the Impact Library application materials. In them, she explained: “Reading is one of the first opportunities people have to be introduced to new worlds, but it’s also a space where individuals can view and connect with characters who are similar to them…. Our youth deserve to read books where they can connect with characters who look like them and recognize their lived experiences in the stories.”

Books available in the Little Free Library include:

  • My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith
  • Powwow Summer by Nahanni Shingoose
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
  • Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer by Traci Sorell

 Community members attended a grand opening of the Little Free Library on July 23. John St. Clair, Eastern Shoshone Business Council Chairman, conducted a ribbon-cutting and spoke at the event: 

“Some of the most educated people I know have very little schooling, but they learned how to read and how to advance themselves after school. And that’s the most important part. So this here is a very important project for our community. It’s going to help us. It’s going to lead us into the right direction so that our children and grandchildren can carry forth our traditions, our culture, but most important of all, to preserve the rights that we have as Native Americans….”

Wyoming’s Wind River Country is home to the seventh largest Indian reservation in the country. Encompassing more than 2.2 million acres, the Wind River Indian Reservation is home to the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho tribes. 

Captions: 1) Eastern Shoshone Indian Days Princess Janae Todd, 8th grader at Fort Washakie School, with the new Little Free Library. 2) John St. Clair cuts a ribbon to open the Wind River Little Free Library, alongside Northern Arapaho councilman Boniface Ridgley. 3) Local children at the Wind River Little Free Library grand opening. 4) A sample of the books included in the Little Free Library. 5) Amanda LeClair-Diaz with Janae Todd, Eastern Shoshone Business Council members, and Northern Arapaho councilman Boniface Ridgley.

Learn how you can support the Impact Library program to make more stories like this possible!

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