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People & Peoples

John Wesley Powell: Explorer, Thinker, Scientist and Bureaucrat

In 1869 and 1871, John Wesley Powell led two expeditions from Wyoming Territory down the Green and Colorado rivers. These and other explorations brought him to a profound understanding of how the West’s aridity limits its economic prospects. He directed the U.S. Geological Survey from 1881-1894, and his ideas still affect land and water policy today. 

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Oral Histories | Four years after finishing his second term as governor of Wyoming, Mike Sullivan was named U.S. ambassador to Ireland. Sullivan arrived in Dublin in 1999, when the ink was barely dry on the Good Friday Agreement, bringing peace in Northern Ireland after three decades of disastrous bombings, murders and political stalemate.
Encyclopedia | By treaty, Native Americans in 1868 were reserved land along—and water from—Wyoming’s Wind River. But it would take a century and a half for courts to work out what water was whose—and to begin to define what tribal owners of the water could and couldn’t use their water for. 
Encyclopedia | In the early decades of the 20th century, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho people in Wyoming found new ways to keep old traditions alive. At the same time they settled an old dispute by means of a long lawsuit, while always negotiating and re-negotiating their evolving relationship with the U.S. government.
Encyclopedia | Tribal sovereignty, retained by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho since before Wyoming statehood,governs wildlife conservation on the more than two million acres of tribal lands on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Game populations have increased steadily since a tribal game code was adopted in 1984. 
Encyclopedia | Cowboy photographer Charles Belden co-owned the massive Pitchfork cattle and dude ranch near Meeteetse from 1922 to 1940. Even more than ranching, however, he cared about taking pictures. His images show working cowboys, sheepherders, dudes, cattle and sheep—and a spirit of western romance and adventure that the public was hungry for. 
Encyclopedia | In 1869 and 1871, John Wesley Powell led two expeditions from Wyoming Territory down the Green and Colorado rivers. These and other explorations brought him to a profound understanding of how the West’s aridity limits its economic prospects. He directed the U.S. Geological Survey from 1881-1894, and his ideas still affect land and water policy today. 
Encyclopedia | In 1905, Congress ratified an agreement with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho by which the tribes ceded 1.5 million acres of reservation land north of the Big Wind River. Tribal leaders questioned the final terms, however, and payments were slow in coming and fell far short of promised levels.
Encyclopedia | With the buffalo gone and poverty, hunger and disease increasing, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes came under intense pressure in the 1890s to sell their land. In 1896, they sold the U.S. government a piece of their reservation ten miles square—including the splendid hot springs at present Thermopolis, Wyo.

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