Sacajawea Treasures

Region: United States

This program works with Eastern Shoshone tribal members to develop sustainable economic opportunities and promote native culture. The individuals work on traditional beadwork which they sell in order to educate the larger community on the Shoshone traditions as well as have an income source to support themselves and their families. In 2014, the Project reached directly 95 people and 190 indirectly. The Eastern Shoshone primarily live in Wyoming and Utah’s northwest edge. They settled in the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, after Chief Washakie signed the Fort Bridger Treaty in 1868.

Sacajawea Treasures is also involved in hosting Immersion Experience Programs, coming to visit the Reservation. The Immersion participants have the opportunity to visit several key sites of importance for Native Americans, such as the burial site of Sacajawea, the Native American woman who guided Lewis & Clark on their expedition in the West part of the United States, and tour the Cultural Center, with information about the history of the Shoshonis, Arapahos and the Reservation. In 2014, the Project hosted a delegation from Boston.

The Shoshone bead-workers are grateful for IPM’s constant assistance of the Project. Gaylene Wagon, one of the women involved, stressed: “I sell my beadwork to buy groceries. I am glad IPM can help me out when I am in need of food.” Another Project-supported bead-worker emphasized: “I am trying to get my own place. IPM has been purchasing my beadwork and I am saving for a trailer house.”

The Project is continuously striving to expand the number of business owners displaying the Native American work as well as the number of bead-workers involved. At the moment, the Project is also working to set up a webpage to display the beadwork online as well as purchasing more display cases to highlight the beauty of the Native American women’s work.