The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) affirmation by the U.S. Supreme Court this past week calls for celebration by the Riverton Peace Mission (RPM) because a key value of RPM is respect for tribal sovereignty. This is a win that unites us - whether Northern Arapaho, Eastern Shoshone, or aspiring allies. Last December, RPM’s Thursday Zoom event presenters shared their personal experiences with adoption and foster care of tribal children demonstrating how children not being connected with their culture is a form of genocide. We know the harm that can be caused by removing Native children from their homes, whether to go to boarding schools or to be adopted or for foster care. RPM is committed to continue to honor tribal sovereignty, so as to protect the right to self-determination and to counter colonization. Another value that unites us is what Riverton’s Mayor Tim Hancock said at an Unhoused Task Force meeting recently in follow-up to RPM’s last winter’s Summit for Our Unhoused Neighbors: “We don’t want someone to die from the cold because of being intoxicated.” Last November a man died of hypothermia in a parking lot on Main Street who was intoxicated. When we looked at the existing resources in the community, we learned that safety from the cold is not available to everyone. With RPM’s leadership, several now have come together sharing that value to find solutions. RPM is driven by values allowing us to address root causes of problems that in the past have separated us but, in the future, can unite us. To do this work requires commitment and resources. To garner more resources, RPM will be participating in the 2023 WyoGives Day on July 12th. Over the next three weeks, you will be hearing more from us about how you can support RPM to increase organizing for value- based wins, like self-determination and community safety.
Fear not. Be humble. Have faith. Be bold. Build relationships. Do justice. Chesie Lee