The Wind River Indian Reservation is as beautiful as its melodic name. It's one of the largest Reservations in the United States, spanning over 2.2 million acres and contained within the boundaries of the state. Its scenery ranges from high grassland to some of the most majestic and least populated mountain ranges. The Wind River Range is a renowned destination for historians, climbers, hikers, and visitors who come to absorb the culture.
Wyoming Public Media serves the Greater Wind River Reservation, Ft. Washakie, Lander, Riverton, Shoshone, Dubois, and Thermopolis on 90.9, 90.5, and 91.3. WPM reporters tell the stories of the Reservation, focusing on issues that affect the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes. WPM also takes stories from Mountain West News Bureau reporters who tell the stories of Native Americans beyond Wyoming’s borders. This reporting reflects the lives of people on the Reservation and beyond, their issues, history, hopes, and ambitions.
In June of 2019 Wyoming Public Media was able to significantly advance reporting on the Wind River Reservation. Through collaboration with the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, Report for America, and the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole Edelweiss Endowment, Wyoming Public Media hired Savannah Maher as a full-time reporter based near the Wind River Reservation and covering the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho populations.
Savannah came to Wyoming Public Media from NPR’s midday show Here & Now, where her work explored everything from Native peoples’ fraught relationship with American elections to the erosion of press freedoms for tribal media outlets. A proud citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, she’s excited to get to know the people of the Wind River reservation and dig into the stories that matter to them.
Savannah got her start in journalism reporting for her hometown’s local newspaper (The Mashpee Enterprise) and public radio station (WCAI), and has since contributed to New Hampshire Public Radio, High Country News, and NPR’s Code Switch blog. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2018.
Savannah Maher was awarded Report for America support to cover the Wind River area beginning June 2019. Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on community critical issues. Report for America leverages a unique funding match model, paying a portion of a corps member's salary, and encouraging matching support from local news partners and foundations as well as dedicated donors.
Wyoming Public Media's General Manager Christina Kuzmych emphasized the value of Savanna Maher's reporting. "WPM produces strong stories and features from the Wind River Reservation, but not with a consistency and depth we would like. (This) reporter position lets us focus on central Wyoming with an emphasis on the Wind River Reservation and its rich culture. It complements UW's American Indian Studies Program as well as the work our Wyoming media colleagues are doing in their coverage."
Examples of Savannah’s reporting on the Wind River Reservation include: Lander Art Center Celebrates Wind River Artists, Central Wyoming College Students Host Powwow In Jackson, Northern Arapaho Tribe Commemorates Victory At Little Bighorn, among others.
Looking to the future, Wyoming Public Media seeks to solidify funding for year two of the position and then move the Wind River Reservation Reporter into a permanent sustainable position through support from a variety of individual donors, foundations, and businesses.