Members of the Arapaho tribe paid a visit to the local high school that bears their name on March 23, performing traditional dances and offering blessings to renew their relationship to the school in the heart of the land they once called home.
“This lets us know the school has respect for the tribe, who we were and are, and what we have to contribute to a place still named after us,” said Darrell Lone Bear, a tribal elder who led the event.
Dozens of tribal members made the biennial trek from the Wind River Reservation in northwest Wyoming to Arapahoe High School to honor the legacy of the tribe that was forcibly removed from Colorado in the late 19th century.
The relationship between the tribe and the school was cemented in 1993, when the school adopted a new warrior mascot, designed by tribal artist Wilbur Antelope, according to a press release. The school's gymnasium, where the dancers performed, is named for tribal elder Anthony Sitting Eagle, whose efforts secured the tribe's endorsement of the school's identity.
“We're proud to share our cultural heritage,” Lone Bear said. “We hope the kids carry pride to be part of this school, and carry the warrior spirit. To us, being a warrior means going to battle for what's right, taking care of your family, and passing on knowledge.”
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