Arapaho Journeys: Photographs and Stories from the Wind River Reservation

  • The Iron Cloud Drum Group pictured in Lander, Wyoming.

    Sara Wiles
  • Baillie and Tommy White outside the Arapaho Cultural Museum, St. Michael's Mission, Ethete, Wyoming.

    Sara Wiles
 

Arapaho Journeys: Photographs and Stories from the Wind River Reservation
Sara Wiles
262 pages, hardcover: $35.
University of Oklahoma Press, 2011.

For more than 30 years, Sara Wiles has photographed life on Wyoming's Wind River Reservation, a community she first encountered as a social worker in 1973. Wiles, who was adopted by Arapaho elder Frances C'Hair, is clearly close to the people portrayed in Arapaho Journeys, an "ethnographic mosaic." The black-and-white shots of reservation life -- whether portraits of community leaders and children, or scenes of freshly killed elk being butchered -- are woven together with the subjects' own stories, creating a rich and contextualized history. Wiles refuses to focus on poverty and uses ceremonial images sparingly. She set out to represent the Arapahos without stoking stereotypes, and she does so níiihí -- in a good way.