JACKSON, Wyo. — On the plot of land where the new Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum (JHHSM) will eventually stand, there once lived the Van Vleck Family.
But before the Van Vlecks, there thrived the indigenous peoples of this valley.
Yesterday, in a Tribal Land Acknowledgment ceremony, the JHHSM, aside town and county officials, gathered to acknowledge the “complicated” history of this land whose story continues to change with the passage of time.
Addressing three tribal members in attendance, Sherry Smith from JHHSM spoke about their hopes and intentions with the construction of a new museum.
“We gratefully acknowledge you as native peoples on whose ancestral homelands we have gathered today,” said Smith. “We recognize you as indigenous people who have lived over a very long time span in this place and area. It is our intention in this new museum to teach our visitors, whether they are locals or tourists, about that centuries-long occupation, but also in partnership and guidance from you.”
Tribal members shared stories and gave suggestions on how to better facilitate relations with the museum. Vice-Chairman John Washakie from the Eastern Shoshone Business Council was in attendance along with Councilwoman Donna Thompson of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and Randy L. Teton, Public Affairs Manager with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
“We are honored by your presence today and we look forward to working with you to tell the complicated, but complete story of this place that we all love,” said Smith.