Wyoming has some shoddy history when it comes to intercultural relations with Native Americans. Joseph LaForge, whose Crow name is Red Bear, remembers being kicked out of a resteraunt as a young boy because of his heritage. He grew up hearing stories from his grandparents about the subjugation of his family and even the massacre of their horses. While it's a sore spot for both settlers and natives here, Joseph is doing his part to leave the past in the past and bridge the gap between the two cultures.
He does this by sharing his culture with those who have an ear to listen.
LaForge is a war veteran who later helped build the Twin Towers and was in them the day they were attacked, but throughout his travels, he never forgot his roots with his tribe. He openly shares his family's stories and artifacts with pride and a willingness to teach. Sometimes, he's criticized for his willingness to share sacred cultural teachings.
LaForge, a well-versed Native American historian, spoke at yesterday's Wyoming Wednesday meeting sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. He showed some of his family artifacts and told traditional Crow stories as well as some about his own life.