Indian reservation

Brutal crime grips the Wind River Indian Reservation

Nicknamed “the thrust”, it is inspired by the military strategy of the war in Iraq, around 2007, which helped to change the course of the conflict. Hundreds of officers from the National Park Service and other federal agencies swarmed the reservations, and crime was reduced on three of the four reservations – including a 68% drop in Apache Mescalero in New Mexico, officials said. Wind River, as has been the case for much of its checkered history, bucked the trend: Violent crime there rose 7% during the surge, according to the Justice Department.

Despite its bucolic name, the reserve, nestled between snow-capped peaks and trout-filled rivers, is a place where brutal acts have become commonplace. A rambling stretch of scrub in central Wyoming the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, Wind River has a crime rate five to seven times the national average and a long history of appalling homicides.

During the initiative, which increased the number of officers on the reserve from 6 to 37, crimes included the murder of a 13-year-old girl who had been missing for four days and whose partially clothed body was was found under a tree, and the murder of a 25-year-old man, who police say was beaten with a child’s car seat and a dumbbell by two friends after having sex.

“This place has always been dark here,” said Kim Lambert, a tribal lawyer on the reservation, as she passed a row of small houses that people call “murderer’s row.” “There have always been horrible murders. There has always been the white-Indian tension. It’s always been something.

Crime may be Wind River’s most pressing problem, but it’s got a lot of people. Life, even by the grim standards of the typical Native American reservation, is as dark and punitive as that of any developing country. On average, residents can expect to live 49 years, 20 years less than in Iraq. Unemployment, estimated at over 80%, is comparable to that of Zimbabwe and is approaching the proportional inverse of Wyoming’s unemployment rate of 6%.