Former chairman of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe announces bid for Wyoming House

If Ivan Posey wins in November, he’ll be the only Native American representative in the state Legislature.
A buffalo on the Wind River Reservation.
A buffalo on the Wind River Reservation. (Hannah Haberman/Wyoming Public Media)

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Tribal News

The former chairman of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe has announced a run for the Wyoming House of Representatives.

Ivan Posey is a tribal education coordinator at Central Wyoming College and said he’s running as a conservative Democrat against Rep. Sarah Penn (R-Lander) for House District 33, which encompasses part of the Wind River Reservation.

Ivan Posey is the tribal education coordinator at Central Wyoming College. (Central Wyoming College)

Posey said if elected, his priorities include allowing traditional Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho beliefs and teaching methods to be a bigger part of school curricula on the reservation.

“Whether that’s through bead work, or setting up a tepee, or just our hand games, some of our cultural things that help students succeed,” said Posey.


He added that he’d also like to secure more healthcare funding for tribal members on the reservation. 

“Obviously, jurisdiction is a big issue,” Posey said. “Water rights is a big issue. I know treaty rights is another big issue, with the Crow member that killed that elk. The treaty rights were upheld in the United States Supreme Court. And it’s still kind of lingering out there.”

Sen. Affie Ellis (R-Cheyenne), who is Navajo, is currently the only Native politician in Cheyenne. She recently announced that she’ll retire from the Legislature in 2025.

Currently, the Wyoming Legislature is overwhelmingly white, male and Republican, with only a handful of Native American officials elected since 1980.

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

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