Wind River Womens' Circle
The WRWC seeks to establish a safe haven where women of the Wind River Reservation can gather to support each other, heal each other and learn from each other...

About the Wind River Womens' Circle Project

Nestled at the foot of the Wind River Mountains on the Eastern Shoshone Reservation in Wyoming is a little brown building. Although the building is plain and nondescript, the vision for it is as large and beautiful as the mountains that lie behind it.

Wind River Bldg.
Wind River Women’s Circle Building

Jola LeBeau, an enrolled member of the Wind River Reservation, and long-time Sundancer, understands the importance of the ancient Native American teachings. In order to disseminate these ancient Native American teachings and other teachings, and to help empower women from all walks of life, the Wind River Womens' Circle (WRWC) was established from the dreams and visions given to her over 19 years ago.

Jola LeBeau
Jola LeBeau at sweat lodge on the Wind River Reservation

The WRWC is not just about teaching, it’s also about healing and empowerment. Many women today have lost their traditional role in life. Many women are fulfilling both roles of mother and father. A lot of women also suffer from abuse of one form or another. Then there are the grandmothers and elders who have so much knowledge but no one wants to listen. Sadly, when they are gone, so is their knowledge and wisdom.

The WRWC seeks to establish a safe haven where these women can gather to support each other, heal each other and learn from each other. A place where they can be taught through ceremonies and other venues about the ancient Native American teachings that can empower their lives, herbs they can use to heal and help, and to gain knowledge and understanding, and to learn wisdom from the elders who have so much to give.

Then as the women heal and empower themselves, they become stronger and more able to nurture and care for those around them— their families. As the sacred tree stands at the center of the Sundance lodge or the dance circle, the woman stands at the center of her family and community or tribe. They are the givers of life. To strengthen and honor the woman you strengthen and honor the circles of the family, the community, the tribe, Mother Earth and life itself.

Tommie LeBeau carving
Carving of a woman by Jola’s brother Tommie LeBeau

Jola’s vision heals a lot of mistreatment and provides traditional ways of healing and empowerment. When a pebble is tossed in a pond, the surface of the water ripples outward until it reaches all of the shores. Once the women become empowered and learn to love themselves and bring positive changes in their lives, this will ripple outward from them to all the beneficiaries.

These beneficiaries are the children, the grandchildren, partners, fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, the moon, the sun, the stars, the universe, the seen, the unseen, the rocks, the trees, all living things. How do you measure all the beneficiaries of a woman who has empowered and positively transformed her life?

In the past the NCPC helped to carry forward Jola's vision as an ongoing project providing initial operating costs and other necessary funding as needed.

Wind River Womens' Circle Opening Day

by Guy Nelson

The splash of red on the clouds covering the Wind River Mountains announced the dawning of a new day. Not just the beginning of a new day, but the magical transition of dream to reality. This was the opening day for the Wind River Women’s Circle as given by the Creator to Jola LeBeau.

WRWC Kitchen
Jola in the WRWC Kitchen

Clyde Hall, Executive Director of the NCPC, made the trip from Idaho to Wyoming to support Jola on this important day. Although it was cold and blustery outside, inside the Women’s Circle building it was full of warmth, laughter and good feelings. Many people showed up to give their support to Jola and the Women’s Circle. One of these was an elder from the Eastern Shoshone, Irene Pingree, who upon finding Clyde was a descendent of the Shoshone tribe, engaged Clyde in a lively discussion about Sacagawea.

Rose Room
The Rose Room, a great place to gather

On Saturday afternoon, October 20, 2007, Jola held a blessing ceremony for the Circle. After praying and smudging the inside of the building, Jola went outside and said a prayer for the land upon which the building is situated. She also invited those in attendance to take some tobacco and/or sage outside with a prayer for themselves, their families, or whatever they felt inclined to pray for. Afterwards, everyone hurried back inside for a delicious meal of stew, boiled meat, potato salad, fry bread and cake.

It was a beautiful experience and all were happy. The dream for this Circle is to help women of all nations through Native American traditional methods of healing and empowerment.

Crafting
Clyde Hall indulges in craft time

These traditional methods will include ceremony, use of herbs and prayers, in an environment where the women will feel safe and cared about. Talking circles will also be used to allow the women to express themselves in a supportive environment as part of the empowerment process.

The Wind River Women’s Circle is off to a good start. If you would like further information about the Circle, please contact Jola LeBeau by phone at 307-335-7577 or by mail at:

Jola LeBeau
Box 788
Ft. Washakie, WY 82514-0788