Riverton is a town with a population of 10,000 located in the west-central part of Wyoming.
One day the residents of the town were Wyomingans. The next day they were members of the Wind River Indian tribes after the Environmental Protection Agency declared the town part of the Wind River Indian Reservation, undoing a 1905 law passed by Congress and angering state officials.
The surprise decision was made by officials of the EPA, the Department of Interior, and Department of Justice early last month, and has invoked the ire of Governor Matt Mead, who has vowed not to honor the agency’s decision and is preparing to fight in court.
The town was built on land ceded from the reservation in 1906, a situation that often makes it subject to jurisdictional claims by the nearby Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.
Now, thanks to agencies in Washington, the entire town belongs to the tribes.