A handful of Native reservations and casinos in and near the “path of totality” welcomed an influx of tourists this weekend to celebrate today’s first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the United States in 99 years—since 1918.
Prime eclipse viewing stretches from Oregon to South Carolina, though the biggest eclipse festivities on Indian lands appear to be taking place closer to the west coast: in Oregon and Wyoming. (Note that some indigenous cultures consider eclipse viewing taboo.) Witness the “heart and soul of the great American eclipse” in the “wild and culturally rich” Wind River County in Wyoming, home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, or enjoy cultural programming in honor of the eclipse at Indian Head Casino in Warm Springs, Oregon.
On the West Coast, the eclipse begins at 9:06 a.m. Pacific Time, and a total eclipse occurs at 10:20 a.m. with total—or 99.9 percent—darkness over the sun lasting for 2.02 minutes. If you’re wearing proper protective eyewear, admire the dusk-like golden aura around the black sphere. (Don’t stare bare-eyed directly at the eclipse or you risk serious consequences including solar retinopathy and potential blindness.)
Wind River, Wyoming
The path of totality passes directly through Wind River County, Wyoming, home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation, the seventh largest Indian reservation in the country. While immersed in indigenous culture, witness the moon pass before the sun at the Wind River Eclipse event. Access is limited and requires a permit, but for those who get to experience the spectacle from the reservation, viewing options abound: “Stand at the base of immense rock walls while nature’s most awe-inspiring phenomenon unfolds. Experience dusk at noon from the saddle. Witness the Great American Eclipse from a Wyoming mountaintop with family or friends at your side,” states windrivereclipse.org.
In addition to falling in the path of totality, historically, the area is dry and overcast only 8 percent of the time, and today features a zero percent chance of scattered clouds.
Wind River Hotel & Casino
Experience this phenomenal and powerful event with Northern Arapaho dancing—“a living prayer,” drumming—“the people’s heartbeat,” and storytelling—a transfer of knowledge ripe with “meaning, humor and life lessons.” Learn more about events at Wind River Hotel & Casino at www.eclipsecelebration.com. Wind River Hotel & Casino is the largest gaming facility in Wyoming and closest to Yellowstone National Park.
Shoshone Rose Casino & Hotel
The Shoshone Rose Casino & Hotel and the Eastern Shoshone tribal members will guide you to exceptional vistas and through cultural experiences in the beauty of the Wind River Mountains. Rise with the sun, ride into the Winds, take a helicopter tour, and experience the eclipse like nowhere else on Earth.
Indian Head Casino
Warm Springs, Oregon
Indian Head Casino, owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, will play host to the Oregon Solar Fest. Celebrations will feature live entertainment, local food, wine and agricultural and tours, cultural exhibits and experiences, as well as spectacular viewing areas prepared for visitors and community.
The unique sounds of “Native Americana” by national award-winning Artist Kelly Jackson served as the opening act for the Indian Head Casinos Solar Eclipse Celebration weekend on August 19. Sunday night, August 20, showcased Eagle’s Jump’s music, including the Native vocal majestics and flute playing of Arlie Neskahi.
And today, August 21, at 3 p.m. PCT, renowned flutist Charles Littleleaf will delight audiences with his soulful music. A member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and a Native American Music Award Nominee, as well as a creator of Native flutes, Littleleaf has performed for dignitaries around the globe, including his Holinessthe Dalai Lama.