While it’s easy to find positive and uplifting content on social media, there can be no argument that there’s a lot of negative content out there. You don’t have to look far to find someone complaining about or bashing someone. Bullying, racism, violence and just plain old rude behavior are pretty easy to come across.
That’s why it might have made people pause and scroll back up their Facebook News Feed when Mike Chingman began posting daily, intentionally positive posts about the Wind River Indian Reservation. His goal? Encourage those who are surrounded by negativity and have lost hope to hang on and focus on the positive.
“Wind River is beautiful. Our culture is beautiful. Anyone who doesn’t feel like they’ll get through, I hope they’ll keep positive. Please don’t give up” Chingman said.
Mike is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, a former member of their Business Council, and the founder of the Moccasin Lake Challenge. He grew up in Fort Washakie, moved away with family, finished High School at Wyoming Indian and then moved away again. He moved back for good around 2003.
After a deeply personal time of reflection, Mike thought about all the hateful things he reads on Facebook every day and felt he should dedicate at least 30 days to positive posts about the Reservation.
“There’s good and there’s bad here. I’ve lived on both sides of the fence and I felt a need to dedicate 30 days to the good here. It’s only 30 days, it’s the least I can do” Chingman commented.
Living out of the area for many years has given him an appreciation for the good things here.
“I’ve lived off the Reservation. I’ve lived where the buildings are in the way. We have the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Now that I’m here, I still fall in love with the sunrise and sunset because I’ve been away. We have a lifetime of sunrises and sunsets, so why not take just 30 days to set aside all the negativity and remember all the beauty here. The land, the people, our community.”
Mike feels that sometimes all you need is one single positive moment to keep you going.
“I’ve been there at the end of my rope. I had to regroup and start over again. Maybe someone who sees one of these posts has lost a job or a loved one. This is the backbone of what I wanted to do. To let people know that it might be a challenge, but they can get through. They need to know they have support on this rez.”
Stepping up to a challenge is the theme of the Moccasin Lake Challenge, a non-competitive run that’s in its 6th year. Chingman says it’s not about racing, but about showing up and remembering that you showed up and gave it your all.
Years ago, Mike remembered that as a kid he once tried to run up the mountain to where Moccasin Lake is situated. He couldn’t make it and his brother showed up and helped him finish. This was the inspiration for the Moccasin Lake Challenge
Mike says “I’ve seen people who have done it three or four times, but never make it to the end. They inspire me because they keep coming back and pushing to go as far as they can. Maybe someday they won’t be at the starting line because of some other kind of challenge in life and I hope they remember that they ran at Moccasin Lake with so many other people. I hope it will help them stay positive.”
You can follow Mike’s posts by searching #30daysofpositivepostsofwindriver on Facebook and he hopes that others will use the hashtag to start their own 30 days.