For the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes living on the isolated Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, new contact with lost artifacts risks opening old wounds, but also offers the possibility for healing. In What Was Ours, Jordan Dresser, a young Arapaho journalist, and Mikala SunRhodes, a teenage powwow princess, travel with Philbert McLeod, a Shoshone elder whose last trip off the reservation was when he left to fight in Vietnam, to search for missing artifacts in the vast archives of Chicago’s Field Museum. There they discover a treasure trove of ancestral objects, setting them on a journey to recover what has been lost, and build hope for the future. Philbert believes an old beaded charm passed down by an elder helped him survive combat. He is reluctant to make the trip at first, but decides to go because he and other elders want Wind River’s young people to know who they are and be inspired to bring the artifacts home.