Shoshone Culture and History
The Shoshone
Northwest Shoshone
Harvest & Diet
Clothing
Shelter
Customs
Fur Trappers
Pioneer Movement
Bear River Massacre
Treaty of Box Elder
Promontory Point
Conversion to Mormonism
Corinne Settlement
Homesteading
Washakie
Washakie School Day
World War II
Washakie Farm Sold
Federal Recognition
Massacre Site Saved
References
Constitution
The Shoshone
The Shoshone, Paiute, Bannock and Ute people are related, and call themselves Newe or Neme (the People). Prior to contact with Europeans, the Newe groups formed small extended-family groupings that traveled extensively as semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers to survive in the harsh environment of the Great Basin desert. Horses, guns, white contact, and disease destroyed this social organization, resulting in more formal identities and band loyalties. Pre-contact identities did exist to some extent according to the influence of horse ownership and resource use. What became the Northwestern Band of Shoshone band was part of those groups who had traveled largely on foot in a delicate balance of living off the land. The expression So-so-goi means “those who travel on foot.” The old ones called the Shoshone by that name. When horses became available, the So-so-goi joined the mounted hunting groups in annual harvests.


The Northwestern Shoshone traveled with the changing season. They looked upon the earth not just as a place to live; in fact, they called the earth their mother-she was the provider of all they needed for their livelihood. The mountains, streams, and plains stood forever, they said, and the seasons walked around annually. The So-so-goi believed all things came from Mother Earth.

In the early autumn, the Northwestern Shoshone moved into the region near what is now Salmon, Idaho to fish. They caught salmon and dried them for winter to use. After fishing was over, they moved into western Wyoming to hunt for buffalo, elk, deer, moose, and antelope. It was very important to get the big game, for it meant feast or famine. It also meant clothing and shelter for them.

In the spring and summer, the Northwestern band traveled around southern Idaho and throughout Utah. During these months, they spent their time gathering seeds, roots, and berries and socializing with each other. This was the time when women talked about the latest happenings of the tribe. Late summer was root digging time and smaller-game hunting time. Around late October, the band moved into western Utah and parts of Nevada for the annual gathering of pine nuts. The nutrient-rich nuts were an important part of the Shoshone diet. They could be ground up into meal for mush (cereal) or roasted and eaten as a dessert or snack.

The area around what is now called Franklin and Preston, Idaho, was a permanent wintering home of the Northwestern Shoshone. It was known as Moson Kahni, which means Home of the Lungs. The rocks in the area looked sponge-like and made the Shoshone think of lungs. In this area and the rest of Cache Valley were natural places for the Indians to make their homes. The land along the Bear River was in a natural depression with lots of willows and brush, which they could use. Hot springs were plentiful as were fish and wild game. Willows and brush served as wind and snow breaks during the winter months.

Mae Parry
Northwest Shoshone
There were three major bands of Northwestern Shoshone at the time the first Mormon pioneers began settling northern Utah. Chief Little Soldier headed the misnamed "Weber Ute" group of about 400, who occupied Weber Valley down to its entry into the Great Salt Lake. Chief Pocatello commanded a similar number of Shoshone, who ranged from Grouse Creek in northwestern Utah eastward along the northern shore of Great Salt Lake to the Bear River. The third division of about 450 people, under Chief Bear Hunter, resided in Cache Valley and along the lower reaches of the Bear River. Bear Hunter was regarded as the principal leader of the Northwestern Shoshone, being designated by Mormon settlers as the war chief who held equal status with Washakie when the Eastern and Northwestern groups met.
What became the Northwestern Band of Shoshone were parts of those groups who traveled largely on foot living off the land in a delicate balance. The expression So-so-goi means “Those Who Travel on Foot,” this expression was used to describe the band.
The Northwestern Shoshone traveled with the changing season. They looked upon the earth not just as a place to live; in fact, they called the earth their mother-she was the provider of all they needed for their livelihood. The mountains, streams, and plains stood forever, they said, and the seasons walked around annually. The So-so-goi believed all things came from Mother Earth
.
Harvest and Diet
In the early autumn, the Northwestern Shoshone moved into the region near what is now Salmon, Idaho to fish. They caught salmon and dried them for winter to use. After fishing was over, they moved into western Wyoming to hunt for buffalo, elk, deer, moose, and antelope. It was very important to get the big game, for it meant feast or famine, clothing and shelter. The meat was sun dried for winter use.
In the spring and summer, the Northwestern band traveled around southern Idaho and throughout Utah. During these months, they spent their time gathering seeds, roots, and berries and socializing with each other. Late summer was root digging and small-game hunting time. Gathering seeds was a hard task at times. When seeds were scarce, a woman might spend an entire day gathering enough for only one family meal. Digging Sticks were used for digging out roots and bulbs. Ground potatoes, camas, sego lily, wild garlic, cactus, and other bulbs and roots were harvested. Berries of all kinds were picked in the mountains and fields. Wild honey was gathered in the late fall. Around late October, the band moved into western Utah and parts of Nevada for the annual gathering of pine nuts. The nutrient-rich nuts were an important part of the Shoshone diet. The pine nuts collected could be ground up into meal for mush (cereal), gravy, soups or roasted and eaten as a dessert or snack.
The wintering home of the Northwestern Shoshone was in an area around what is now called Franklin and Preston, Idaho. The rocks in the area looked sponge-like and made the Shoshone think of lungs hence, it was known as Moson Kahni, which means “Home of the Lungs.” The Cache Valley and surrounding areas were natural places for the Northwestern Shoshone to make their homes. The land along the Bear River was in a natural depression with lots of willows and brush, which they could use. Hot springs were plentiful as were fish and wild game. Willows and brush served as wind and snow breaks during the winter months.
The Shoshone also utilized other foods throughout the year as needed. A variety of birds, such as ducks and geese, are common along the northeast shore of the Great Salt Lake, were used for meat and eggs. Particularly important were doves, sage hens, and quail. In times of extreme need, owls, hawks, and crows were also eaten. In addition, the Shoshone harvested several varieties of insects, including grasshoppers, crickets, insect larvae, and bee eggs.
Drinks were prepared from a variety of plants. Common drinks were peppermint tea, rose tea, and Mormon (or Brigham) tea. Rabbit brush, sagebrush, and milkweed had parts that could be chewed as gum.
Clothing
Tanned animal skins were the primary clothing material. Men and women worked to produce clothing all year round. The skins from elk, deer, and antelope made the best dresses or suits. Dresses and suits were decorated with shells and animal claws and teeth. Bones and porcupine quills were also used as adornment. Sinew from animals’ intestine was used as thread. Moccasins were made from deer, elk, and moose hides. Rawhide was the preferred material for the soles, because it was much longer wearing and better able to protect the feet when walking through rocks and rough places. Sometimes moccasins were lined with juniper bark for insulation. When clothing made from skins got wet it had to be removed and vigorously rubbed and stretched until it dried to a soft condition. It was best to actively wear wet moccasins until they became dry to maintain their softness.
Shelter
Shelter for the Northern Shoshone was provided by the use of tepees, greenhouses, and sometimes caves. The tepee cover typically was made from ten to twelve buffalo hides. The cover was stretched over from twenty to twenty-five poles erected in a cone shape. There was a smoke hole left at the top which had flaps designed to regulate the hole according to wind direction. The tepees were well ventilated and cool in the summer and, with a fire, were warm in the winter. On the floor of the tepees were backrests and bedrolls. Clothing, medicine bags, shields, bags and other articles hung from poles. Tepees were decorated with drawings of animals, birds, or abstract designs. Great dreams or acts of bravery could be recalled in drawings on the tepee. Since the people were nomadic, the tepee was a very practical dwelling because it was easy to transport.
In the summer, dwellings were often made from green leafy branches placed over a pole framework. Willows, quaking aspen branches, reeds and tall grass were used in making summer shelters. These dwellings were also temporary, and could be left behind as moves were made to other areas. Caves were used as shelters and temporary dwellings. Bathhouses or sweat lodges were erected to be used as places for spiritual experiences as well as for personal hygiene.
Rabbit skins braided like rugs were made into quilts. Buffalo robes and other animal hides served as blankets and in some cases floor coverings. Dried moss was also woven into blankets. Woven sagebrush and juniper bark as well as boughs and cattail fluff served as mats and mattresses.
Customs
In early times marriages were arranged for nearly all Shoshones; spiritual leader would conduct marriage ceremonies in those days. The spiritual leader gave the couple rules to live by, among which they were counseled to be chaste and avoid breaking up their marriage. Sometimes the spiritual leader would pull hair from both the bride and groom and tie it together. The bound hair was then taken by a relative to hide. If later the couple could not get along and wanted a ‘divorce’ they would first have to find the bound hair and untie it.
Northwestern Shoshone children like all children, loved to play. Their toys were made of materials available to them such as sticks, rocks, clay, and balls made of stuffed rawhide. A skill they liked to develop was tracking. Playtime for the children was only done during short periods between fulfilling their family obligations. The children were expected to work hard and to share the family burdens. Love of children was a dominant belief of the Northwestern Shoshone and physical punishment was not highly employed. Shoshone children were taught at a young age to be hospitable. They were taught that guests were assumed to be cold, tired, or hungry, and they were to be fed. Upon departure, a guest was to be given a gift, with nothing in return. Children were taught to honor and respect their parents, grandparents, and were advised that wisdom and knowledge come with age. Teaching and storytelling fell mainly to the elderly grandparents. The oral history, legends, and customs of the tribe were passed on this way. Wintertime was storytelling time, stories were told to children with a purpose more important than just recreation. Children were taught to be good listeners and never interrupt the storyteller. Most stories included animals the Shoshone people lived around and interacted with, in fact all things in nature had a voice & story, rocks mountains, trees etc. Children were expected to stay awake during the storytelling, if a one of the children fell asleep, the storyteller stopped speaking and ended the session.

Fur Trappers
As early as 1810, the fur trade between the American states and Europe brought trappers to Northwestern Shoshone territory. This began the So-so-goi’s first extended exposure to non-native culture.
In the early to mid 1800’s, the Northwestern Shoshone had adopted most of the Plains Culture, using the horse for mobility and the hunting of game. Chief Pocatello especially led his band on numerous hunts for buffalo in the Wyoming area. Pocatello also gained notoriety as a reckless and fearless marauder along the Oregon and California trails. The Wasatch Mountains provided small game for the Northwestern bands, but of even greater importance were the grass seeds and plant roots which grew in abundance in the valleys and along the hillsides of northern Utah before the cattle and sheep of the white man denuded these rich areas and left many of the Shoshone tribes in a starving condition and to suffer under the ignominy of being called "Digger Indians." Before white penetration, the Great Basin and Snake River Shoshone had been among the most ecologically efficient and well-adapted Indians of the American West.
Pioneer Movement
The tragic transformation for the Northwestern Shoshone to a life of privation and want came by Mormon farmers occupying the Shoshone traditional homeland. The white pioneers slowly moved northward along the eastern shores of Great Salt Lake until by 1862 they had taken over Cache Valley, home of Bear Hunter's band. In addition, California-bound emigrants had wasted Indian food supplies as the travelers followed the Salt Lake Road around the lake and across the salt desert to Pilot Peak. The discovery of gold in Montana in 1862 further added to the traffic along the route. The young men of Bear Hunter's tribe began to strike back in late 1862, raiding Mormon cattle herds and attacking mining parties traveling to and from Montana.
Bear River Massacre
Four miles north of Preston, Idaho, the Bear River quietly ambles through green valleys and sagebrush covered mountains, the Shoshone call this place Boa Ogoi. Something happened on this site that is little known to U.S. history. But it is seared forever into the memory of the Shoshone.
On January 29, 1863, the militia of the U.S. Army's Third California Volunteers, under the command of Colonel Patrick E. Connor, rode down the frozen bluff and massacred some 350 Northwestern Shoshone Indians - the largest slaughter of Native Americans in the history of the country. Estimates of the dead are nearly double those of Wounded Knee, S.D., and Sand Creek, Colo. It was a clash of two diverse cultures trying to share the same land, and the Shoshone lost. The Shoshone, comprising several bands, had close contact with the white settlers moving in the ever-growing tide of westward expansion. They found themselves in the unenviable position of being precisely where immigrants would pass on their way to the Pacific; that, combined with the critical perception people had of Native Americans at the time, resulted in a recipe for disaster.
The Shoshone were a starving people that winter, and the occasional friendly offerings of food by nearby residents had dwindled as the Shoshone were blamed for skirmishes and the atrocities to other groups nearby.
Soon after the founding of Salt Lake, Peter Skene Ogden wrote, "What will be the reward of these poor wretches in the next world I cannot pretend to say, but surely they cannot be in a more wretched state than this." It was a commonly held notion at the time. Native Americans were viewed as poor, starving beggars who didn't understand the concept and benefits of a Manifest Destiny, or, as Col. Patrick E. Connor believed, violent savages who needed to be destroyed at all costs.
Skirmishes had broken out all along the Utah frontier leading to the Utah War, and the overland mail routes had been under attack. Individual murders had been taking place and the local constituencies were at their wits end. Utah Governor Frank Fuller and various other officials asked the Secretary of War to come in with a temporary regiment of mounted rangers.
It seems that the few people doing most of the talking did not understand the Northwestern Shoshone, and did not distinguish that particular band of the tribe from the others. There were troublemaking bands that took a few horses and cattle, were involved in an altercation with settlers (two Indians and two white settlers were killed), and ate the stolen cattle because of hunger. None of these bands, however, were of the Northwestern Shoshone, but all were tarred with the same brush.
It was in this environment that Col. Connor and his California Volunteers rode toward the area of the Bear River. It was so cold that winter that merely exhaling caused men's mustaches to freeze. Before setting out for Bear River in southern Idaho, nearly 75 of Connor's 275 men were left behind in Utah's Brigham City due to frozen feet before the remainder of the regiment made the hard ride north.
Along the riverbanks on the icy morning of January 29, 1863, Chief Sagwitch rose early. A white friend of the Shoshone had come to tell them that Col. Connor was coming to the camp to "get the guilty parties." Chief Sagwitch had expected a visit for just that purpose and on that January morning, as he realized the steam drifting from the mountains was getting lower, he realized too that the soldiers were at last there.
As he called to the others who were still asleep, men tumbled from their tepees and grabbed their weapons. In the frenzy, Sagwitch yelled for the men not to be the first to shoot. As his granddaughter Mae Parry recounts in her story Massacre at Boa Ogoi, "He thought that perhaps this military man was a wise and just man. He thought the Colonel would ask for the guilty men, whom he would immediately have handed over."
The encounter did not happen the way that Chief Sagwitch thought it would. The Colonel asked no questions. The regiment commenced firing, and the Indians were being "slaughtered like wild rabbits." Seeing themselves vastly outnumbered, the Shoshone began jumping into the freezing river in an attempt to escape. No one was spared men, women nor children.
One survivor was Anzee Chee. She was chased by soldiers, but was able to hide under a bank that overhung the river. She suffered wounds in the shoulder and chest and the loss of her baby, who was tossed into the icy water to be drowned.
Chief Bear Hunter was known as a leader by the soldiers. He was kicked and tortured, and finally, because he would not cry out, had a fire hot rifle bayonet run through his ears. It proved to be painfully true that arrows were no match for rifles.
There were close to 450 men, women and children in the camp that day. If Connor had arrived a few weeks earlier, during the Shoshone's Warm Dance, the death toll could have been higher. The traditional Warm Dance, to bring back warm weather and drive out the cold, brought many bands together to play games and to socialize. Colonel Connor, who prided himself on knowing the ways of the Indian, was unaware of the Shoshone Warm Dance tradition.
Throughout the battle, the wounded urged their chief to escape. After surviving two of his horses in battle, Sagwitch finally escaped on a third. Another Shoshone escaped with him by grasping the horse's tail as they rode across a frozen section of the river.
One incident tells of Yeager Timbimboo (or Da boo zee, meaning cottontail rabbit), who was the son of Chief Sagwitch. Only twelve years old, Yeager was caught up in the bloodshed, looking for shelter as bullets whizzed past him. He spied a grass teepee so full of people that it was actually moving. He entered the teepee and there he found his grandmother. She was afraid that soon the teepee would go up in flames, but she had a plan. She and the boy would go out among the dead and be very still, not making a sound or, as she instructed him, "not even open your eyes." Surrounded by the dead, they remained still on the intensely cold ground all day until Yeager, whose curiosity got the best of him, raised his head and looked down the gun barrel of a soldier who saw that he was still alive. Yeager told later that the soldier raised his gun and lowered it two times while looking into his eyes. The soldier finally lowered the gun and, perhaps weary from the blood spilled there, walked away.
Another of the chief's sons escaped with a girlfriend. She rode behind him on his horse as they raced for the surrounding hills. He made it, but she died from the bullets that found their mark.
Tale after tale of that day's intimate sorrow, rage and courage became the saddest chapters of the Northwestern Shoshone history. Scenes of desperation, the courage to survive, and the loss of the dream that they would find justice at the hands of their perpetrators also fell upon them that day.
The Bear River Massacre was very important to southern Idaho and Utah. It marked the ending of some real conflict between whites and Shoshone in the territory. The decimation of the Indian population allowed the settlers and farmers to encroach further in to traditional Shoshone territory without fear.
Treaty of Box Elder
The following July after the Massacre the Treaty of Box Elder was signed to agree that “friendly and amicable relations be re-established” and that “a firm and perpetual peace shall be henceforth maintained between the said bands and the United States.” After the signing of the Box Elder agreement, government officials attempted to get all of the Northwestern Shoshone to move to the newly founded Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho. After several years of receiving their government annuities at Corinne, Utah, near the mouth of the Bear River, some Shoshone Indians bands finally gave up their homelands in Utah and settled at Fort Hall, where their descendants live today.
Promontory Point
On May 10th, 1869 the rails were completed. According to Grenville Dodge, who was present at the ceremony, “there was quite a mix of ethnic groups at the May 10th ceremony including American Indians.”
Nancy Marinda Tracy Moyes gives this account of the day "Now I will tell a little of the history of the great event that took place at Promontory where the train from the East met the train from the West. The Governor from California stepped off his train to meet the great men from the East. There were many cheers, whistles were shrieking and there [were] lots and lots of noise. Flags were waving and the bands played. Among the hundreds of people gathered, there were also many Indians from the Indian Reservations all decked out in their gaudy buckskin clothes, ornamented with lovely colored beads and with many colored feathers in their bonnets. It is a sight not to be forgotten."
The completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869 made matters even worse for the Northwestern Shoshone. Large numbers of emigrants could now easily reach Utah and compete with the Shoshone and other Indian groups for land and resources. The new railroad also spawned the birth of Corinne in the heartland of the Shoshone domain a development that from its beginning proved to be problematic to the Indians.
For freight and passengers going from the Central Pacific to the Beaverhead Country by way of the Montana Trail, however, there is a lot of evidence to describe Indian-White relations at the new freight-transfer point at Corinne, Utah. For the Northwestern Shoshone, Corinne was important because the town was located on the west bank of the Bear River just a short distance above it's confluence with Great Salt Lake and within two or three miles of a traditional winter camp of the Shoshone. Furthermore, this place came to be the site where the Utah Indian Agents distributed the northwestern annuity goods every fall, with Pocatello and his tribe nearly always in attendance. This annual event and the daily comings and goings of various Shoshone groups who camped near the town received constant attention from local newspaper editors.
In 1872 Agent M.P. Berry at Fort Hall complained about the Northwestern Bands of Shoshone. Berry had become increasingly frustrated with the Northwestern bands who drew provisions at Fort Hall but did not remain there. Rather, they "scattered along the Rail Road and among the Mormon settlements." Berry recommended that they all be sent to Fort Hall permanently.
Conversion to Mormonism
The Northwestern Shoshone appealed to Mormon leader Brigham Young after years of struggle to recover from the massacre. Brigham Young sent George Washington Hill, in the capacity of missionary, to aid them. George W. Hill seemed to be a natural contact for the Northwestern Shoshone seeking to affiliate with Mormonism. He was well known to the Shoshone, having worked with them extensively as a missionary in the Salmon River mission at Fort Lemhi between 1855 and 1859 and occasionally thereafter as a translator. At Hill’s assignment at Salmon River, Hill mastered the Shoshone language and gained a great understanding and respect for the Shoshone people and their culture. The Shoshone honored Hill by acknowledging one of his physical traits in a special name they gave him Inkapompy, meaning “Man with Red Hair.”
At Brigham City, Mormon Bishop Alvin Nichols was also doing his duty by the Indians, distributing beef and other supplies "on a liberal scale" to the encampment of Shoshone. This was in November 1874. The Mormon Church started baptizing Shoshone in the spring of 1875 and set them up farming just a few miles north of Corinne. By August 1875, over 600 Northwestern Shoshones were baptized
Corinne Settlement

In 1875, the first permanent home for the Northwestern Shoshone was a site near Corinne, Utah. Forced to give up their nomadic lifestyle, the Northwestern Shoshone started learning how to farm, under the guidance of George Washington Hill. There were more than two hundred Indians in camp, with more coming each day. This aroused much apprehension on the part of the people of Corinne who thought the two [Mormons and Shoshone] would unite, in any difficulty which might take place with the Gentiles [non-Mormon people of Corinne].
The people of Corinne made a complaint to the U.S. Army and in late summer 1875, the Shoshone near Corinne were ordered by the U.S. Army to move on to reservations. Many white citizens of Corinne, however, were fearful of a Mormon-Indian alliance, and after wild rumors were started, they called for army protection. The threat of another attack by the army forced the Shoshones to leave the area, abandoning their planted farms and ready to harvest crops.
After their expulsion from their farms by the military, some of the Shoshone moved a few miles north to Elwood, Utah. Others continued to travel farther north to the Fort Hall reservation. Some returned to the Cache Valley to wander in areas they had previously called home.
Homesteading
Beginning in the spring of 1876 and continuing into the 1880s, some Northwestern Shoshones applied for land in Box Elder County, Utah, under the Homestead Act, hoping that by doing so they would avoid another Corinne experience. About this time, Isacc Zundel was called by the LDS church to labor with the Shoshone. The objective was to teach the Shoshone farming and industrial practices, encouraging them to become self-sufficient. Other white families were called by the LDS church to settle among the Shoshone on what had now become known as the Malad Indian Farm. Again crops were planted. In addition, lumber was being obtained with which to build houses. Even though the farming experience in this area generally had been very positive, there were still some drawbacks. The size of the land holding was considered to be too small for the number of Indians that were expected to inhabit the farm. Consideration was being given once again settle the Shoshone band in Cache Valley. This idea was discarded in favor of moving the Shoshone band and the farming operation to an area called the Brigham Farm in the Malad Valley. This location was still in Utah, about twenty miles south of Malad, Idaho, and about four miles south or Portage, Utah. The land was purchased from the Brigham City M and M Company, which at that time was managed by Mormon leader Lorenzo Snow. There was a house and a granary already built at a location on the farm, which was about two miles south of what was to become the permanent location of the Washakie settlement, the settlement was named after the respected Shoshone leader Washakie.
Washakie
Beginning in the spring of 1876 and continuing into the 1880s, some Northwestern Shoshones applied for land in Box Elder County, Utah, under the Homestead Act, hoping that by doing so they would avoid another Corinne experience. About this time, Isacc Zundel was called by the LDS church to labor with the Shoshone. The objective was to teach the Shoshone farming and industrial practices, encouraging them to become self-sufficient. Other white families were called by the LDS church to settle among the Shoshone on what had now become known as the Malad Indian Farm. Again crops were planted. In addition, lumber was being obtained with which to build houses. Even though the farming experience in this area generally had been very positive, there were still some drawbacks. The size of the land holding was considered to be too small for the number of Indians that were expected to inhabit the farm. Consideration was being given once again settle the Shoshone band in Cache Valley. This idea was discarded in favor of moving the Shoshone band and the farming operation to an area called the Brigham Farm in the Malad Valley. This location was still in Utah, about twenty miles south of Malad, Idaho, and about four miles south or Portage, Utah. The land was purchased from the Brigham City M and M Company, which at that time was managed by Mormon leader Lorenzo Snow. There was a house and a granary already built at a location on the farm, which was about two miles south of what was to become the permanent location of the Washakie settlement, the settlement was named after the respected Shoshone leader Washakie.
Washakie School Day
The Washakie Day School was established in 1882, just two years after settling the village of Washakie. The first teacher was James J. Chandler. Chandler taught the students nursery rhymes and simple songs, presumably to acquaint them with the English language. The students ranged in age from quite young to young adults.
In the 1920’s a new Washakie school building was built. It was an improvement over the old white church building which until this time had served as school classes. For the first time swings, slides, and other playground equipment were brought in and the younger children welcomed a sandbox. First through eight grades were now being taught in the school.
For years the Washakie Community flourished, but population began to decline with the onset of World War II and the availability of better-paying jobs elsewhere. By the early 1940’s many Shoshone had moved away from Washakie and the number of residents dwindled to the point that a school was no longer feasible. The few students remaining were bused to Fielding, Utah for school.
World War II
Like many Indian nations, many members of the Northwestern Shoshone, Washakie Community left during World War II. In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "This generation has a rendezvous with destiny." When Roosevelt said that he had no idea of how much World War II would make his prophecy ring true. Over seventy years later, Americans are remembering the sacrifices of that generation, which took up arms in defense of the Nation. Part of that generation was a neglected minority, Native American Indians, who flocked to the colors in defense of their country. No group that participated in World War II made a greater per capita contribution, and no group was changed more by that war. During World War II more than 44,000 Native Americans saw military service. They served on all fronts in the conflict and were honored by receiving numerous Purple Hearts, Air Medals, Distinguished Flying Crosses, Bronze Stars, Silver Stars, Distinguished Service Crosses, and three Congressional Medals of Honor.
In spite of years of inefficient and often corrupt bureaucratic management of Indian affairs, Native Americans and stood ready to fight the "white man's war." American Indians overcame past disappointment, resentment, and suspicion to respond to their nation's need in World War II. Native Americans responded to America's call for soldiers because they understood the need to defend one's own land, and they understood fundamental concepts of fighting for life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Native Americans also excelled at basic training. Maj. Lee Gilstrop of Oklahoma, who trained 2,000 Native Americans at his post, said, "The Indian are the best damn soldiers in the Army." Their talents included bayonet fighting, marksmanship, scouting, and patrolling. Native Americans took to commando training; after all, their ancestors invented it.
So the government of the United States found no more loyal citizens than their own "first Americans." When President Roosevelt mobilized the country and declared war on the Axis Powers, it seemed as if he spoke to each citizen individually. Therefore, according to the Indians' way of perceiving, all must be allowed to participate. About 40,000 Indian men and women aged 18 to 50, left the country and reservations for the first time to find jobs in defense industries. This migration led to new vocational skills and increased cultural sophistication and awareness in dealings with non-Indians. Many members went to work in the defense industries, and others went to war. For some, it was a chance to see the world, for others, a chance to improve their lives with a steady income.
Women took over traditional men' s duties on the reservation, manning fire lookout stations, and becoming mechanics, lumberjacks, farmers, and delivery personnel. Indian women, although reluctant to leave the reservation, worked as welders in aircraft plants. Many Indian women gave their time as volunteers for American Women’s' Volunteer Service, Red Cross, and Civil Defense. They also tended livestock, canned food, and sewed uniforms. By 1943, the YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) estimated that 12,000 young Indian women had left the reservation to work in defense industries. By 1945, an estimated 150,000 Native Americans had directly participated in industrial, agricultural, and military aspects of the American war effort.
For Native Americans, World War II signaled a major break from the past. Many Northwestern Shoshones in the military made a decent living for the first time in their lives. By 1944, the average Native American’s annual income was $2,500, up two and one-half times since 1940. Military life provided a steady job, money, status, and a taste of the modernizing world.
The war, therefore, provided new opportunities for the Northwestern Shoshone, and these opportunities disrupted old patterns. The wartime economy and military service took thousands of Native Americans away from the reservations. Many of these Native Americans settled into the mainstream society, adapting permanently to the cities and to a non-Indian way of life. Moreover, thousands returned to the reservation even after they had proved themselves capable of making the adjustment to white America.
World War II became a turning point for both Native Americans and Caucasians because its impact on each was so great and different. Whites believed that World War II had completed the process of Indian integration into mainstream American society. Large numbers of Indians, on the other hand, saw for the first time the non-Indian world at close range. It both attracted and repelled them. The positive aspects included a higher standard of living, with education, health care, and job opportunities. The negatives were the lessening of tribal influence and the threat of forfeiting the security of the reservation. Indians did not want equality with whites at the price of losing group identification. In sum, the war caused the greatest change in Indian life since the beginning of the reservation era and taught Native Americans they could aspire to walk successfully in two worlds.
A good deal of credit must go to the Native Americans for their outstanding part in America's victory in World War II. They sacrificed more than most, both individually and as a group. They left the land they knew to travel to strange places, where people did not always understand their ways. They had to forego the dances and rituals that were an important part of their life. They had to learn to work under non-Indian supervisors in situations that were wholly new to them. But in the process, Native Americans became Indian-Americans, not just American Indians.
Washakie Farm Sold
Tanned animal skins were the primary clothing material. Men and women worked to produce clothing all year round. The skins from elk, deer, and antelope made the best dresses or suits. Dresses and suits were decorated with shells and animal claws and teeth. Bones and porcupine quills were also used as adornment. Sinew from animals’ intestine was used as thread. Moccasins were made from deer, elk, and moose hides. Rawhide was the preferred material for the soles, because it was much longer wearing and better able to protect the feet when walking through rocks and rough places. Sometimes moccasins were lined with juniper bark for insulation. When clothing made from skins got wet it had to be removed and vigorously rubbed and stretched until it dried to a soft condition. It was best to actively wear wet moccasins until they became dry to maintain their softness.
Federal Recognition
On April 29, 1987, the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation became a federally recognized tribe, separate from other bands of Shoshones. As of May 1995 the tribe staffs two offices to serve the tribal members. One office is in Pocatello, Idaho to serve those living in the southern, Idaho vicinity, while Brigham City, Utah office serves tribal members living in the northern Utah region.
In January 1995, tribal enrollment of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation numbered 454 members. Nearly all of them live in southern Idaho and northern Utah, with few members scattered throughout the United States.
Massacre Site Saved
On March 24, 2003, with the help of the Trust for Public Land (TPL) Tribal Lands Program, and the American West Heritage Center (AWHC), twenty-six acres of the Bear River Massacre site were donated back to the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation.
AWHC initiated the project after completing, with tribal leadership, the planning and design of a cultural and interpretive center at AWHC to help the tribe tell its story. The 26-acre site is in the Bear River Valley, near Preston, Idaho which itself is just north of the Utah-Idaho border. The site is comprised of two parcels, one of 19 acres and the other 7 acres, which TPL purchased privately.

"The massacre site is a sacred and holy spot because the bodies of the Shoshone were never buried, but were left to the wolves and the coyotes to devour. Therefore, it is good that it is finally being recognized and preserved. It is wonderful that the Trust for Public Land is helping save this land."
Brigham Madsen
Historian

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law, to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. TPL has taken the lead as a national conservation organization to develop a tribal lands program, which will restore to tribes the ownership of lands that contain significant cultural, historical, and natural resource values. Across the nation, TPL has helped protect more than 1.4 million acres.

"This is sacred land to us. It is the burial ground of our ancestors and it is deeply satisfying to have it protected,"
Bruce Parry
Northwestern Band Shoshone
Executive Director

"We've waited many years for this to happen, our dreams have become a reality today."
Gwen Davis
Northwestern Band Shoshone
Tribal Chairwoman
References
A History of Utah’s American Indians (2000) Mae Perry, Utah State Division of Indian Affairs/Utah State Division of History, Salt Lake City.

Aikens, C. Melvin
1970 Hogup Cave, Anthropological Papers, No. 93, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah .

Brigham D. Madsen, The Northern Shoshone (1980), The Shoshone Frontier and the Bear River Massacre (1985), and Chief Pocatello: The White Plume (1986).

Christensen, Scott R.
1999 Sagwitch: Shoshone Chieftain, Mormon Elder, 1822-1887, Utah State University Press, Logan, Utah.

Dodge, Grenville M.
1965 How We Built The Union Pacific Railway, reprinted from a private edition issued in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with no date given, Sage Books, Denver. Dodge was Chief Engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad, 1866-1870.

Hunsaker, Abraham
1859 Journal, Q929.2 H2h Brigham City LDS Family History Library.

Jensen, Lucinda P.
1947 History of Bear River City, Box Elder News-Journal, Brigham City, Utah.

The Journal
July 19, 1919, September 1, 1923, February 19, 1927, The Journal, Logan, Utah.

The Leader
December 1, 1999, The Leader, Tremonton, Utah.

Nunis, Doyce B., Jr.
1991 The Bidwell-Bartleson Party 1841 California Emigrant Adventure: The Documents and Memoirs of the Overland Pioneers, Western Tanager Press, Santa Cruz, California.

Morgan, Thomas D. Morgan
Native Americans in World War II, Excerpted form Army History: The Professional Bulletin of Army History, No. 35 (Fall 1995), pp. 22-27.

Ottogary, Willie
Letters to The Journal, December 30, 1912, July 19, 1919, December 6, 1921, December 27, 1921, and June 26, 1922, Logan, Utah.

Parry, Mae
Oral Interview, 1/12/2000, Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation Tribal Office, Brigham City, Utah.

Spencer, Deloy
Oral Interview with Merlin and Doris Larsen, October 17, 1995, Golden Spike National Historic Site Archives, Promontory, Utah.

Stansbury, Howard
1853 Exploration and Survey Of The Valley Of The Great Salt Utah, Including A Reconnaissance Of A New Route Through The Rocky Mountains, Robert Armstrong, Public Printer, Washington D.C.

Stewart, John J.
1994 The Iron Trail to the Golden Spike, Meadow Lark Press, New York.

Wells, Rosalie Stokes
1956 A History of Promontory Especially of the LDS Church Early Days Until 1953, MS 14770, LDS Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Westergard, Jacalyn H.
1999 Excerpts from Nancy Marinda Tracy Moyes, born 25 Sept. 1861, Marriott, Weber County, Utah, Marriott Heritage Foundation 2219 West 2700 North, Farr West City, Utah.


Woodward, Marion Brown
Manuscript This is Promontory as I Remember it, Marion born in Promontory 1889, Manuscript in Golden Spike National Historic Site Archives, 616 PRO, Contributed by Adolph Reeder, Brigham City, UT.

Zollinger, Shari
2004 Coyote Steals Fire, The Northwestern Shoshone Nation, Utah State University Press, Logan UT, Excerpts from historical overview of tribe.
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