Shoshone-Bannock at Fort Hall


Fort Hall was an important stop on the trip west, and a fascinating place to visit now! This is true not only because of its unique role in the history of the Oregon and California trails, but also because of the flourishing Shoshone-Bannock booking culture. To highlight the unique aspects of Fort Hall Shoshone-Bannocks is to recognize the achievement of a level of economic success that has historically not been typical of reservations and the role of cultural values ​​in holding back the changes caused by market influences.

Fort Hall Shoshones, known as Pohogues, inhabited the southwestern corner of the Great Basin, perhaps 4,000 years ago, until the snake river was drained for centuries to come. Their first documented contact with whites was with Lewis and Clark in August 1805 near the current detention. Corp desperately needed horses, but Lewis had never hoped to meet the Shoshones who left when they saw it. Finally, the explorers surprised three Shoshone women who did not have time to leave. Lewis offered gifts and convinced them of his peaceful intentions when sixty warriors who took them were galloping, armed and ready to fight.

A 1918 canvas by Montana artist Charles Rachel’s cowboy artist commemorates the discovery of the Discovery Corps meeting with Cameahwait’s war party. Leaving his weapon behind with two members of the Corps, Captain Meriwether Lewis only proceeded with the American flag. His trick worked: “We were all tired and blocked by their fat and color until I was tired of the national embrace,” he wrote.

Lewis dropped his gun, took an American flag and approached himself. The bad news from the meeting was that the rivers were unthinkable. The good news was that the Indians had a herd of four hundred horses, some of which traded in simple trinkets. They also offered an old man, “Old Toby”, as a guide because he knew the country in the northwest. A traitor named John Rees suggested that “Toby” may be a contraction of the Tosa-tive koo-be that literally translated from Shoshone means “gave” brains to white. ” Whatever his name, he helped them in the Bitterroot Mountains. These were the huge series, partly covered in snow, that met here. They were hoping for a short port that would take them to a floating tributary of Columbia.

Shoshone has always relied heavily on ecosystems for their food, especially the roots of camas and salmon when they were in season. Interestingly, Lewis and Clark survived almost entirely on camas roots from time to time during their voyage. Shoshone also ate morning glory roots and sego roots. During the spring, they could find wild onions, new strains of cattail, wild asparagus and wild carrots. During the summer, there were wild strawberries, currants, water lilies and sunflower seeds. In the fall, Shoshone chose currants, serviceberries and buck berries. What did the Indians do with the cameras? Almost without exception, they were baked, slowly and low, in an earthen oven.

They could also get pine cones from the brush pines during this time of year. They would take the nuts from the pine cones, roast them, the wine (and the shell), and grind them into flour. In the copy of the old Fort Hall in Pocatello, the broadleaves tell of some of the plants discovered by Lewis and Clark. Of course salmon was very important when it was season and was the cause of the heated disputes over fishing rights later. (For a delicious recipe for Zucchini Pinenut Tamales, see Shoshoni’s cookbook, Faith Stone and AnnSaks.)

Shoshones also had an impact on the fur trade. Rocky Mountain trappers have been, for most of the year, an integral part of Euro-American society. They were isolated from five hundred miles from the established states. Only in the middle of summer, when the appointments started and the supply trains passed to the Great Plains, did they see other whites. Not only did the Indians procure furs, but this important event may have come from an Indian precedent, the Shoshoni trade fair, which was traditionally held during the summer. It was a fusion of the commercial ceremonies of both cultures and was so successful because it combined market practicality with triviality and the celebration of a social occasion.

Wine, women, and song provided emotional release for both Indians and trappers, and although they were at the same time, they became entrenched as an institution in 1825. Neither trappers nor Indians were rewarded enough for their efforts to secure a beaver and other furs for the settlers. companies. But the Indians were not slaves in the fur trade, but clever merchants who could easily get rid of almost all trade articles. In fact, according to Chittenden, the American fur trade of the West, “The merchant’s relationship with the Indian was the most natural and pleasant than the two races have maintained each other.”

Entrepreneurs such as Yankee, born Nathaniel Wyeth, tried to challenge established British companies by building Fort Fort. The men of Wyeth completed the construction of the fortress on August 4, 1834, and the next day at sunrise, they unwrapped the stars and stripes. Wyeth and his men “drank a pack of liqueurs” and named it “Fort Hall” in honor of his former colleague, Henry Hall. Wyeth later sold Fort Hall to Hudson Bay Company when it could not compete with it and other companies, and became the commercial center of the hungry land. Photo

The corn, beans and squash and dried meat that the Indians were currently supplying were valuable for the places and often kept them from starving. Coffee, sugar, tobacco and alcohol were shipped from the East. At some point, rich merchants prepared rich feasts. “A dinner was prepared that included fresh bison meat, beef, poultry and mutton, Madan corn, fresh butter, milk and cheese, white bread and a variety of fruits, all accompanied by a fine variety of fine wines and fine wines. . ” However, such cases were very rare. The old Fort Hall replica in Pocatello is an important attraction when you visit this area. The screens cover the entire history of the fortress and are very informative. Next to the fort is the Bannock County Historical Museum, which has, among its many exhibitions, the Holladay Overland Stage Company and the ethnographic photographs and objects of Shoshoni and Bannock.

By the time the forty niners came west looking for gold, they had taken precautions to carry weapons, pistols and bow tie knives, but a pioneer near Fort Hall wrote, “in terms of danger from the Indians, so far twenty enemies, such as the fleas, whiskey, mule hind legs, tornadoes and cold streams were much more serious. “Indians were accustomed to the constant flow of fortune-seekers and tolerated intruders even though they were often tricked.

The forty-nine, in turn, ridiculed the Indians, but tried to treat those who entered the camp politely, and apparently felt somewhat guilty of invading their land in such large numbers. The book, Forty-Niners, by Archer Butler Hulbert, written in 1931, features maps of eight successive sections of the trails west, music and lyrics for some of the songs they sang on the street, and cartoons from the time period. According to the author, it was collected from any available diary or magazine that could shed light on the pioneering experience. The tongue tips on the cheeks are freely provided, such as, “If you don’t have salt for the buffalo steak, sprinkle it with gunpowder and it will have salt and pepper.”

After the Indians acquired horses, they expanded their economy to include buffalo and some processed foods that were traded. As a source of wealth, horses increased the conflict between certain groups of Indians. The horse was also an attraction for the Bannocks, a northern group that joined the Shoshones at Fort Hall. But by the mid-1860s, non-Indians had infiltrated almost every area of ​​the snake country. The depletion of Indian resources led to the Great Slaughter War. Eventually the Shoshones agreed to relocate to Fort Hall Reservation. The detention was ordered by an executive order in accordance with the terms of the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868. It originally contained 1.8 million acres, an amount that was reduced to 1.2 million acres in 1872 as a result of a research error. Detention was further reduced to its current size through subsequent legislation and the distribution process.

Survival under the new conditions became a big problem. There were many difficult times when residents had to deal with bad water, floods and dissatisfaction with boarding schools and the government. Food was often scarce because Indians still saw the area as their standard of living and depended on the government for survival. But the adaptability of these same lifestyles, along with the loosely organized kinship system that emphasized family ties, proved useful in allowing Indians to adapt to the new conditions. Water availability for irrigation ultimately determined the level of agricultural and economic growth, and there were great potentials compared to other reservations. Fort Hall was also well located on a large shopping street with roads and railways passing by or nearby.

Later, disagreements between cattle owners and farmers over the reservation as well as with the organization over the distribution and use of land led to a period of uncertainty. The agency’s bias on mixed bloodshed has also led to increased hostility and accusations of favoritism. Rising tensions have affected religious traditions such as the Ghost Dance and the Sun Dance. The Indians turned to ghost dancing because of the difficulty of living in detention. Anyone with a family illness could dance, with men and women taking part. He later found a messianic madness that swept the plains. The Sun Dance was banned for a while, but the leaders protested and organized the famous 1914 Sun Dance, which was attended by nearly 1,500 people and underscored its importance for the Shoshone-Bannock identity.

Amid ongoing concerns about land use, including non-Indian leases and the government’s growing dominance of Indians after distribution, Ralph Dixey, with the approval of a new agent, William Donner, organized the Fort Hall Indian Stockmen’s Association in 1921. The union also advocated innovation and the Indian law on reorganization at Fort Hall in 1934. Although controversial, many believe the practice helped maintain community land bases.

Economies of scale have given the union a competitive advantage over non-Indian breeders. When the livestock union threatened to become too strong, it self-regulated in favor of consensus. Although Shoshone-Bannocks welcomed the purchase, they maintained a common ethos and fought for political consensus according to their tradition.

In the twentieth century, leaders continued to try to reconcile entrepreneurs and community concerns. Expanding the exhibition in the eastern district of Idaho to a state exhibition in 1939 helped raise the social level of Shoshone-Bannock in Idaho. The introduction of handicrafts for sale, cabins and cars contributed to modernization and affected the economy. Sun Dance became more entrepreneurial, charging entry and allowing concessions.

Now visitors can watch the Shoshone festival in August, which is unique due to the various activities that are combined with the event, which includes: softball tournaments, golf tournaments, rodeo, Indian relay races, art performances, , traditional handball tournament, indigenous children’s games, buffalo and salmon festival, fun, and more. Crafts can be found at the Donzia Gift Shop located inside the New Shoshone Hotel & Event Center located outside the 80 Interstate 15 exit at Fort Hall, Idaho, next to Fort Hall Casino.

Some of the worrying legal issues facing the Shoshones in the later part of the twentieth included the government’s policy of terminating or terminating “Native Americans.” It was promoted by Congress in the 1950s and aimed to end the government’s paternalistic relationship with the Indians, but was seen as an excuse to abandon any responsibility towards them. As the efforts to end it failed, the government implemented programs aimed at promoting health, education and economic development. Similar programs are successfully run by breeds in detention.

Disputes over fishing rights and land claims and distributions to different groups at Fort Hall continued for years with Lemhi Shoshones (Sacajawea team) feeling ignored. Perhaps in an effort to reconcile them, the Sacajawea Center for Interpretation, Culture and Education was dedicated to the east of Solomos in 2001 and is another interesting attraction for visitors. Now visitors to Shoshone-Bannocks can get fishing and fishing licenses at the beautiful Fort Hall Bottoms. Licenses are fishing and release. The mission of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Shoshone-Bannock Tribes is to protect, restore and strengthen the resources related to fish and wildlife in accordance with the unique interests of the breeds and guaranteed rights to these resources and their habitats. .

John W. Heaton, author of The Shoshone-Bannocks, Culture and Trade at Fort Hall, 1870-1948, gives a very positive picture of today’s economy:

The Shoshone-Bannock economy of the 21st century is based on a different mix: commercial agriculture and mining … on leased Fort Hall lands for the benefit of the tribes. racially funded business activities such as gambling, bison ranching, online craft and tourism, which provide employment opportunities and a social security network; and individually pursued opportunities for living, entrepreneurship and paid work inside and outside the detention center. Shoshone-Bannock people continue to be successful in the marketplace in a way that reproduces collective values ​​and a distinct identity. They remain adaptable and resilient people who seek a meaningful existence in an ever-changing world.

The identity of Shoshone-Bannock on the Internet at certainly confirms this assessment. As of August 2015, there were 5,859 registered members of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe: of the tribes involved, 4,038 live in Fort Hall Reservation. The “Who We Are” page includes an extensive history, photos and maps. Many gatherings and gatherings are mentioned. Recent impressive achievements include social and environmental services, energy management, the hotel and event center, and the Bannock Peak casino. A 360-degree virtual tour of the festival center with sound places the viewer right in the middle of the festivities. In terms of food, the Camas Sports Grill offers a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Signature items include the Fry Bread Breakfast, Idaho Nachos and Bison Sliders.

This journey showed the successful transition of Shoshone-Bannock from the early nineteenth century, when Cameahwait first met Lewis and Clark near the snake river in the early 21st century, when Fort Hall is a thriving modern community. which not only enjoys economic self-sufficiency, but also celebrates its cultural values. Any visitor to this area would be happy to meet people, visit the sights and watch the festival.

Virtual Tour of the Shoshone-Bannock Festival Arbor, Vendors’ Booths, Grand Entry and three audio tracks available on their website at