Northern Shoshone and Bannock
Traditional Culture
  Since Time Immemorial
Who's Who
All My Relations
Pipe Ceremony and Peacemaking
Great Circle
Intertribal Relations
"How the Indian Averted Famine"
Naming Ceremonies
Agaidika Perspective on Sacajawea
Horses, Trade, & Travel
References Cited

  Contemporary Culture
  Sovereignty & Tribal Government
Arts & Artists
Annual Festival Dances
Recommended Websites

  Relationship with the U.S.
  Early Contact
Fur Trade
Naturalists in Shoshone Country
Missionaries and Emigrants
Making Treaties
Lemhi In Limbo
Lemhi Reservation and  Loss
Shrinking Reservation
References Cited


Lemhi Pass > Culture
Looking across Horse Prairie, to the northeast
(into Montana) from the Lemhi Pass approach.

Ken Furrow photo.

On these pages you will be introduced to the world of the various bands of the Northern Shoshone and Bannock, with a focus on those groups who now live on the Fort Hall Reservation and an emphasis on the peoples who came to be known as the "Lemhi" Shoshone. The aboriginal homelands of the Shoshone and Paiute peoples, including the Bannocks, covered the extensive lands known as the Great Basin and into the southern Columbia Plateau and the mountains along the Continental Divide of east-central Idaho, southern Montana, and western Wyoming. We are unable to do justice to all of these groups, so we have focused, instead, on the people whose ancestors and relations met Lewis and Clark in the summer of 1805. Many people are familiar with these people through the journals of these famous explorers. Our purpose is to present, in depth, the other side of the Lewis and Clark story and to provide an expanded picture of these rich cultures past and present.

As you enter this site, we encourage you to slow down and try to imagine being part of this particular world of high basins, protected valleys and soaring peaks. In so doing, you will begin to understand a very different perspective of history and culture than the one taught in schools. The stories of these tribes go back to a time when lava poured from the earth to form the lava beds of the Snake River plain. Considered in the context of millennia, the Lewis and Clark crew were just one of many groups of white traders and explorers who came into contact with the Shoshone and Bannock peoples not so many generations ago.

As you tour along you will learn about these native inhabitants and their world during the days before Europeans arrived and changed their age-old lifeways forever. You will also learn about the lasting qualities that characterize these groups within the topics included under Culture - about family life and the life of all things through the seasons, about core values, and trade and travel - told through the stories that hold the culture together. We have emphasized oral history and primary resource materials to allow viewers a more intimate and direct view of Northern Shoshone and Bannock history than is found in more common, secondary interpretations.

Stories of the many changes that followed the arrival of traders and trappers, including Lewis and Clark, are told within the U.S. section. We encourage you to think about this encounter from the point of view of the Shoshone and Bannock peoples. How did their lives change after the opening of the Oregon Trail? How have land cessions affected them? These people have managed to survive, despite the devastation brought by disease, emigrants, military expeditions, and the extermination of the buffalo. They are still here to tell their story.

The Native American section will acquaint you with the Shoshone-Bannock tribes today. Here you'll learn about efforts to preserve the languages, about issues of sovereignty, and about a talented community of artists.

Lemhi Pass, looking west into Idaho.
Ken Furrow photo.
Background: Lewis & Clark 1806, adapted from Moulton, 1983