Looking across Horse Prairie, to the
(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
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
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.
Pass, looking west into Idaho.
Ken Furrow photo.