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

Read Fort Bridger Treaty
From the Center for Columbia River History.
"...So they were always thinkin' ahead what they were going to eat, how they were going to eat. Now I think that this bottoms down here was the wintering grounds, 'cause I asked my granddad one time, why they took this sandy sagebrush rocky deal for a reservation, and he told me that it was the wintering grounds" (Rusty Houtz interview WOTE: 2001).

"Even though it's in our treaty not to bear arms, many of our people served in armed forces because this is our country too" (Rosemary Davinney interview: 2002).

Lemhi Pass > Culture > Making Treaties
The treaty history of the Northern Shoshone-Bannocks of Fort Hall Reservation is presented here. Although the Lemhi Shoshone eventually came to Fort Hall, their treaty history is different and is presented on the Lemhi Reservation page.

1851 - Fort Laramie Council

The Shoshones did not sign a treaty at the great gathering near Fort Laramie, Wyoming. They were invited to witness the treaty negotiations and signings with the Plains tribes, and to agree to intertribal peace.

Portion of Pierre John De Smet's 1851 Indian Lands, for D.D. Mitchell.
Courtesy of the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Library, The University of Montana.


Mapmaking at that historic gathering defined the eastern and northern boundaries of Shoshone territory, as shown on this 1851 map prepared for D. D. Mitchell, Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

Read descriptions of the gathering, and the Snakes'arrival, at the Fort Laramie council grounds.


1863 - Soda Springs Treaty (unratified)


As newly appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Utah Territory, James Duane Doty set out to negotiate treaties with all of the Shoshoni tribes. Four of the five treaties were ratified.

On October 14, 1863, he negotiated a treaty with the mixed bands of Fort Hall Bannock and Shoshoni at Soda Springs, Idaho Territory. It was accepted by 150 men and their families under 3 chiefs, including Tahgee. Boundaries were defined as extending from the lower part of Humboldt River and the Salmon Falls of Snake River to the Wind River Mountains.

Chief Tendoy sent word that the Lemhi bands wanted to be part to the treaty, but were forced to leave for their fall buffalo hunt in Montana due to lateness of the season.

Due to a technicality concerning an amendment about claims under original Mexican law (irrelevant to the Bannock Shoshoni as their lands were north of the 42nd parallel), this treaty was never ratified.

Doty's 1863 map imposed the boundaries of the five Shoshone Treaties he had negotiated on the General Land Office map. [Doty had been secretary to Isaac Stevens during the 1850's and attended negotiations and treaties with many tribes along the Columbia and Missouri Rivers.]
Fort Hall Reserve Boundaries
The following Executive order established boundaries for the future Fort Hall Reservation:

1867 - March 19
"Executive Order. - Shoshoni and Bannock
President establishes a reserve known as Fort Hall reserve, on Snake River.
"This reserve was set apart in general terms for the Indians of southern Idaho, and many of the Shoshoni and Bannock established themselves thereon. Subsequently, by treaty of July 3, 1868, with the Shoshoni and Bannock, the President was authorized to set apart a reserve for the Bannock whenever they desired. It was therefore decided to accept the Fort Hall reserve as the one contemplated by the treaty, and it was so done by Executive order of July 30, 1869" (B.A.E. Report: 1896-97).


1867 - Long Tom Creek Treaty - (unratified)


August 21, 1867
Tahgee, Chief of the Bannocks, met with Governor D. W. Ballard at Long Tom Creek near Camas Prairie (fifty miles from Boise) to hold council about a reservation. The two leaders signed an agreement which provided the Bannock would move to a reservation before June 1868, and agree to relinquish all claim to aboriginal lands from the 42nd to the 45th parallels and from the 113 degree meridian to the Rocky Mountains.
By September of 1868, there was still no official word from Washington to acknowledge an agreement.

Read part of Chief Tahgee's speech recorded at the Camas Prairie.


1868 - Fort Bridger Treaty


July 3 1868
The Indian Peace Commission sent Gen. C. C. Augur to negotiate a treaty with the Snakes and Bannocks, as well as the Eastern Shoshoni under Washakie. Tahgee responded to the suggestion that his people share a reservation at Wind River with Washakie's band:

"As far away as Virginia City our tribe has roamed. But I want the Porte Neuf country and Kamas plains...We are friends with the Shoshones and like to hunt with them, but we want a home for ourselves" (Chief Tahgee as cited in Madsen: 1980).

The treaty negotiations established the Wind River reservation for Washakie's band, and a clause referring to the Bannocks:

"It is agreed that whenever the Bannacks desire a reservation to be set apart for their use, or whenever the President of the United States shall deem it advisable for them to be put upon a reservation, he shall cause a suitable one to be selected for them in their present country, which shall embrace reasonable portions of the "PortNeuf" and "Kansas Prairie" countries, and that, when this reservation is declared, the United States will secure to the Bannacks the same rights and privileges therein..." (B.A.E. Report: 1896-97).

"Kansas Prairie", recorded in the treaty in error, referred to Camas Prairie. The Bannock War, ten years later, was partly due to this oversight. The Bannocks understood the Camas Prairie to be their food resource, and when stockmen and settlers had hogs turning up every root in the prairie, their subsistence was threatened.


1869 - Fort Hall Reservation Established

The following Exectuive Order established the Fort Hall reservation. It was understood that the treaty language from the Fort Bridger treaty applied to the Fort Hall Reservation, and the tribe relies on that treaty language even today. image
Portion of B.A.E. map
showing Ft. Hall Reservation boundaries (Powell:1897).

1869 - July 30
Executive order - Bannock
"The president establishes Fort Hall reserve as the one contemplated by treaty of July 3, 1868, bounded as follows: Commencing on the S. bank of Snake river at the junction of Port Neuf river with Snake river; thence S. 25 miles to the summit of the mountains dividing the waters of Bear river from those of Snake river; thence easterly along the summit of said range of mountains 70 miles to a point where Sublette road crosses said divide; thence N. about 50 miles to Blackfoot river; thence down said stream to its junction with Snake river; thence down Snake river to the place of beginning, embracing about 1,800,000 acres and including Fort Hall in its limits" (B.A.E. Report: 1896-97).

Background: Map portion of Floyd's 1859
"State of Oregon and Washington Territory."
Courtesy of University of Oregon Library,
Maps and Aerial Photography Collection.