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Idaho: Northwestern Band of Shoeshone Reservation

About the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation: The Shoshone people lived for hundreds of years in the area of Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and Idaho. When horses were introduced to the tribe in the early 1700’s, many tribal members were able to travel over great distances to hunt many types of game to feed their families. Groups of extended families traveled together and would gather in larger camps during the year for protection against enemies, to trade, and to socialize. The Northwestern Shoshone Indians were traditionally nomadic hunters, gatherers, and fishermen.

History: The Northwestern Shoshones in the 1800s moved with the seasons in four groups of 300 or 400 people from the Bear Lake Valley to the eastern shores of the Great Salt Lake. The Shoshones at first were friendly to white settlers along the Oregon and California trails in the 1840s. However, as the numbers of game animals the Shoshone people depended on for food were depleted, and the grazing lands were fenced in and plowed for white settlements and farms, tension grew between the Shoshone and white settlers. In February of 1875, by an executive order, President Grant established a 100 square mile reservation for the Lemhi people in the Lemhi Valley for "the exclusive use of the mixed tribes of Shoshone, Bannock, and Sheapeater Indians.” Tragically, almost immediately, the United States government and local residents began efforts to withdraw the executive order establishing the reservation. The forced removal of the Shoshone people from their ancestral homelands to the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in 1905, and again in 1907, began what many have called the "Lemhi Trail of Tears.” Only recently in 1980 did the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Indians received federal recognition.

Life on the Reservation: Based in Blackfoot, Idaho, most members of the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation Reservation subsist on farming. Unemployment and poverty rates are both high on the reservation. Removed from their traditional homelands, the people of the Northwestern Band have been left with few economic opportunities. As was stated by the Attorneys General of Idaho and Utah in the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Indians vs. the United States, 1945, “The result [of the forced removal from their traditional lands] is that a peaceful and friendly people, lulled into a sense of security by the proffers of the United States of peace and amity, have been reduced from a nation able to wrest their living from their primitive ancestral home to a nondescript, homeless, and poverty-stricken aggregation of bands of Indians, without the means to compete in the modern civilization.” How can I help?

On the Map: Southeastern Idaho and Northwestern Utah

Tribal Enrollment: Approximately 400

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