Shoshone or Shoshoni (/ʃoʊˈʃoʊniː/ ( listen) or
/ʃəˈʃoʊniː/ ( listen)) are a Native American tribe
with four large cultural/linguistic divisions:
Eastern Shoshone: Wyoming
Northern Shoshone: southeastern Idaho
Western Shoshone: Nevada, northern Utah
Gosiute: western Utah, eastern Nevada
They traditionally speak the Shoshoni language, part of the Numic
languages branch of the large Uto-Aztecan language family. The
Shoshone were sometimes called the
Snake Indians by neighboring tribes
and early American explorers.
Their peoples have become members of federally recognized tribes
throughout their traditional areas of settlement, often colocated with
Paiute and Washoe peoples of the Great Basin.
1 Name origin
4 Historical population
6 Reservations and Indian colonies
8 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
The name "Shoshone" comes from Sosoni, a
Shoshone word for
high-growing grasses. Some neighboring tribes call the
House People," based on their traditional homes made from soshoni.
Shoshones call themselves Newe, meaning "People."
Meriwether Lewis recorded the tribe as the "Sosonees or snake Indians"
Shoshoni language is spoken by approximately 1,000 people
today. It belongs to the Central Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan
language family. Speakers are scattered from central
Nevada to central
The largest numbers of Shoshoni speakers (including children) live on
the federally recognized Duck Valley Indian Reservation, located on
the border of
Nevada and Idaho; and
Goshute Reservation in Utah. Idaho
State University also offers Shoshoni-language classes.
Shoshone encampment in the
Wind River Mountains
Wind River Mountains of Wyoming,
photographed by W. H. Jackson, 1870
Shoshone are a Native American tribe, who originated in the
Great Basin and spread north and east into present-day Idaho
and Wyoming. By 1500, some
Eastern Shoshone had crossed the Rocky
Mountains into the Great Plains. After 1750, warfare and pressure from
the Blackfoot, Crow, Lakota, Cheyenne, and
Arapaho pushed Eastern
Shoshone south and westward. Some of them moved as far south as Texas,
emerging as the
Comanche by 1700.
As more European-American settlers migrated west, tensions rose with
the indigenous people over competition for territory and resources.
Wars occurred throughout the second half of the 19th century. The
Northern Shoshone, led by Chief Pocatello, fought during the 1860s
with settlers in
Idaho (where the city
Pocatello was named for him).
As more settlers encroached on
Shoshone hunting territory, the natives
raided farms and ranches for food, and attacked immigrants.
The warfare resulted in the
Bear River Massacre
Bear River Massacre (1863), when US forces
attacked and killed an estimated 410 Northwestern Shoshone, who were
at their winter encampment. A large number of the dead were civilians,
including women and children, deliberately killed by the soldiers.
This was the highest number of deaths which the
Shoshone suffered at
the hands of
United States forces.
Allied with the Bannock, to whom they were related, the Shoshone
fought against the
United States in the
Snake War from 1864 to 1868.
They fought US forces together in 1878 in the Bannock War. In 1876, by
Shoshone fought alongside the U.S. Army in the Battle of
the Rosebud against their traditional enemies, the Lakota and
In 1879 a band of approximately 300
Eastern Shoshone (known as
"Sheepeaters") became involved in the Sheepeater Indian War. It was
the last Indian war fought in the
Pacific Northwest region of the
present-day United States.
In 1911 a small group of Bannock under a leader named Mike Daggett,
also known as "
Shoshone Mike," killed four ranchers in Washoe County,
Nevada. The settlers formed a posse and went out after the Native
Americans. They caught up with the Bannock band on February 26, 1911
and killed eight. They lost one man of the posse, Ed Hogle. The
posse captured three children and a woman.
A rancher donated the partial remains of three adult males, two adult
females, two adolescent males, and three children (believed to be
Shoshone Mike and his family, according to contemporary accounts) to
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC for study. In 1994, the
institution repatriated the remains to the Fort Hall Idaho
In 2008 the
Northwestern Shoshone acquired the site of the Bear River
Massacre and some surrounding land. They wanted to protect the holy
land and to build a memorial to the massacre, the largest their nation
had suffered. "In partnership with the American West Heritage Center
and state leaders in
Idaho and Utah, the tribe has developed
public/private partnerships to advance tribal cultural preservation
and economic development goals." They have become a leader in
developing tribal renewable energy.
In 1845 the estimated population of Northern and
Western Shoshone was
4,500, much reduced after they had suffered infectious disease
epidemics and warfare. The completion of the First Transcontinental
Railroad in 1869 was followed by European-American immigrants arriving
in unprecedented numbers in the territory.
In 1937 the
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs counted 3,650 Northern Shoshone
and 1,201 Western Shoshone. As of the 2000 census, some 12,000 persons
identified as Shoshone.
Shoshone people are divided into traditional bands based both on their
homelands and primary food sources. These include:
Lemhi Shoshone chief and his wife, ca. 1897, photographed by
Eastern Shoshone people:
Guchundeka', Kuccuntikka, Buffalo Eaters
Tukkutikka, Tukudeka, Mountain Sheep Eaters, joined the Northern
Boho'inee', Pohoini, Pohogwe, Sage Grass people, Sagebrush Butte
Northern Shoshone people:
Agaideka, Salmon Eaters, Lemhi, Snake River and Lemhi River
Doyahinee', Mountain people
Kammedeka, Kammitikka, Jack Rabbit Eaters, Snake River, Great Salt
Hukundüka, Porcupine Grass Seed Eaters, Wild Wheat Eaters, possibly
synonymous with Kammitikka
Sheep Eaters (Mountain Sheep Eaters), Sawtooth
Yahandeka, Yakandika, Groundhog Eaters, lower Boise, Payette, and
Western Shoshone people:
Goshute (Gosiute), Great Salt Desert and Great Salt Lake,
Cedar Valley Goshute
Deep Creek Goshute
Rush Valley Goshute
Skull Valley Goshute, Wipayutta, Weber Ute
Toole Valley Goshute
Trout Creek Goshute
Kuyatikka, Kuyudikka, Bitterroot Eaters, Halleck, Mary's River, Clover
Valley, Smith Creek Valley, Nevada
Mahaguadüka, Mentzelia Seed Eaters, Ruby Valley, Nevada
Painkwitikka, Penkwitikka, Fish Eaters, Cache Valley,
Pasiatikka, Redtop Grass Eaters, Deep Creek Gosiute, Deep Creek
Valley, Antelope Valley
Tipatikka, Pinenut Eaters, northernmost band
Tsaiduka, Tule Eaters, Railroad Valley, Nevada
Tsogwiyuyugi, Elko, Nevada
Waitikka, Ricegrass Eaters, Ione Valley, Nevada
Watatikka, Ryegrass Seed Eaters, Ruby Valley, Nevada
Wiyimpihtikka, Buffalo Berry Eaters
Reservations and Indian colonies
Shoshone at Ft. Washakie,
Wyoming Native American reservation. Chief
Washakie (at left) extends his right arm." Some of the Shoshones are
dancing as the soldiers look on, 1892
Battle Mountain Reservation, Lander County, Nevada. Current
reservation population is 165 and total tribal enrollment is 516.
Big Pine Reservation, central Owens Valley, Inyo County, California;
Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony, northern Owens Valley, Inyo
Death Valley Indian Community, Furnace Creek, Death Valley National
Duck Valley Indian Reservation, southern Idaho/northern Nevada,
Duckwater Indian Reservation, located in Duckwater, Nevada,
approximately 75 miles (121 km) from Ely.
Elko Indian Colony, Elko County, Nevada
Ely Shoshone Indian Reservation in Ely, Nevada, 111 acres
(0.45 km²), 500 members
Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Reservation near Fallon, Nevada, 8,200 acres
(33 km²), 991 members,
Western Shoshone and Paiute
Fort Hall Indian Reservation, 544,000 acres (2,201 km²) in
Lemhi Shoshone with the Bannock Indians, a
Paiute band with
which they have merged
Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation,
Nevada and Oregon, Fort McDermitt
Goshute Indian Reservation, 111,000 acres (449 km²) in Nevada
and Utah, Western Shoshone
Lemhi Indian Reservation
Lemhi Indian Reservation (1875–1907) in Idaho, Lemhi Shoshone,
removed to Fort Hall Reservation
Lone Pine Community of the Lone Pine Reservation, lower Owens Valley,
Inyo County, California;
Northwestern Shoshone Indian Reservation, Utah, Northwestern Band of
Shoshone Nation of
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Nevada, 1988 acres (8 km²), total 481
members of Shoshone, Paiute, and Washoe bands
Skull Valley Indian Reservation, 18,000 acres (73 km²) in Utah,
South Fork Odgers Ranch Indian Colony, Elko County, Nevada
Wells Indian Colony, Elko County, Nevada
Wind River Reservation, population 2,650 Eastern Shoshone, 2,268,008
acres (9,178 km²) of reservation in
Wyoming are shared with the
Lemhi Shoshone guide of the Lewis and Clark
Jean Baptiste Charbonneau
Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (1805-1866) son of Sacagawea, explorer,
guide, military scout
Cameahwait, chief in the early 19th century
Bear Hunter (d. 1863), war chief
Ned Blackhawk (b. ca. 1970), historian and professor at Yale
Mary Dann and Carrie Dann
Tina Manning (d. 1979), murdered water rights activist from Duck
Randy'L He-dow Teton
Battle of Kelley Creek
United States v.
Shoshone Tribe of Indians
Western Shoshone traditional narratives
^ a b c d "Shoshoni." Ethnologue. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013.
^ a b c d e f g h Loether, Christopher. "Shoshones." Encyclopedia of
the Great Plains. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013.
^ America's Last Indian Battle Archived August 23, 2007, at the
^ Ed Hogle memorial
^ NMNH - Repatriation Office - Reports -
Great Basin - Nevada
^ "Tribe remembers nation's largest massacre", Indian Country Times,
10 Mar 2008, accessed 6 Mar 2010
^ a b c Shimkin 335
^ a b c d e f g Murphy and Murphy 306
^ a b c Murphy and Murphy 287
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Thomas, Pendleton, and Cappannari
^ "Northwestern Band of
Shoshone Tribal Profile."
Utah Division of
Indian Affairs. Retrieved 23 Dec 2012.
Murphy, Robert A. and Yolanda Murphy. "
Northern Shoshone and Bannock."
Warren L. d'Azevedo, volume editor. Handbook of North American
Indians: Great Basin, Volume 11. Washington, DC: Smithsonian
Institution, 1986: 284–307. ISBN 978-0-16-004581-3.
Shimkin, Demitri B. "Eastern Shoshone." Warren L. d'Azevedo, volume
editor. Handbook of North American Indians: Great Basin, Volume 11.
Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1986: 308–335.
Thomas, David H., Lorann S.A. Pendleton, and Stephen C. Cappannari.
"Western Shoshone." Warren L. d'Azevedo, volume editor. Handbook of
North American Indians: Great Basin, Volume 11. Washington, DC:
Smithsonian Institution, 1986: 262–283. ISBN 978-0-16-004581-3.
Gould, Drusilla & Loether, Christopher (2002). An introduction to
the Shoshoni language: dammen da̲igwape. University of
ISBN 9780874807295. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
Bial Raymond (2002). The Shoshone. ISBN 9780761412113.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shoshoni.
Northern Shoshoni treaties
Great Basin Indian Archives
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony
Te-Moak Tribe of the
Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada
Timbisha Tribe of the
Western Shoshone Nation
U.S. Treaty with the
Western Shoshone 1863, Ruby Valley
Western Shoshone Defense Project