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Shoshone beaded moccasins, Wyoming, ca. 1900
Shoshoni tipi, probably taken around 1890
Randy'L He-dow Teton (Shoshone-Bannock, model for the Sacagawea Dollar.

The Shoshone (/ʃoʊˈʃoʊni/ shoshone1.ogg or /ʃəˈʃoʊni/ shoshone2.ogg ) are a Native American tribe in the United States with three large divisions: the Northern, the Western and the Eastern.

They traditionally spoke Shoshone, a part of the large Uto-Aztecan language family. The Shoshone were sometimes called the Snake Indians by early ethnic European trappers, travelers, and settlers.[1]

The Northern Shoshone are concentrated in eastern Idaho, western Wyoming, and north-eastern Utah.

The Eastern Shoshone tribes lived in Wyoming, northern Colorado and Montana. After 1750 warfare and pressure from the Blackfoot, Crow, Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho pushed them south and westward.

The Western Shoshone tribes ranged from central Idaho, northwestern Utah, central Nevada, and in California about Death Valley and Panamint Valley. This group is sometimes called the Panamint. The Idaho groups of Western Shoshone were called Tukuaduka (sheep eaters), while the Nevada/Utah bands were called the Gosiute or Toi Ticutta (cattail eaters).

The most famous member of the Shoshone tribe may have been Sacagawea, who accompanied the Corps of Discovery with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in their exploration of the Western United States. In 1845 the estimated population of Northern and Western Shoshone was 4,500, when they had been affected by infectious disease and warfare. In 1937 the Bureau of Indian Affairs counted 3,650 Northern Shoshone and 1,201 Western Shoshone.



"Shoshone Indians at Ft. Washakie, Wyoming Indian reservation. Chief Washakie (at left) extends his right arm." Some of the Shoshones are dancing as the soldiers look on, 1892.

The Shoshone arose out of various cultures of indigenous peoples who had been in the territory for thousands of years. The Uto-Aztecan languages were spoken by numerous peoples ranging from the Great Basin of the present-day United States; down through central, western and southern Mexico; and into South America.

As more European-American settlers migrated west, tensions rose with the indigenous people. There were wars throughout the second half of the 19th century. The Northern Shoshone, led by Chief Pocatello, fought with settlers in Idaho during the 1860s. As more settlers encroached on Shoshone territory, they raided farms and ranches for food, and attacked migrants. The warfare resulted in the Bear River Massacre (1863), when US forces trapped and killed an estimated 350-500 Northwestern Shoshone, including women and children, who were at their winter encampment. This was the highest number of deaths which the Shoshone suffered by the forces of the United States.

Allied with the Bannock, the Shoshone fought against the US in the Snake War from 1864–1868. They fought US forces together in 1878 in the Bannock War. In 1876, by contrast, the Shoshone fought alongside the U.S. Army in the Battle of the Rosebud, as it was against their traditional enemies, the Lakota and Cheyenne.

In 1879 a band of approximately 300 Western Shoshones (known as "Sheepeaters") was 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 "Shoshone Mike" killed four ranchers in Washoe County, Nevada.[2] The settlers formed a posse and went out after the Indians. They caught up with the band on February 26, 1911 and killed eight. They lost one man of the posse, Ed Hogle.[3] The posse captured three children and a woman. 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, were donated by a rancher to the Smithsonian Institution for study. In 1994, the institution repatriated the remains to the Fort Hall Idaho Shoshone-Bannock Tribe.[4]

In 2008, the Northwestern Shoshone acquired the site of the Bear River Massacre and some surrounding land. They wanted to protect the sacred land and erect 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 renewable energy.[5]

Reservations and Indian colonies


See also


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Shoshone is in California southeast of Death Valley.

  • Shoshone Inn at the Junction of SR 127 and SR 178, 16 comfortable rooms in period style buildings. Colorful, historic mining town. 760-852-4224
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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Alternative spellings

  • Shoshoni


  • IPA: /ʃoʊˈʃoʊni/

Proper noun




  1. An Amerind ethnic group of North America, especially of Wyoming and Idaho.
  2. The Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Shoshone people.
  3. The Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming.


External links

See also

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