Monday, January 27, 2020
Bear River Massacre Talk Addresses Little Known Tale of Shoshone Indians
Tuesday, May 14, 2019


Fur trappers like Jim Bridger and Jedediah Smith were so impressed by Seuhubeogoi—the Shoshone name for what is now known as Cache Valley—that they encouraged Brigham Young to settle his Mormon followers there.

Young instead chose the Salt Lake Valley, ensuring it would be forever remembered as the promised land of the Mormon Church.

And the Cache Valley near Preston, Idaho, went down in history instead for the massacre of hundreds of Shoshone Indians in what became known as the Bear River Massacre.

Shoshone National Chairman Darren Parry will discuss the Bear River Massacre and his efforts to build an interpretive center on the site of the not-often-talked-about event at 6 p.m. tonight—Tuesday, May 14—at Ketchum’s Community Library.

He will tell of a mountain valley full of willows where fur trappers left caches of furs while hunting. A valley that bustled with wild game until the establishment of the California and Oregon trails, as well as the establishment of Salt Lake City in 1847.

By 1859 the Indians had become impoverished by the introduction of a white population that was taking the lands that fed them, despite Brigham Young’s admonition to help “feed them rather than fight them.”

Tensions rose as starving Indians began attacking cattle ranches for food and Shoshone Indians further west near Fort Hall attacked white settlers. And it didn’t help that the Deseret News egged on the local colonel to “rid of all such parties.”

On Jan. 29, 1863, while one of the chiefs was in Salt Lake City trying to negotiate peace, the 2nd Regiment California Volunteer Cavalry plowed through snow drifts and minus-20 temperatures to attack the Indians’ winter camp. When smoke from the guns settled, they had killed 493 Shoshone, according to a Danish immigrant. Reportedly, two dozen soldiers died.

Parry’s presentation is being offered as part of the Regional History Museum’s exhibit “Who Writes History: Frontier Voice, Native Realities,” which is being held in conjunction with the Sun Valley Center for the Arts’ Big idea project “Unraveling: Reimagining the Colonization in the Americas.”

Parry will meet with classes at Wood River High School and Sage School prior to his talk.


A free museum tour of the pop-up exhibition, which features photos, territory maps, a court case and newspaper accounts describing early interactions between Native Americans and white pioneers in the Wood River Valley, will be held on Thursday, May 16.

It will start at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, 5th  and Washington streets in Ketchum, at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. the action will transfer to the Regional History Museum at Ketchum’s Forest Service Park, First and Washington streets.



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