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Sacajawea's People

The Lemhi Shoshones and the Salmon River Country

John W. W. Mann

Publication Year: 2004

On October 20, 2001, a crowd gathered just east of Salmon, Idaho, to dedicate the site of the Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural, and Education Center, in preparation for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. In a bitter instance of irony, the American Indian peoples conducting the ceremony dedicating the land to the tribe, the city of Salmon, and the nation—the Lemhi Shoshones, Sacajawea’s own people—had been removed from their homeland nearly a hundred years earlier and had yet to regain official federal recognition as a tribe. John W. W. Mann’s book at long last tells the remarkable and inspiring story of the Lemhi Shoshones, from their distant beginning to their present struggles.

Mann offers an absorbing and richly detailed look at the life of Sacajawea’s people before their first contact with non-Natives, their encounter with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early nineteenth century, and their subsequent confinement to a reservation in northern Idaho near the town of Salmon. He follows the Lemhis from the liquidation of their reservation in 1907 to their forced union with the Shoshone-Bannock tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation to the south. He describes how for the past century, surrounded by more populous and powerful Native tribes, the Lemhis have fought to preserve their political, economic, and cultural integrity. His compelling and informative account should help to bring Sacajawea’s people out of the long shadow of history and restore them to their rightful place in the American story.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

The idea for this study grew out of a graduate seminar in public history at Washington State University offered by Professor Orlan Svingen in 1995. He organized it around producing a legal-historic report in conjunction with the Lemhi Shoshones' petition to regain federal recognition from the government. ...

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pp. xv-xxiv

In anticipation of the bicentennial celebration of the expedition of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery, the U.S.Mint issued a $1 coin in 1999 bearing the image of Sacajawea, the Indian woman who accompanied the expedition and contributed to its successful journey to the Pacific Ocean and back.1 While the coin has been heralded as ...

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1. The Lemhi Shoshones and the Salmon River Country

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pp. 1-14

Understanding Lemhi identity starts with the Salmon River country. The Lemhi Indian people's aboriginal homeland there is one of the more remote areas in the continental United States. The Bitterroot mountain range, which forms the Continental Divide, and the Beaverhead Mountains border it to the east and north, and the rugged ...

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2. Contact, Ethnogenesis, and Exile from the Salmon River Country, 1805–1907

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pp. 15-38

The arrival of the Corps of Discovery in the Salmon River country in August 1805 inaugurated the Lemhi Shoshones' interactions with non-Indian peoples. The first half of the nineteenth century saw limited white encroachment into the Lemhis' traditional homeland, and while the Lemhis became progressively more familiar with the non- ...

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3. The Lemhi Committee and the Fight for Annuities

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pp. 39-58

The Lemhis' tie to the Salmon River country remained strong throughout the twentieth century, despite their removal to Fort Hall in 1907. Indeed, some never left the area, opting instead to try to make a life in their ancestral homeland. Others returned to the Salmon area after a brief stay at Fort Hall. The Lemhis who did settle at Fort Hall, for their ...

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4. Termination and the Indian Claims Commission

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pp. 59-78

By the end of World War II, the Lemhis had spent the better part of four decades at the Fort Hall Reservation. Some had intermarried with the Shoshone-Bannocks there and had been enrolled as tribal members. Despite the forces of assimilation, however, the Lemhis remained a distinct group, and they were viewed as such by their fellow tribal ...

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5. The Lemhi ICC Claim, 1962–72

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pp. 79-108

Attorney Robert Barker telephoned Tribal Business Council chairman Edward Boyer on October 25, 1962, with the news of the ICC's favorable decision, and Boyer announced it to the Fort Hall tribes at a special council meeting that day. The claim was one of the largest awarded by the ICC, involving fifty to sixty million acres. It followed that a large ...

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6. Returning to the River of No Return, 1907–93

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pp. 109-142

On Monday, May 24, 1993, a group of Lemhi elders and youths gathered on a rocky hilltop above the town of Tendoy in the Lemhi Valley to honor an esteemed ancestor and leader by replacing the cedar pole marking his gravesite.1 The man who had placed the first cedar pole around 1820 had charged his descendants with the task of maintaining ...

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7. The Lemhis, Salmon, and Treaty Rights

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pp. 143-178

On July 14, 1968, Gerald Tinno, a Lemhi descendant and enrolled member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, ascended the Yankee Fork River hoping to catch some salmon to store away against the coming winter months. Near Eightmile Creek, up the Yankee Fork Road from Sunbeam, Idaho, Tinno succeeded in spearing a chinook salmon with ...

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8. Sacajawea's People

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pp. 179-190

When Lewis and Clark ventured into the Salmon River country in 1805, the various ethnic groups inhabiting the region—Salmoneaters, Sheepeaters, and Buffaloeaters—were beginning to coalesce into the tribal entity historically known as the Lemhi Shoshones. This process of cultural fusion, or ethnogenesis, culminated over the course of ...


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pp. 191-234


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pp. 235-246


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pp. 247-258

E-ISBN-13: 9780803204416
E-ISBN-10: 0803204418

Publication Year: 2004