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Massacre remembered | Preston Citizen

Massacre remembered

January 31, 2013
By

By RODNEY D. BOAM

Citizen editor

 

On Jan. 29, 1863, over 500 Northwestern Shoshone men, women and children perished in the Bear River Massacre. Federal troops trapped and decimated the Tribe at the site of its annual “Warm Dance,” in present Franklin County, Idaho.       Some 150 years later, nearly 100 people braved the snow and cold on Tuesday arriving in their heated vehicles, layered clothing and warm blankets to hear elders from the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation and LDS Church Historian Scott Christensen recount stories of the Bear River Massacre.

Most of the people in the crowd were descendants of the Northwestern Band. Also in attendance were state and national government representatives. Cody Merchant gave the gathering added atmosphere by playing the flute.

“The flute really created the mood for the program,” said Jason Walker, Chair of the Northwestern Band. Walker recounted stories that have been passed down through the ages from one generation to the next. That’s where our history started. There is nothing before then,” Walker said. “I thought things went really well.”

Christensen spoke of the military records and some of the local accounts of that day when Col. Patrick Conner and 200 California Volunteers came with superior firepower, including a cannon, to contend with the Shoshone tribe who were in teepees along the Bear River. Men, women and children were nearly wiped out. It is said to be one of the worst Native American slaughters in history.

Nearby trees at the site had new dream catchers and other colorful trinkets hung on them for the memorial service, along with others that have lasted through the years.


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