Northern Shoshone and Bannock
Traditional Culture
  Since Time Immemorial
Who's Who
All My Relations
Pipe Ceremony and Peacemaking
Great Circle
Intertribal Relations
"How the Indian Averted Famine"
Naming Ceremonies
Agaidika Perspective on Sacajawea
Horses, Trade, & Travel
References Cited

  Contemporary Culture
  Sovereignty & Tribal Government
Arts & Artists
Annual Festival Dances
Recommended Websites

  Relationship with the U.S.
  Early Contact
Fur Trade
Naturalists in Shoshone Country
Missionaries and Emigrants
Making Treaties
Lemhi In Limbo
Lemhi Reservation and  Loss
Shrinking Reservation
References Cited

Portion of Rand McNally's 1885 Lines of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
From Pioneer Atlas of the American West (1956).

Ponzo, a young man from the Lemhi Reservation who "took all the prizes at the foot races when the whites would let him enter"
Image and quote courtesy Lemhi County Historical Society.

Lemhi Pass > Culture > Shrinking Reservation
Buffalo Gone from Snake River Country

In 1843, explorer and topographer John C. Fremont described the historic ranges, and subsequent disappearance of buffalo in the Snake River country:

"The extraordinary rapidity with which the buffalo is disappearing from our territories will not appear surprising when we remember the great scale on which their destruction is yearly carried on. With inconsiderable exceptions, the business of the American trading posts is carried on in their skins; every year the Indian villages make new lodges, for which the skin of the buffalo furnishes the material; and in that portion of the country where they are still found, the Indians derive their entire support from them, and slaughter them with a thoughtless and abominable extravagance. Like the Indians themselves, they have been a characteristic of the Great West; and as, like them, they are visibly diminishing, it will be interesting to throw a glance backward through the last twenty years, and give some account of their former distribution through the country, and the limit of their western range.

"The Hide Hunters" 1872, Martin S. Garretson.
Image courtesy of National Museum of Wildlife Art.

"The information is derived principally from Mr. Fitzpatrick, supported by my own personal knowledge and acquaintance with the country. Our knowledge does not go farther back than the spring of 1824, at which time the buffalo were spread in immense numbers over the Green river and Bear river valleys, and through all the country lying between the Colorado, or Green river; the meridian of Fort Hall then forming the western limit of their range. The buffalo then remained for many years in that country, and frequently moved down the valley of the Columbia, on both sides of the river as far as the Fishing falls. Below this point they never descended in any numbers. About the year 1834 or 1835 they began to diminish very rapidly, and continued to decrease until 1838 or 1840, when, with the country we have just described, they entirely abandoned all the waters of the Pacific north of Lewis's fork of the Columbia. At that time, the Flathead Indians were in the habit of finding their own buffalo on the heads of the Salmon river, and other streams of the Columbia; but now they never meet with them farther west than the three forks of the Missouri or the plains of the Yellowstone river (Fremont 1845:143-4)."

Starvation Times

August 29, 1843 close to Fort Hall:

"A number of Indians came immediately over to visit us, and several men were sent to the village with goods, tobacco, knives, cloth, vermilion, and the usual trinkets, to exchange for provisions. But they had no game of any kind; and it was difficult to obtain any roots from them, as they were miserably poor, and had but little to spare from their winter stock of provisions. Several of the Indians drew aside their blankets, showing me their lean and bony figures; and I would not any longer tempt them with a display of our merchandise to part with their wretched subsistence, when they gave as a reason that it would expose them to temporary starvation. A great portion of the region inhabited by this nation formerly abounded in game; the buffalo ranging about in herds, as we had found them on the eastern waters, and the plains dotted with scattered bands of antelope; but so rapidly have they disappeared within a few years, that now, as we journeyed along, and occasional buffalo skull and a few wild antelope were all that remained of the abundance which had covered the country with animal life (Fremont 1845:143)."

Reduction of Fort Hall Reservation

1880 May 14
Agreement Shoshoni, Bannock, and Sheepeater
Cede to the U.S. a certain tract.

This agreement provided for the cession of the Lemhi reservation to the U.S., and the removal of the Indians to the Fort Hall reservation. It also provided for the cessions of a portion of the Fort Hall reservation to the U.S. The Indians on the Lemhi reservation refused to remove to the Fort Hall reservation, and an agreement was not ratified until 1889.

1881 - Mar. 3
"Agreement - Shoshoni and Bannock

"Cede to U.S. right of way through Fort Hall reservation for Utah and Northern railroad.
Ratified by Congress July 3, 1882. This agreement provided for right of way 100 feet wide, with sufficient ground for depots, stations, etc., containing in the aggregate 772 acres (B.A.E. Report: 1896-97)."
[Note: Act of Congress ratified this cession on July 3, 1882.]

1888 - Sept. 1
Act of Congress - Bannock and Shoshoni of Fort Hall reservation

"Congress ratifies agreement by which said Indians surrender the following lands, all of which are contained in T. 6 S., R. 34 E., of Boise meridian: W. one-half sec. 25; all of a sec. 26; E. one-half sec. 27; NW. quarter sec. 36; N. half sec. 35; NE. quarter of SW. quarter sec. 35; NE. quarter of the NE. quarter of sec. 34; comprising an area of 1,840 acres, more or less, saving and excepting so much of the above-mentioned tracts as has been heretofore and is hereby relinquished to the U.S. for the use of the Utah and Northern and Oregon Short Line railways (B.A.E. Report: 1896-97)."

1898 February
Shoshone-Bannock agree to cede 418,000 acres of reservation around and south of Pocatello for $600,000.

1889 Feb. 23
Congress approves Agreement of May 14, 1880, ceding southern portion of reservation

1900 June 6
Congress ratifies Pocatello Cession Agreement.

1911 Mar. 3
Congressional act provides for allotment of land in severalty at Fort Hall.

Map showing land cessions to Fort Hall Reservation (Also shows important landmarks and reservoir).
Fort Hall Allotments
Excerpts from "Nine surviving tribal allottees"
Sho-Ban News Festival Edition, August 2002
Lori Edmo Suppah, editor

A ceremony to honor the nine surviving allottees who received their land during the period 1887 to 1911 was conducted August, 2002 during the Shoshone-Bannock Festival powwow.

The nine original allottees include John Ponzo; Daisy St. Clair; Teola Metz Truchot; Naomi Jane Johnson; Walter Nevada; Ida Browning Wahwahsuck; Elizabeth Yandell Twitchell; Thelma Lucy Falkner and Boyd Falkner.

John Ponzo, eldest living allottee
Courtesy of Sho-Ban News

In 1889, the government opened up 239,837 acres that was known as the "land grab" and was the first cession of tribal lands. The second cession in 1900 took another 418,560 acres that included the city of Pocatello. By 1963, the Shoshone-Bannocks retained approximately 540,764 acres but since then the Tribes have acquired additional lands.

The cessions were also the result of cession agreements made with the Tribes as well as cessions authorized by the General Allotment and Dawes Act during the years 1887 to 1911. Through the cession agreements and the Allotment Act tribal people were allotted specific portions of reservation lands that generally established the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.

Background from portion of Martin S. Garretson's "The End", 1883. Image courtesy of National Museum of Wildlife Art.