Northwest Band of Shoshone councilman Darren Parry tells the history of the Bear River Massacre on January 29.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
PRESTON — The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation (NWBSN) hosted a memorial ceremony for the 160th anniversary of the Bear River Massacre on Sunday, January 29.
The event honored an estimated 500 members of the tribe who lost their lives on that very day in 1863 by Col. Patrick E. Conner and his command of California volunteers from Camp Douglas, Utah. The names of 38 recorded known casualties were read in respect.
NWBSN Chairman Dennis Alex welcomed the attendees who braved the freezing cold winter morning saying, “I think this is just right, that we have to feel what they felt.”
Prayer was offered by Rios Pacheco and honor songs were sung by members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
When telling the history of the Bear River Massacre, NWBSN Councilman Darren Parry looks to the future and said while the tragic events have long been forgotten by most, he hopes a new generation will have a desire to listen and learn.
He said, “We realize we live in an ever changing world and we need to prepare our youth to change and succeed with it.”
He added the Bear River Massacre didn’t define them as they are resilient and have adapted to be here today. He said it’s the history that connects them to the past and offers a way to move forward with respect for the truth.
NWBSN Vice Chairman and Natural Resources Officer, Bradley Parry, spoke about the status of the Boa Ogoi Cultural & Interpretive Center they plan to build on the bluffs across from the site. They are continuing to fundraise for the project, but have yet to set a completion date due to the recent economy and building costs.
In the meantime, they are moving forward with ecological restoration to honor their ancestors. They believe taking the land back in time will greatly affect those that were there and give them something to recognize.
“It doesn’t look anything like our people; Sho-Ban, Northwestern Band, Eastern Band - would’ve recognized 160 years ago. The trees are all gone, replaced by invasive species. The waters been channelized and we want to reverse all of that. Take out the invasive, replant all of the native species and free the water to run its own course over the land to bring fish back and bring wildlife back. That’s so important for our people,” said Bradley.
Northewest Band of Shoshone members at the memorial.
NWBSN tribal member Patty Timbimboo-Madsen is the cultural lands resource manager. She is working to teach the younger ones to take over when she steps down. She attended the event to honor the legacy of her family members who were at the massacre, including her great-great grandfather, great grandfather and their wives.
Fort Hall resident and Eastern Shoshone tribal member, Ronald Braman, says it’s important for him to come to the event because some of his family members were survivors, including a little boy saved during the battle who was the start of the Pingree family, which he descends from on his maternal side.
“I come for strength. I come for healing. I just come to remember,” said Braman.
Sho-Ban tribal members singing a veteran honor song; from left, Kevin Toane, Nelson Fred, FHBC councilmember Lee Juan Tyler and NWBS councilman Jason Walker.
To learn more about, or support the Boa Ogoi Cultural Interpretive Center visit https://boaogoi.org