PRESTON – Members of the Shoshone and Bannock tribes will gather north of Preston on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 11 a.m. to commemorate the 157th anniversary of the worst Native American massacre in United States history: the Bear River Massacre.
The ceremony will take place at the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Historical Marker on Highway 91, north of Preston at mile marker 13.1. at 11 a.m.
“I plan to let people know when the ground breaking will be for the interpretive center and of the change in the location,” said Tribal Chairman Darren Parry. “We are moving it west of where we originally planned for it to be.”
He said there were some water mitigation issues, so they changed the location.
Parry said he invited Idaho Governor Brad Little, but hasn’t received a confirmation he will attend. Larry Echo Hawk has agreed to be there.
“Echo Hawk is a good friend and is an Emeritus General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Parry said. “He also served in the Obama administration as the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs.”
Echo Hawk was, among other things, the general legal counsel for the Shoshone-Bannock tribes early in his career and went on to be the Idaho Attorney General.
“We will also have lunch,” he said. “The whole thing should last an hour.”
The tribe purchased over 600 acres of ground where their ancestors wintered near hot springs next to the Bear River.
The hot springs are south of where experts believe Colonel Patrick Edward Conner and about 200 California volunteers attacked and took the lives of over 300 Shoshone men, women and children.
So far, the tribe has $2.5 million of the $5 million they are trying to raise.
Parry recently published a book of his grandmother’s stories ‘The Bear River Massacre – a Shoshone History.”
“The book has done really well,” he said. “Deseret Book has picked it up so, I’m expecting more sales.”