Echo Hawk to speak at Bear River Massacre commemoration on Jan. 29

Chairman of the Northwest Band of Shoshone Darren Parry addressed the crowd assembled at the Bear River Massacre site last year.

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.

A rendition of the Bear River Massacre Interpretive Center to be built on newly purchased land by the Northwest Band of Shoshone.

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 Bear River Massacre memorial has turned into a big event for the Northwest Band of Shoshone.

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.”

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1 Comment

  • Jason Brough January 28, 2020 at 8:36 am Reply

    While the article touches on some key points, I do not like the fact that the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation is not mentioned by name. Indeed, members of this Nation were some of the primary residents of Cache Valley before being gradually pushed out by Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Indeed, it was mainly because of the conflict between theses two groups, in addition to the thousands of travels on the Oregon and California Trails, that led up to the Bear River Massacre. The LDS Church played a crucial role by sending scouts to assist General Connor and his volunteers to find the Shoshone winter camp and assisted in the slaughter, not to mention the celebrations that took place directly after the Massacre by Members in settlements throughout Cache Valley. As a Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation Tribal member, I am glad that the center is finally being moved. The original plans would have violated Oral Traditions that clearly supported letting those that were brutally raped, tortured, and murdered on that tragic day rest. Building on the very site where the Massacre happened would have been no more respectful than the farmers who plowed the land, the cattle that grazed upon it, the railroad that ran through it, the current roads that run through it, or even the archaeologists who desire to excavate this Sacred Site. Lastly, this doesn’t scratch the surface of the events of the Massacre, another tragedy.

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