SALT LAKE CITY – Monday, Feb. 10, Darren Parry, the Chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, was honored by Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and Senator Lyle W. Hillyard in the Senate Chambers for his work to highlight his fore-bearers and the complex history of Utah and the Bear River Massacre.
Parry, a Providence resident, recently published the book “The Bear River Massacre: A Shoshone History” which illuminates the moving stories, history, and culture of the Shoshone people.
Many of the stories were learned from his grandmother who wrote down her memories of their people and the conflict at the Bear River a few miles northwest of Preston.
The citation read: “We honor Darren Parry for his work to illuminate the history of the Shoshone nation. We acknowledge Darren’s visionary leadership to the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation to preserve their history and culture. We thank Darren for his aspirations and determination to build an interpretive center at the memorial site of the Bear River Massacre. Many perspectives, traditions and experiences make us stronger, wiser, and more resilient as a people.
“Now therefore let it be recognized that the Utah’s Senate pays tribute to his work and research and his family story and the untold history of the Bear River Massacre. His commitment to memorialize the history of the Shoshone nation has brought his people together, enriching all of us and continues to bring reconciliation that will be felt for generations to come.”
Parry told the legislature the stories and oral histories his grandmother told him were etched in his soul and he honored her and his people.
“I don’t want to change history, I don’t believe we need too,” he said. “But we can change the future and I believe you as a body are doing that.”
Parry talked about the Shoshone and Bannock tribes, raising the money to purchase the massacre site.
He thanked the legislature for their help and allocation.
The tribe raised $2 million of their own money and with the help the Utah Legislature they will be able to build the interpretive center.
“We just want our perspective heard,” Parry said. “That’s all. We are not looking to make things right.”
He wanted people to come together and see each other for the human beings they can be. He asked the legislature to remember people, individually and remember those who are marginalized and are hurting in some way in their work.
“I promise I will continue to work hard to foster love, not hate, to extend the hand of friendship and not a fist,” he said.