USU assisting the Northwest Band of Shoshone to prepare memorial at massacre site

A hot spring along the bank of the Bear River at Boa Ogoi. Hot springs, like this one, were part of the reason this site was a winter camp for the Shoshone. (Photo Credit: Lindsay Capito)

The Northwest Band of the Shoshone tribe is turning the site of a devastating tragedy more than 150 years ago — the Bear River Massacre — into a place of  cultural restoration and healing.

Aerial photo of the Boa Ogoi restoration site. (Photo credit: Sarah Klain)

The massacre site — or Boa Ogoi (which means Big River) — is sacred to the Shoshone people and that is where they will build a Cultural and Interpretive Center.

Will Munger, a doctoral student at Utah State University, is the liaison to the tribe.

“It’s been a dream since the massacre to return to the sacred site and help in its stewardship,” Munger explained. “This has been going on for many, many generations and we just happen to live in the right time that this can happen and the land can be hopefully restored.”

Munger explained what visitors will find inside the new center.

Hand drawn images by Mae Timbimboo Parry of culturally important plants to the Northwestern Band of Shoshone. (Courtesy of: The Bear River Massacre: A Shoshone Story by Darry Parry)

“The Shoshone are going to be telling their story of their history and their people and their presence on the land and their current contributions to Northern Utah,” he added. “And when you’re down on the land what we’re hoping is that the riparian areas, the areas next to the creek and the Bear River, are cleaned up and the water quality is cleaned up and the plants also reflect the stories and the culture of the Northwest Band of the Shoshone people.”

Another important goal of the tribe is to restore the ecology of Boa Ogoi to what it might have looked like in 1863.

The site is north of Preston, Idaho on the Bear River and encompasses the river bottom and an upland meadows area where the center will sit.

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  • Lori Follett September 23, 2020 at 8:35 pm Reply

    Are they needing community volunteers? We would love to help. Please include that information. Thank you

  • Kim Moore September 24, 2020 at 6:04 pm Reply

    So nice to see this being done and becoming a reality.we as a people need to bear witness to the inhumanity that happened at this site and show the spirits we care and still value them.

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