U of U to use Bear River Massacre as a model for teachers to instruct encounters with indigenous people

A file photo of past Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Tribal Chairman Darren Parry speaks to the audience at the Bear River Massacre Ceremony last Jan. 29, 2921.

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah is seeking experts on the Bear River Massacre to teach at the Rocky Mountain American Religion Seminar to be held in person on January 15, 2022, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

A new plaque was unveiled at the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers monument north of Preston on US 91 memorializing the Bear River Massacre Friday.

University of Utah is inviting applicants to participate in this unique historical teaching seminar, “Teaching Hard History: The Bear River Massacre.”

Joseph Stuart, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah, organized the seminar to help middle and high school teachers and graduate students learn to model how to teach settler/indigenous encounters in Utah, by focusing on the Bear River Massacre.

The seminar will provide all materials necessary to participate.

Stuart will lead the morning meetings as students learn the historical contexts of the Massacre, its historical afterlives, and how religion has shaped the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone since 1863.

“On January 29, 1863, the United States Army killed between 250-400 Northwestern Shoshone men, women, and children near Preston, Idaho,” Stuart said. “The event has been labeled a ‘battle,’ suggesting that both sides were equally aggressive in preparing for violence.”

Dream catchers and other memorabilia hang in a tree near the memorial ceremony for victims of the Bear River Massacre Tuesday.

Until February 2021, the memorial established by settlers to commemorate the Army’s violence called it the “Battle of Bear River” rather than the “Bear River Massacre.”

“In the decades following the Massacre, the Shoshone homesteaded, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said. “They have also kept the memory of Boa Ogoi, the Shoshone name for the Massacre, alive through oral and community histories.”

Darren Parry, former chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, will share his family’s and peoples’ history in the decades following the Bear River Massacre. The afternoon will conclude with a primary source activity on historical memory adaptable to classroom settings.

Before attending the seminar, attendees will be expected to read a provided copy of Parry’s book, The Bear River Massacre: A Shoshone History.

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

To apply to participate, applicants need to send an email with the following information to jstuartteaching@gmail.com:

  • Your name, phone number, and email address
  • The name of the school where you teach (or the name of your academic institution if you are a student)
  • A short CV
  • 2-4 sentences on how attending the workshop will help you as an educator

Applications are due on December 7, 2021. Travel stipends are available for those driving more than 20 miles to attend. Lunch will be provided.


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