Eastern Shoshone

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Eastern Shoshone
Washakie (Shoots-the-Buffalo-Running), a Shoshoni chief, half-length, seated, holding pipe - NARA - 530875.jpg
Washakie, (translated as:Shoots the Buffalo Running), Eastern Shoshone chief
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( Wyoming,  Utah)
Shoshone,[1] English
Native American Church, Sun Dance,
traditional tribal religion,[2] Christianity, Ghost Dance
Related ethnic groups
other Shoshone people, Comanche

Eastern Shoshone are Shoshone who primarily live in Wyoming and in the northeast corner of the Great Basin where Utah, Idaho and Wyoming meet and are in the Great Basin classification of Indigenous People. They lived in the Rocky Mountains during the 1805 Lewis and Clark Expedition and adopted Plains horse culture.[3]

The Eastern Shoshone primarily settled on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, after their leader, Washakie signed the Fort Bridger Treaty in 1868.[4]


The Eastern Shoshone adopted horses much sooner than their neighbours to the North, the Blackfoot Confederacy (made up of three related groups, the Piegan, Siksika, and Kainai). With the advantage in speed and mobility that horses provided in battle, the Eastern Shoshone were able to expand to the north and soon occupied much of present-day southern and central Alberta, most of Montana, and parts of Wyoming, and raided the Blackfoot frequently. Meanwhile, their close cousins, the Comanche, split off and migrated south to present-day western Texas. Once the Piegan, in particular, had access to horses of their own and guns obtained from the Hudson's Bay Company via the Cree and Assiniboine, the situation changed, however. By 1787 David Thompson reports that the Blackfoot had completely conquered most of Shoshone territory, and frequently captured Shoshone women and children and forcibly assimilated them into Blackfoot society, further increasing their advantages over the Shoshone. Thompson reports that Blackfoot territory in 1787 was from the North Saskatchewan River in the north to the Missouri River in the South, and from Rocky Mountains in the west out to a distance of 300 miles (480 km) to the east.[5]


Eastern Shoshone speak the Shoshone language, a Central Numic language in the Uto-Aztecan language family. It is spoken on the Wind River Indian Reservation.[1]


Bands of Shoshone people were named for their geographic homelands and for their primary food sources.

Contemporary tribes and communities

Notable Eastern Shoshone

  • Washakie (c. 1798–1900), war leader and diplomat

See also


  1. ^ a b "Shoshoni." Ethnologue. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Loether, Christopher. "Shoshones." Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013.
  3. ^ Shimkin 308
  4. ^ a b c d "The Wind River Reservation." The Shoshone Indians. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013.
  5. ^ "Beyond Borderlands: Discussion: Aftermath". Segonku.unl.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
  6. ^ a b c Shimkin 335
  7. ^ Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series: SHOSHONI AND NORTHERN PAIUTE INDIANS IN IDAHO


External links

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