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The 160th anniversary of the Bear River Massacre was recently marked with an event at the site of the attack in Idaho.
The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation plans to build a cultural interpretive center at the site, as Aimee Van Tatenhove reports.
On January 29, 1863, the United States Army attacked and killed as many as 500 Shoshone adults and children in Northern Cache Valley, ID.
The attack resulted in one of the largest slaughters of Native Americans in U.S. history.
The site of the attack along the Bear River, or Wuda Ogwa, had been used for hundreds of years as a place for trade, cultural exchange, and socialization by the Shoshone Nation.
Darren Parry, former chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, spoke at an event honoring the victims of the attack.
He shared that the site has remained a priority for the Shoshone, despite the tragedy that unfolded at the hands of the U.S. Army.
“When something terrible happens at a place where human lives are lost, that place always seems to take on a new meaning. The 14.6 acres of the World Trade Centers, the beaches of Normandy, a homemade memorial at the side of the road where a fatal traffic accident occurred. Places that haunt and hurt for the wounds that they hold, but for some reason they still compel us to go back for some unexplainable comfort.”
In partnership with local universities and ecological consultants, the Shoshone Nation has ambitious plans to honor victims of the massacre and to share Shoshone culture with an interpretive center.
Brian Andrew, an environmental engineer on the project, says the partnership is hoping to encourage outdoor recreation and appreciation of the site with a system of walking trails, a waterway for canoes and paddle boards, and interpretive signage throughout.
“There’s a multi-trail system plan we’re working on as well, so that’s gonna go, a short little loop up here. When you come here, when it’s ultimately done…we’ll have trees and things along that cornfield. What we’d like you to do is to go back in time.”
On Tuesday, tribal leaders gathered at the Capitol in Salt Lake City to advocate for the protection of the Indian Child Welfare Act at the state level in Utah.
Representatives from some of Utah’s eight tribal nations encouraged state lawmakers and leaders to support House Bill 40.
The bill seeks to codify provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act in the state, to keep Native children with Native families.
During a press conference, Navajo Nation Council Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton expressed her appreciation for the bill saying as an elected official it’s rare for her to see a state want to work with American Indians to protect the family unit.
“To see a state and our tribe work hand-in-hand to preserve the right for our Utah citizens to know who they are, where they come from and to have a connection to their people. I’m aware the Navajo Nation worked with the state of Utah to draft, review and discuss the Utah House Bill 40 to ensure the best interests of the state of Utah, the Navajo Nation, Navajo children, and Navajo families, are honored and recognized.”
The House Judiciary Committee recently voted to hold the bill from advancing to the floor.
The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Christine Watkins (R-UT), says there’s work being done to gain support.
“We ran into a little bit of a hiccup and we have lots of people trying to educate committee members so they will all support this. At one time I was the state rep. for San Juan County and I ran a bill back then dealing with the child welfare system and I’m familiar with the issues. I hope we can get this across the finish line.”
The bill in Utah is being consider as the Indian Child Welfare Act is being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Former “Dances With Wolves” actor Nathan Chasing Horse has been arrested in Las Vegas, NV in an alleged sex abuse case, the Associated Press reports.
He’s accused of sexual assault and human trafficking.
Police say he used his position a as so-called medicine person to abuse young Native girls.
Chasing Horse allegedly committed offenses in multiple states and Canada.
No lawyer was listed for him as of Tuesday for comment.
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