As more European-American settlers migrated west, tensions rose with the indigenous people. There were wars throughout the second half of the 19th century. The Northern Shoshone, led by Chief Pocatello, fought during the 1860s with settlers in Idaho (where a city was named for him). As more settlers encroached on Shoshone hunting territory, the natives raided farms and ranches for food, and attacked migrants. The warfare resulted in the Bear River Massacre (1863), when US forces trapped and murdered an estimated 350–500 Northwestern Shoshone, including women and children, who were at their winter encampment. This was the highest number of deaths which the Shoshone suffered by the forces of the United States. Allied with the Bannock, to whom they were related, the Shoshone fought against the United States in the Snake War from 1864–1868. They fought US forces together in 1878 in the Bannock War. In 1876, by contrast, the Shoshone fought alongside the U.S. Army in the Battle of the Rosebud, as it was against their traditional enemies, the Lakota and Cheyenne.

In 1879 a band of approximately 300 Western Shoshones (known as "Sheepeaters") was involved in the Sheepeater Indian War. It was the last Indian war fought in the Pacific Northwest region of the present-day United States.

In 1911 a small group of Bannock under a leader named Mike Daggett, also known as "Shoshone Mike" killed four ranchers in Washoe County, Nevada. The settlers formed a Posse and went out after the Native Americans. They caught up with the band on February 26, 1911 and killed eight. They lost one man of the posse, Ed Hogle. The posse captured three children and a woman. The partial remains of three adult males, two adult females, two adolescent males, and three children, believed to be Shoshone Mike and his family, according to contemporary accounts, were donated by a rancher to the Smithsonian Institution for study. In 1994, the institution repatriated the remains to the Fort Hall Idaho Shoshone-Bannock Tribe.

In 2008, the Northwestern Shoshone acquired the site of the Bear River Massacre and some surrounding land. They wanted to protect the holy land and build a memorial to the massacre, the largest their nation had suffered. "In partnership with the American West Heritage Center and state leaders in Idaho and Utah, the tribe has developed public/private partnerships to advance tribal cultural preservation and economic development goals." They have become a leader in developing tribal renewable energy.

Shoshone Mike

Shoshone MikeShoshone Mike, also known as Mike Dagget was either a Shoshone or Bannock American Indian. Shoshone Mike, his wife and children lived on an Indian reservation in Idaho up until 1890. Then, the Indians were forced off of the land by settlers who claimed that they had purchased the land. In 1910, in a revenge slaying for one of his sons, Shoshone Mike and his other sons reportedly killed a man named Frank Dopp, although it was never proven.

During the severe winter of January 1911, Mike Shoshone and his family took shelter on a ridge in the Little High Rock Canyon area. Around that same time, word was received in Surprise Valley that cattle and sheep were missing in that area.

Shoshone MikeAt some point, shots rang out and four men were killed. According to one of the survivors, Mike Shoshone and his band of Indians, heard the shots and went to investigate. Seeking warmth against the bitter cold, the Indians stripped the corpses of their clothes, weapons and horses.

It was almost a month before the cowboy’s frozen stripped down bodies were found. The men had been mutilated – Indian style, according to the news reports of the day.

A posse was formed and set out in search of the Indians on February 16, 1911. In the meanwhile, the Indians set out for the Duck Valley Indian reservation not knowing that they were being pursued.

Shoshone MikeA three hour gun battle then erupted. The posse fired 500 shots compared to the estimated 150 rounds fired by the Indians. Indian women and children armed with bows and arrows, fought next to the men. According to the posse, they tried to avoid shooting the children, but in the end, three children were killed.

When the last Indian massacre was over, 55 year old Mike Shoshone and seven other Indians lay dead. Posse member Ed Hogel was killed and four Indians were taken into custody. Was it really the last massacre of whites by Indians? We may never know.

Read Marilyn Newton’s full story at the link below: