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New Book Presents Shoshone Perspective On The Bear River Massacre

Matilyn Mortensen

Next week is the 157th anniversary of the largest massacre of Native Americans in the United States. Darren Parry, a relative of one of the survivors of the Bear River Massacre in 1863, has written a new book to document the story.

Parry, the chairman of the Shoshone Nation, grew up listening to his grandmother tell him the history of his people. However, when he went to school, the story he learned about Native Americans was very different. 

Because of that, it was important to Parry to share his grandmother’s stories with a larger audience. 

“To me, you need all perspectives. The more perspectives you can have, on any issue, the more informed you're going to be and you'll be able to decide for yourself kind of what happened. But what's been lost all these years is the Shoshone perspective on the largest massacre of Native Americans in the history of the U.S.,” Parry said.

Parry’s recently published book, “The Bear River Massacre: A Shoshone History,” is something he said his grandmother had also wanted to write but died before she was able to. 

Parry said he hopes people will be open-minded when they read the book. 

“It doesn't mean they need to buy-in," Parry said. "It doesn't mean they need to believe every word of the book. Because the history in my book is from the stories my grandmother told me. It's our perspective. Is that 100% accurate? I don't know. But I know for a fact that that white colonial history and the history books we have are not accurate either. Some of it is. But it's only when you can take all of the records that you can find and put it together, then you can really make a really wise decision on what went down.”

The Brigham City Museum of Art and History, 24 N. 300 West, is hosting a book signing event for Parry on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. Parry’s book is available on and will soon be available at Deseret Book.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the number of years since the Bear River Massacre. The story has been updated to reflect the correct anniversary.