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USU Team Working With Shoshone Nation To Restore Bear River Massacre Site

Robert S. Horning


With the help of a team of students from Utah State University, members of the Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation are working to restore the sacred land at the sight of the Bear River Massacre.

“It’s us being able to tell our story from our unique perspective," Darren Parry said. "And when you give people a voice, especially marginalized communities, a voice is really powerful.”  

Parry is the chair of the Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation and is one of the people working to restore the land in Southern Idaho where the Bear River Massacre occurred. 

Boa Ogoi, the Shoshone name for the massacre site, is the location of the largest mass murder of indigenous people in the history of the United States. 

This site, where an estimated 270 to 400 men, women and children were murdered in 1863, is sacred to the Shoshone nation. In addition to the restoration, an interpretive center will also be built on this site to educate people about the Shoshone people. 

Habitat restoration efforts have resources to help, like ethnobotanical records from Parry’s grandmother. 

“Because of her we have volumes of these writings and first hand accounts," he said.

Will Munger is a PhD student at USU who is part of the Climate Adaptation Science Program. Munger is part of the graduate student team working to restore the natural habitat at the site of the Bear River Massacre.  

“What our team did is thinking about how we make sure these plants that are so important to the Shoshone are resilient to things like climate change," he said.

Munger said the next step is working with farmers and ranchers in the area to come up with ways to improve the water quality in the area to support native plants and animals.