INDIANS

Note: From what I can find out, Little Lost River Valley was hunting grounds, etc. for the Lemhi Indians, but not a permanent encampment.

Lemhi Indians were mostly Shoshone. They were moved to Fort Hall in 1908. The Army escorted them down through Pahsimeroi, Clyde and Howe, out across the desert and on to Blackfoot and finely to Fort Hall. The march could be described as "infamous". Indian women and children kicked, prodded with sticks, raped. Men treated as predators might be.  Grandma told me about when they got to their place; they stopped for several days to rest. Approximately 150 teepees were pitched on the 40 acres that Roy Sermon's home now is on. She said one of their members must have died because they mourned and chanted for 3 days after they had been there for a day or two. Kept it up day and night. She said you could hear it and feel the vibrations even in her house. Daddy said he was about 5 years old then and he was really fascinated. Said he watched a young woman go out in some really tall, thick sage brush where the corrals are now and she built herself a hut and shut herself in. He assumed she had a baby there.

 
An Indian girl, Cora, was about 8 Benjamin Tyhone at Howe, Indian friend of  years old at that time. Around 70 years later, many. I visited with her and asked if she remembered any of that and she filled in the pieces. She told me that young Indian woman had twin boys that day. The boys were fine and healthy, but probably due to the rigors of the trek the woman died. That was the reason for the mourning, as well as, the whole plight they were in.

Cora told some of her history. Charlie Bearhead married Gussie Grouse. They had a little daughter, Lucy Waters. While Lucy was still an infant a soldier shot her mother and took the baby to the officers quarters. A Colonel George L. Shoup, that was in command there, took Lucy and raised her. When she became a young teenager she choose to go back and live with her people, married and had Cora. (I don't know if she had any brothers but at least a sister, not sure.)

 

Cora married Joe Mink and had Inez, Gladys, Jonah and Oscar. I'm not clear on what happened with Joe but she was related, I believe a niece, to one of the chiefs, Benjamin Tyone. He took responsibility for her and Inez and Gladys and Jonah and Oscar. Basically being the teacher and provider for them. He was called, "Grandfather", as all elders in direct line were called Grandfather and Grandmother.

 

Cora always accompanied Benjamin when he made his trips to Salmon and back. She and Eloise George and Fannie Tyone did a lot of glove making and beautiful beadwork.  Jonah shared some memories with me quite a few years ago.
He told me Benjamin was one of those the army considered a renegade; in as much as he didn't come in when called, so Jonah spent more time than was usual in the wilds with him. He told of one morning very early the family was sitting quietly at breakfast and up in the mountains there was a crash, a pause and another crash that made the ground vibrate. Grandfather said, "Come and I'll show you what that is." They rode very carefully and quietly up in the rocks, stopped finally and looking down saw two mountain sheep in battle. They would back off, crash heads, take a moment to recuperate and do it over again.

 

Jonah said, "We had a strict ritual in our tribe. Every morning at sunrise every member was completely submerged in the river. The men would go first then the women would bring the children, a man would quickly dunk the child, the mother or whoever, wrap the child and then dress them, etc. The women would then go in. In the summer, it was fun. In the winter the men would chop a hole in the ice and pull us up and out by our heads. We never were sick. I think that was why. Bacteria are afraid of the cold and would leave our bodies. Jonah paused and shuddered and put his hands up to his face and said, "Bumr..., I can't even stand to wash my face in cold water now!"  He continued, "When I was eight through about twelve years, my special job, in the winter, in our teepee, was to wake up before anyone
else in the morning and I had a large stick that I would go all around the inside of the teepee and knock the layer of ice off the walls and gather it up and throw it out before the fire was built. The inside being warm at bedtime and the cold outside would cause moisture and form on the walls about 4 feet up and then freeze by morning. I felt pretty important doing that."


"In the summer we would dry meat, berries, etc. and put them in skin bags and seal them tight. Then we would find a cave or crevice in the rocks up high enough so animals couldn't reach it and put some bags in. This was called a "cash". We would move from one place to another and then by fall we would camp, use whatever food was there, then move on when game was scarce or campgrounds soiled, to the next place where a "cash" was.  "The men would ride in front, then the women and pack horses. The children were tied onto a pack on a horse so they wouldn't fall off or stray off the path. One time we were moving and the snow was especially deep. My two little sisters were tied on one horse and the horse had to keep lunging to get through the snow. The pack became loose and he gave a lunge in a big drift and the pack turned over under him, girls and all, and plunged them headfirst in the drift. The men got really excited and worked hard and fast to undo the pack, lead the horse forward and then dig pack and girls out of the snow. They were O.K. though."


"I was about 8 or 10 when the authorities at Fort Hall checked the census at school and found out I wasn't in school but was up in the Pahsimeroi mountains with my Grandfather. They sent an army officer out after me. When he found us, I had to go back. He put me on the back of his saddle and rode all the way back with me just squalling and bawling at the top of my lungs." firm, that I had to go to school.  We spring one I asked if the officer was mean or cranky and he said, "No, he just was quiet, but had to go to school." talked about when all the families were settled in Fort Hall that then every fall and family at a time or several would come back up through Howe, Clyde and on to Lemhi valley to hunt and fish. Different families would stay at different ranchers places for a week or so, coming and going and trading for hides and take order for gloves mostly, but also moccasins.

 

A woman would take a stem of alfalfa or small twig and measure the length of a person's hand from tip of middle finger to wrist, break off the stem, then measure the width of the palm the same way. It was always amazing to me that they could sew a perfect fit just by that. A lot of the ranchers wore the buckskin gloves to work in and some of the children too. Rusty and I did, so did David Rodgers. Daddy and Grandpa claimed a real silk glove as a liner, then the buckskin over, was the warmest and most comfortable gloves in winter that could be had.

 

I asked Jonha if their feet and hands were wet and cold a lot of the time as my memory of buckskin was it was slimy and stretched when wet. He said, '"Well, by the time I came along we could buy canvas and every time a deer or elk was butchered all the hair was saved so in the fall everyone was issued a square of canvas and a bag of hair. We put the square down, put some hair on it, then over our foot, then covered the foot with more hair and brought the canvas up and tied it securely around our ankle. It was very warm and the canvas waterproof We each had to take care of our bag of hair because it was our allotment for the winter and believe me we were protective of it."

 

From the time they first met, Grandpa and Benjamin Tyone became good friends so he, his wife, Fanny Pandoah Silver, and until she passed away at 17, a daughter Fannie Jr. and the rest of his family including Cora and children would stop at our place at Howe and at Roy Peck's place at Clyde. Benjamin and Fannie had 6 other children, all died as infants.

 

Jonha and I were the same age, Oscar a couple of years younger than Rusty. Johna was shy and quiet and stayed mostly with the men, but Oscar would come to our house and play all day, everyday that they were there. We girls thought it was so fun to go "visit" in the  teepees. It made me feel kind of silly though  because the family would all sit and talk to each other and then really laugh and I couldn't understand a word but I knew they were
 talking about us.

 

One time in the winter we girls went to feed cattle with Daddy and as we drove by on the hay wagon a young woman was washing her hair in a hole in the ice. That horrified us! That's how come I asked Jonah about how could she stand to do that and then he told me about their "dunking" ritual.

 

John and Flora Marshal and family stayed at Hollands quite regularly.  John Wetterbone and family also stayed at Kyles occasionally, also Frank Papse.  One time John Wetterbone stayed at our place and when he went on home he left a round galvanized tub that he'd cut a hole in the bottom for a length of stove pipe and a section in the side to reach in under and build a fire. Neil Reed, Rusty and I were delighted. We played all summer with that. We fried eggs, ham and potatoes on it to beat the band. Boy, it got hot too, and the sagebrush ashes put a real robust flavor to everything.


When the army took over in Salmon and an Indian census was taken, if an Indian gave his name it was put down as such: Example: Fannies parents were, Fathers Name '"Tissidimit"" and Mother's name, "Au giva hem". If a name wasn't given the ones in charge made up white man's version of a name. Some had Indian and "white-man-given" name.
Apparently, at an early date not long after white settlements in the valleys, a Bannock raiding party invaded and if it hadn't been for the Shoshones the white settlers would have been massacred. As a result, when the Indians were free to travel from reservation back and forth to Lemhi the army issued a written command that the men kept in pocket or wallets at all times, to be shown to the ranchers if necessary. Jonah still has his Grandfathers. It states:
 To Whom it may Concern:  Feed this man and his family and  animals! - If you do not, you will be dealt with harshly.
 Signed the Indian  Commissioner at Salmon.

 

The women did come to the homes when they camped and usually asked for some food. Grandma usually gave such as bacon or fresh produce. One time she was tending Florence and Dorothy Hawley. They must have been around 4 to 6 years old. One squaw really thought they were beautiful girls. They were dark and dark eyes and beautiful. She insisted that Grandma give them to her. Was kind of a touchy situation for awhile, but Grandma finally convinced her there was no way she could have those girls.  Aunt Ruth said, "I remember Mamma  made us stay inside the house all the rest of that day and until the Indians moved on the next  morning."

 

This isn't about these Indians but I thought you'd like to read about it. George Walker flanked by two Lemhi Willie Lamere lives in Blackfoot and Indian chiefs. George Marshall is one. helped me with some genealogy information for
Benjamin and Fannie and told me his great-great Uncle was Chief Sitting Bull. When he was a little boy his name was "Little Beaver". When he was around 12 or 14 he and his friends had a special past time that they really enjoyed and thought they were pretty big stuff doing it. They would ride into or along side of a herd of buffalo, then jump from horse to back of a buffalo. The animals would panic and run like crazy; in time, the boy would jump off and the animals continue running. One time Little Beaver jumped on a big bull and the bull just stopped stock-still and just kept standing there. He couldn't jump off, as he knew if he did he'd be attacked. The other boys stayed a safe distance away and waited. As the time dragged on, the other boys went from surprised, to amused, to hilarious. It took a long time to get the bull moving and a while to ride before it was safe to get off. The boys named him, "Sitting Bull", and it stuck as his adult name.

 

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