Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: Shoshone by: Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh

Shoshone Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh ABDO publishing Company 2003
This is a short little book, written for a younger age, but gives you an idea of the Shoshone people.  They say is pronounced with two syllables and the last e making the o long.  However I always used three syllables.  The Shoshone people covered a wide area.  The extend all the way into California, Death Valley area, through about half of the state of Nevada, into Idaho, almost to Montana and then into Wyoming and Utah.  There is a map of their traditional area, which I thought was a bit large, as I knew some of the area was Ute territory.  However the book explained that the Shoshone had difficulty getting guns, and therefore their traditional area was greatly reduced.  When the Mormons came to Utah, the Shoshone only extended as far south as Ogden or so, and then the rest was Ute territory.  There was some area which went back and forth, but the Ute Indians dominated the Uintah area. 
Shoshone are a nomadic people.  Tony Baca explained this to me in the Duckwater area where I lived for a couple years.  The traditional people there would live in the valley during the summer, where there was water and grazing land.  However during the summer they would migrate to the mountains where they could keep from the warm sun, and hunt deer and larger animals. 
It talked about gathering nuts, which is something I did with them.  However it did not give a very good explanation.  It said the children would remove the nuts from the cones.  However, the cones often had to be roasted to get the nuts out.  They would place their blankets under a tree.  Then with a long branch with a crook or joint in it at the top, they would shake the tree vigorously so the pine cones would fallout.  I imagine this is something similar to the way the acorns are harvested with the acorn tree shaker.
For food they relied on small animals caught in snares, elk, deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep.  They also would trap fish in nets, using spears or with hook and line.  Women collected pinon nuts, fruits, seeds, berries wild vegetables and camas roots.  They generally had a permanent community with teepees.  However when they were on the move they would sleep in brush shelters or lean-tos. 
Shoshone are very good at crafts.  They women traditionally used porcupine quills to decorate clothing.  After meeting French trappers they traded for beads which they work with needle and rawhide or quills.  They are also very adept at weaving willows from which they make cradle boards for their babies, as well as baskets.  Some so tight they can hold water. 
It mentions two famous Shoshone, both from the eastern Shoshone (Wyoming) area. 
Sacajawea who lead Lewis and Clark, and Chief Washakie.
This book is short, but it gives an interesting look at the Shoshone.

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