Fort Hall was an important station on the journey west, and a fascinating place to visit now! This is true not only because of its unique role in Oregon and California trail history but also because of the thriving culture of the Shoshone-Bannock reservation. To emphasize the unique aspects of the Fort Hall Shoshone-Bannocks is to recognize the achievement of a level of economic success that was historically not typical of reservations, and the role of cultural values in moderating changes brought by market influences.
The Fort Hall Shoshones, known as the Pohogues (People of the Sage), had inhabited the southwest corner of the Great Basin, perhaps as long as 4000 years ago, migrating up to the Snake River drainage in ensuing centuries. Their first documented contact with whites was with Lewis and Clark in August of 1805 near 오나홀 the present day reservation. The Corp desperately needed horses, but Lewis had despaired of ever encountering the Shoshones who fled when sighted. Finally the explorers surprised three Shoshone women who didn’t have time to flee. Lewis offered presents and persuaded them of his peaceful intentions when sixty mounted warriors galloped up, armed and ready to fight.
A 1918 canvas by Montana’s Cowboy Artist Charles Russell memorializes the Corps of Discovery’s meeting with Cameahwait’s war party. Leaving his gun behind with two Corps members, Captain Meriwether Lewis advanced with only the American flag. His ploy worked: “We were all carresed and besmeared with their grease and paint till I was heartily tired of the national hug,” he wrote.