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"Sacajawea's People: Who Are The Lemhi And Where Is Their Home?"
Lemhi-Shoshones are Agaidikas, Tukudikas, and Bannocks and their home is in the Lemhi Valley of Idaho in the Salmon River drainage.
(1) On February 12, 1875, President Grant established a 100 square mile executive order reservation for Sacajawea's People the Lemhi-Shoshone in the Lemhi Valley. Known as the Lemhi Valley Indian Reservation, the executive order established the reserve for "the exclusive use of the mixed tribes of Shoshone, Bannock, and Sheapeater Indians.
(2) Almost from the outset, however, the government and local residents began efforts to rescind the executive order reservation. They ultimately succeeded in 1905, and in 1907 the Lemhi began what many have called the "Lemhi Trail of Tears," which saw their forced removal from their ancestral homelands to the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.
(3) Banished from their homeland in 1907 and seeking to return ever since, the Lemhi-Shoshone people create a dilemma for the nation. As it prepares to commemorate the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery, the United States needs to reassess its commitment to the Lemhi-Shoshone, to Sacagawea / Sacajawea's people. The obligation the nation acknowledges toward wolf and salmon recovery efforts is dwarfed by the responsibility it faces in treating fairly the people who played such a crucial role in advancing the success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In August of 1805, Lewis and Clark and their Corp of Discovery approached the Three Forks of the Missouri River. At Fort Mandan in October of 1804, they had acquired the services of Toussaint Charbonneau and one of his wives, Sacajawea, a fifteen year old "Shoshone" woman who was six months pregnant. The expedition valued Charbonneau and Sacajawea for their skills as interpreters -he for his French and she for her Hidatsa and Shoshone. Sacajawea, along with several other Shoshone girls, had been captured by a Hidatsa raiding party near the Three Forks four years earlier. Living at Fort Mandan, Charbonneau won Sacajawea in a wager with Hidatsa warriors. Lewis and Clark recognized the importance of being accompanied by someone who spoke the language of one of the tribes living in the Rocky Mountains in the vicinity of the Three Forks.
(4) By the time Lewis and Clark reached the Three Forks of the Missouri River, they understood the critical need for obtaining horses from the Lemhi-Shoshones living just to the west, and they recognized as well the need to obtain geographical information necessary for crossing into the Columbia River drainage. The role of Sacajawea loomed large indeed. First Lewis and then Clark together with Sacajawea, the expedition met and established friendly relations with the Shoshones. They shared food and presents, and they smoked a pipe with the people under the leadership of Cameahweit, later revealed to be Sacajawea's brother. Shortly thereafter, Lewis and Clark assessed the Salmon River as too wild to carry them to the Columbia so they discussed with Cameahweit how best to cross the mountains to the land of the Nez Perce. Cameahweit provided them with a guide, Old Toby, and the "expedition bartered for about thirty horses to convey their goods across the mountains. With Old Toby's assistance, the Corps of Discovery finally reached the Nez Perce villages in late September of 1805. Historian Stephen Ambrose placed a high value on the role Sacajawea's people played. "Without Shoshone horses, without Shoshone information," he explained, "the expedition might as well turn around and go home.
How Sacajawea's people the Agai-dika (Shoshone for Salmon-Eater) became known as the "Lemhi"-Shoshone
Mormon missionaries who came to the Salmon River Valley in 1855 were the first non-Indians to establish a sustained relationship with the Salmon River Indian people. Approximately twenty-seven Mormon men left the Salt Lake Valley on May 18, 1855. The party reached Fort Lemhi on May 27, and they selected a permanent site for their mission on June 15, 1855.
The mission, named Fort Lemhi, was located approximately two miles north of present-day Tendoy, Idaho. The word "Lemhi" was associated with King Limhi who was one of the kings cited in the Book of Mormon. In Mormon scripture, King Limhi organized an expedition that lasted twenty- two days - the same duration it required the Mormon missionaries to reach the Salmon River Country. Consequently, they named their mission after King Limhi, and, in time, Limhi became Lemhi. (Svingen)
There were at least 3 times that Lemhi-Shoshone were crucial in helping Lewis & Clark to survive and succeed:
1. Sacagawea Lewis & Clark hired her husband, Touissant Charbonneau, at Mandan as an interpreter. She saved their instruments, books, medicines, and probably THE JOURNALS THEMSELVES when her husband swamped one of the canoes and the items were floating away. She also helped them when by coincidence her brother, Cameahwait, was the chief of the Lemhi-Shoshone. She guided the expedition only a few times; in the Three Forks area of SW Montana she began to recognize landmarks such as the Beaver head landmark so Lewis & Clark knew they were in the right area to find her people the Lemhi-Shoshone.
When the expedition broke into 4 separate groups, she guided Clark and 10 others towards the Yellowstone River, July 1806. She also found plants for Lewis to record and collect for Jefferson, and she provided edible plants for the Corps to eat. She and her baby also helped the Corps show Indians that they were peaceful and were not war parties. Indian war & raiding parties did not bring women or babies.
2. The Lemhi-Shoshone near Lemhi Pass sold Lewis & Clark 28 horses. By 1805 the Lemhi-Shoshone had about 700 (barb) horses, including some mules. Some of the mules had Spanish Brands, and Meriwether Lewis observed stirrups and other articles of Spanish tack (horse gear).
It took them 11 days for the expedition led by Old Toby to cross the mountains to the Nez Perce people, they were nearly dead and starved as it was. They ultimately ate 4 or 5 of the barb horses for food. (Lewis and Clark descendants are often teased by Lemhi-Shoshone: :"...that, we hope they don't eat our horses.") :P The lack of firearms left the Lemhi-Shoshone at the mercy of the Eastern American Indians who had guns. The Lemhi Shoshone of 1805 fought on horseback and commonly used the bow and arrow, shield, lance and poggamoggon (a weapon with a leather-covered wood handle and a thong at one end tied to a 2-pound leather-covered round stone).
3. Old Toby - If Lewis & Clark would have tried to cross the Rockies without a guide, they would have perished for certain. The Lemhi-Shoshone provided them *Old Toby and he guided them through the Bitterroot mountains. The and Agaidikas and Tukudikas who make up the Lemhi-Shoshone Tribes are considered the first residents of the upper Lemhi Valley, dating back 12,000 years or more. Archaeological research indicates that buffalo, when present were hunted throughout the 12,000 years of Indian occupancy of the Lemhi Valley.