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SHOSHONE LIFE


The historical Shoshone were nomadic people who traveled over a wide portion of the Western United States.  They occupied parts of Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah, from the Great Basin to the Plains; into parts of Colorado and Wyoming.

Life in the Great Basin was fraught with hardships, as it was quite difficult to find food, water, and shelter from the elements. 

The Shoshone mostly ate berries, roots, and pine nuts, rabbit, antelope, and buffalo meat, depending on where they were they were traveling at the time. 

Shoshone clothing changed with the seasons, ranging from a simple a Breechcloth held on by a belt fastened around the waist for the men and aprons for the women to rabbit fur pants and jackets, and larger animal hides used as capes and coverings.

Unlike sedentary tribes such as the Chumash, the Shoshone did not own much in terms of belongings. and did not trade with others until they acquired horses in the 1700s.  The ownership of horses served to differentiate the rich from the poor, but those who owned horses usually did as the result of theft, as the Shoshone would often conduct raids on other tribes to steal their horses.

Because of this less than virtuous practice, the Shoshone had many enemies, but none so fierce as the Crow and Pocatello tribes, who's path they normally avoided crossing.

Not that this prevented them from injury, as the Shoshone were known  practicioners of Sutteeism; the act of self-immolation.  Their spiritual leader was the Medicine Man, who was thought of as a prophet with magical powers.


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Last modified: May 21, 2003