The Shoshone Indians were a Native American tribe that dominated both the west and east sides of the Rocky Mountains. These nomadic people ventured throughout the Snake River regions, which is where the tribe earned their nickname ‘Snake People.’ The tribe’s food gatherers would dig for roots and vegetables underground.
The Shoshone people were some of the first to fashion clothing out of animal pelts, then accessorize their homemade outfits with beads, shells, teeth, feathers, quills and animal bones. Their moccasins were insulated with soft bark for warmth, and the head-dresses of chiefs were adorned with colorful feathers to symbolize their strength, power and position.
Lewis and Clark were the first white men to make contact with the Shoshone Native Americans. With the assistance of their guide, Sacagawea, the men communicated their peaceful intentions through sign language and basic Native American terms.
Famous for their beautiful beadwork and ancient artifacts found in the ice caves beneath the Rocky Mountains, the Shoshone tribes consisted of 8,000 people. However, during the Trail of Tears, the Shoshone were ordered from their homelands and forced onto reservations. The tribe numbers have dwindled to around 5,000, most living near the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho.