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Fort Hall Indian Reservation

The Fort Hall Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Shoshone and Bannock people in Idaho. It is located in southeastern Idaho on the Snake River Plain north of Pocatello, and comprises 814.874 square miles of land area in four counties: Bingham, Power, Bannock, and Caribou counties. Founded in 1863, it is named for Fort Hall, a trading post that was an important stop along the Oregon Trail and California Trail in the middle 19th century. The ruins of the fort are located on the reservation. The community of Fort Hall, along Interstate 15, is the largest population center on the reservation.

Probably one-third of the Indians on this reservation are mixed bloods between Bannocks and Shoshones, and in classifying them the question as to their parents' blood is settled by noting with which band they associate, they wear plenty of beads, brass trinkets; feathers, and gaudy blankets, and positively refuse to work, they are put down as Bannocks; but if, on the other hand, they take kindly to labor and try to dress and live like the white people they go on the records as Shoshones. On this reservation the latter out number the former almost 2 to 1.

This reservation was established 21 years ago. Two years later it was assigned to the charge of the Catholics. During the year following the, arrival of the Catholics the agency was visited quite often by a French Catholic priest, who christened a, great many of the young children and tried to teach the older ones religion and its duties, all of which has long since been forgotten. Since that time there have been occasional sermons preached and interpreted to them by ministers of the several creeds, but they do not take to the white mans doctrine very readily.

The Fort Hall reservation embraces 804,270(b) acres of land: one-tenth is wild hay land, two-tenths rocky, mountainous land, upon which grows considerable scrubby pine as well as cedar, The land designated farming land requires irrigation, and nothing can grow without it except wild hay on the low bottom lands along Snake river.

As the land is close to an extensive mining region, crops of all kinds bring a better price than they do in the middle or eastern states.

Gold dust is known to exist in paying quantities on the southwest portion of the reservation along the banks of Snake River. It is known as Snake River "flue dust". Much of time mining ground close to the, reservation has been worked with rockers, using copper plates and quicksilver, the millers making from $2 to $10 per day.

This is a good stock country, and cattle killed for the Indians from the range are nearly as fat as stall fed cattle. The greatest revenue of these Indians is from the sale of hay. They, have this season, with their own: teams and machines, put up at least 2,500 tons, which is being sold to stock men at $5 per ton in the stack. Indians wile raise stock sometimes reserve a little hay for their own use, but usually sell it all and then take the chances for their own .stock, The result last Winter was that they lost at least 20 per cent of their ponies and cattle.*

*Idaho Indians in the 1890 Census

Idaho Indian Tribes Project

 

 

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