Last modified: 2012-11-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: eastern shoshone | shoshone | wyoming | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 4 January 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Eastern Shoshone - Wyoming
The lands of the Shoshone cover much of the American West spreading through Nevada, Utah, southern Idaho and Wyoming. The Shoshone, once known as the Snakes, were one of the great buffalo-hunting tribes of the western plains, some of the greatest horsemen of the plains, and one of their ancestors now adorns the new U.S. dollar coin - Sacajawea.
In modern times, the Shoshone are divided into three separate entities - the Shoshone Bannock of southern Idaho, the Western Shoshone in Nevada and the Eastern Shoshone located on the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming. One of the great chiefs of the Eastern Shoshone has been chosen to represent the state in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. capitol rotunda - Washakie. Chief Washakie is one of only three Native people depicted in the entire collection, the other two being Sequoyah, representing Oklahoma, and King Kamehameha I from Hawaii.
Washakie, whose name means "shoot the buffalo running'' was chief of the Eastern Shoshone for some sixty years and died in 1900. His face dominates the logo of the Eastern Shoshone which also features the Grand Teton Mountains and the prairie rose.
© Donald Healy 2008
The flag of the Eastern Shoshone may honor Washakie because the central element on the flag is the head of a buffalo. The buffalo was also the mainstay of the life of the Eastern Shoshone, as it was for all the Tribes of the Great Plains. The buffalo's head appears in the center of a golden yellow flag and is flanked by depictions of the prairie rose, what may be medicine bundles, and a pair of coupsticks. The coupsticks, each trailing six eagle feathers (the same number as there are members on the tribal council), are emblems of courage since they were used in displays of bravery by warriors. The coupstick was used to touch an opponent without harming him. Proving you had the skill and courage to get close enough to your opponent added to your reputation and "counting coup" was a measure of status and courage for the warrior. Above the buffalo's head appears a peace pipe and above it an eagle with wings outstretched. All items are shown in natural colors.
This emblem is contained within two concentric circles of green zigzag patterns that can remind one of the beautiful beadwork designs of the Shoshone. Between the two rings appears "Eastern Shoshone Tribe" at the top and "Shoshone Reservation" at the base. All lettering is in red. While it is commonly recognized that the Wind River Reservation is home to two Tribes, the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho, the two Tribes are both governmentally and geographically distinct. The Eastern Shoshone, all 2,700 of them, occupy the northern and western parts of the Wind River Reservation and have their headquarters at Fort Washakie. It is this portion of the Wind River Reservation that constitutes the "Shoshone Reservation".
[Thanks to Carolyn Shoyo of the Eastern Shoshone for e-mailing an electronic image of the tribal flag.]
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 4 January 2008