Eastern Shoshone - Orientation

Identification. The Eastern Shoshone have lived in Western Wyoming, particularly in the valleys of the Wind, Green, and Big Horn rivers, since about the fifteenth century, combining the general culture type of the Great Basin with those of the pre-horse and post-horse Great Plains. In addition, they have been influenced by Spanish, American, and other sources. In the early 1980s, there were perhaps three thousand of their descendants living on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming and its environs.

Location. The Eastern Shoshone can be divided into two groups, the Buffalo Eaters (Sage Brush People) and the Mountain Sheep Eaters (Mountaineers). The former occupied the Green River and Wind River valleys and had a pattern of annual movement with concurrent tribal concentration and dispersal. In earlier times they were under continual attack from the Plains tribes, including the Arapaho, Black-foot, and Sioux. The Mountain Sheep Eaters used the central Rocky Mountain region, including the Yellowstone Lake area. The Wind River Reservation, which they now share with the Northern Arapaho, was established in 1863. It is a Generally dry mountainous area with rainfall averaging about thirteen inches a year, and with average temperatures ranging from 10° to 80° F.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Shoshone spoke dialects of the Central Numic language, a branch of the Uto-Aztecan Language family, and had affinities to the languages of the Northern and Western Shoshone groups.

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