On January 29th, 1863, the Northwestern Shoshone suffered the largest slaughter of American Indians in the Western history of the United States, Early that morning, Chief Sagwitch spotted steam from the breath of men and horses rising from the hills across the river. Federal troops were approaching. There would be no negotiating. The soldiers reportedly marched on orders to “take no prisoners.” A short battle ensued, but the soldiers were too well armed. Soon the battle turned into a massacre. Women and children jumped into the river tryng to escape. One wounded mother, Anzee-chee, watched as her baby drowned and floated down the river amont the dead in the blood-red ice. No one know exactly how many Northwestern Shoshone dided that day. Accounts claim anywhere from 250 to 500 men, women and children lost their lives. But one thing is certain; the band would never be the same. Sagwitch and his people saw their way of life disappear. In less than a day, centuries of tradition were wiped away.
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Northwestern Shoshone, tribe