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The Northern Shoshoni
People of the
Snake River Plain

The Shoshoni now refer to themselves
as Sosoni'. In the past, they also used
the term Ne'we, meaning The People in
the Numic language.

Image: Idaho Museum of Natural History

The Shoshonean Peoples began their journey to Idaho in the southwestern United States, just north of Mexico.

Their journey began perhaps as early as 8,000 years ago based on new archaeological research which traces their toolmaking and technology.

The Sosoni' had lived comfortably in what is now New Mexico and Arizona until the climatic changes brought on at the end of the Pleistocene changed the region into desert which would no longer support the population. As the climate became ever more dry, some of the people traveled deeper into Mexico and eventually were known as the Aztec, and built a great civilization.

The remainder of the people, by about 6,000 years ago, had traveled west into the Lake Mohave desert of southern California, where hunting and gathering would provide food and clothing for their families. Eventually, available resources in the desert country of southern California were insufficient, forcing the nomadic Sosoni' to scatter into small bands and travel over expanses of desert in constant search of food.

This nomadic lifeway by families and small bands slowly, at perhaps 5,000 years ago, encompassed most of the territory known as Nevada and western Utah. Investigation of the technological archaeology suggests that by 5,000 years ago the Sosoni' were moving into southern Idaho. Sometime later the Sosoni' entered Wyoming, and by the 1700's Shoshonean people called Comanche were living in Oklahoma. In Idaho, the population density of people before Lewis & Clark was perhaps only 1-2 persons per 100 square miles.

Let's Learn About The Shoshoni People