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Background For Teachers:
However, the story of the site of the Bear River Massacre also offers a clear example of the importance
of American Indian sovereignty over land. Today, while the site still carries a tragic legacy, the
Northwestern Shoshones have reestablished sovereignty over the land and are turning it into a place
of renewal. The struggle of the Northwestern Band to develop a viable land base and its decision to
harness geothermal power at Bear River brings the importance of Indian sovereignty into focus.
Give students the oral history excerpt to read; then as a class discuss their impressions and comprehension of the Bear River Massacre and the current use of the land where the event took place.
Have them research both the Bear River Massacre and the geothermal project using the digital
archive at http://www.UtahIndians.org and current newspaper articles. Using direct quotes to support their
theses, have them write a narrative essay about this unusual repurposing of land. The essay should
reflect the journey of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone from tragedy to sovereignty.
Fogarty, Mark. "Northwestern Band of Shoshone Thinking Big." USA Today. June 25, 2004.
Moulten, Kristen. "Shoshone Tribe Plans Geothermal Plant in N. Utah Set to Run in 2010." Salt Lake Tribune. Oct. 2, 2008.
Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. "Historical Events."
Parry, Mae. "The Northwestern Shoshone." In A History of Utah's American Indians. Ed. Forrest S. Cuch. Salt Lake City: Utah State Division of Indian Affairs, 2000.
The University of Utah's American West Center (AWC) produced the curriculum materials in consultation with the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, Utah State Office of Education, KUED 7, and the Goshute, Northwestern Band of the Shoshone, Southern Paiute, and Ute nations.
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