Indian Education

Utah State Board of Education

DR. BRUCE GRANT PARRY

Bruce was born into the Northwestern Band of Shoshone in July of 1939.  His mother Mae Timbimboo had married Grant Parry and they lived in Malad Idaho for some years before moving to Clearfield, Utah.  Bruce and his brothers and three sisters grew up there. 

Mae Parry, Bruce’s mother speaks the Shoshone language fluently as well as English and helps with the gathering of historical documents regarding their tribe.  His father Grant is non-Indian and speaks English.  Bruce grew up around his paternal grandparents and did not learn the Shoshone language except for a few words. 

Bruce attended public school and feels this gave him an edge in education.  His mother and sisters had attended school at the Riverside Indian school when they were younger.  His father attended BYU and his mother went to LDS Business College.

When asked about being taught some of the “Indians ways” as a child, Bruce related the story of his tribe being baptized in the Bear river in 1875.  It has been told to him that Chief Sagawitch who survived the Bear River Massacre was visited by the three Nephites and as a result eventually the entire tribe at the time converted to Mormonism.  Many traditional Shoshone ways were then if not abandoned, at least not passed down to future generations as they might have been without religious conversion.

As a young child Bruce and his siblings spent a lot of time with their grandparents Parry and they stressed religious beliefs and emphasized the importance of education. Bruce had a childhood more typical of non-Indian children.  However, Bruce feels the old values of his material grandparents serve everyone well regardless of religion and that is respect, sharing and caring.

Bruce was an athlete in school and enjoyed playing baseball, track and football.  When he completed his college degree he taught school at Union High in Roosevelt, Utah and coached as well.  His career then took him in 1971 to becoming Director of Indian Affairs for the State of Utah.  From there he went into business working at Boeing, Thiokol and Hercules.  Currently Bruce is the Executive Director of Economics and Development for the Northwestern Band of Shoshone.

Bruce feels pride in his Indian heritage and has taught his children and grandchildren to feel the same pride.  His mother Mae remains the tribal historical.  At 86 years old, she continues to gather pictures and has written stories about her tribe.  As Bruce became older, it became important for him to learn more about his Shoshone background.

Because of the effort of Bruce in procuring economic development for the tribe, unemployment is low and the tribe has gained important business contracts which provide economic stability.  Bruce Parry presents a humble but professional attitude in his business dealings and encourages young American Indian students to learn all they can while in school and not to feel they cannot compete in the world of business.  They should strive for some type of postsecondary training, if not college, then some training to allow them to participate in the community which they live.