FORT BRIDGER — The signing of the July 3, 1868, treaty with the Eastern Shoshone was a win, win situation, according to John Washakie, at the second presentation last week leading up to the treaty celebration at the state site.
Washakie, a descendant of Chief Washakie, gave his presentation on “A History of the Shoshone People” at the American Legion Hall in Fort Bridger on Thursday last week. There will be two more presentations, each on Thursday of the coming weeks leading up to the sesquicentennial celebration re-enactment at Fort Bridger on July 3. The series is a Wyoming Humanities presentation.
Washakie is the great grandson of Chief Washakie. He lives in Fort Washakie on the Wind River Reservation and has served on the Business Council for the Shoshone. He is a veteran of the Vietnam era and served in the US Army and then in the to the 101st Airborne Division.
The reason for the treaty being a win-win was, as Washakie said, “We got what we wanted and it included the best hunting grounds. The government got what they wanted and the railroad got what it wanted.”
Chief Washakie, known for his prowess as both warrior and statesperson, secured the Wind River Reservation as the homeland of the Eastern Shoshones. The Treaty of 1863 had previously set up a peaceful agreement between the tribe and the U. S. government. The Treaty of 1868 established the borders of the Wind River Reservation and the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho. Basically, Chief Washakie was able to pick the area for the Wind River Reservation. Washakie served as the chief of the Eastern Shoshone for 60 years. He died Jan. 2, 1900. Chief Washakie was the only tribal Chief to be buried with full U.S. Military honors of a captain.
Pictured:John R. Washakie, great-grandson of Chief Washakie, presented a program on the 1868 Treaty recently in Fort Bridger. PIONEER PHOTO/Virginia Giorgis