were three major bands of Northwestern Shoshoni at the time the first Mormon pioneers began settling northern Utah. Chief Little Soldier headed
the misnamed "Weber Ute" group of about 400, who occupied Weber Valley
down to its entry into the Great Salt Lake. Chief Pocatello commanded
a similar number of Shoshoni, who ranged from Grouse Creek in northwestern
Utah eastward along the northern shore of Great Salt Lake to the Bear
River. The third division of about 450 people, under Chief Bear Hunter,
resided in Cache Valley and along the lower reaches of the Bear River.
Bear Hunter was regarded as the principal leader of the Northwestern
Shoshoni, being designated by Mormon settlers as the war chief who held
equal status with Washakie when the Eastern and Northwestern groups
met in their annual get-together each summer in Round Valley, just north
of Bear Lake.
the 1840s, the Northwestern Shoshoni had adopted most of the Plains
Culture, using the horse for mobility and the hunting of game. Chief
Pocatello especially led his band on numerous hunts for buffalo in the
Wyoming area. Pocatello also gained notoriety as a reckless and fearless
marauder along the Oregon and California trails. The Wasatch Mountains provided small game for the Northwestern bands, but of even greater
importance were the grass seeds and plant roots which grew in abundance
in the valleys and along the hillsides of northern Utah before the cattle
and sheep of the white man denuded these rich areas and left many of
the Shoshoni tribes in a starving condition and to suffer under the
ignominy of being called "Digger Indians." Before white penetration,
the Great Basin and Snake River Shoshoni had been among the most ecologically
efficient and well-adapted Indians of the American West.