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September 30, 2020

Washakie Cemetery Tree Planting - Box Elder County

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TreeUtah and Ivory Homes invite you to plant trees in the Washakie Cemetary in Box Elder County on Friday, October 30th. This is a planting that will add to a restoration project on the Shoshone Reservation. You can learn more about this special project below and register here

From the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, Brigham City Office:

The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation Washakie Cemetery Restoration Project has been a goal of the Tribal people for many years. 

In 2016 the Tribe was able to receive grant funding from the Bureau of Reclamation to install a clean water system into the cemetery, for the direct purpose of bringing in trees, bushes and shrubs to help beautify this sacred piece of ground. In 1878, the survivors of the “Bear River Massacre” which occurred January 29th, 1863, in Franklin County, Idaho, were moved into the dry farming area near Plymouth, Utah.  The 170+ survivors included Chief Sagwitch, who had led the band for several years and refused to take his people to a Federally Regulated Reservation. 

These Shoshone people called this new and stationary home, “Washakie” after the great Chief Washakie of the Eastern Shoshone Nation.  Here they built a farming township and felt that they once again had a home. The Northwestern Shoshone built a prosperous townsite.  In the Winter of 1887, Chief Sagwitch had been hunting and camping in Broad Canyon, just west of the townsite.  He felt sick with the flu and two of his sons carried him out of the canyon towards the townsite to seek medical attention. Unfortunately, Chief Sagwitch didn’t make it to the town site, he died just east of the first homes at the site.   His sons, believing that the Great Creator had decided it was time for the Chief to pass, buried him in the exact spot he died upon. 

This started the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation Washakie Cemetery.  Since Chief Sagwatich’s burial, many more survivors of the Bear River Massacre were buried at Washakie.  The Tribe holds this ground as sacred and have buried over 1,000 of their Shoshone people. For years the family groups kept the cemetery clean and reverent.  During the 1960s the Northwestern Shoshone People were again driven from their homes.  Washakie had been sold to a private developer who burned their homes, schoolhouse and church.  The Tribe fought to save the graveyard and were granted 187 acres to call a reservation to protect the spirits of the elders that are buried there.  Taking care of the cemetery became very hard and the natural grass and serval non-native species began to overtake the ground. 

The cemetery looks lost and needs to become beautiful and reverent again.The new water system and the new trees, shrubs and bushes will really enhance this portion of land and inspire a regrowth for those who are buried there. 

We are excited for all those who wish to volunteer their time to help our people Rest In Peace.  This is a unique opportunity to have many cultures and backgrounds working together, in unity, for the betterment of Mother Earth.