In July 1895, a posse of non-Indians, mostly outfitters, attacked a peaceful band of Bannocks south of Jackson Hole. The Indians believed they were legally hunting elk. But in a surprise decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state law overrode their treaty rights. In 2019, in a case with huge implications for tribal sovereignty, the court finally upended that ruling. This case too was set in Wyoming, as a Crow Tribe member hunted elk in the Bighorn Mountains.
The Mountain Shoshone, sometimes called Sheepeaters, lived at high elevations in what’s now northwestern Wyoming from prehistoric times down through the mid-1800s. Recent archaeological discoveries shed increasing light on the lives of these peoples, ancestors of some of today’s Eastern Shoshone.
Trapper, ferryman, hunting guide and Mexican War veteran Beaver Dick Leigh lived an active and colorful life on both sides of the Tetons in the mid and late 19th century. Leigh, Jenny and Beaver Dick—now String—lakes in Jackson Hole are named for him and for his first wife, an Eastern Shoshone from Washakie’s band.