Wilson Butte Cave

A NATIONAL REGISTER ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE


 MIGRATION

Indian Tribes of Southern Idaho
 
Southern Idaho and Northern Nevada are homelands for three major American Indian tribes. Before contact with Europeans, one Indian group called themselves the Newe, which means “The People”. Today this large group is known as the Shoshone.  Another Indian group called themselves the Numa, who are known today as the Paiute, and the third group in this region is called the Bannock. Each of these Indian tribal groups traveled throughout different, yet overlapping regions.
 
Wilson Butte Cave and other prehistoric sites show that people have lived in southern Idaho for at least 11,000 years. Are the tribes that live here today descended from the earliest people in Idaho?
 
Archaeologists can’t be certain. Native Americans relied on an oral tradition and did not keep a written record of their history. Also, scientists cannot directly link the most ancient artifacts found at Idaho’s prehistoric sites, dated to 11,000 years ago, to American Indian cultures that used the same sites much later in time. Modern-day scholars also know that the boundaries of tribal territories shifted through time, depending on tribal relationships, available foods and climatic conditions. 

Native Americans, however, are absolutely sure about their relationship to the earliest people. Their legends, which are passed down from generation to generation through stories and song, reflect a deep and profound connection to ancient times and people. The oral traditions of the Shoshone, Paiute and Bannock place themselves here “since time immemorial”.

Next Page: 
Native Voices - Legends of Creation and Place


Shoshone Women, Idaho
Shoshone Women, 1920. Photo courtesy of the Idaho Historical Library. 

Shoshone Bannock Flute Player
Shoshone Flute Player, 2001. 


Idaho Indian Tribes

Early Historic Period Map of Major Indian Groups in Southwestern Idaho.

GO TO THE CAVE
Discoveries
Occupation Period
Who Camped Here
What Was Found
Daily Life

Excavation
History
Age Dating
Meet the Team


PREHISTORIC IDAHO


Climate
Beringia
Out of the Ice Age
Idaho's Past Climate

Migration
The First People
A New Theory
Indian Tribes
Native Legends
Early Sites

Hunting
and Gathering

Major Changes
Tools I
• Tools II
• Ice Caves
 
Gathering Plants
Food / Medicine


EDUCATION

Teacher Pages

LEAVE NO TRACE
Resource Protection

LINKS
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