A Native American View

At the beginning of the expansion emigrants and Indians usually got along. The Indians were helpful. They assisted the emigrants at river crossings and traded with the travelers. They even showed them shortcuts. As time went on, the relationship between the two groups changed for the worse. 


"The Oregon Trail meant big changes for Native Americans. Shoshone historian John Washakie (WAH-shuh-kee) told Scholastic about some of them. He's the great-grandson of Chief Washakie, who led the tribe at the time of the trail.

John Washakie says:

The Oregon Trail crossed right through Shoshone territory in southwestern Wyoming. You had all these people coming through--hundreds of thousands of travelers. Over time, there was no grass near the trail for the tribe's horses.

The travelers' animals had eaten it all. And there was no animals for Shoshone to eat. Bison, antelope, and deer were gone from the area. The westward travelers had been hunting them. The travelers brought sickness, like smallpox and measles. Those were germs the Shoshone had not been around before. They killed a lot of Shoshone people.

Ultimately, the Shoshone had to move to a new area to survive. We now live on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The OregonTrail changed everything for us."

A Native American View. Scholastic News -- Edition 3, 07360576, 5/14/2018, Vol. 74, Issue 22


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