Sheepeater Indians

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Indians of Idaho Sheepeater Indians
Indians of Montana Sheepeater Indians

Sheepeater Petroglyphs-rock thunderbird - by sean Sheehtan.jpg

The Sheepeater Indians are actually a part of the Shoshone Tribe and were also known as the Mountain Shoshone. Their name may have come from the fact that they were hunters and eaters of Rocky Mountain sheep.


The Mountain Shoshone or Sheepeaters were located in the Yellowstone and northern Rocky Mountains along the Idaho-Montana border. Some of them settled in the Lemhi Valley near Tendoy, Idaho. A reservation was established for them in 1875, called the Lemhi Reservation, and approximately 700 Shoshone, Sheepeater, and Bannock Indians were placed on that reservation.

The Lemhi Reservation was never very successful and in 1906, 474 Indians from the Lemhi Reservation were moved to Fort Hall Reservation in eastern Idaho. Some of the Shoshone, especially those under Chief Tendoy remained in the central Idaho area near Salmon. Chief Tendoy died in May 1907 and was buried near Tendoy, Idaho[1][2].

Brief Timeline


Lemhi Reservation

Additional References to the History of the Tribe

A brief history of the Sheepeater Indians and the Sheepeater Indian War of 1879 is available online.

Bands and Groups of the Sheepeater Tribe

  • Chief Tendoy's Band


Many of the records of the Sheepeaters, 1875-1906, are included in the records of the Lemhi Reservation. Subsequent records mostly are at the Fort Hall Reservation, where many of the descendants of the early Sheepeaters now live.

There is also an Indian burial ground on a bench near Tendoy, Idaho.

Agency Records

Correspondence and Census

Tribe Agency location of Original Records

Pre-1880 Correspondence

M234 RG 75 Rolls 962

Roll Number




Post-1885 Census

M595 RG 75 Rolls 693

Roll Number




Sheepeater Lemhi Agency, 1885, 1887-1906 Seattle - 248 FHL Film: 576937

Important Web Sites

"Sheepeater Indian War" article in Wikipedia.


  1. "History: The Mountain Shoshone or Sheepeater Indians," Salmon-Challis National Forest, Leadore Ranger District available online
  2. Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series No. 24 "The Sheepeater Indians" available online



  • Dominick, David. "The Sheepeaters." Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 36, No. 2 (1964), pp. 131-168.


  • Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives; Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906 Available online.
  • Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; FHL book 970.1 R259e.
  • Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna, eds. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1998. 4 volumes. Includes: Lists of Federally Recognized Tribes for U.S., Alaska, and Canada – pp. 513-529 Alphabetical Listing of Tribes, with reference to volume and page in this series Map of “Historic Locations of U.S. Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Canadian Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Mexican, Hawaiian and Caribbean Native Groups” Maps of “State and Federally Recognized U.S. Indian Reservations. WorldCat 37475188; FHL book 970.1 G131g.
Vol. 1 -- Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean
Vol. 2 -- Great Basin, Southwest, Middle America
Vol. 3 -- Arctic, Subarctic, Great Plains, Plateau
Vol. 4 -- California, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Islands
  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published