The Spirit of Ollokot

Tribal Leaders Then and Now

By Linden B. Bateman

Photos Courtesy of Linden B. Bateman

One day in 1947, when I was seven years old, my mother and I were walking along a dry creek bed on our family ranch near Carey, where we had gathered for a reunion, when she became animated and cried out. Thinking she might have seen a rattlesnake, I ran to her side, but a broad smile on her face quickly dispelled that notion.

“Guess what I found,” she said, and held out in the palm of her hand a sharply pointed arrowhead.

I had never seen a genuine Indian arrowhead, which she explained had been made hundreds or even thousands of years ago, before the area had been touched by European civilization. My young imagination conjured up images of Native Americans living on our ranch with herds of bison still in the region, which she affirmed had indeed been the case. As late as the early 1920s, small groups of Shoshones occasionally camped in the area, and Mother recalled witnessing, as a small child, the birth of a baby in a tent on the ranch.

I was hooked. From that moment on, I began to develop a passionate interest in all things relating to Idaho tribal culture and history. Returning home to Idaho Falls after the reunion, my little hands were sweaty from holding the arrowhead so tightly. It quickly had become my most prized possession.

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