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A Sacred Battleground

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Some events in history should never be forgotten.

One in our region, though rarely discussed, took place January 29, 1863. Some 200 soldiers from Camp Douglas in Salt Lake City almost annihilated a band of Shoshone Indians encamped for the winter along the Bear River near Preston, Idaho.

As often happened in those days, there was tension between settlers and Native Americans. In this instance, an army sent to subdue the Indians went overboard. What began as a battle between soldiers and a few braves soon turned into one of the bloodiest massacres of Indians in American history. At least 250 men, women and children were killed. 14 soldiers died.

Last week, after 140 years, the small Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation with headquarters in Brigham City finally reclaimed some of the land where their forbearers died. They purchased 27 acres and held a solemn ceremony to bless it.

More, though, needs to be done.

After years of lobbying, the site was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1990. While significant, KSL believes that modest designation is not nearly enough for what happened there. It should be elevated to the status of National Historic Site so the story can be told with greater clarity.

We call on the congressional delegations of Utah and Idaho to work toward that goal.

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