Published on September 14, 2013 by Amy
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The Bannock or Banate are a Native American people who traditionally lived in the northern Great Basin in what is now southeastern Oregon and Southern Idaho. They speak the Northern Paiute language and are closely related to the Northern Paiute people. Some anthropologists consider the Bannock to be simply the northern-most bands of the Northern Paiute. The degree to which the Bannock considered themselves separate from the Northern Paiute at the time of contact is unclear. The Bannock developed a horse culture and associated closely with the Northern Shoshone.
The Bannock are prominent in American history due to the Bannock War of 1878. After the war, the Bannock moved onto the Fort Hall Indian Reservation with the Northern Shoshone and gradually their tribes merged. Today they are called the Shoshone-Bannock. The Bannock live on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, 544,000 acres in Southeastern Idaho. Lemhi and Northern Shoshone live with the Bannock Indians.
For most of the nineteenth century the majority of the Bannock were mounted, loosely organized into relatively large bands, and influenced by Plains Indian cultures. Some, however, lived in smaller, un-mounted family groups much like their Northern Paiute neighbors. Actually, however, the Bannock left their homeland, what is now southeastern Oregon, and moved to south central Idaho in the eighteenth century. The horse was the vehicle that allowed this movement. The Bannock were a widely roving tribe, a characteristic which favored their dispersal and separation into groups. Both the men and the women are well developed; and although Shoshonean in language, in physical characters the Bannock resemble more closely the Shahaptian Nez Percé than other Shoshonean Indians. The development of the horse culture allowed the Bannock Indians to be aggressive in war and chose their chiefs for that aggressiveness. The horse allowed the Banncok Tribe to have a large range of territory.
It should also be noted that the fur traders and others referred to the Bannock Indians as “robbers,” as they were quite adept at acquiring horses!