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Brad Parry

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This is still our aboriginal territory, so we care about the resources. A lot of our traditions changed when the settlers came in; we didn't travel, we didn't wander like we used to. In the very north end, where the Spiral Jetty is today, our people used to gather there for rabbit hunts. My great, great, great grandfather, Chief Sagwitch, organized those hunts there. His son, Yeager, was my grandmother's grandfather, and he told her we camped right up on the banks of the lake and went rabbit hunting with all the other Shoshone people that would come. They really used the lake as a point of reference; I don't think we use it like that anymore. Now, it's more remembering or learning about what our people did there. That's how the lake is important to us, because it helps us define our history and the story we can tell.

Brad Parry is the Vice Chairman and Natural Resources Officer of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. He has fond memories of hunting for ducks in the wetlands around Great Salt Lake with his family — like his ancestors did. 

Parry is leading a massive restoration effort at Wuda Ogwa, or Bear River, where the U.S. Army murdered an estimated 500 Shoshone people on January 29, 1863. For thousands of years prior to the Bear River Massacre, the site was a camping and gathering place for the Shoshone people. In 2018, the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation purchased their land back at the massacre site, and now they’re reclaiming and restoring the area to be a gathering place once again.

The Bear River is Great Salt Lake’s largest tributary; the tribe estimates it can return 13,000 acre-feet of water to the Great Salt Lake annually by shifting vegetation from invasives to native plants, cleaning up creeks and restoring degraded agricultural fields to wetlands.

Brad Parry
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