History of Idaho

Shoshone Chief

This illustrated article provides interesting facts, information and a history timeline of the Native American Indians of Idaho.

The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Idaho resulted in the adoption of the Northwest culture. In Northern Idaho some Indians adopted the Plateau Culture.

Discover the history, interesting facts and information about the way of life of the Idaho Indians before the arrival of the white European settlers and colonists.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index3

History of Idaho Indians
Factors that contributed to the history of the state are detailed in the History Timeline. The history timeline shows the impact of the new comers to the state.

Stone Age History of Idaho
The American Native Indians who lived in what is now the present state of Idaho led a Stone Age lifestyle - they only had stone tools and weapons, had never seen a horse and had no knowledge of the wheel. The history of the Idaho Indians are detailed in this article.

Map of Idaho
The map of Idaho provides a bird's eye view of the location of the tribal territories and homelands of the Idaho Indians in relation to the present day United States of America. The map indicates the location of the State and the American Native Indians of Idaho.


State Map of Idaho

State Map showing location of Idaho Indians

State Map showing location of Idaho Indians


Names of the Idaho Indian Tribes
The Plateau tribes of Idaho included the Nez Perce, Coeur D'Alene, Flathead, Kutenai, Palus, Cayuse, and Kalispel, and these groups lived in the forests, prairies and along the rivers. There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in the present day state of Idaho. The names of the Idaho tribes included the Lemhi Shoshone Bannock, Nez Perce, Salish (Flatheads), Paiutes and the Piegan Indians. The Snake River Plains Indians evolved into the Bannock and Shoshone tribes, whilst the Northern Idaho Natives evolved into the Nez Perce and other tribes. The Bannock originated in Western Idaho and spoke the Northern Paiute language. The Bannock tribe developed a horse culture and were closely associated with the Northern Shoshone with whom they eventually merged.

Fast Facts about the History of Idaho Indians
The way of life and history of Idaho Indians was dictated by the natural raw materials available in the State of Idaho. The natural resources and materials available provided the food, clothing and houses of the Idaho Indians. Fast facts about the history, culture and life of the State of Idaho Indians. Discover facts and information about the history of the State of Idaho Indians.

  • Name of State: Idaho
  • Meaning of State name: Idaho is an invented word supposedly meaning the "gem of the mountains. George M. Willing, a mining lobbyist, suggested the 'Shoshone Indian word' of 'Idaho' meaning "Gem of the Mountains. Congress eventually became aware that the name was made up by this time the name had been adopted by popular consent.
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Idaho: Plains in the south, central region of mountains, canyons, gorges; sub-alpine northern region.
  • Culture adopted by Idaho Indians: Northwest Cultural Group. In Northern Idaho some Indians adopted the Plateau Culture
  • Languages: Athabaskan, Algonquian, Siouan, and Uto-Aztecan
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Hunters and Fishers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Pit houses, tepees, wikiups, brush shelters

Bannock Indians

Bannock Indians

History Timeline of the Idaho Indians
The history and the way of life of Idaho Indians was profoundly affected by newcomers to the area. The indigenous people had occupied the land thousands of years before the first European explorers arrived. The Europeans brought with them new ideas, customs, religions, weapons, transport (the horse and the wheel), livestock (cattle and sheep) and disease which profoundly affected the history of the Native Indians. For a comprehensive History timeline regarding the early settlers and colonists refer to the
Colonial America Time Period. The history of the State and of its Native American Indians is detailed in a simple History Timeline. This Idaho Indian History Timeline provides a list detailing dates of conflicts, wars and battles involving Idaho Indians and their history. We have also detailed major events in US history which impacted the history of the Idaho Indians.

Idaho History Timeline

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Idaho

10,000 BC: Paleo-Indian Era (Stone Age culture) the earliest human inhabitants of America who lived in caves and were Nomadic hunters of large game including the Great Mammoth.

9000 BC: Clovis Culture (named after artefacts found at Clovis, New Mexico. These people used a distinctive type of fluted arrow point

7500 BC: Folsom Culture (named after artefacts found at Folsom, New Mexico. These people used flint arrow point in the shape of a leaf)

7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools

1501: The Spanish explorers claim lands for the Spanish monarchy 

1775: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.

1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence

1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land

1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence

1830: Indian Removal Act

1832: Department of Indian Affairs established

1846: Idaho becomes part of the United States

1858: Coeur d'Alene War (aka Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and Palouse Indian war) in the Washington and Idaho areas. Indians attacked and defeated a force of 164 US troops under Major Edward Steptoe.

1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.

1863: To punish the hostile Indians in Idaho, Fort Boise was established

1864: The Snake War (18641868) was fought by the U.S. army against the "Snake Indians" which was the settlers term for Northern Paiute, Bannock and Western Shoshone bands who lived along the Snake River

1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy

1865: 1865-1868 - Campaign against Indians in southern Oregon, Idaho (Territory) and northern California.

1868: The Bannock tribe was restricted to the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho. They experienced a terrible famine and broken treaties

1877: Nez Perce War in Oregon, Montana and Idaho. After fighting against the Americans. Chief Joseph led his tribe 1700 miles to Canada but were forced to to surrender near the border

1878: The Bannock Indian War

1879: The Sheepeater Indian War was the last Indian war fought in the Pacific Northwest portion of the United States in Idaho.

1879: The Native Indian tribes of Idaho surrender on September 1

1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers

1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.

1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Idaho

State of Idaho History Timeline

History of Idaho Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Idaho had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Idaho Indians.


  • History of Idaho Indians
  • Interesting Facts and information about the Idaho Culture and History
  • Names of indigenous Idaho tribes of Indians
  • Fast Facts, History Timeline and info
  • Map of Idaho
  • History Timeline of the Idaho Indians

State of Idaho Indians - Additional Pictures and Videos
State of Idaho Indian History. Discover the vast selection of pictures and videos of Native Americans. The pictures show the clothing, weapons and decorations of various Native American tribes that can be used as an educational history resource for kids and children. We hope that this article on the History of Idaho Indians  will assist in your studies or homework and that you will enjoy watching the videos featuring many pictures of the Native Americans. A great historical educational resource for kids on the subject of the History of Idaho Indians..


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