Parry said he wants the interpretive site to tell the whole story of his people. He is currently undertaking an informational tour of city council meetings throughout Cache Valley to share plans for the site, hoping that local leaders can then share that information with their residents. He said he wants to show that the tragedy didn’t define the tribe.
“A building that people can go in and learn the whole history,” Parry said. “Our tribe’s history in the area, the introduction of Mormon pioneers, how that changed our way of life and then kind of the whole story, including the conversion to Mormonism and who we are today.”
But, Parry said, if the interpretive center is closed, visitors will still be able to learn the history from information on the outside of the building. David Garce, a principal at GSBS and a landscape architect, helped put together a larger site plan to do just that.
Garce, himself a member of the Catawba Indian Nation who sits on board of directors of the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers, said the site is peaceful and quiet with unobstructed views. As planned, the building will be a distance away from the actual massacre site. Walking trails would then meander around the field, leading to a recreated Shoshone encampment area with teepees.
To show the scope of life lost in the massacre, Garce said the plan calls for placing 500 boulders throughout the field, each representing one life.
“Once you see the immense number of lives-lost markers, it really makes an impact on you,” Garce said.
Part of the mission of GSBS Architects, Garce explained, is to provide professional design help to underserved populations. He said they have worked with Paiute, Navajo, Hopi and Ute tribes. When the opportunity arose to work with the Northwestern Shoshone, they jumped on the project. He said most of the design work on the project is pro bono.
The design might come cheap for the tribe, but the actual construction is another story. Parry said GSBS provided a cost estimate of $5 million. He is hoping to raise most of that from donations from Cache Valley residents and businesses.
“I just have a feeling that this is such a beautiful story — it needs to be told — that I think there will be a lot of people that want to be involved with it,” Parry said.
Gross said the fundraising effort will be a big task. He said he’s thought of putting on a benefit concert over the summer. With the land purchase and now the plans to build an interpretive center, he said it’s an exciting time for the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation.
“I feel like we’re honoring our ancestors by doing this,” Gross said.
By Sean Dolan staff writer - Apr 7, 2018
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