July 20, 2020
The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation (NWBSN) is a federally recognized tribe of Shoshone people located in Box Elder County, Utah. The 189 acres of NWBSN lands are located near Washakie, Utah, near the Utah–Idaho border.
The tribe’s Washakie Cemetery provides a vital historical, social, and spiritual nexus among tribal members, their ancestors, and their culture. However, the cemetery currently has no landscaping or shaded gathering places; it stands exposed to the elements with earth-covered graves and a smattering of sagebrush scattered throughout the barbed-wire-fenced site.
The tribe is now undertaking a project to preserve, modernize, and beautify the site. Hansen, Allen & Luce (HAL) is mapping the graves, planning the landscape, securing water rights, cleaning and equipping wells, and designing an irrigation system. Trees and landscaping will add visual appeal and offer shelter from the elements, and natural pathways will allow visitors to access existing graves. The landscape plan will also enable native grasses and shrubs to develop and beautify the site.
The tribe prides itself in selecting development projects that benefit the tribe membership and lessen or improve humans’ ecological impact on the earth. Besides making better use of the tribe’s natural water resources, the project will provide significant benefits by helping them preserve their identity, celebrate their tribal legacy, and show reverence for their ancestors.