Hansen, Allen & Luce (HAL) is serving as engineer for the Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation (NWBSN) and its Boa Ogoi Cultural Interpretive Center.
Tribe members are direct decedents of those who lost their lives during the 1863 Bear River Massacre. A culmination of the lack of understanding between pioneer settlers and native Shoshone, the Bear River Massacre was the single largest mass killing of Native Americans in U.S. history. As settlement and agriculture have expanded in the 160 years since, wetland and riparian habitats along the Bear River (called “Boa Ogoi” by the Shoshone) have been degraded.
The massacre site, located on the northern bank of the Bear River just north of Preston, Idaho, received National Historic Landmark status in 1990. Since then, the tribe has acquired 585 acres of land, including the massacre site itself, to establish a cultural interpretive center and restore sections of the impaired Bear River.
“It was a huge blessing for my people to obtain this sacred burial ground,” tribal council member Darren Parry said in a recent interview with Utah State Today.
HAL is helping the tribe regain lost water rights, secure future water rights, survey the site, provide geotechnical and geothermal investigations, identify rights of way and easements, obtain archaeological and environmental permits, develop drinking water sources, plan wastewater facilities, and beautify the site. The project will memorialize the massacre site, educate visitors, and celebrate Shoshone heritage, as well as improve wetlands and fisheries in the Bear River.
Image: View of Bear River from proposed Boa Ogoi Cultural Interpretive Center, courtesy of GSBS Architects