Native Traditions

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Native peoples first encountered the Snake River canyons perhaps 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. Since that time they have successfully adapted to the cold, relatively inhospitable environment of the Ice Age -- the most recent geological epoch -- and the the contemporary temperate climate. These earliest Idaho peoples may have witnessed events unparalleled in recent history. It is possible, for example, that they witnessed the awesome of the Bonneville Flood and watched the explosive, volcanic eruptions on the eastern plain. These events probably produced a rich mythology maintained by oral tradition, reinforcing the human relationship to the plain. Although this oral tradition is not preserved in the archaeological record, much is known of the lifeways of these early peoples. From the remnants of their tools and a range of sites documenting their varied use and modification of the landscape, we see a highly successful adaptation that continues in the traditions and lifeways of contemporary American Indians.

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