Original Tribal and Band Names of Idaho's Native Peoples

The Tribes which entered and settled Idaho did not originally call themselves Shoshoni, Bannock, Nez Perce or Coeur d' Alene. These peoples, before the invasion of the Europeans, described themselves by tribal names which are not commonly used today.

The people which today are called Nez Perce, from the French meaning "pierced nose", call themselves Nimi'ipuu.

Coeur d' Alene is another tribe which was incorrectly named by French fur trappers. Coeur d' Alene means possibly "heart-of-the-awl", but the people called themselves Schitsu'umsh.

The Bannock, which are closely related to the Northern Paiute, called themselves Nimi', Pan a'kwati or Panaite.

The Shoshoni designated themselves by various names, which confused the daylights out of regimented Europeans. The Shoshoni referred to themselves by whatever primary wild food resource was being harvested by the different bands or family groups, living in different geographic areas. Causing further confusion, multiple names were sometimes attached to the people of a single area, the same name could be found given to the people of widely separated areas, and a single group could be known by a series of names as they traveled from an area identified by one kind of food to another with different harvestable food.

An overall name used by the Northern Shoshoni was "Nemme sosoni'ihnee'e", which means "the people" or "us".  There are many names by which the Shoshoni Bands called themselves, those that follow are names used by the Northern Shoshoni in Idaho, both to describe themselves and other bands living near them.

Hukkandeka (hukkantikka)- "eaters of seeds". Also used for the Northern Shoshoni of Bannock Creek, which called themselves Kammedeka.

Kammedeka (kammitikka)- "eaters of jackrabbits".  These people ranged from along the Snake River from Bannock Creek to Raft River.  Also, called Hukkandeka.

Pohokwi- "people of sagebrush butte" which refers to Ferry Butte at Fort Hall.

Tetadeka (tipatikka)- "eaters of pine nuts".  A group or Band living in northern Utah.

Pengwideka (penkwitikka)- "eater of fish".

Agaideka (akaitikka)- "eaters of salmon".  These people lived in the Lemhi River valley and upper Salmon River.  Lemhi is not a Shoshoni word, rather it was invented by European settlers.

Tukudeka (tukkuikka)- "eater of mountain sheep".  These people living in Idaho's central Sawtooth Mountains were called Sheep eaters and Lemhi by early settlers.  In 1878, the infamous Sheepeater War was with the Tukudeka band, not a separate tribe called Sheepeater.

Kutsundeka (kuccuntikka)- "eaters of bison".  These people are also referred to as the poho'ini or "sagebrush people".

Yahandeka (yahantikka)- "eaters of groundhogs" were the people who lived on the lower Boise, Payette and Weiser rivers.  This country was called si.wo.kki?i -- "willow-striped".

These Bands spoke the same language and had similar customs, but were not politically organized as a tribe and did not identify themselves with only one name.

The differences in resources available in Idaho's regions encouraged diversity among the tribes and bands which settled Idaho after 4,000 years ago.   Because each region offered different varieties of animals and plants, the people, by necessity, responded in kind.  It is the diversity of people which will create a special place.