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Photo: Illustration mortarThe tribe's name, Agaidika, comes from salmon - a staple of their diet. They divided their time between salmon fishing west of the Continental Divide and buffalo hunting to the east of it. The Agaidikas gradually merged with other northern Shoshoni groups, the Tukadikas (sheepeaters) and Kucundikas (buffalo eaters), to form the Lemhi Shoshoni tribe. Lemhis today joke that if they'd been eating carrots when the white men came, they'd be known as Yumbydikas, or carrot eaters.
The nomadic lifestyle demanded by the need to hunt, fish and glean took them far from the Snake River at Salmon Falls to the Yellowstone and Three Forks areas of Montana to the headwaters of the Bitterroot River. They claimed this territory for generations before the first white people came.
Photo: Grinder Their food-gathering trips couldn't last too long. Bands came and went many times between spring and the following winter, always returning home to the Lemhi Valley between trips. If they stayed too long and left too few warriors behind, the women and children were vulnerable to enemy tribes' raiding parties.
Children learned from their fathers to fish by making weirs from willow branches and nets of rope made with the strong fibers from the inner bark of sagebrush. They speared fish as well. Salmon and other fish were eaten fresh and dried to save for the winter. Sacajawea may have made and carried an Agaidika version of a purse, a bag made from the skin of a large salmon. A few Lemhi Shoshonis still make them today.
Photo: Leo Ariwite Sr. Photo: Lemhi Speak Text "I made (the weir) to show my boys. We used to set it above the Lemhi store a couple hundred yards. You set it in the river at kind of an angle. We let the females go - only take the males. Every morning we pull the salmon. A long time ago, there were a lot of salmon."   Leo Ariwite Sr. Starting at about the age of 6, girls were allowed to accompany the women on their food-gathering expeditions and begin learning their methods. The women were adept at harvesting camas roots, bitterroots, balsam and pinyon pine seeds, wild onions and carrots, chokecherries, serviceberries, blackberries and gooseberries.
Sacajawea learned to make a stone grinder, which was used to make meal from dried berries. The meal was pressed into cookies.
Sacajawea knew how to skin and butcher animals and how to make stews and other meals with fish, ground squirrels, deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, buffalo and other game. Like all her people, she'd have been an expert at drying the meat into jerky that could be eaten when the snow was deep and fresh food scarce.
Her mother and aunts taught her to make the tools and implements needed for daily life. She could make a sewing-needle sharpener from a rock, a bow from a chokecherry branch, a comb from the bones of a salmon tail. She cleaned her teeth with bone toothpicks, mint and other plants. She knew where to find the white clay her people used for soap. They bathed every morning, even on days when it was so cold they had to break ice for their bath water.
The Agaidikas had many horses and raced one another for recreation. Another pastime was a betting game played with bones and sticks.
Sacajawea learned to ride a horse at an early age. She knew how to make saddles and stirrups out of wood, bone and rawhide.

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The Idaho Statesman - Always Idaho -
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