An alleged massacre comes under fire

  As the story goes, Shoshone-Bannock warriors scalped and murdered nearly 300 men, women and children near Almo, Idaho, in 1861. Now, several historians call the massacre mere campfire folklore. Brigham Madsen, a retired University of Utah professor who recently researched the killing, says no newspapers or U.S. military records in 1861 mention the massacre, and no massive graves or local evidence exist. "It would have been the second largest Indian massacre in the 19th century, and wouldn't have gone unnoticed," he points out. Madsen suspects the legend gained credence in the early 1930s, when newspaper editors wanted to attract tourists to the area. Shoshone chairman Keith Tinno wants an apology, and Madsen suggests that Almo residents change a plaque that commemorates the alleged massacre. But Almo locals want their 6-foot monument to stay. Della Mullinix, the 82-year-old president of the Idaho Pioneers group, says she's willing to apologize to Tinno, but that changing the monument is out of the question. It's part of the area's history and culture, she says. For more information, call Brigham Madsen at 801/277-2954.


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