"Tukedeka Medicine"

30" x 40" Oil on Linen

Among the ancient Shoshoni people in the Uto-Aztecan linguistic group, the different branches of the people were called or known by their main diet.  Along the Snake River and lower Salmon rivers the people were called Salmoneaters.  Around Fort Hall and on the Snake River Plains they proudly hailed themselves as  Buffaloeaters. The Sheepeaters of the mountains from Central Idaho into Wyoming were called Tukedeka;  i.e. "eaters of meat or big game."  That Big Game would be Mountain Sheep. 

 

The Sheepeater bands represented the purest cultural form of the ancient Shoshone and were well known for their fine skin products and peerless stone points. They had little use for horses in the rugged regions they hunted and lived in.  Here I have illustrated a Tukedeka holy man smoking with the spirit of the Big Horn Sheep.  He has removed his moccasins and set them aside in reverence.  High on the cliff at a distance, a Bighorn Ram watches the proceedings.

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