This area was crossed by many trails used by the ancestors of the Shoshone and Bannock people. Some trails connected hunting and gathering grounds; others marked traditional ceremonial lands of the various Shoshone and Bannock bands. Among the trails was the Great Medicine Road, which was a major crossroads for traveling north and south through areas that would eventually be called Idaho and Utah. The crossroads served as a meeting location where people from the Shoshone and Bannock bands would gather. The area around and between Soda Springs and Pocatello, Idaho, was also widely used as a meeting place and roadway for all Shoshone and Bannock bands, as well as by the Ute people.
The Oregon Trail, a major route for white settlers moving west, followed part of the Great Medicine Road.
Along the Great Medicine Road are many hot pools, or thermal springs, which were used by the Shoshone and Bannock people for medicinal and ceremonial purposes; the practice continues to this day. Many different resources, such as plants and minerals (especially red and white rocks and soils), were collected in this area for use in medicinal practices. Women, in particular, played an important role in collecting and administering these medicinal items.
The Great Medicine Road provided access to many life-sustaining resources used by the
Shoshone and Bannock people, including a variety of plants and animals, chalks and paints, willows and other material used in craft and art, and materials for hunting and fishing. The waters of the area are of central importance to both subsistence practices and cultural identity.
For more information on the history and culture of the Shoshone and Bannock people, please visit the Tribes' website or the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Museum in Fort Hall, Idaho