Bannock Military Campaign

Bannack Indians

Bannack Indians

The Bannock Military Campaign began when the Bannock, Paiute, and other tribes of southern Idaho threatened rebellion in 1878, partly because of dissatisfaction with their land allotments.

At this time, many left the reservations, and Regulars of the 21st Infantry, 4th Artillery, and 1st Cavalry pursued the fugitives. Captain Evan Miles effectively dispersed a large band near the Umatilla Agency on July 13, 1878, and most Indians returned to their reservations within a few months.

The Sheepeaters, mountain sheep hunters, and outcasts of other Idaho tribes raided ranches and mines in 1879. Relentless pursuit by elements of the 1st Cavalry and 2d Infantry compelled them to surrender in September of that year.

Umatilla Chief in the Bannock War

Umatilla Chief in the Bannock War

After the Bannock War of 1878, the American government restricted the movements of the Bannock in and out of the Fort Hall Reservation. Connections with other tribal groups and the Bannock freedom to use local resources were restricted. Subdued from the battles and lack of resources, the Bannock worked to construct a  community within the reservation.

Other Bannock and Paiute prisoners were interned at the Malheur Reservation in Oregon. While the Paiute had been more peripherally involved, in November 1878, General Howard moved about 543 Bannock and Paiute prisoners from the Malheur Reservation to internment at Yakama Indian Reservation in southeastern Washington Territory. They suffered privation for years. In 1879 the Malheur Reservation was closed due to pressure from settlers.

The Northern Paiute from Idaho and Nevada were eventually released and relocated from Yakama to an expanded Duck Valley Indian Reservation with their Western Shoshone brethren in 1886.


©Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated January 2023.

Also See:

The Bannock Tribe – Roaming the Great Basin

The Bannock War

Battles and Massacres of the Indian Wars

Indian War List and Timeline


U.S. Army Center of Military History