Nevada, Walter , 101 (Shoshone-Bannock)

FORT HALL, Idaho (AP) - Walter Nevada, the oldest member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, has died at age 101.

Nevada, the last surviving Lemhi-Shoshone to be relocated from the Lemhi Valley to the Fort Hall Reservation by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1907, died of age-related complications during late April, said Emaline Matsaw George, a relative.

Nevada was just a baby when his family was relocated, but he spent his entire life trying to keep the Lemhi-Shoshone traditions alive, George said.

“He had the respect of many of our people here,” George said. “He was a man of wisdom at his age of departing into the spirit world.”

Nevada was a Road Man in the Native American Church, a position similar to that of a priest, George said. He often performed traditional healing prayers for tribal members.

In 1986 and 1987, Nevada worked with an anthropologist to help identify the Lemhi-Shoshone's aboriginal territory between Salmon and Challis.

During that time, Nevada noticed a granite monument commemorating the Mormon settlers, George said. The monument inspired him, George said, and Nevada successfully spearheaded an effort to get a historical sign posted near the Chief Tendoy Cemetery near Salmon honoring the nearly 500 Lemhi-Shoshone who were relocated to Fort Hall.

Nevada often said the Salmon River was like a natural food basket, full of wildlife and edible and medicinal herbs.

“Even though the government forced them to relocate here, in their hearts and minds they never left their homeland,” George said of Nevada and his family. “I just can't measure in words how much he expressed his love of his homeland all the time, in words and prayers.”

Nevada was also proud to be a descendant of Sacajawea, urging the remaining Lemhi-Shoshone to follow her example.

“He never really forgot his identity or legacy,” George said. “It's always been there in the beautiful mountains near Salmon.”