River of Return


“This place is all the things I want for my kids, and all the things I want for the young people of my Tribe. This place is medicine. This place is my home. It’s my mama. It’s my heart.”

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River was named the “River of No Return” by white settlers, who piloted wooden scows down the river and used the lumber from the boats to build homesteads, never to return to so-called civilization. But for Sammy and Jessica Matsaw of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, the Middle Fork is a place to come back to, after too long an absence, to reconnect with Mother Earth, their culture and themselves. The Middle Fork of the Salmon River has been their people’s home since time immemorial.

They and their people remain inextricably linked with its waters even after a history of forced removal from the landscape and generations of disconnection and trauma. Join Jessica and Sammy as they guide a journey with their Newe people to be whole again in River of Return.