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.”

For the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes,* the Middle Fork of the Salmon River has been their 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. The Middle Fork is a place to reconnect with Mother Earth, to reclaim their culture, and heal amidst the memory traces left by their ancestors.

River of Return is a love story with many facets. Like the river, it’s an evolving love story for Jessica and Sammy Matsaw, Shoshone-Bannock and co-founders of River Newe. It’s about the love between tribal leaders and their youth. And it’s about the love they all share for the Salmon River. Follow Jessica and Sammy as they share their story about the power of hope and perseverance, resilience and resurgence, and the vitality of sharing these lands and waters with today’s tribal youth and the generations to come.

*The Middle Fork Salmon River lies within the state boundaries of Idaho. Idaho boundaries overlap the usual and accustomed areas (or traditional lands) of five tribes: the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, the Nez Perce Tribes, the Coeur d’Alene, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, and the Shoshone-Paiute.

Learn more and support Sammy and Jessica’s organization, River Newe, here.