According to the Goshutes, their people have always lived in the desert region southwest of the Great Salt Lake. Scientists argue that the Goshute Indians migrated along with other Numic-speaking peoples from the Death Valley region of California to the Great Basin, probably around one thousand years ago.
The word Goshute (Gosuite) is derived from the native word Kutsipiuti (Gutsipiuti), which means “desert people,” and the name is fitting. The Goshute people occupied some of the most arid land in North America and exemplified the Great Basin desert way of life.
As highly efficient hunters and gatherers, they maintained the fragile balance of the desert, providing for their needs without destroying the limited resources of their arid homeland.
They knew and used at least eighty-one species of vegetables. They harvested and cultivated seeds from many of these species.
For the most part the Goshute lived in extended family units, but larger groups would sometimes come together to hunt. Goshute bands chose a local wise man to lead them, but he had limited political power.
20 May, 1912 – 160 acres by Executive Order #1539 23 March, 1914 – 33,688.01 acres by Executive Order #1903 by the authority of the Indian Reorganization Act (48 Stat. 984)
15 June, 1937 – 319.55 acres
19 August, 1937 – 160 acres
11 February, 1938 – 439.24 acres
07 April, 1938 – 80 acres
13 April, 1938 – By the Authority of the Act of 30 June, 1934
15 August, 1938 – 3,493.57 acres
21 June, 1939 – 600 acres
19 January, 1940 – 320, 240, & 80 acres
09 February, 1940 – 2,240.99 acres
24 November, 1941 – 240 acres
09 January, 1943 – by Exchange Deed – 635.91 acres
The Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation are located astride the Nevada-Utah border, in White Pine County, Nevada and Tooele and Juab Counties, Utah. The Goshute Reservation is seventy-five miles south, by unimproved road, of Wendover, Utah or fifty miles east by unimproved road, of Schellbourne Station, U.S. Alternate 93.
There is no school on the reservation, so
70,489 acres of Tribal Land – Nevada
38,363.70 acres of Tribal Land – Utah
80 acres of allotted land – Utah
80 acres Federally owned – Utah
As of 2010, the tribal population was 409, with about 200 people living on the reservation. There were once as many as 20,000.
Organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 18 June 1934 (48 Stat. 984) as amended. Constitution and By-Laws of the Confederated Tribes approved 25 November, 1940.
The tribe’s headquarters is in Ibapah, Utah. The tribe is governed by a democratically elected, five-member tribal council.
Federal authorities established a government farm at Deep Creek for the Goshutes in 1859, but the project was abandoned by the next year.
Attacks on the Pony Express and Overland Stage, which ran through traditional Goshute territory, resulted in an 1863 treaty between the Goshutes and the federal government to allow peaceful travel through Goshute country.
The Goshute did not cede any of their territory in the treaty, but federal officials were intent on removing the Indians.
Between 1864 and 1912 they undertook efforts to remove the Goshutes to the Uintah Basin, Idaho, Nevada, and Oklahoma, but when these attempts failed, the Goshutes received reservation land in their native Utah.
The Goshutes, who had always been extremely skilled and efficient in their use of wild plants, took up farming as early as the 1860s.
In the reservation period, federal agents promoted agriculture as a means of “civilizing” the Goshutes, but their desert lands generally could not support self-sufficient farming.
Without a strong economic base, unemployment and poverty have been constant problems on the reservations.
In the second half of the twentieth century, lack of economic opportunity led the Goshutes to seek outside development.
A now-defunct steel fabrication plant opened at Deep Creek in 1969.
The Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation currently manages an elk herd, and profits from the sale of hunting permits go back to the tribe.
The Skull Valley Band also is actively pursuing the development of a storage facility for spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants. This controversial project is opposed by the governor of Utah, environmental groups, and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation.
The local economy on the Goshute Reservation is now mostly focused on agriculture, and some tribal members ranch cattle and cultivate hay.
The Goshutes are part of the Numic speaking peoples of the Uto-Aztecan language family. The Goshute dialect, Monoish Genus, or Western Numic, began to form in about 500 A.D. (ACE), when small family groups moved into eastern Nevada and western Utah. The Western Numic (Goshute) peoples either displaced or absorbed the preexisting Fremont culture and became the dominant group in the area by 1,000 A.D.
Eastern Nevada Agency
Elko, Nevada 89801
P.O. Box 6104
Ibapah, Utah 84034
Telephone: (801) 234-1136