Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada


Last Updated: 3 years

The Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians are a confederation of Western Shoshone bands, each living in an Indian Colony located in Nevada. The tribe consists of the Battle Mountain Band, Elko Band, South Fork Band, and the Wells Band.

Official Tribal Name: Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada

Address: 525 Sunset Street, Elko, Nevada 89801  
Phone: (702) 738-9251
Fax: (702) 738-2345

Official Website: http://www.temoaktribe.com

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Newe, meaning “the people.”

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:

White settlers renamed the Newe “Shoshone” during the 1820’s.

Alternate names / Alternate spellings:

Four constituent bands: Battle Mountain Band; Elko Band; South Fork Band and Wells Band

Name in other languages:

Region: Great Basin

State(s) Today: Nevada

Traditional Territory:

The traditional Western Shoshone territory covered southern Idaho, the central part of Nevada, portions of northwestern Utah, and the Death Valley region of southern California.

Confederacy: Western Shoshone  


The Treaty of Ruby Valley in 1863, granted the tribe ownership of much of eastern Nevada. When, nearly a century later, the government agreed to pay $26 million in compensation, the tribe rejected the offer, insisting on a return of the land instead.

Reservations: Battle Mountain Reservation, Elko Colony, Wells Colony, South Fork Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land

At the beginning of the 20th century there was but a single Western Shoshone reservation, located in Duck Valley along the Nevada-Idaho border. The BIA planned to coerce all the Shoshones of the Great Basin region to move there. Ultimately, less than one-third of them agreed to this arrangement, however, so the government encouraged Northern Paiutes from Oregon and Nevada to join the Western Shoshones still not living on reservation land.

The government set aside thousands of acres for various “colonies” (in California) as alternatives to full-size reservations like Duck Valley.

The bands that make up the Te-Moak Shoshone Tribe refused to relocate to the Duck Valley Reservation when it was established in 1877, forcing the U.S. government to grant them territory closer to their ancestral tribal lands.

The Te-Moak Shoshone tribal lands consist of colonies in Battle Mountain, Elko, and Wells, plus South Fork Indian Reservation. The separate colonies, while part of the same tribe, each reflect the variety between different bands of Te-Moak Shoshone. 

The almost 700-acre Battle Mountain Indian Colony was established in 1917. In addition to homes for the Battle Mountain Band’s members, it includes a senior center and smoke shop/convenience store that offers fireworks and traditional arts and crafts.

The Elko Indian Colony was founded near the city in 1918. The community consists of the Elko Smoke Shop and numerous tribal member homes—its location in northeastern Nevada’s largest city preempts the need for tribe-specific services. The Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko includes artifacts from Shoshone who once practiced traditional nomadic ways of life throughout the region. The Elko Band Powwow in October is among the state’s largest and includes food vendors, arts and crafts booths, and displays of traditional dancing.

The 80-acre Wells Indian Colony was established in 1977, but the Te-Moak Shoshone people had frequented the Humboldt Wells springs near the town for many centuries before Wells was founded in 1868. The community includes a small park and the Wells Smoke Shop.

At more than 20 square miles, South Fork Indian Reservation is the largest tract of Te-Moak Shoshone tribal land in the state. The reservation is at the foot of the Ruby Mountains 28 miles south of Elko via State Routes 227 and 228. Established in 1941, South Fork has been developed only lightly in the intervening decades aside from the small town of Lee, its community center, and a hay crop to feed the tribe’s cattle herd, its largest source of revenue.

Location: Territory of the Tribe is that land within the Elko Colony, and Reservation or Colony sites occupied by members of the Te-Moak Bands who have voted to be made a part of such Te-Moak Territory.  

Land Area:
 See bands linked to below for more information on each colony.

Tribal Headquarters:
 Elko, Nevada

Time Zone:  

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

Each band colony maintains it’s own tribal enrollment rolls. Collectively, the four bands have about 2,096 members.

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Also see individual bands, each band keeps their own enrollment records.
Disenrollment wave underway by Nevada’s Te-Moak Tribal Council disputed

Genealogy Resources:


Charter: Organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 18 June 1934 (48 Stat. 984) as amended. The four Nevada colonies that united to form the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone adopted a constitution in 1938, which was recognized by the federal government. The Constitution and By-Laws of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians was approved August 24, 1938. 
Name of Governing Body: The Te-Moak Tribal Council has total jurisdiction over all tribal lands, though the colonies retain sovereignty over all the other affairs, and each band has its own separate governing Band Council who exercise limited authority over local matters.   
Number of Council members:   5 plus executive officers.
Dates of Constitutional amendments: Amended in 1982.
Number of Executive Officers:  Chairman, Vice-Chairman


Held every 3 years.

B.I.A. Agency:

Eastern Nevada Agency
Elko, Nevada 89801
Phone:(702) 738-5165

Language Classification:

Language Dialects:

Number of fluent Speakers:



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Battle Mountain Band
Elko Band
South Fork Band
Wells Band

Related Tribes:

Death Valley Timbisha Shoshone | Ely Shoshone Tribe | Duckwater Shoshone | Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe | Ft. McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe | Winnemucca Colony | Yomba Shoshone Tribe | Reno/Sparks Indian Colony | Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians (comprised of the Battle Mountain Band, Elko Band, South Fork Band, and Wells Band)

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Northeastern Nevada Museum 

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts:





Prior to contact with white culture, the Te-Moak Tribes were hunter-gatherers. They divided themselves into small extended family groups who confined themselves to specific areas for hunting and gathering.  

Economy Today:

For many of the Western Shoshone bands, cattle ranching has served as the main source of income during the 20th century. Many tribal members work at seasonal agriculture and ranching jobs throughout the region. The tribe owns a combination convenience store/smoke shop, which employs six people. The tribal government employs 20 people. A mine filter cleaning business employs 3 people. Few other employment opportunities exist on their reservation lands.

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs


Shoshone Chiefs & Famous People:

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

In the News:

Further Reading: