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The Skull Valley Goshutes


group after their reservation was abolished. But the members refused to consent to federal termination, and five of the leaders, Ennis M o o n , T o m Wash, Iby Bear, Richard Bear, and Lisa Moon Neck, stated specifically: " W e don't want to sell our reservation land. . . . This is our territory and our reservation land for our use [as] long as we Indians [are] living on it."^^ Their opposition proved to be effective, and the Skull Valley Reservation was not abolished as a result of the termination drive of the 1950s. After the mid-1950s the BIA abandoned its efforts to remove the Skull Valley Indians. T h e bureau finally accepted the fact that the band had no desire to move elsewhere. Since 1957 the members have been served by the Uintah and O u r a y Agency of the BIA. In recent years several of them have moved elsewhere owing to job opportunities in northern Utah. However, there remained eighteen individuals or four families living on the reservation as of the early 1980s. They own both horses and cattle and lease part of their reservation to the Hercules Corporation, a private company that builds and tests rockets. Some members work for this company.^* Ill There were at least three reasons why the federal government did not advocate forced removal of the Skull Valley Goshutes. First, the band represented only a small n u m b e r of Indians who posed no marked threat to the white residents of Utah or to the federal government. Second, Skull Valley, except for the area adjacent to Hickman Creek, is an arid region and was never highly desired by the white settlers. Third, the Skull Valley Goshutes were for the most part peaceful. Violent confrontations did not arise between them and the whites. Because forced removal was not applied to the Skull Valley Indians, their resistance to it over the years was more or less passive. In conclusion, the Skull Valley band is an excellent example of one Great Basin group's deep attachment to its traditional homeland. All governmental efforts to remove the entire band, dating back to 1864, have failed. Like other Basin groups, including the Duckwater and Yomba Western Shoshones of Nevada, the Skull Valley band, or at least several of its members, continues to reside in a valley where their ancestors have lived since time immemorial. ^^Termination of Federal Supervision, p . 8 3 . ^*Information Profiles of Indian Reservations in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, p p . 140-41,

Profile for Utah State History

Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, Number 3, 1987  

Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, Number 3, 1987  

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