Western Shoshone

The Western Shoshone tribal nation has faced numerous ongoing assaults against their lands and bodies. Unceded Western Shoshone lands, Newe Sogobia, encompasses 60 million acres spanning from from the Mojave desert in California all the way to southern Idaho through eastern Nevada [1]. The 1840s California gold rush brought large numbers of settlers to Newe Sogobia. Settlers brought violence, federal troops, overgrazing, water scarcity, deforestation, and game depletion. The 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty rightfully acknowledged Western Shoshone ownership of the land. However it permitted non-Natives resource extraction with royalties paid to the Western Shoshone [1] . Unsurprisingly, the United States has failed to uphold this treaty. In the early 1900s federal departments began referring to Newe Sogobia as “public lands” without any legal grounding. In 1979 the US government presented the Western Shoshone with a $26 million settlement for Newe Sogobia. The Western Shoshone rejected the offer.[2] To this day, the Department of Interior has been working to coerce the Western Shoshone into signing. 

Despite the fact that Newe Sogobia remains unceded, the US government claims jurisdiction over 80-90 percent of the lands. Western Shoshone have received no royalties despite extensive resource extraction and exploitation of Newe Sogobia. These lands are one of the largest gold-producing areas in the worlds and hold great potential for geothermal energy production [1] . In addition, the Department of Defense has conducted extensive nuclear weapons testing on Newe Sogobia and has long advocated for permanent nuclear waste storage in Yucca Mountain. 


[1] "Mount Tenabo," Sacred Land Defense Project, https://sacredland.org/mount-tenabo-united-states/, 2010.

[2] "Mount Tenabo,"  "History and Culture," Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshonehttps://www.temoaktribe.com/history.shtml