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Duckwater Shoshone Tribe of the Duckwater Reservation

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Title: Duckwater Shoshone Tribe of the Duckwater Reservation  
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Subject: Western Shoshone, Railroad Valley
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Duckwater Shoshone Tribe of the Duckwater Reservation

Duckwater Shoshone Tribe
Haymaking at Duckwater Reservation in the 1930s
Total population
Approximately 288[1]
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( Nevada)
English, Shoshone
traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups
other Western Shoshone tribes

The Duckwater Shoshone Tribe of the Duckwater Reservation is a federally recognized tribe of Western Shoshone[2] in central Nevada.[1] Their autonym is Tsaidüka, meaning "Eaters of tule."[3]


The Duckwater Shoshone Tribe has a federal reservation, the Duckwater Reservation (38°55′49″N 115°42′37″W / 38.93028°N 115.71028°W / 38.93028; -115.71028), in Nye County, Nevada.[1] The reservation was established in 1940, when the tribe purchased the 3,272-acre (13.24 km2) Florio Ranch and 21 families moved onto the land.[4] Today, it is approximately 3,815 acres (15.44 km2). In 1990, 288 tribal members lived on the reservation.[1]


Traditionally, this band of Shoshone, a Great Basin tribe, hunted near Railroad Valley in the summer and lived in conical-shaped houses in the mountains in the winter. They hunted ducks, sage grouse, prairie dogs, rabbits, ground squirrels, deer, and other big game.[4] They cultivated chenopodium and Mentzelia.[5]

European-American settlers enter their lands in the late 19th century. The 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley called for peace between the Western Shoshone and settlers, stipulated that no further white settlement would occur, and did not surrender any Western Shoshone land.[6] Members of the tribe found employment as ranch hands.[4]

The tribe formed a new government under the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.[4]


The Duckwater Shoshone Tribe is headquartered in Duckwater, Nevada. They are governed by a democratically elected, five-member tribal council. Their tribal chairman is Virginia Sanchez, who succeeded Jerry Millet.[7] The tribe has an environmental health office, a health clinic, and senior center.[4]

Duckwater-Shoshone Nursery, a tribal venture. The nurseries raise native plants in two greenhouses, and these are used in phytoremediation projects by mining operations. The US Fish and Wildlife Service awarded the tribe three grants to restore Railroad Valley springfish, a threatened species.[4]

Each June, the tribe celebrates its annual Duckwater Festival, with a powwow, barbecue, handgames, and other events.[4] This is a continuation of the traditional summer festivals held by the tribe, when the round dance was danced.[8]

Notable tribal members



  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1.
  • Thomas, David Hurst, Lorann S. A. Pendleton, and Stephen C. Cappannari. "Western Shoshone." d'Azevedo, Warren L., Volume Editor. Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 11: Great Basin. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1986. ISBN 978-0-16-004581-3.
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