July 10, 2012

Bands of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada


Brief Summary:

The Battle Mountain Band, Elko Band, South Fork Band, and the Wells Band collectively make up the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. The Te-Moak Tribal Council has total jurisdiction over all tribal lands, while the bands (colonies) retain sovereignty over all the other affairs, and each band has its own separate governing Band Council.

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:
Recognition Status: Federally Recognized
Region: Great Basin
State(s) Today: Nevada
Confederacy: Western Shoshone

Bands, Gens, and Clans

Battle Mountain Band
Elko Band
South Fork Band
Wells Band

Battle Mountain Band Colony

Address: Battle Mountain Band Colony, 37 Mountain View, Battle Mountain, NV 89820
Phone: (775) 635-2004
Fax: (775) 635-8016

Total Area: 683.3 acres
Tribally owned: 683.3 acres

Total labor force: 145

Total reservation population: 165

Tribal enrollment: 516


The Battle Mountain Reservation is located on the west side of the city limits of the town of Battle Mountain, Nevada. It consists of two separate parcels of land totaling 683.3 acres. The original 677.05-acre reservation was established by Executive Order on June 18, 1917, for Shoshones living near Winnemucca and Battle Mountain. By an Act of Congress on August 21, 1967, an additional 6.25 acres were added to colony lands.


The Battle Mountain Colony is one of four separate colonies that comprise the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. The Battle Mountain region was the boundary area between the Newe (the ancestors of the Shoshone) and the Northern Paiutes; it was known to the Newe as “Tonomudza.” Several Newe bands lived in the area, which was a focal point for rabbit and antelope drives. An influx of whites soon claimed the fertile regions along the Humboldt and its tributaries.

The 1870’s saw the coming of the Central Pacific Railroad and the town of Battle Mountain was founded. After the 1880’s the Newe continued to live on the outskirts of the town, and some found work at the ranches.

In 1917, the colony received official recognition for their lands. In the 1930’s the Colony began building residential homes and a community development with the purchase and renovation of houses from the Getchell Mine near Winnemucca. In addition, the Community Building was renovated and a playground, park, and picnic grounds were added.


The Battle Mountain Colony is a member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians, with tribal headquarters in Elko, Nevada. The Battle Mountain colony has its own tribal council, consisting of a chairman, vice-chairman, and five council members. Each serve a three-year term of office. The Colony is organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, with its charter ratified on December 12, 1938, and its constitution and by-laws sanctioned on August 26, 1982.


There is relatively little economic activity on the reservation. One source of tribal income is a smokeshop/convenience store.

Elko Band Colony

Address: Elko Band Colony, P.O. Box 748, Elko, NV 89801
Phone: (775) 738-8889
Fax: (775) 753-5439

Total area: 192.8 acres
Federal trust: 192.8 acres

High school graduate or higher: 6%
Total labor force: 585
Per capita income: $7,000

Tribal enrollment: 1,143


The Elko Colony is located in the high desert of northeastern Nevada, near the Humboldt River. The reservation encompasses 192.80 noncontiguous acres adjacent to the city of Elko, the county seat of Elko County, Nevada. Elko is the only major city near the reservation. Reno, Nevada, lies 289 miles southeastward along U.S. Interstate 80. The Elko Colony was established by Executive Order on March 25, 1918 which reserved 160 acres for Shoshone and Paiute Indians living near the town of Elko. Today, 192.8 acres remain in federal trust.


The Elko Colony is one of the four separate colonies that comprise the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. Representatives of the Central Pacific Railroad founded the town of Elko, Nevada, in 1868. Many Shoshone families began comping nearby and working at mining and railroad jobs in the community. For almost half a century, they lived in a series of camps in the Elko area.

Finally, in 1918 an Executive Order established a 160-acre reservation near the city of Elko. The 250 Shoshones of Elko were forcibly moved once more before receiving their present parcel of land in 1931. Since Elko remains the largest town in northeastern Nevada, many Shoshones have continued to migrate there for railroad and mining work.

In recent years, the Western Shoshone people have filed numerous law suits against the federal government in an attempt to regain traditional lands now classified as Federal Public Lands. Decisions in several of these cases are still pending. The tribe is also passing the Shoshone language on to younger generations.


The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 allowed the Elko band of Shoshone to organize a government “on a reservation basis only.” The Te-Moak Tribal Council has total jurisdiction over all tribal lands, though the colonies retain sovereignty over all other affairs. Several bands joined together to form the Te-Moak Tribe and formed a collective tribal council in 1938.

An Elko Colony constitution was ratified on August 26, 1982. The Elko Community Council, composed of seven popularly elected members, handles tribal business. The council is led by a chairman, and members serve three-year terms. Council candidates must belong to the Te-Moak Tribe, be at least 21, have at least one-fourth Shoshone blood, and have lived on the reservation for one year.

The council governs the colony, contracting with county, municipal, and federal agencies to provide social services and economic development programs. The Elko Band also elects two representatives to serve on the Te-Moak Council and the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada.


The trival government employs seven persons. The tribe owns and operates a smokeshop and convenience store within the reservation.

The tribe is not directly involved with the ownership or operation of mines in the Elko area. However, the tribal community depends upon the employment provided by the mining industry.

Many tribal members work at seasonal agriculture and ranching jobs throughout the region.


The Elko Colony lies in close proximity to several scenic recreation areas. The Humboldt National Forest is approximately 20 miles east of the reservation. The Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge lies some 75 miles to the southeast, and scenic Hole in the Mountain Peak is approximately 75 miles northeast of the reservation.


U.S. Interstate 80, runs east to west in close proximity to the Elko Colony. Nevada State Highway 275 runs north from the reservation, while State Highway 228 runs due south. Private and commercial air facilities are located at Elko Airport, two miles from the reservation. Commercial buslines are located in Elko, as are most major freight carriers. Passenger railway service is unavailable, but there is commercial railways service to the Elko area.


The tribe operates a community center in Elko. Individual tribal members receive electricity and gas from local power companies in Elko. Individual residences on the reservation pay for Elko municipal water and sewer services. The reservation receives telephone service from Frontier Communications. The Indian Health Service operates a clinic on the reservation with one doctor and two nurses. Hospital and ambulance services are provided by Elko County. Tribal youth attend the public schools in Elko. The Colony operates a child care center for preschoolers.

South Fork Band Council

Address: South Fork Band Colony, P.O. Box B-13, Lee, Nevada 89829
Phone: (775) 744-4273
Fax: (775) 738-0569

Total area: 13,049 acres
Tribally owned: 13,049 acres

Total labor force: 158
High school graduate or higher: 44%
Per capita income: $6,689

Total reservation population: 75
Tribal enrollment: 260


The South Fork Band Colony covers approximately 13,050 acres in northeastern Nevada, 28 miles south of the city of Elko. The reservation sits on rugged high desert terrain typical of northern Nevada and Utah. It is located just west of the Humboldt National Forest and in the foothills of the Ruby Mountains.

The colony was established by Executive Order in 1941 under the provisions of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. Land purchases between 1937 and 1939, totaling 9,500 acres, were put toward the newly established band’s land base. Subsequent land purchases brought the colony to its present size.


The South Fork Band Colony is one of four separate colonies that comprise the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. The South Fork Band was one of the groups of Western Shoshone that refused to move to Duck Valley and remained living in the headwaters of the Reese River, near the present Battle Mountain Colony, until lands in that area were purchased for them in 1937.


The South Fork Band Colony is under the overall governance of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. The South Fork Band has its own council as well, composed of seven members. Members include a chairperson, vice-chairperson, and five other members. All council members serve three-year terms. The corporate charter ws ratified on December 12, 1938, while the band’s constitution and by-laws were ratified on August 26, 1982. South Fork also belongs to the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada.


Though the tribal government actually employs very few people, the tribe’s primary source of income is the various federal contracts administered by the Council. For the South Fork Band, cattle-raising represents the second most significant source of tribal income behind federal contracts.The South Fork Band currently has 2,800 acres under cultivation, primarily in hay for consumption by its livestock herd. This herd numbers over 700 head, primarily of cattle, but also some horses.


The tribe has several projects in the planning stage, including a tribal store, expansion of the tribal livestock herd, a child care facility, and commercial hunting and fishing operations.The band is considering the development of a recreational fishing industry on the reservation. It has also directed some research into the region’s fisheries for the Nevada Fish and Game Commission.


Though the colony is currently undeveloped, its beautiful naturl surroundings represent its most commercially viable resource. Located at the foothills of the scenic Ruby Mountains, the possibilities for development of an RV park, a motel, or even a resort are being considered.


State Highways 228 and 46 provide road access to the colony from Elko and points beyond. The nearest air, bus, and rail service is located in Elko, 28 miles from the reservation. UPS and other trucking companies provide direct service to the tribal community.


The tribe maintains a community center, which houses the tribal administration at the town of Lee. Health care services are provided by the Indian Health Services. Propane is supplied by a local distributor while electricity is provided on an individual basis to the 45 residences on the reservation by the regional electrical utility.

Water is provided primarily through individual wells, though 15 of the reservation residences share a large well and storage tank. Sewer service is provided through individual septic tanks.

The tribe owns some military surplus machinery, which consist of a grader, a backhoe, and a small crawler, all of which are occasionally used for maintenance projects on the reservation. The tribe owns a 13-passenger shuttle van for transporting members to Elko and the neighboring colonies. Students on the reservation attend public schools in Elko.

Wells Band Council

Address: Wells Band Council, P.O. Box 809, Wells, NV 89835
Phone: (775) 752-3045
Fax: (775) 752-0569

Total area: 80 acres
Federal trust: 80 acres

Total labor force: 79
High School graduate or higher: 67%
Per capita income: $7,000

Population (Wells Colony): 34
Tribal enrollment: 177


The Wells Colony is located in the high desert of northeastern Nevada, just west of the city of Wells, in Elko County. Elko, the major population center in northeastern Nevada, lies approximately 45 miles southwest of the Wells Colony via Interstate 80. The reservation was established by an Act of Congress on October 15, 1977. The Wells Band of Western Shoshone retain 80 acres of federal trust land.


Members of the Wells Band of Western Shoshone or “Newe” (The People) are descendants of several Newe bands which once hunted and gathered throughout the valleys, near the present-day town of Wells.

They named themselves Kuiyudika, after a desert plant used for food; within this group were at least two other smaller groups, the Doyogadzu Newenee (end-of-the-mountain people) and the Waiha-Muta Newenee (fire-burning-on ridge people). Clover Valley served as a rendezvous spot among these small Newe bands.

The arrival of Euro-Americans in the middle 19th century brought an end to the Newe’s semi-nomadic life-style. Congress established the Nevada Territory in 1861. Although they were not members of the Te-Moak Band, the Kuiyudika were included in the Ruby Valley Treaty of 1863 between the United States and the Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone.

Newe people lived and worked in Wells from its beginning as a railroad station in 1870. For many years, the Wells area Newe languished due to an insufficient land base, low wages, and poor living conditions. During the 1970s, the Wells Band organized the Wells Community Council to address these issues.

In 1976, the Te-Moak Bands of Western Shoshone recognized the community council as a committee. Congress established the Wells Colony on 80 acres in 1977. Since then, the Te-Moak and Wells Bands have worked to improve conditions at the Wells Colony by supplementing the land base with acreage from Bureau of Land Management and improving on-reservation facilities.


A constitution and by-laws approved in 1982 established the Te-Moak Western Shoshone Council, of which the Wells Colony is a member. The governing body within the Wells Colony is the Wells Band Council comprised of a chairperson, vice-chairperson and five members, all of whom serve three-year terms.


A smokeshop, the reservation’s main source of income, sells discount tobacco and cigarettes, and has a small gift shop. The Te-Moak Council employs three persons. Tribal members also work seasonally for the USDA Forest Service as firefighters.

The Wells Colony is planning to open a cutting and sewing operation.


The tribe holds an annual pow wow, which is open to the public. Recreational areas near the Wells Colony include Humboldt National Forest and scenic Hole-in-the-Mountain Peak.


The Wells Colony is located near the intersection of north-south U.S. 93 and east-west U.S. Interstate 80. Private air service is available in the city of Wells. Wells is also served by UPS package delivery service. Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railways provide freight-hauling services to the Wells area.


The Wells Colony maintains a small park and plans to build a community center for elders and tribal youth.

The tribe pays half the electricity bill for the 25 homes located on reservation land. The Wells Colony receives sewer and water services from the city of Wells. The reservation has partial telephone service.

Health care is provided to members of the Wells Band by the Indian Health Service’s Southern Band Clinic in Elko and the Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital and Regional Clinic (50 miles southwest of Wells). There is one private physician in Wells. Tribal youth attend public schools in Wells.

Bands, Gens and Clans
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