Taking a Look at the Western Shoshone Nation

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Traditionally the Western Shoshone Nation’s ancestral land covers an area spanning from southern California, clear through Nevada, and barely touching southern Idaho. Within this scope of land is the previously mentioned Yucca Mountain, but also Mount Tenabo, a mountain in the Cortez Range of Northern Nevada, which is currently subject to mining. This large area of land is know as the Great Basin, where the habitat is dependent on the rain and snow melt water which comes off the high mountains, feeding the creeks which keep the living, living. Mount Tenabo is one such mountain; however it also holds a place in Shoshone creation stories, and is the site of ancient burials causing it to be of great importance to the entire nation of the Western Shoshone. The people of the Western Shoshone Nation still use the mountain to gather medical plants from these sacred places of their ancestors, and hold ceremonies. In 1863 the elders of the Western Shoshone agreed to the Ruby Valley Treaty, which recognized the Western Shoshone as the owners of the land, though allowed non-native Americans to use the land by payment of royalties to the nation. However, by the 1900s this treaty was not respected by the Americans, and the Government took over the land, and marked it for public use. The Western Shoshone have been pursuing legal action against the United States government for the right govern their own land, and in 1976 a settlement of $26 million was offered to the nation. This money

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