The Duck Valley Indian Reservation was established as a homeland for members of both the Shoshone and Paiute tribes of Native Americans. It lies on the state line between Idaho and Nevada in the western United States. The reservation, which is in the shape of a square, is almost evenly divided in land area between the two states, with the northern 50.2 percent lying in southern Owyhee County, Idaho and the southern 49.8 percent lying in northwestern Elko County, Nevada. The total land area is 1,166.508 kmē (450.391 sq mi) and a resident population of 1,265 persons was reported in the 2000 census, over 80 percent of whom lived on the Nevada side. Its only significant community is Owyhee, Nevada.
Time Line History
Definitions: Newe people = western Shoshone; Numa people = Paiutes
1820s First contact with the whiteman, who crossed the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin as they headed for the west coast.
1848 Gold discovered in California, which increased white traffic. Era of treaty making with the Shoshone, Paiutes, Bannocks, Utes, and Goshutes to protect the route the white travelers used to enter and exit California.
1855 August 7, 1855--First treaty with the western Shoshone. However, it was not ratified by Congress and as a result the U.S. Government never recognized it, although the Shoshone accepted and continued to hold to the treaty.
1860s Silver mines opened in Nevada, which brought more white people into Newe and Numa country, pushing the Indians into canyons and mountains.
Start of Civil War. Gold and silver mines became more important to the northern government, which resulted in increased protection by the soldiers of the route to the west through Newe and Numa lands. The army built forts at different locations--Fort Halleck (on the Humboldt River near Starr Valley, Nevada), Fort Ruby (in Ruby Valley, Nevada), and Fort McDermitt (on present Nevada-Oregon border).
1863 July 30, 1863--The northwestern Shoshones signed the Box Elder Treaty. The Treaty of Ruby Valley was signed with the western Shoshone. The treaty was known as the Treaty of Peace and Friendship.
1865 A treaty with three Bannock bands and one western Shoshone band was signed. These Indian bands occupied the Bruneau Valley and the Boise Valley area.
1866 The treaty of 1866 contained questionable terms which had to be renegotiated concerning the Indians' land cession. Governors changed before the matter was finalized. The new governor wanted one agency for the Indians in southern Idaho, rather than several which were under consideration. The three Bannock bands (the Boise, Bruneau, and Camas Bannocks) accepted the move to the Shoshone-Bannock reservation at Fort Hall.
1877 Two reservations were set aside for the western Shoshones (34 bands). One was the Carlin Farms comprised of 51.61 acres which was created by an Executive Order. The whites claimed that they had occupied the land before the Executive Order was signed, and on January 16, 1879 the Carlin Farms Reservation was rescinded. Establishment of Duck Valley Reservation, which was partly in Nevada and partly in Idaho (20 miles long and 17 miles wide).
1881 First school erected (had 25 students). During this time the Duck Valley Reservation was enlarged to 400 square miles, or 256,000 acres.
1887 General Allotment Act of 1887 alloted land to Indians, but it was designed to end tribal life by opening the remainder of reservation lands which were not alloted to non-Indians.
1900 A census survey of the Duck Valley Reservation showed a population of 224 Shoshones and 226 Paiutes with a population of 450.
1904 September 10, 1904--First telephone line was constructed, and connected the Agency with Elko, Nevada, which was one hundred miles away.
1936 Wildhorse Reservoir was built between 1936 and 1937, which dam helped solve the problem of a dwindling water supply from the Owyhee River on the reservation.
1967 In 1967 to 1969, a new dam was built at the same site as the old one.
*Taken from Idaho Indians Tribal Histories, Idaho Centennial Commission and the Idaho Museum of Natural History, 1992; and from A History of the Shoshone-Paiutes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, by Whitney McKinney, the Institute of the American West and Howe Brothers, 1983.