about Skull Valley Res. MAP
From: Tiller's Guide to Indian Country, 1996

Skull Valley Reservation

Federal reservation
Tooele Country, Utah

Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians
P.O. Box 150
Grantsville Utah, 84029
(801) 831-6163



    The Skull Valley reservation is located in a remote, isolated area in western Utah about 35 miles south of the Great Salt LakE. The reservation is in a semi-arid valley. A portion of the Wasatch National Forest borders the reservation on the east.

    The original reservation of 17,920 acres, was established by Executive Order of September 7, 1917. An executive order issued on February 15, 1918, set aside an additional 640 acres.


    The Goshutes are culturally and economically similar to the Western Shoshone and speak Shoshone, a variety of Central Numic which is a branch of the widespread Uto-Aztecan language family. The Goshutes occupied a territory in the Great Basin extending from the Great Salt Lake to the Steptoe Range in Nevada and south to Simpson Springs. The Skull Valley Goshutes' first Euro-American encounter was in 1827, when Jedediah Strong Smith traveled through Western Shoshone territory. The Goshutes were heavily impacted by the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in their territory as early as 1847. The numbers of Euro-Americans traveling into and through the Goshutes' territory increased substantially with the discovery of gold in California in 1848 and at Gold Canyon in 1849. The discovery of the Comstock lode in 1857 was the greatest single impetus for Euro-American settlement of Nevada.

    U.S. Government depredations among the Goshutes spurred the tribe to sign the treaty of Tooele Valley on October 12, 1863. No land was set aside for the Skull Valley Goshutes until 1912.


    The majority of the Goshute people of the Skull Valley Reservation are employed off the reservation in Salt Lake City, Grantsville, Stockton, Tooele and Ibapah. Ninety percent of the tribe's income to fund programs comes from the lease of a rocket motor testing facility to Hercules, Inc. The tribe is a majority owner in Earth Environmental Services, Inc., which sells dumpsters to governments and private industries.


    Reservation land is suitable for grazing. About 160 acres of reservation land are irrigable. Stream water is delivered to the irrigable land through pipeline constructed with BIA funds.


    Housing on the reservation has been improved somewhat; but, housing is still a priority program for the reservation. The tribe constructed and leased a rocket motor testing facility to Hercules, Inc. in 1976. The lease expires in 1995.


    The tribe constructed a convenience store with judgment funds in 1990. The tribe operates the Pony Express Station.


    State Highway 108 travels north-south through the Skull Valley Reservation, connecting to Interstate 80 which travels east into Salt Lake City.


    A tribal community facility, constructed in 1990 with judgment funds and a matching grant, is located on the reservation.

    Health care is provided by IHS Uintah & Ouray Service Unit in Fort Duchesne, 320 miles from the reservation. Hospital care is provided through IHS Contract Health Program in Tooele, 50 miles from the reservation. Children attend public schools in Dugway, Grantsville, and Tooele, or one of the BIA boarding schools.


    The Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians is governed by a Tribal Council headed by a Tribal Executive Committee including a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary/treasurer. Executive committee members serve four-year terms. The band does not have a constitution or charter. Committee meetings are not regularly scheduled.

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