The Duckwater Shoshone Tribe is located in a beautiful remote valley near the southwest corner of White Pine County. It is primarily an agricultural community, drawing water from the many geothermal hot springs in Railroad Valley.
Historically, the Shoshone lived in the valley during the summer to hunt and gather food including rabbits, ducks, sage hen, prairie dog, ground squirrel, roots and berries. In the fall they moved to the mountains to build cone-shaped shelters. They hunted deer and other big game and gathered pine nuts and firewood for the coming winter. Legend describes a native species called "flying wolves." These were wolves with wings that would swoop down and kill the unwary Indians. Thus, they always went out in pairs so one could watch for flying wolves.
When white settlers came to the valley in the late 1800s, the Shoshone families worked as ranch hands. The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 allowed the Indians to acquire land. Shoshone around the state began discussing the possibility of establishing a reservation. They purchased the 3,272-acre Florio Ranch in 1940 and it became the Duckwater Shoshone Reservation. There were 21 families and about 3/4 of them came from the Smokey Valley area.
The tribe, governed by a five-member tribal council, offers many services for approximately 130 members who live in the area. The tribal administration office is located near the grade school, gymnasium and community park. There is an office of environmental health, a health department and clinic with a full-time doctor, and a senior center. High school students travel 50-miles one-way via gravel road to Eureka, NV.
The tribe owns two greenhouses as part of the Duckwater Falls Nursery where they raise seedlings of native plant species. These plants are used by large mining operations like Newmont and Placer Dome in their land reclamation programs.
Also, in cooperation with the US Fish & Wildlife service, the tribe has received three grants to restore the habitat of the "Railroad Valley Spring Fish" that has been listed as threatened species. These small fish (up to 3-inches) were a traditional food source for the Shoshones in this area prior to non-native settlement in the late 1800's. The plan calls for putting in walkways and signage to restrict public access and provide interpretation as well as returning the spring to its natural meandering channels. To facilitate the restoration and prevent the introduction of non-native species, the tribe will purchase an existing catfish farm business located near the spring.
Each June, the tribe holds the "Duckwater Festival" in the park next to the tribal center. This includes a Bar-B-Q, pow-wow, hand games, gambling, horseshoe tournaments and more.
"Duckwater Shoshone History," by Keith Honaker, Ricky Mike, Harriet Walker, and L.R. Stanek. "Interview with Virginia Sanchez," April 29, 2004.
20 miles north of Current Junction off of Highway 6. (60 miles southwest of Ely, NV.)
Duckwater Shoshone Tribe
P.O. Box 140068,
Duckwater, NV 89314
Ph: (775) 863-0227
Fx: (775) 863-0301