The Shoshone Indians roamed freely on a portion of the Unites States before the 1800s, including nine northern and mid-western states. The tribes were hunter/gatherers and moved about, depending on the seasonal vegetation and game animals. The Shoshone tribe lived peacefully and happily until the US Government came and intimidated them into signing a treaty. The Treaty of Ruby Valley, also known as The Treaty of Peace and Friendship was signed in 1863. The treaty offered compensation for the damages suffered by the tribes in return for the safe passage of the gold through their territories.
Around 1863, United States was involved in the Civil War. President Lincoln wanted to get gold to finance the war, so he bought it from California. The soldiers needed to bring the gold across Nevada, which happened to belong to the Western Shoshone Indian Nation. At the time President Lincoln decided a peace treaty was necessary to bring to gold back safety.
The representatives of the United States Government sent out an invitation to the chiefs of the Shoshone Nation for the purpose of negotiating a treaty. The Shoshone people came in unarmed and ready to negotiate in good faith. The government representatives came with soldiers that were supposed to be unarmed, but they were not. The soldiers hid their weapons until everyone was at the meeting and they preceded to torture and frightened the Indians into signing a treaty that was not in the beast interests of the Shoshone tribe (http://timbisha.org/history.htm).
In the past decade, several suits and complaints have been filed over the violation of the Treaty of Ruby Valley. The lands that were given to the Shoshones are being inhabited by non-natives and the small reserves of land that they can occupy are monitored by government officials and are subjected to shifting regulations. Non-natives are actively seeking to build on these sacred lands, in violation of the Treaty of Ruby Valley and a total disrespect of the Shoshone culture and belief systems. It seems as though the contributions that Native Americans have made to American history have been overlooked. It appears that into modern day, Americans believe that actually it’s them who are native to this country. It looks as if the Native Americans are being denied basic American rights. The Shoshones, however, are fighting judicially to ensure that they are not robbed of their liberties.
However, unlike the 1800’s the Western Shoshone People are not being attacked by the U.S. Army soldiers who are firing their rifles and swinging their sabers in murderous attacks upon Shoshone people. Instead, today, the Western Shoshone People are being attacked by a Congressional juggernaut that has been fueled by false and misleading information that is intent upon stealing their sacred lands from under their feet.
There was a Western Shoshone Distribution Bill was signed into “law” by George W. Bush, President of the United States on July 7, 2004. The bill would authorize an alleged payoff at approximately 15 cents an acre. As a majority of tribal councils, representing approximately 80% of the population, the Western Shoshone National Council strongly oppose the bill (http://www.wsdp.org/landri.htm). This formal opposition was apparently ignored, and an undocumented, unverified straw poll was used instead by the Bush Administration and Nevada legislators to justify the legislation (http://www.wordsasweapons.com/shoshonedistribution.html).
People say “How could this be happening in the United States of America in the 21st Century?” But it is happening, and the legislative conquest of the Western Shoshone will succeed unless stopped by Congress, the American People, and the President of the United States.