Skull Valley Indian Reservation

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For the Utah valley location of the Reservation, see Skull Valley (Utah); for the small town in Arizona, see Skull Valley, Arizona
Skull Valley Band of
Goshute Indians of Utah
Total population
(134 enrolled members,
15-20 living on reservation[1])
Regions with significant populations
 United States( Utah)
Shoshoni language, English
Native American Church, Mormonism,[2]
Related ethnic groups
other Western Shoshone peoples, Ute people

The Skull Valley Indian Reservation is the Goshute Indian reservation located approximately 45 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. It belongs to the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah, a federally recognized tribe.


The reservation comprises 28.187 square miles (73.004 km²) of land in east central Tooele County, adjacent to the southwest side of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in the Stansbury Mountains. The reservation lies in the south of Skull Valley, with another range, the Cedar Mountains bordering west. A population of 31 persons resided on its territory as of the 2000 census. It is the site of a proposed temporary storage facility for used nuclear fuel (sometimes also referred to as radioactive waste), causing much controversy among some Goshute Native Americans, some of Utah's government officials and many local advocacy groups. The facility was licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management refused to give the permission needed for the facility to operate.

Tribal government[edit]

The tribe's headquarters is in Tooele, Utah 1198 North Main Street Tooele, Utah 84074 Mailing Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians P.O. BOX 448 Grantsville, Utah 84029

Tribal Executive Committee Chairwoman Candace Bear Vice Chairman Wade Moon Secretary Annette Bear

Tribal membership is 134, with 15 to 20 living on the reservation. The tribal police have jurisdiction on the reservation.[1]


On October 12, 1863, the band first signed a treaty with the US federal government. In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order established the reservation.[1]

During the Dugway Sheep Incident on April 12, 1968, 6,000 sheep in Skull Valley were killed by VX gas released in a test from the nearby U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground.[3] Dugway and Skull Valley have also been featured in Rage, The Andromeda Strain, Outbreak and Species.

The Dugway Proving Grounds lies just south of Skull Valley. To the east is a nerve gas storage facility and to the north is the Magnesium Corporation plant which has had severe environmental problems. The reservation was a proposed location for an 820-acre (3 km²) dry cask storage facility for the storage of 40,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel. Only 120 acres (0.49 km2) are for the actual facility, and the rest of the land is a buffer area. Eight and a half years after application, this facility was licensed by the NRC.[when?]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Skull Valley Band Goshute Tribal Profile." Utah Division of Indian Affairs. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  2. ^ Pritzker 242
  3. ^ "Feds finally admit that nerve agent was found near 1968 sheep kill". Salt Lake Tribune. 1998. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 


  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°24′N 112°43′W / 40.400°N 112.717°W / 40.400; -112.717