Wells Band Colony Administration
1707 Mountain View Drive
Wells, Nevada 89835
Office Phone: (775) 345-3086
FAX: (775) 752-2179
Mountain Band Council
35 Mountain View Dr. #138-13
Battle Mountain, NV 89820
Tel# ((775) 635-2004, Fax# 635-8016
Colony Community Council
P.O. Box 3269
Carson City, NV 89702
Tel# (775) 883-6431, Fax#
1585 Watasheamu Rd.
Gardnerville, NV 89410
Tel# (775) 265-5845, Fax#
Valley Shoshone Paiute Tribal Council
P.O. Box 219
Owyhee, NV 89832
Tel# (775) 757-3161, Fax# 757-2219
Shoshone Tribal Council
P.O. Box 140068
Duckwater, NV 89314
Tel# (775) 738-0569, Fax# 738-4710
P.O. Box 748
Elko, NV 89801
Tel# (775) 738-8889, Fax# 753-5439
16 Shoshone Circle
Ely, NV 89301
Tel# (775) 289-3013, Fax# 289-3156
Reservation and Colony
8955 Mission Rd.
Fallon, NV 89406
Tel# (775) 423-6075, Fax# 423-5202
McDermitt Tribal Council
P.O. Box 457
McDermitt, NV 89421
Tel# (775) 532-8259, Fax# 532-8913
Vegas Indian Colony
Vegas Colony Council
One Paiute Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89106
Tel# (702) 386-3926, Fax# 383-4019
P.O. Box 878
Lovelock, NV 89419
Tel# (775) 273-7861, Fax# 273-7861
River Indian Reservation
P.O. Box 340
Las Vegas, NV 89025
Tel# (702) 865-2787, Fax# 865-2875
Lake Paiute Tribal Council
P.O. Box 256
Nixon, NV 89424
Tel# (775) 574-1000, Fax# 574-1008
98 Colony Rd.
Reno, NV 89502
Tel# (775) 329-2936, Fax# 359-8710
Valley (Te-moak) Reservation
Council of the Te-moak Western Shoshone
525 Sunset St.
Elko, NV 89801
Tel# (775) 738-9251, Fax# 738-2345
Fork Indian Colony
Fork Band Council
Lee, NV 89829
Tel# (775) 744-4273, Fax#
Indian Community Council
5300 Snyder Ave.
Carson City, NV 89701
Tel# (775) 883-7767, Fax#
Lake Paiute Council
665 Anderson St.
Winnemucca, NV 89445
Tel# (775) 623-5151, Fax# 623-0558
River Paiute Tribal Council
P.O. Box 220
Schurz, NV 89427
Tel# (775) 773-2306, Fax# 773-2585
Tribe of Nevada & California
919 U.S. Hwy. 395 S.
Gardnerville, NV 89410
Tel# (775) 265-4191, Fax# 265-6240
Indian Colony Band Council
P.O. Box 809
Wells, NV 89835
Tel# (775) 345-3086, Fax# 752-2179
P.O. Box 1075
Winnemucca, NV 89445
Tel# (775) 623-6918, Fax#
Paiute Tribal Council
171 Campbell Lane
Yerington, NV 89447
Tel# (775) 463-3301, Fax# 463-2416
HC61, Box 6275
Austin, NV 89310
Tel# (775) 964-2463, Fax# 964-2443
LOCATION AND LAND STATUS
The Wells Colony is located in the high desert of northeastern Nevada, just west of the city of Wells, in Elko County. Elko, the major population center in northeastern Nevada, lies approximately 45 miles southwest of the Wells Colony via Interstate 80. The reservation was established by an Act of Congress on October 15, 1977. The Wells Band of Western Shoshone retain 80 acres of federal trust land.
CULTURE AND HISTORY
The Wells Colony is one of four separate colinies that compose the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. Members of the Wells Band of Western Shoshone or "Newe" (The People) are descendants of several Newe bands which once hunted and gathered throughout the valleys, near the present-day town of Wells. They named themselves Kuiyudika, after a desert plant used for food; within this group were at least two other smaller groups, the Doyogadzu Newenee (end-of-the-mountain people) and the Waiha-Muta Newenee (fire-burning-on ridge people). Clover Valley served as a rendezvous spot among these small Newe bands.
The arrival of Euro-Americans in the middle 19th century brought an end to the Newe's semi-nomadic life-style. Congress established the Nevada Territory in 1861. Although they were not members of the Te-Moak Band, the Kuiyudika were included in the Ruby Valley Treaty of 1863 between the United States and the Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone.
Newe people lived and worked in Wells from its beginning as a railroad station in 1870. For many years, the Wells area Newe languished due to an insufficient land base, low wages, and poor living conditions. During the 1970s, the Wells Band organized the Wells Community Council to address these issues. In 1976, the Te-Moak Bands of Western Shoshone recognized the community council as a committee. Congress established the Wells Colony on 80 acres in 1977. Since then, the Te-Moak and Wells Bands have worked to improve conditions at the Wells Colony by supplementing the land base with acreage from Bureau of Land Management and improving on-reservation facilities.
A constitution and by-laws approved in 1982 established the Te-Moak Western Shoshone Council, of which the Wells Colony is a member. The Wells Colony participates in the Council, which has total jurisdiction over all tribal lands; the Wells Colony retains sovereignty over all other affairs. The governing body within the Wells Colony is the Wells Band Council comprised of a chairperson, vice-chairperson and five members, all of whom serve three-year terms.
The Controversy of Western Shoshone Land Rights held by Treaty with the United States
Denying indigenous peoples the right to control their own lives is not just a thing of the past. It continues to occur wherever indigenous peoples are found. The ongoing political contest between the Western Shoshone of the North American Great Basin region and the U.S. government is just one powerful example of how once sovereign societies are forced into losing their autonomy to powerful nations such as the United States.
In 1863 the U.S. government signed the Treaty of Ruby Valley with the Western Shoshone who occupied a 43,000 square-mile territory that included parts of southern California, 86% of Nevada, parts of Idaho and Utah. This treaty was unusual in the history of relationships between the United States and American Indian societies because it ceded no land to the United States, which was still involved in a civil war and was concerned with ensuring the continued flow of gold from California. The Shoshone did agree to end warfare against the United States and to allow the construction of roads, railways, and telegraph lines through mining settlements within their territory. Over the next 125 years, the U.S. government obtained billions of dollars worth of resources from Western Shoshone lands under this arrangement. The U.S. Government in association with private corporations continue to do so to this day.
During the 1920s conflicts over land use increased between the Shoshone and non-Indian settlers. In 1934 the U.S. government installed a tribal council form of government among the Shoshone, a system that was fundamentally different from their traditional way of governing. In 1946 Congress created the Indian Claims Commission, which would be authorized to adjudicate Native American land claims against the United States. The legislation authorized lawyers who represented Indians in such cases to be paid 10 percent of any awards the commission made to Indians. In the same year, the Bureau of Indian Affairs persuaded one group of Shoshone, the Temoak Bank, to file a claim for compensation for the loss of Shoshone lands. The Temoak understood the purpose of this claim to be the recovery of their control over their traditional lands.
The law firm appointed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to represent the Shoshone was the same one that had drafted the legislation creating the claims commission. Other Western Shoshone bands protested that their land had never been ceded to the United States, and that to accept compensation would amount to selling their lands. In 1951 the law firm petitioned the claims commission to recognize that its actions in behalf of the Temoak Shoshone actually represented the interests of the entire Western Shoshone people. A group of Temoak Shoshone were selected by the law firm as the "exclusive representatives" of the Western Shoshone. Those who disagreed with its plans were dismissed from the group. Despite objections by the majority of the Shoshone involved, the petition was granted by the commission. The Temoak and other Shoshone soon learned that the law firm was not attempting to secure a ruling that would recognize their ownership of their traditional land; instead it was seeking a monetary award.
In 1962, the Indian Claims Commission noted that it had been "unable to discover any formal extinguishment" of Western Shoshone lands in Nevada. However, on February 11, 1966, the law firm that ostensibly represented the Shoshone's interests against U.S encroachment (1) on Shoshone lands stipulated that the Shoshone had ceded 24 million acres of land to the United States (including 16 million acres that were occupied by no one but Shoshone Indians), and arbitrarily fixed the date of that stipulated loss as July 1, 1872, the middle day of the year, but otherwise a date of no known historical significance. There was no proof that any lands were ever ceded. In this sense, the law firm openly violated the U.S. Constitution with regards to Treaties signed between the United States and Foreign Nations. Such treaties, by Constitutional Law, may not be altered in any way unless approved by all parties involved, e.g., the Tribe or Nation at large, the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States. This treaty has never been ratified or amended from it's original date of signing.
(1) Encroachment: the illegal possession of anothers property.
The law firm requested that these "lost lands" be paid for and that land values in mid-1872 be used to compute the amount of the compensation. In 1972 the Indian Claims Commission concluded that the lands of the Western Shoshone had been "taken" in the nineteenth century by "gradual encroachment of whites, settlers and others."
Since the Temoak were now convinced that their lawyers were serving the interests of the U.S. government, instead of Indian interests, the Temoak fired the law firm as their agents. However, the Bureau of Indian Affairs refused to recognize the right of the Temoak to do so and continued to renew the firm's contract "in the Indians' behalf." In effect, the lawyers were now being employed by the government to act as representatives of the Indians against their clients' own wishes and to pursue a course of argument favored by the government.
The Western Shoshone hired their own lawyer and appealed the Commission's ruling in the U.S. Court of Claims. The Court refused to rule on the issue of who held title to the traditional Shoshone lands, but awarded the Shoshone $26,154,600 for the loss of 24 million acres, land that by 1979 values would have been worth more than $40 billion. The law firm that had been contracted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs was paid $2.5 million "for services rendered."
To pay the Shoshone for the lands they had now lost, (by encroachment) the U.S. Department of Interior transferred $26,145,189.89 (the amount of the award less $9,410.11 as an offset against goods it claimed the government had delivered to the Shoshone in the 1870s) into a trust account held by the U.S. Treasury Department in behalf of the Shoshone. Accumulating interest since 1979, this money now amounts to 70 million dollars. The Western Shoshone have refused to accept receipt of this money since that date. Their purpose had never been to sell their territory, but to gain recognition of their ownership of it. As of today, the Western Shoshone have unsuccessfully continued their efforts to reassert their sovereignty over their traditional lands.
Many Tribal Members believe that accepting these monies will lead to a total forfeiture of their lands while others believe that this was money owed to them for well over 100 years as agreed by the U.S. Government. One must remember, the Treaty between the Western Shoshone and the U.S. Government was very simple - the Western Shoshone ceded no lands to them whatsoever. The governments claim, or position, that the Western Shoshone first 'lost' their lands - then the lands were 'taken' by 'gradual encroachment' are completely ludicrous, unacceptable and a complete violation of the law; Constitutional Law; the Law of the Land and the Legal Treaty signed between these two nations. There is no provision anywhere within the U.S. Constitution that any Treaty that is signed can be dissolved by such means of 'lost', 'taken', or 'gradual encroachment'. The latter, 'encroachment', in its legal term means the 'illegal possession' of anothers property'. It doesn't get any simpler than that.
Wells Band Colony News
Wells Band Building a $1 million Facility
December 19, 2011 ~ By ADELLA HARDING — email@example.com
WELLS — A $1 million multi-purpose center at the Wells Indian Colony helped boost Elko County’s November fees for building permits up roughly two and a half times what they were a year ago — at $61,657, compared with $25,104 in November 2010.
“It’s exciting, and I really commend the colony for getting the new building,” said Thomas Ingersoll, director of building and safety for Elko County.
He said the facility will be a boon to the whole Wells community, with the gymnasium available for basketball tournaments and events.
Bob McNichols of Rez Builders, the tribe’s representative for the project, said construction is nearly completed, with the facility featuring a full-size basketball court, showers, a workout room, space for health clinics, a small kitchen and snack bar, computer rooms and offices.
“They should be finishing it up in January,” he said. “It’s a real nice facility.”
McNichols said the Wells Band Council received a Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for roughly $1 million, and $25,000 from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, as well as $10,000 from Fronteer Gold, which has since been acquired by Newmont Mining Corp.
The Wells Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone contributed land and services valued at roughly $125,000, he said.
Ingersoll said the Wells Band and Elko County entered into a memorandum of understanding so the county would provide plan reviews and building inspections to be sure the facility is built to code, even though the project is on sovereign land.
McNichols said construction is costing roughly $1 million. The valuation of $792,110 is lower because of the county’s calculation formula.
Wells Band Council Breaks Ground On Colony Business Center
April 11, 2013 ~ By CINDY JOYCE Free Press Correspondent
WELLS — A business development center is on its way from being a dream to becoming a reality following a ground-breaking ceremony Friday at the Wells Colony.
The Wells Band applied for and received assistance from the U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, to prepare an economic development plan and feasibility study. The work included conducting a community survey, the development of a band-chartered economic development enterprise, and a feasibility study to determine the potential for a small business development incubator on the colony.
A three-store facility was identified as being the avenue. It will be owned by the Wells Band, and managed through the band-chartered enterprise.
Store space will be rented to tenants who are starting businesses on the colony.
The development, including energy efficiency and accessibility features, was selected by community members in collaboration with Great Basin College, Te-Moak Tribe, the Indian Health Service, the InterTribal Council of Nevada, the Small Business Development Center associated with the University of Reno, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Eastern Nevada Agency, and others.
Businesses desired by the band members are janitorial services, which will be in the smallest unit; a Native American arts and regalia store, to be the largest; and a hair salon, which will be a three-chair, full-service cosmetology shop.
These have high demand in the community and a high probability of sustainable financial success, if properly developed and managed, according to band members.
The band will assist the new businesses, along with partners in the development, including the Small Business Development Center, the Senior Corps of Retired Executives, Great Basin College and others.
A feasibility study was prepared by RAE Solutions of Scottsdale, Ariz.
“The band wanted a way to adopt Elko County building codes to ensure a level of quality assurance in the construction,” Robin Evans, principal of RAE Solutions and project director said. “It’s a great economic opportunity for the band and a great opportunity to serve the greater community, as a whole.
“The goal of the facility is that, over the course of the five to seven years, we generate anywhere between nine and 12 new businesses, new start-up businesses, generating anywhere from 15 to 20 new jobs for the community and the band as a whole. We’re very excited about it,” said Evans.
Brad Hurst of Bonneville Builders said the 3,700 square foot strip mall, of wood structure, should be completed in about two months, and most subcontractors are from the area.
Hurst has also worked on the Wells gymnasium and the HeadStart building on the Elko Colony.
“They’re great projects and fun to be involved in. We build a lot of other structures, but these projects really mean something. You go to their gym, and see all those little kids on the computers and Internet, and it gets ya,” he said.
“You’ve got a perfect little spot here to start the American Dream: your own business.”
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