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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)
Executive Summary
Inventory and Assessment of Human Remains Potentially Affiliated with the Goshute in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Region: Great Basin
Associated Cultures: Goshute, Shoshone

2006
This report provides an inventory and assessment of the human remains potentially affiliated with the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians.

The report documents the remains of seven individuals in seven catalog numbers in the collections of the NMNH.

The remains of three individuals present in the NMNH collections originated from a cave in southern Skull Valley near Choke Cherry Spring, Rydalch Ranch, Tooele County, Utah. These individuals were removed from the cave by Acting Assistant Surgeon H. C. Yarrow in August of 1884. In October of 1884, they were sent to the Army Medical Museum (AMM) by Dr. Yarrow. They were transferred to the National Museum of Natural History in 1898. Yarrow identified the remains as Goshute in his annual report and they have been listed as Goshute in museum records ever since. The Goshute historically inhabited this region and burial in small caves was a common practice among them. Given the identification of cultural affiliation of these remains as Goshute based on collector attribution, the preponderance of the available evidence indicates that these remains are culturally affiliated with the Goshute tribes. It is recommended that they be offered for return to both the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Nevada and Utah.

Human remains representing two additional individuals present in the NMNH collections originated from graves near Willow Springs, Juab County, Utah. They were collected by Acting Assistant Surgeon H. C. Yarrow in August of 1884. In October of 1884, they were sent to the Army Medical Museum by Dr. Yarrow and they were later transferred to the National Museum of Natural History in 1898. Dr. Yarrow reported that both of these individuals were Goshute and they were both known locally. One individual, known as "Willow Creek Bill," had been killed by the Goshute as punishment for committing adultery; a penalty consistent with ethnohistorically documented Goshute practice. The second individual was known locally as "Lucky." Because names were identified for these two men, efforts were made to identify potential lineal descendents. These efforts, however, proved unsuccessful. Given the identification of cultural affiliation of these remains as Goshute based on collector attribution, and the evidence that they were locally known individuals who had been buried relatively recently, the preponderance of the available evidence indicates that these remains are culturally affiliated to the Goshute tribes. Because no potential lineal descendents have been identified at this time, it is recommended that they be offered for return to both the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Nevada and Utah.

Human remains representing one individual are listed in the NMNH collections as having originated from a crevice in the mountains west of Grantsville, Tooele County, Utah. The remains were collected by William Young of Grantsville at an unknown date. In September of 1885, the remains were given to Acting Assistant Surgeon H. C. Yarrow who sent them to the Army Medical Museum in November, 1885. Dr. Yarrow identified this individual as a Goshute in his annual report. In historic times, the Grantsville area was inhabited by the Goshute and crevice burial was a common Goshute mortuary practice. Given the identification of cultural affiliation of these remains as Goshute based on collector attribution, and the evidence that they were buried in a way typical of the Goshute at that period, the preponderance of the available evidence indicates that these remains are culturally affiliated to the Goshute tribes. It is recommended that they be offered for return to both the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Nevada and Utah.

Finally, human remains representing one individual are listed in the NMNH collections as having originated from near Warren, Weber County, Utah. The remains were removed by Mr. James Marriott while leveling a mound or knoll on his farm on May 9, 1930. They were turned over to the local Sheriff's office, which then transferred the remains to the son of the Sheriff, local dentist Dr. Douglas F. Pincock. Ogden Post Office Clerk and amateur archaeologist, Claud S. Grow, then acquired the remains and sent them to the Smithsonian Institution in early June, 1930. The preponderance of the biological evidence from the skeleton of this individual suggests he belonged to a Numic population, which, based on biological and geographical evidence, was most likely Shoshone. Some evidence is present to suggest this Shoshone individual may have had a horse-riding life-way. The preponderance of the evidence indicates that the latest phase of the Late Prehistoric Period of the region is the identifiable earlier group to which this individual belonged and that a relationship of shared group identity can be reasonably traced between this phase, the early historic Shoshone bands inhabiting the region and the present day Northwestern Band of the Shoshoni Nation of Utah. It is recommended that the remains of this individual be offered for return to Northwestern Band of the Shoshoni Nation of Utah.

In total, remains of six individuals from three localities are identified as culturally affiliated with the Goshute and are recommended to be offered for return to both the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Nevada and Utah. Remains of a seventh individual from near Warren are identified as culturally affiliated with the Shoshone and are recommended to be offered for return to the Northwestern Band of the Shoshoni Nation of Utah.

(Also see Shoshone Report)

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Smithsonian Institute - National Mueseum of Natural History