Gosiute Tribe

Gosiute Indians (from Gossip, their chief, +Ute}. A Shoshonean tribe formerly inhabiting Utah west of Salt and Utah lakes, and east Nevada. Jacob Forney, superintendent of Indian affairs for Utah, reported in 1858 that he had visited a small tribe called the Go-sha-utes, who lived about 40 m. w. of Salt Lake City. “They are,” he says, “without exception, the most miserable looking set of human beings I ever beheld. I gave them some clothing and provisions. They have heretofore subsisted principally on snakes, lizards, roots, etc.” Writing in 1861, Burton 1 says: “Gosh Yuta, or Gosha Ute, is a small band, once protégés of the Shoshonee, who have the same language and limits. Their principal chief died about 5 years ago, when the tribe was broken up. A body of 60, under a peaceful leader, were settled permanently on the Indian farm at Deep cr., and the remainder wandered 40 to 200 m. w. of Great Salt Lake City. During the late tumults they have lost 50 warriors, and are now reduced to about 200 men. Like the Ghuzw of Arabia, they strengthen themselves by admitting the outcasts of other tribes, and will presently become a mere banditti.” The agent in 1866 said they “are peaceable and loyal, striving to obtain their own living by tilling the soil and laboring for the whites whenever an opportunity presents, and producing almost entirely their own living.” In 1868 the superintendent at Utah agency wrote of them: “These Indians range between the Great Salt lake and the land of the western Shoshones. Many of them are quite industrious, maintaining themselves in good part by herding stock and other labor for the settlers.” It appears that later they cultivated land to some extent, being scattered over the country in spots where springs and streams afforded arable land. It is asserted by some authors that they are a mixture of Shoshoni and Ute. Their language indicates a closer relationship with the Shoshoni proper than with the Ute and Paiute, though they affiliate chiefly with the latter and have largely intermarried with them. According to Powell they numbered 460 in 1873; in 1885 they were said to number 256.

The following are divisions or sub-tribes: Pagayuats, Pierruiats, Torountogoats, Tuwurints, and Unkagarits.Citations:

  1. Burton, City of Saints, 475, 1862[]


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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