The Shoshone, or Shoshoni, which means "snake
", consist of a Native American tribe
which occupied the territory
from southeastern California
and northwestern Utah
into parts of Idaho
. A comparatively recent offshoot of the Wyoming Shoshoni
are the Comanche
. The Shoshoni language
belongs to the Numic
group of the Uto-Aztec
The Shoshoni may be roughly divided into four groups: Western Shoshoni, who were the only band that did not have many horses, centring in Nevada, Northern Shoshoni of northern Utah and Idaho, Wind River Shoshoni in western Wyoming, and Comanche in western Texas.
The Western Shoshoni were divided into loosely affiliated family bands that subsisted on wild seeds, small mammals, fish, and insects. Each family was independently nomadic during most of the year and joined other families only briefly for hunts or ceremony. The western Shoshone now live in reservations around the California desert.
Wind River Shoshoni and Northern Shoshoni probably acquired horses as early as 1680, before white settlers occupied their lands. They formed loosely organized bands of mounted buffalo hunters and warriors and adopted many Plains Indian characteristics. Many of these tribes now live on the Wind River Reservation with the Arapaho in Wyoming. After acquiring horses, the Comanche split off from the Wind River Shoshoni and moved south into Texas.