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South Fork Reservation
South Fork Reservation Council
Edith Smartt - Chairperson, Tyler Reynolds - Vice Chairman,
LOCATION AND LAND STATUS
The South Fork Reservation covers approximately 13,050 acres in northeastern Nevada, 28 miles south of the city of Elko. The reservation sits on rugged high desert terrain typical of northern Nevada and Utah. It is located just west of the Humboldt National Forest and in the foothills of the Ruby Mountains. The South Fork Reservation was established by Executive Order in 1941 under the provisions of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. Land purchases between 1937 and 1939, totaling 9,500 acres, were put toward the newly established band's land base. Subsequent land purchases brought the Reservation to its present size.
AGRICULTURE AND LIVESTOCK
The South Fork Reservation currently has 2,800 acres under cultivation, primarily in hay for consumption by its livestock herd. This herd numbers over 700 head, primarily of cattle, but also horses.
The band maintains a community center, which houses the tribal South Fork Band administration. Health care services are provided by the Indian Health Services. Propane is supplied by local distributors while electricity is provided on an individual basis to the 45 residences on the reservation by the regional electrical utility. Water is provided primarily through individual wells, though 15 of the reservation residences share a large well and storage tank. Sewer service is provided through individual septic tanks. Students on the reservation attend public schools in Spring Creek.
The band owns some machinery, which consist of a grader, a backhoe, and a dump truck, all of which are occasionally used for maintenance projects on the reservation.
CULTURE AND HISTORY
The South Fork Reservation is one of four separate bands that comprise the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. The South Fork Reservation was one of the groups of Western Shoshone that refused to move to Duck Valley and remained living at the headwaters of the South Fork area of the Humboldt River at the base of the Ruby Mountains, until lands in that area were purchased for them in 1937.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
The band has several projects in the planning stage, including a tribal store, expansion of the tribal livestock herd, a camping & RV area, and commercial hunting and fishing operations.
For the South Fork Reservation, cattle-raising represents the second most significant source of tribal income behind federal contracts.
The band is considering the development of a recreational fishing industry on the reservation. It has also directed some research into the region's fisheries for the Nevada Fish and Game Commission.
GOVERNMENT AS EMPLOYER
Though the tribal government actually employs very few people, the band's primary source of income is the various federal contracts administered by the Council.
The South Fork Reservation is under the overall governance of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. The Te-Moak Tribal Council has total jurisdiction over all tribal lands, though the colonies retain sovereignty over all the other affairs. The South Fork Reservation has its own council as well, composed of seven members. Members include a chairperson, vice-chairperson, and five other members. All council members serve three-year terms. The corporate charter was ratified on December 12, 1938, while the band's constitution and by-laws were ratified on August 26, 1982. South Fork Reservation also belongs to the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada.
State Highways 228 and 46 provide road access to the colony from Elko and points beyond. The nearest air, bus, and rail service is located in Elko, 28 miles from the reservation. UPS and other trucking companies provide direct service to the tribal community.
TOURISM AND RECREATION
Though the reservation is currently undeveloped, its beautiful natural surroundings represent perhaps its most commercially viable resource. Located at the foothills of the scenic Ruby Mountains, the possibilities for development of an RV park, a motel, or even a resort are being considered.
The band does not have any vehicles for transportation of members to Elko and the neighboring colonies.
A special thanks for the Beadwork provided by Nick Knight, Linda Gonzales, Nikki Jackson, Dynneil Atkins, and others