Goshute Indians are part of the larger Shoshonean-speaking Native American groups that live in the Intermountain West. Although no one knows how
long the Goshutes had occupied the area where they lived when first
contacted by Europeans, a date of 1,000 years ago is most probable as
the time when Shoshonean speakers entered the Great Basin from the Death
Valley region of California.
the time the Mormons arrived in Salt Lake Valley, the Goshute Indians
lived in the desert regions to the southwest of the Great Salt Lake.
Although exact boundaries are hard to determine because of the nature
of the land and the proximity of other peoples, the Goshutes lived in
the area between the Oquirrh Mountains on the east and the Steptoe Mountains
in eastern Nevada, and from the south end of the Great Salt Lake to
an area almost parallel with the south end of Utah Lake. This area is
located entirely within the Great Basin, which is an area with some
of the most arid conditions on the continent, as well as one of the
most varied regions in terms of climate, topography, flora, and fauna.
the other related Shoshonean groups and Paiute peoples who lived in
the Great Basin, the Goshutes had an effective understanding of growing
cycles, variations in climate, and animal distribution patterns. They
lived in the most desolate part of what is now the western portion of
Utah and eastern portion of Nevada, and because of this their culture
has long been recognized as the simplest of any to be found in the Great
Basin. In aboriginal times they lived at a minimum subsistence level
with no economic surplus on which a more elaborate sociopolitical structure
could be built.