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Death Valley Indian Community, looking west toward the village from a hill one mile away across highway 190

The Timbisha ("Red Rock Face Paint")[1] are a Native American tribe federally recognized as the Death Valley Timbisha Shoshone Band of California.[2] They are known as the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe[1] and are located in south central California, near the Nevada border.[3]


Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California

The Timbisha have lived in the Death Valley region of North America for over a thousand years. In 1933 President Herbert Hoover created Death Valley National Monument, an action that subsumed the tribe's homeland within park boundaries. Despite their long-time presence in the region, the proclamation failed to provide a homeland for the Timbisha people. After unsuccessful efforts to remove the band to nearby reservations, National Park Service officials entered into an agreement with tribal leaders to allow the Civilian Conservation Corps to construct an Indian village for tribal members near park headquarters at Furnace Creek in 1938. Thereafter tribal members survived within monument boundaries, although their status was repeatedly challenged by monument officials. They also lived in the Great Basin Saline Valley and northern Mojave Desert Panamint Valley areas of present day southeastern California.


Estimates for the pre-contact populations of most native groups in California have varied substantially. (See Population of Native California.) Alfred L. Kroeber put the combined 1770 population of the Timbisha (Koso) and Chemehuevi at 1,500.[4] He estimated the population of the Timbisha and Chemehuevi in 1910 as 500.[4] Julian Steward's figures for Eastern California are about 65 persons in Saline Valley, 150-160 persons in Little Lake (springs) and the Coso Range, about 100 in northern Panamint Valley, 42 in northern Death Valley, 29 at Beatty, and 42 in the Belted Range.[5]

Tribal Recognition[edit]

With the help of the California Indian Legal Services, Timbisha Shoshone members led by Pauline Esteves began agitating for a formal reservation in the 1960s. The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe was recognized by the US government in 1982.[6] In this effort, they were one of the first tribes to secure tribal status through the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Federal Acknowledgment Process.

Reservation Land and Residence[edit]

The tribe's reservation, the Death Valley Indian Community, was established in 1982. Located within Death Valley National Park at Furnace Creek in Death Valley, Inyo County, California.[3] In 1990 it was 40 acres (0.16 km2) in size and had a population of 199 tribal member residents.[7]

Despite their federal tribal recognition and diminutive 1982 reservation, the Timbisha still faced difficulty and conflict with the Death Valley National Park's National Park Service in regaining more of their ancestral lands within the Park. After much tribal effort, federal politics, and mutual compromise, the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act of 2000 finally returned 7,500 acres (30 km2) of ancestral homelands to the Timbisha Shoshone tribe.[3]

Currently the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe consists of around 300 members, usually 50 of whom live at the Death Valley Indian Community at Furnace Creek within Death Valley National Park. Many members spend the summers at Lone Pine in the Owens Valley to the west.


The Timbisha have been known as the California Shoshoni,[8] Northern Death Valley Shoshone,[9] Panamint Shoshone[10] or simply Panamint. Julian Steward distinguished Northern Death Valley Shoshone from the Southern Death Valley Shoshone or Kawaiisu. Harold Driver recorded two Panamint subgroups in Death Valley, the o'hya and the tu'mbica in 1937.[9]

In the Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible To Receive Services From the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs periodically listed in the Federal Register, their name is presented as "Timbi-Sha", but this is a typographical error and ungrammatical in Timbisha. The tribe[11] never hyphenates its name. Both the California Desert Protection Act [12] and the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act[13] spell their name correctly.


  1. ^ a b "Timbisha Shoshone Tribe of Death Valley." National Park Service. (retrieved 10 December 2009)
  2. ^ The name has been widely misspelled as "Timbi-Sha". This, however is an impossible spelling since "timbisha" is from tɨm 'rock' + pisa 'paint' and cannot be divided into Timbi-sha.
  3. ^ a b c California Indians and Their Reservations. SDSU Library and Information Access. (retrieved 10 December 2009)
  4. ^ a b Kroeber (1925), p. 883
  5. ^ Julian Steward, Basin-Plateau Aboriginal Sociopolitical Groups (1938, Smithsonian)
  6. ^ Pritzker, 242
  7. ^ Pritzker, 241
  8. ^ Hinton, 30
  9. ^ a b Thomas, et al, 280,
  10. ^ Miller, 99
  11. ^ "?". Schat.net. Retrieved 3 September 2010. 
  12. ^ "The California Desert Protection Act". Timbisha Shoshone Tribe. Retrieved 3 September 2010. 
  13. ^ "Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act" (PDF). Retrieved 3 September 2010. [dead link]

See also[edit]


Additional reading[edit]

  • Crum, Steven J. (1998), "A Tripartite State of Affairs: The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1934–1994," American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 22(1): 117-136).
  • Haberfeld, Steven (2000), "Government-to-Government Negotiations: How the Timbisha Shoshone Got Its Land Back,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 24(4): 127–65. (Author, as of 2009, is exec. dir., Indian Dispute Resolution Service, Sacramento,CA.)
  • Miller, Mark E. (2004), Forgotten Tribes: Unrecognized Indians and the Federal Acknowledgment Process (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004). The Timbisha are one of four cases reviewed.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbisha — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
271 videos foundNext > 

The Spirituality of the Timbisha Shoshone People

(Location: Lida, Nevada) Pauline Esteves, Timbisha Shoshone elder, speaks about the spiritual connection her people have with their homelands spanning ...

Timbisha Volcanic Hill Dec 2015 Furnace Creek Death Valley

Four miles south west of Furnace Creek and the Timbisha Shoshone Village lies a black volcanic hill. Walk with me along the electric power line and across the ...

13-16182 Timbisha Shoshone Tribe v. US Department of the Interior

Timbisha Shoshone Tribe and others appeal the district court's dismissal of their action against the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, ...

Timbisha Shoshone

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Der Death-Valley-Nationalpark (Tal des Todes) liegt in der Mojave-Wüste und ist der trockenste Nationalpark in den USA. Er liegt östlich der Sierra Nevada, zum ...

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The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe has filed a lawsuit to stop an Act of Congress that threatens to take a fund of money belonging to the Timbisha Shoshone and the ...

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe filed a lawsuit today to stop an Act of Congress that threatens to take a fund of money belonging to the ...

Death Valley Timbisha Shoshone Homeland USA Nationalpark Vacation Part 12 Canon PowerShot G3

Death Valley USA Nationalpark Vacation Part 12 Canon PowerShot G3.

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A Fake Fan-Made Trailer for the "upcoming" Indiana Jones Movie. (Not real!) Fan Made.

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271 videos foundNext > 

132 news items

Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee
Sat, 30 Jan 2016 23:52:30 -0800

I greatly encourage BLM to consider designating Lower Centennial Flat, with its nursery of young Joshua trees and important cultural resources for the local Paiute and the Timbisha Shoshone tribes, as part of the National Conservation Lands. Bristol ...

SETI Institute

SETI Institute
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 14:30:00 -0800

The Timbisha Shoshone will also share stories about their “Valley of Life” at a campfire presentation preceding the after-dark festival. Rangers, astronomical societies, and scientists will have telescopes available for night sky viewing, as well as ...
Sierra Wave
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:11:42 -0800

Ray Hunter of the Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe and Barbara Durham of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe of Death Valley both offered suggestions relevant to their tribes. Chairwoman of the Big Pine Tribe Shannon Romero repeated the need for ...


Thu, 14 Jan 2016 02:41:15 -0800

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe currently owns 640 acres in the Lower Centennial Flat area. The Bureau of Land Management, which manages all but the tribal lands in the region, has recorded 82 archaeological sites in the area. Nearly 95 percent of them ...
Indian Country Today Media Network
Wed, 20 Nov 2013 06:02:17 -0800

The Bureau of Indian Affairs in California has cancelled a vote on a proposed new Constitution for the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe that tribal leaders say would violate the existing Constitution and pave the way for individuals who are not eligible for ...


Wed, 30 Oct 2013 14:35:38 -0700

For the Shoshone people, especially those known as the Timbisha, who for millennia have roamed the place we now call Death Valley, its basins, foothills, and mountains have never been wasteland or wilderness. They were (and are) simply home, a source ...

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Las Vegas Review-Journal
Sat, 26 Sep 2015 10:59:36 -0700

Joe Kennedy, left, of the Timbisha Shoshone tribe, and Western Shoshone Ian Zabarte listen to a speaker on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, during a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel meeting in Las Vegas about the Yucca Mountain Project. Keith Rogers/Las ...

Courthouse News Service

Courthouse News Service
Mon, 04 Jan 2016 18:40:27 -0800

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, based in Death Valley, claimed the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs cut off tribal council funding in 2011 and that Larry Echo Hawk - the assistant secretary for the bureau - ordered new ...

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