Published on October 16, 2013 by Amy
The Skull Valley Indian Reservation is the Goshute Indian reservation located approximately 45 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. It belongs to the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah, a federally recognized tribe.
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The reservation comprises 28.187 square miles (73.004 km²) of land in east central Tooele County, adjacent to the southwest side of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in the Stansbury Mountains. The reservation lies in the south of Skull Valley, with another range, the Cedar Mountains bordering west. A population of 31 persons resided on its territory as of the 2000 census. It is the site of a proposed temporary storage facility for used nuclear fuel (sometimes also referred to as radioactive waste), causing much controversy among some Goshute Native Americans, some of Utah’s government officials and many local advocacy groups. The facility was licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management refused to give the permission needed for the facility to operate.
The tribe’s headquarters is in Grantsville, Utah.
Tribal membership is 134, with 15 to 20 living on the reservation. The tribal police have jurisdiction on the reservation.
On October 12, 1863, the band first signed a treaty with the US federal government. In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order established the reservation.
During the Dugway Sheep Incident on April 12, 1968, 6,000 sheep in Skull Valley were killed by VX gas released in a test from the nearby U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground. Dugway and Skull Valley have also been featured in Rage, The Andromeda Strain, Outbreak and Species.
The Dugway Proving Grounds lies just south of Skull Valley. To the east is a nerve gas storage facility and to the north is the Magnesium Corporation plant which has had severe environmental problems. The reservation was a proposed location for an 820 acre (3 km²) dry cask storage facility for the storage of 40,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel. Only 120 acres (0.49 km2) are for the actual facility, and the rest of the land is a buffer area. Eight and a half years after application, this facility was licensed by the NRC.