Shoshone or Shoshoni (shəshōˈnē) [key], Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Shoshonean group of the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). In the early 19th cent. the Shoshone occupied SE California, NW Utah, SW Montana, W Wyoming, S Idaho, and NE Nevada. The Shoshone were traditionally divided into four groups: the Comanche of W Texas, a historically recent subdivision of the Wind River Shoshone of Wyoming; the Northern Shoshone of Idaho and Utah, who had horses and ranged across the Great Plains in search of buffalo; the Western Shoshone, who did not use horses and subsisted mainly on nuts and other wild vegetation; and the Wind River Shoshone of Wyoming. Today the Shoshone live on reservations in California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. In 1990 there were some 9,500 Shoshone in the United States.

See V. C. Trenholm and M. Carley, The Shoshonis, Sentinels of the Rockies (1964); E. Dorn, The Shoshoneans (1966); J. G. Jorgensen, The Sun Dance Religion (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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