Exciting New Manuscript Collection from Western Shoshone Tribe

Carrie and Mary Dann

Carrie and Mary Dann at their ranch in eastern Nevada

The Special Collections Department has received an extensive collection of records, the first from a Western Shoshone Tribal organization, and a grant from the National Historical Records & Publications Commission of more than $77,000 to organize, preserve and make the records available to the public. The department was one of only 15 organizations nationwide to receive an NHRPC grant for a project that has national significance.

The 120 linear-foot collection includes records from the Western Shoshone Defense Project as well as Western Shoshone ranchers and activists Carrie Dann and her sister Mary Dann, now deceased. The Dann sisters were involved in a legal battle with the U.S. government for nearly 50 years to maintain ownership and control over ancestral lands in northeastern Nevada. Their case was eventually argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Dann sisters’ struggle with the federal government over questions of grazing rights, water rights and rights of the Western Shoshones began before the non-profit organization, the Western Shoshone Defense Project, was formed. The collection includes documents from the mid-1960s to 2010.

“With the addition of this collection, we will expand the information and sources related to the Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe, the three Great Basin tribes in our area. We have collections from anthropologists and ethnographers who worked with Paiute and Washoe tribal members and materials from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, but this is a significant contribution entrusted to us from the Western Shoshone,” said Jacquelyn Sundstrand, Manuscripts and Archives Librarian. Work on the collection has just begun.

For further information, please contact Jacquelyn Sundstrand via email (jsund@unr.edu) or phone (775/682-5667).

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