Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone

Wells Band Colony

Wells Band Council -- © Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone

Wells Band Council

Casey Franco - Chairman, Steve Brady - Vice Chairman
Cael Healey - Member, Ervin Bobb - Member, Steve Brady - Member
Charlotte Healey - Member, Harvey Healey - Member


The Wells Colony is located in the high desert of northeastern Nevada, just west of the city of Wells, in Elko County. Elko, the major population center in northeastern Nevada, lies approximately 45 miles southwest of the Wells Colony via Interstate 80. The reservation was established by an Act of Congress on October 15, 1977. The Wells Band of Western Shoshone retain 80 acres of federal trust land.


The Wells Colony maintains a small park and plans to build a community center for elders and tribal youth. The tribe pays half the electricity bill for the 25 homes located on reservation land. The Wells Colony receives sewer and water services from the city of Wells. The reservation has partial telephone service. Health care is provided to members of the Wells Band by the Indian Health Service's Southern Band Clinic in Elko and the Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital and Regional Clinic (50 miles southwest of Wells). There is one private physician in Wells. Tribal youth attend public schools in Wells.


The Wells Colony is one of four separate colinies that compose the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. Members of the Wells Band of Western Shoshone or "Newe" (The People) are descendants of several Newe bands which once hunted and gathered throughout the valleys, near the present-day town of Wells. They named themselves Kuiyudika, after a desert plant used for food; within this group were at least two other smaller groups, the Doyogadzu Newenee (end-of-the-mountain people) and the Waiha-Muta Newenee (fire-burning-on ridge people). Clover Valley served as a rendezvous spot among these small Newe bands.

The arrival of Euro-Americans in the middle 19th century brought an end to the Newe's semi-nomadic life-style. Congress established the Nevada Territory in 1861. Although they were not members of the Te-Moak Band, the Kuiyudika were included in the Ruby Valley Treaty of 1863 between the United States and the Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone.

Newe people lived and worked in Wells from its beginning as a railroad station in 1870. For many years, the Wells area Newe languished due to an insufficient land base, low wages, and poor living conditions. During the 1970s, the Wells Band organized the Wells Community Council to address these issues. In 1976, the Te-Moak Bands of Western Shoshone recognized the community council as a committee. Congress established the Wells Colony on 80 acres in 1977. Since then, the Te-Moak and Wells Bands have worked to improve conditions at the Wells Colony by supplementing the land base with acreage from Bureau of Land Management and improving on-reservation facilities.


The Te-Moak Council employs three persons. Tribal members also work seasonally for the USDA Forest Service as firefighters.


A constitution and by-laws approved in 1982 established the Te-Moak Western Shoshone Council, of which the Wells Colony is a member. The Wells Colony participates in the Council, which has total jurisdiction over all tribal lands; the Wells Colony retains sovereignty over all other affairs. The governing body within the Wells Colony is the Wells Band Council comprised of a chairperson, vice-chairperson and five members, all of whom serve three-year terms.


The Wells Colony is located near the intersection of north-south U.S. 93 and east-west U.S. Interstate 80. Private air service is available in the city of Wells. Wells is also served by UPS package delivery service. Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railways provide freight-hauling services to the Wells area.


The Wells Colony is planning to open a cutting and sewing operation.


A smokeshop, the reservation's main source of income, sells discount tobacco and cigarettes.


Federal reservation
Te-Moak Tribe of Western
Shoshone Indians
Elko County, NV

Wells Band Council
P.O. Box 809
Wells, NV 89835
(775) 752 - 3045
Fax: (775) 752-0569

Total area: 80 acres
Federal trust: 80 acres

Total labor force: 79
High School graduate of higher: 67%
Per capita income: $7,000

Population (Wells Colony): 34
Tribal enrollment: 177


The tribe operates a small gift shop within its smokeshop and holds an annual pow wow, which is open to the public. Recreational areas near the Wells Colony include Humboldt National Forest and scenic Hole-in-the-Mountain Peak.