College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
This project is an exploration in the history, development, and reclamation efforts of the Washoe Tribe. This native tribe’s ancestral land centers around Lake Tahoe and therefore spans the border of Nevada and California. The Washoe people have been adversely impacted by colonial and westward expansion, particularly due to the introduction of disease, decimation of resources, and the emergence of the mining industry. The developing relationship between the Washoe people and both state and federal governments could set a precedent for tribes whose ancestral lands cross state borders. In addition, the efforts of the Washoe to reclaim sacred sites that are popular tourist locations could also set a precedent for the Land back movement, a movement which seeks to return indigenous lands to indigenous control. I believe this research will contribute to the discussion of indigenous development projects and sustainable development, which are important topics for American anthropology currently. Through my research, I have learned that the Washoe Tribe currently has a development project intended to create revenue which is centered around the construction of a sawmill in the Tahoe Forest. The Washoe also have additional proposals for land use within each of their established settlements that will incorporate more agricultural practices and conservation efforts. The sawmill project and land use proposals represent efforts by the Washoe people to reestablish their relationship with their ancestral lands and promote their own development.