A Guide to the Papers of
The Indian Claims Commission
Washoe Case #288
Collection No. NC443

Indian Claims Commission. Washoe Case #288

The Indian Claims Commission (hereafter referred to as the "Commission") was created by an act of Congress of August 13, 1947 (60 Stat. 1049) entitled "An Act to Create an Indian Claims Commission...." Recognizing that many of the Indian tribes in the United States had been deprived of their land and economic resources by the federal government without compensation, Congress gave the Commission authority to hear and determine claims against the U.S. on behalf of any identifiable group of American or Alaskan Indians and to determine an amount to be awarded to successful claimants. It was then up to Congress to authorize payment.

The Washoe Tribe of the States of Nevada and California (sometimes referred to as Washo) met on April 21, 1948 and directed the tribal council to hire legal counsel and file a claim on behalf of the tribe. George F. Wright, an attorney in Elko, Nevada, signed a contract with the tribe which was approved by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in October of that same year. A fifty percent interest in Mr. Wright's contract was assigned by Wright to Washington, D.C., attorneys C.T. Busha, Jr. and John Lewis Smith, Jr. to facilitate handling of the case. Some years later after the death of Busha and retirement of Smith, the fifty percent interest was transferred to the Washington, D.C. law firm of Armour, Herrick, Kneipple & Allen.

The attorneys for the Washo claims case were required to prove certain basic tenants: that the tribe was then and at the time of filing, an identifiable Native American entity; that prior to the encroachment of whites, the tribe occupied a fixed geographical area of a determinable amount of acres; that the tribe utilized economic resources within that territory; that those territories and resources were taken from the tribe without compensation or by coercion; and that such losses had a determinable dollar value.

The tribe's original petition of August 9, 1951 asked for a judgement in the amount of $43,811,985.84 based on the 1862 value of the land, fish and game rights, and minerals and timber which had been wrongfully removed, plus interest from 1863. To establish these values, Wright contracted with several professional appraisers who prepared extensive reports which subsequently became part of the exhibits in the Washo legal case.

The Commission moved slowly on this docket (No. 288), as several hundred similar claims were filed by Indian tribes across the U.S. The Commission issued an interlocutory order on July 24, 1959 which declared that lands possessed by the Washo Tribe were taken by the U.S. without payment on [or by] December 31, 1862 in Nevada, and March 3, 1853 in California. The Commission further ordered the case to proceed in order to determine the amount of acreage and value lost. Voluminous testimony was given by experts to establish the basis upon which the final judgement was rendered.

The federal government finally settled this claim in 1970 with a payment of about $5,000,000 to the tribe. This payment was based on a land area significantly reduced from the Washo's original petition. $2,000 was distributed by the tribe to each authenticated Washo member and with part of the balance the tribe established a commercial recreation and camping area on the Carson River. This ended the Washo's and George Wright's twenty-two-year-old claims case to recover compensation for resources lost one hundred and eight years previously.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of materials accumulated by the Washoe Tribe during litigation of their claims case before the Indian Claims Commission - Docket No. 288. It consists of seven cubic feet of materials and includes reports, maps, published articles, literary references, doctoral thesis, property valuations, bibliographies, petitions, treaties and abstracts, exhibits, photographs, general state statutes and laws, correspondence, and research data and notes.

This collection is restricted; permission to examine these records must be obtained in writing from the Washoe Tribal Chairman. Contact the tribe at the following address:

Washoe Tribal Chairman
Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California
919 Highway 395 South
Gardnerville, Nevada 89410
702/265-4191 or 883-1446
702/265-6240 (fax)

A related manuscript collection is also available in the Special Collections Department. The George C. Wright papers (manuscript collection 90-37) contains Wright's files related to the Washoe claims case. That collection is unrestricted.

Processed by: Rebecca Richards and Susan Searcy
Date: August 12, 1998

Box 1

1. Defendant's Exhibit No. G-47 - Gordon, Clarence. Report on Cattle, Sheep and Swine, Supplement to Agricultural Census (1883).
2. Dft's Ex. No. G-48 - Porter, Robert P. "The West: From the Census of 1880...". (1882).
3. Dft's Ex. No. G-49 - Britton and Rey. Map of the Mining Region of California, 1855.
4. Dft's Ex. No. G-50 - Map of Oregon, Washington, California, Utah and New Mexico (1859).
5. Dft's Ex. No. G-51 - Tracing of DeGroot Map of Nevada and Eastern California, 1863.
6. Dft's Ex. No. G-52 - Map of Amador and Nevada Wagon Road Co. 1865.
7. Dft's Ex. No. G-53 - Kelly, J. Wells. First Directory of Nevada Territory. 1862, rep. 1962.
8. Dft's Ex. No. G-54 - Annual Report, Surveyor-General of the State of Nevada, 1865.
9. Dft's Ex. No. G-55 - Annual Report of the State Mineralogist for the State of Nevada, 1866.
10. Dft's Ex. No. G-56 - Overton, Theodore D. "Mineral Resources of Douglas, Ormsby and Washoe Counties". Geology and Mining Series no. 146, University of Nevada Bulletin, vol. XLI, no. 9. December 1947.
11. Dft's Ex. No. G-57 - Lincoln, Francis C. Mining Districts and Mineral Resources of Nevada.
12-14. California State Mining Bureau:
12. Dft's Ex. No. G-58 - Eighth Annual Report of the State Mineralogist. 1888.
13. Dft's Ex. No. G-59 - Tenth Annual Report of the State Mineralogist. 1890.
14. Dft's Ex. No. G-60 - Report XV of the State Mineralogist, "Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California". 1917.
15. Dft's Ex. No. G-61 - Hittel, John S. "The Resources of California". 1863.
16. Dft's Ex. No. G-62 - Cronise, Titus Fey. "The National Wealth of California". 1868.
17. Dft's Ex. No. G-63 - Bean, Edward F. "History and Directory of Nevada County, California". 1867.
18. Dft's Ex. No. G-64 - Fairfield, Asa Merrill. "Fairfield's Pioneer History of Lassen County, California".
19. Dft's Ex. No. G-65 - Thompson, John H. "Geography of the Truckee and Carson River Basins"; Doctoral Thesis, University of Washington. 1949.
20. Dft's Ex. No. G-66 - Galloway, John D. "Early Engineering Works Contributory to the Comstock". Geology and Mining Series no. 45, University of Nevada Bulletin, vol. XLI, no. 5. June 1947.
21. Dft's Ex. No. G-67 - Bixby, F.L. and Hardman, G. "Development of Water Supplies for Irrigation in Nevada by Pumping from Underground Sources". University of Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin no. 112, April 1928.
22. Dft's Ex. No. G-68 - Miller, Eunice. "The Timber Resources of Nevada". Nevada State Historical Society Papers, 1925-1926.
23. Dft's Ex. No. G-69 - Durrenberger, R.W. The Geography of California in Essays and Readings. 1959.
24. Dft's Ex. No. G-70 - Scott, Edward B. "The Saga of Lake Tahoe". 1957.
25. Dft's Ex. No. G-71 - Bancroft, Hubert H. "History of California", vol. VI, 1888.
26. Dft's Ex. No. G-72 - DeGroot, Henry. "Sketches of the Washoe Silver Mines". 1860.
27. Dft's Ex. No. G-73 - Clemens, Samuel L. (Mark Twain). "Roughing It". 1871. (Rhinehard Ed. 1957).
28. Dft's Ex. No. G-74 - Robinson, W.W. "Ranchos Become Cities". 1939.
29. Dft's Ex. No. G-75 - Annual Report, Director, Bureau of Land Management. Statistical Appendix. 1960.
30. Dft's Ex. No. G-76 - Hazeltine, Saulisberry and Taylor. "Stockmen Wrote Silver State's Range History". Western Livestock Journal, April 1961.
31. Dft's Ex. No. G-77 - Henry, George and Hinkle, Bliss. "Sierra-Nevada Lakes". 1949.
32. Dft's Ex. No. G-78 - Antevs, Ernst. "Rainfall and Tree Growth in the Great Basin". Carnegie Institute of Washington and American Geographical Society of New York. 1938.
33. Dft's Ex. No. G-79 - Cross-Section Timber and Forage Charts of California and Western Nevada. [also G-61 supplement].
34. Dft's Ex. No. G-80 - Letter to Mr. Ramsey Clark, Asst. Attorney General, Lands Division, from C.E. Remington, Chief of Div. of Engineering, United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. April 26, 1963.
35. Dft's Ex. No. G-81 - Little Gold Hill Mines Diagram, to Accompany H. Hoyt Report.
36. Dft's Ex. No. G-82 - Horizontal Map, Gold Hill Mines Workings, Comstock Lode.
37. Dft's Ex. No. G-83 - Sutro, Adolph. "Sutro Visualization of Comstock Lode". 1866. (Smith, p.100). [also see folder NC443/52]
38-40. Washoe General.
41-42. Washoe Valuation Case Working File.

Box 2

43. Washoe Indians of Nevada and California. Timberland Valuation Study.
44. Defendant's Exhibits B-1 to B-11.
45. Def's Exh. B-12 to B-26.
46. Def's Exh. B-27.
47. Plaintiff's Exhibit No. M-19.
48. Pltf's Ex. No. B-1.
49. Pltf's Ex. F-24 to F-30.
50. Washoe Indians of Nevada and California. Pltf's Ex. No. W-1A - Corrected Bibliography.
51. Heizer, R.F. and Elsasser, A.B. "Some Archaeological Sites and Cultures of the Central Sierra Nevada". The University of California Archaeological Survey. April 20, 1953.
52. Defendant's Exhibit No. G-46 - Report on the production of Agriculture, Tenth Census (Ser. 2131). 1883. [also see folders NC443/1-37].
53. Allen, N.E. Copies of Exhibits.
54. United States General Accounting Office Report, re. Petition of the Washoe Tribe of the States of Nevada and California.
55-56. Treaties and Extracts.
57. Docket 288 Exhibits - Washoe Tribal Documents, Exhibits 1-1 to 1-2; U.S. Treaties, Statutes and Presidential Proclamations, 2-1 to 2-8; and Departmental Records, 3-1 to 3-50
58. Docket 288 Exhibits - Departmental Records, Exhibits 3-51 to 3-110.

Box 3

59. Docket 288 Exhibits - Departmental Records, Exhibits 3-111 (1862) to 3-175 (1872).
60. Docket 288 Exhibits - Departmental Records, Exhibits 3-176 to 3-199; State Statutes, 4-1; Extracts from Texts and Treaties, 5-1 to 5-26; Histories Incorp. By References, 6-1; and Maps, 7-1.
61. Plaintiff's Exhibit No. W-1A.
62. Photos (aerial) of Washoe Valley, Truckee Meadow Valley, Truckee Meadows, Steam Boar Ditch; and Map of Nevada, Oregon and California, 1863.
63. Miscellaneous.
64. Plaintiff's Exhibit F-23 - The History of the Comstock Lode, 1850-1920. Nevada Bureau of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno. 1943.
65. Pltf's Ex. F-21 - Stoddard, Carl and Carpenter, J.A. Mineral Resources of Storey and Lyon Counties, Nevada. Geology and Mining Series no. 49. 1950.
66. Pltf's Ex. F-22 - Lord, Eliot. Comstock Mining and Miners. 1883.
67. Pltf's Ex. M-19 - Political History of Nevada. 1959.
68. Film, 5-1/2 in. X 26 ft.Indian Lands, Washoe Tribes. July 21, 1962.
69. Index to Microfilm Data.
70. The Washoe Tribe of the States of Nevada and California vs. The United States of America, Docket 288, vol. II. 1963.
71. An Evaluation Study of the Mineral Resources in the Lands of the Washoe Tribe As Decided on March 20, 1959 and Amended June 25, 1959 Before the Indian Claims Commission. Vol. I. 1961.
72. An Evaluation of the Mineral Resources of the Washoe, vol. II. 1961.

Box 4

73. An Evaluation Study of the Mineral Resources of the Washoe, vol. III. 1961.
74. An Evaluation Study of the Mineral Resources of the Washoe, vol. IV. 1961.
75. An Evaluation Study of the Mineral Resources of the Washoe, vol. V. 1961.
76-80. Duplicates of NC443/71-75. [NOTE: both series have hand-written notes within the volumes, some of which are not the same between the two series].

Box 5

81. Plaintiff's Exhibit No. R-1.
82. The Washoe Tribe of the States of Nevada and California vs. The United States of America. Vol. I, March 1963.
83-84. The Washoe of Nevada and California vs. the U.S.A. 1963.
85. The Washoe of Nevada and California vs. the U.S.A. Vol. II, 1963.
86-89. Wright, George F. The Washoe of NV and CA vs. the U.S.A.:
86. Vol. I, July 6, 1955.
87. Vol. III, July 8, 1955.
88. Vol. IV, September 26, 1955.
89. Vol. V, September 27, 1955.
90-97. Indian Claims Commission - The Washoe of the States of Nevada and California vs. the United States of America, Docket 288:
90. April 29, 1963.
91. April 30, 1963.
92. May 1, 1963.
93. May 2, 1963.
94. May 3, 1963.
95. May 6, 1963.
96. May 7, 1963.
97. May 8, 1963.

Box 6

98-104. Indian Claims Commission - The Washoe of Nevada and California vs. the U.S.A., Docket 288:
98. May 9, 1963.
99. May 10, 1963.
100. May 13, 1963.
101. May 14, 1963.
102. May 15, 1963.
103. May 16, 1963.
104. May 17, 1963.
105. Stewart, Omer C. Culture Element Distributions: XIV, Northern Paiute. 1941.
106. Defendant's Exhibit No. G-1 - "History of California, vol. VII, 1860-1890 in The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, vol. XXIV. San Francisco, 1890.
107. Dft's Ex. No. G-2 - "History of Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming, 1540-1888" in The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, vol. XXV. San Francisco, 1890.
108. Dft's Ex. No. G-3 - H.R. Executive Docs., 37th Congress, 2nd Session. Ex. Doc. No. 116 (Ser. 1137). Kennedy, Jos. C.G. Preliminary Report on the Eighth Census, 1860.
109. Dft's Ex. No. G-4 - Ninth Census, vol. I. U.S. Congressional Doc. Series 1473: "The Statistics of the Population of the U.S....". Compiled July 1, 1870.
110. Dft's Ex. No. G-5 - Ninth Census, vol. III. U.S. Congressional Doc. Series 1475: "The Statistics of the Wealth and Industry of the U.S....". June 1, 1870.
111. Dft's Ex. No. G-6 - Browne, J. Ross. "A Report on the Mineral Resources of the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains". House Ex. Doc. 29, 39th Congress, 2nd Session (Ser. 1289). Washington, 1867.
112. Dft's Ex. No. G-7 - H.R. Ex. Doc. No. 202, 40th Congress, 2nd Session (Ser. 1342). Mineral Resources, etc, West of the Rocky Mountains: Letter from Secretary of the Treasury re. Report of J. Ross Brown. March 5, 1868.
113. Dft's Ex. No. G-8 - House Ex. Doc. No. 54, 40th Congress, 3rd Session (Ser. 1373), vols. 8 and 9. "Mineral Resources of the States and Territories". 1869.
114. Dft's Ex. No. G-9 - Thompson and West. History of Nevada. 1881. Howell North, Berkeley, California, 1958.
115. Dft's Ex. No. G-10 - General Laws of the State of California from 1850 to 1864. (Hittel, T.H., ed.). Vol. I, San Francisco, 1865.
116. Dft's Ex. No. G-11 - Hammond, J.D. and Bailey, D.E. "General Statutes of the State of Nevada in Force from 1961 to 1885". Carson City, 1885.
117. Dft's Ex. No. G-13 - Hardman and Mason. "Irrigated Lands of Nevada", University of Nevada Bulletin no. 183, August 1949.
118. Dft's Ex. No. G-14 - Letter to Homer Hoyt, from U.S. Department of the Interior. March 7, 1963.
119. Dft's Ex. No. G-15 - Letter to Perry W. Morton, Asst. Attorney General, from the U.S. Department of the Interior. June 19, 1959. Enclosures.
120. Dft's Ex. No. G-17 - Hague, J.D. "Mining Industry, in U.S. Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel". Clarence King, Geologist-in-charge. Publ. by order of the Secretary of War, Washington, 1870.

Box 7

121. Dft's Ex. No. G-18 - Map of Virginia, Gold Hill, Devil's Gate, American Flat, Gold and Silver Mining Dist.'s, State of Nevada.
122. Dft's Ex. No. G-19 - Geological Survey Quadrangle Maps of Reno, Carson City, Virginia City, Mt. Rose, Donner Pass, etc.
123. Dft's Ex. No. G-20 - Vegetation Maps: Sierraville, Truckee, Markleeville, Pyramid Peak, Reno, Carson City.
124. Dft's Ex. No. G-21 - Forest Condition Maps, Truckee and Carson.
125. Dft's Ex. No. G-22 - Washoe City Maps.
126. Dft's Ex. No. G-23 - Gold Hill Maps.
127. Dft's Ex. No. G-24 - Letter from J.W. North, Washoe City, Nevada. April 20, 1863.
128. Dft's Ex. No. G-25 - Survey Maps.
129. Dft's Ex. No. G-25A - Survey maps with Sales Notations from Noble Murray's Report.
130. Dft's Ex. No. G-26 - Becker, George F. Geology of the Comstock Lode and the Washoe District with Atlas. Washington, 1882.
131. Dft's Ex. No. G-30 - Climates of the States - Nevada; Climatography of the U.S. no. 60-26. February 1960.
132.Dft's Ex. No. G-38A - Gold Hill Cooperative Mining Unit.
133. Dft's Ex. No. G-38B - McKinstry, Tyler, Pennebaker and Richard. "Mining Geology"; Hoover, H.C. "Principles of Mining"; and Important Features of a Mine Valuation.
134. Dft's Ex. No. G-38C - "Unified" Plan Analyzed for Washoe Valuation Case, Docket #288.
135. Dft's Ex. No. G-39 - Report of the Secretary of the Interior; House of Representatives Ex. Doc. 1, Pt. 4, 41st Congress, 3rd Session, vol. I. 1870.
136. Dft's Ex. No. G-40 - Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior (Ser. 613). 1851.
137. Dft's Ex. No. G-41 - Annual Report of Secretary of the Interior (Ser. 690). 1853.
138. Dft's Ex. No. G-42 - Annual Report of Secretary of Interior (Ser. 1157). 1862.
139. Dft's Ex. No. G-43 - Annual Report of Secretary of Interior (Ser. 1560). 1872.
140. Dft's Ex. No. G-44 - Annual Report of Secretary of Interior (Ser. 1680). 1875.
141. Dft's Ex. No. G-45 - Statistics of the Population of the United States. Tenth Census (Ser. 2129), 1883.
142. Lowie, Robert H. "Ethnographic Notes on the Washo". 1939.
143. Wilson, R.C. Vegetation Types and Forest Conditions of Douglas, Ormsby and Southwestern Washoe Counties, Nevada. 1941.
144. Forest Statistics for California. Forest Survey Release No. 25, December 1954.
145. A Century of Lumber Production in California and Nevada. Forest Survey Release No. 20, June 1953.
146. Forest Areas, Timber Volumes and Vegetation Types in California. Forest Survey Release No. 4, March 1946.
147. Oberbillig, Ernest. California "Rancho" Sales With Other Deeds for Washoe Valuation.
148.Dft's Ext. No. G-35 - Sales Data.
149-152. Washoe:
149. Legal Documents.
150. Correspondence.
151. Research data and notes.
152. Recorded telephone conversations [typewritten].
153. Oberbillig, Ernest. "Mineral Appraisal of the Lands of the Washoe Indian Tribe in Parts of Nevada and California". 1853, 1862.

Manuscript Mapcase Drawers

Additional maps for the claims case.