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In the early 1860s some of the Western Shoshone people were conducting raids against settlers who were travelling along the Humboldt River and the Overland Trail. The Federal government established Fort Ruby to provide security for the settlers against the Indians, and started to negotiate treaties with the Shoshone and other peoples of the Great Basin. On 1 October 1863 Governor James W. Nye of Nevada Territory and Governor James Duane Doty of the Utah Territory signed the Treaty of Ruby Valley. Twelve chiefs signed for the "Western Bands of the Shoshonee Nation of Indians". All but one made a mark in place of a signature. The document was witnessed by J. B. Moore, lieutenant-colonel Third Infantry California Volunteers, Jacob T. Lockhart, Indian agent, Nevada Territory and Henry Butterfield, interpreter. The signatories agreed to cease hostilities.
The Western Shoshone have been engaged in legal battles with the federal government over rights to their land since the erroneous filing of a claim in 1951 for land presumed to have been taken. Most western states comprising the Great Basin were created by federal statutes that referenced that "no part of Indian country will be included into the boundaries or jurisdiction of any state or territory