Western Shoshone - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. The Western Shoshone had agamous communities without localized clans or any marked tendency toward local exogamy and endogamy. There was a general absence of complex social institutions—no men's or women's societies, age grades, or significant ceremonialism. As noted above, stable families and other social units tended to occur within areas of stable economic resources; otherwise, social groups and practices were quite variable at a low level.

Political Organization. Political organization was also on a low level of integration. Group composition depended on the number of individual families available. The most stable group was the winter village, but even these had little cohesion and the headmen had little authority. Local bands in some areas were probably a development from mainstream society political and economic pressure.

Conflict. Warfare was not common before contact, although killing of individuals did occur. There was some Evidence of conflict with the Ute and Northern Paiute. White migrants passing through the area were attacked occasionally, and there were some early attacks on White settlers.

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