WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
THE SHIVWITS BAND OF PAIUTE INDIANS OF UTAH
CONTACT INFORMATIONShivwits Band of Paiute Indians
6060 West 3650 North
Ivins, UT 84738
HISTORYIn the late 1880s, Anthony W. Ivins, a young rancher and later a prominent Mormon leader, convinced the
federal government that the Shivwits Band of Southern Paiute, who were struggling to survive on arid lands
just south of the Utah border, should be moved to an area along the river just west of Santa Clara.
Ivins used federal funds to establish a Shivwits settlement, build a school, and supply the Shivwits
with the teams, wagons, and tools they needed to live as farmers.
The Shivwits Band of Paiutes originally received federal recognition on March 3, 1891. On that date, Congress
enacted the first legislation that formally recognized "the Shebit Tribe of Indians in Washington County, Utah."
[26 Stat. 1005] The first reservation for the Paiutes was established at Shivwits, near St. George, in that year.
The reservation was expanded in 1916.
In 1933, when a site for a flood-control dam along the Santa Clara River was sought by Luther Winsor and local
engineers and farmers, the location they chose for what became Shem Dam (aka Winsor Dam) was in the
northwest corner of the reservation, which required the cooperation of the Shivwits Band and the Bureau of
Indian Affairs (BIA). The new dam would block an existing irrigation diversion used by the Shivwits Band,
but the project included a separate diversion below the dam for reservation lands.
In 1935, the Shivwits Paiutes accepted the Wheeler-Howard Act, also known as the Indian Reorganization Act
(IRA). It provided for tribal self-governance and protection of Indian land rights.
The reservation was again expanded in 1937, reaching its current size of 28,480 acres.
Tribal recognizion was lost on September 1, 1954 when Public Law 762 was passed. It resulted in the
termination of all federal responsibility over Indian tribes. To set an example, Utah Senator Watkins pushed for
termination of Utah Indian groups, including the Shivwits Paiutes.
The Shivwits Band is organized under the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Restoration Act (25 U.S.C. § 761) and its
implementing Public Law 96-227. The Shivwits Band Council is the governing body of the band.
REFERENCESThe "Shebit" Indians
The Daily Tribune, Salt Lake City, October 7, 1890, Page 7
Article about Indian/White relations at the time and discussions about establishing a reservation.
It includes letters from Anthony W. Ivins (then Mayor of St. George), John Caine (then Utah Territory's
representative to Congress), and also a letter written by the acting director of the Committee on
Indian Affairs to a special agent charged with making a full investigation of the claims.
For an easier to read transcription, click here.
Historic American Engineering Record, Shem Dam (Winsor Dam), HAER No. UT-96
Prepared by Scott O'Mack, William Self Associates, Inc.,
for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
March 2016, 96 Pages (see p. 15)
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