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(also Shoshone), a group of North American Indian tribes. The Shoshoni speak the Shoshonean languages, which belong to the Uto-Aztecan language family. They are divided into three groups of tribes: the Pueblo Shoshoni, which are made up of the Hopi; the Plateau Shoshoni, which comprise the Ute, Shoshoni proper, Comanche, Koso, Painte, Bannock, and Mono; and the Southern Californian Shoshoni, which include the Serrano, Gabrielino, Luiseño, and Cahuilla. The various groups were at different stages of cultural development, ranging from primitive gatherers and small-game hunters in California to settled land cultivators (Hopi) and horse-mounted hunters of bison (Comanche and Shoshoni).
Before the arrival of the European colonialists, the Shoshoni proper inhabited Utah, Nevada, and Idaho. They hunted, fished, and gathered wild cereal grains. In the mid-18th century the hunting of bison from horseback became the basis of the economy. In the mid-19th century, the Shoshoni tribes, after stubborn resistance, were settled on reservations in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Oregon. According to the 1970 census, the Shoshoni number 14,200, of whom 4,100 live on reservations; the rest live in cities and work as hired laborers.