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The Great Basin is relatively uniform in its principal characteristics and can be defined precisely on the basis of its interior drainage, having no outlet to the sea.4 A quality common to virtually all of the Great Basin is aridity, resulting from a number of factors that include the rain shadow caused by the Sierra Nevada, the distance of the Basin from the ocean, and latitudes unfavorable to recurrent storm patterns.
Because of this lack of precipitation, the flora and fauna of the Great Basin, if compared with most other areas of North America, are not especially abundant.
However, for the Goshutes this desert region is home and they view it much differently than does the casual visitor.
Before white Americans moved into the region, the Goshutes knew the land intimately and took from it all they needed to sustain life.
Steward was of the opinion that this latter boundary was "certainly too far south."3 Whatever the exact boundaries may have been at the time white people begin entering the Goshute domain, the region lies entirely within the Great Basin.
The Great Basin is not one large cup-shaped depression; instead, it is a series of more than ninety basins which are separated from each other by some 160 mountain ranges.
Defa The Goshute Indians live in a little known and sparsely populated portion of the state of Utah.
There actually are two Goshute reservations, the largest of which is the Deep Creek Reservation located on the Utah--Nevada border about sixty miles south of Wendover, with a portion of the reservation in each state.
The Goshute portion of the Great Basin has no real rivers, and the springs that exist form in the higher mountain regions only to sink into the desert sands.
As efficient and effective hunters and gatherers, they understood the fragile nature of the desert and maintained a balance that provided for their needs without destroying the limited resources of their arid homeland.