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Keith Johnson, Deseret Morning News
An American flag flies over the arena as people participate in the opening dance of the annual Goshute powwow, which provides a respite from troubles and a celebration of the tribe.

IBAPAH, Tooele County — More than 300 Native Americans live on the border of Utah and Nevada and on the Deep Creek Reservation. The Ibapah community, home to the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute office, is 75 miles south of Wendover off a rough, unpaved road.

This is some of the state's harshest, most isolated terrain. But an annual powwow — canceled some years when the tribe can't afford it — is a respite from troubles and a celebration of tribe.

The majority of residents in Ibapah are Native Americans. Other tribal members live in nearby towns. The average household income is $17,000 in Ibapah, compared to $45,000 nationwide.

The tribe controls 38,000 acres in and another 70,000 over the border in Nevada, but prosperity has largely passed by this community. There is little income, little cash flow in the community, says Forrest Cuch, director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs.

There are deer and elk on reservation ground and cutthroat trout in Spring Creek, a stream the elders call Fish Springs. Officials would like to expand fish and wildlife recreation services, Cuch says. "They lack a trained work force, and they need educated people to run the government."

The residents here don't want to be confused with the Skull Valley Goshutes, a sister tribe well-known for its attempts at luring a controversial nuclear storage site to its own reservation three hours northeast in the west desert.

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School officials in Ibapah Elementary have struggled with high poverty and lackluster test scores, but they know the school provides a grounding beyond education, Cuch says.

"The best way to success is to educate people so they have options."