A caption in the Aug. 13, 1972, Los Angeles Times stated: “Mrs. Lucille Gilbert, a full-blooded Paiute, stands outside her shack at edge of Bridgeport and hopes that United States will give Indian colony 20 acres of vacant federal land. She is one of about 60 members of group. In the background is Cecil Rambeau, her cousin.”
The members of the Paiute Indian colony in Mono County, near Nevada, had long thought they owned the land through 1850s-era treaties. But 18 treaties negotiated in 1851 and 1852 with California Indians were never ratified by the U.S. Senate.
Ownership of their 20 acres had slipped into private hands. The Bridgeport Paiutes faced eviction. But in 1974, President Ford signed a bill by Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) handing over 40 acres of adjacent federal land.
This photo by staff photographer John Malmin accompanied an in-depth article by Times staff writer Jack Jones on the plight of the Bridgeport Paiute Indian Colony.
Malmin’s image later won the “Picture of the Year” award in the 1973 Gold Seal California Press Photographers competition.
This post originally was published on Oct. 20, 2010.