Ancient Voices, Storied Places: Themes in Contemporary Indian History

Ancient Voices, Storied Places: Themes in Contemporary Indian History

Ancient Voices, Storied Places:

Themes in Contemporary Indian History


Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology



María Nieves Zedeño

Alex K. Carroll

Richard W. Stoffle


Cover Photo:

Kaibab Paiutes 1873, by J. K. Hillers (Smithsonian Institution)

Ancient Voices, Storied Places:

Themes in Contemporary Indian History

Edited by

María Nieves Zedeño,

Alex K. Carroll, and

Richard W. Stoffle

Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology

The University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

With a Preface by

Vivienne-Caron Jake

Kaibab Paiute Tribe

Fredonia, Arizona

February 2006



...................................................................................................................................................... iv


........................................................................................................................................................... v


.......................................................................................................................................... vi


Keith Myhrer and Linda Cohn .............................................................................................................................. vii


Vivienne-Caron Jake................................................................................................................................................ xv

Chapter One


Richard W. Stoffle .................................................................................................................................................... 1

Government-to-Government Consultation: Nellis Air Force Base Indian History Phase ........................... 1

Nevada Test Site Indian History Phase.................................................................................................................. 4

Whose History? .......................................................................................................................................................... 4

The Indian History Project Process...................................................................................................................... 12

Contents .................................................................................................................................................................... 17

Chapter Two

Territory Encroachment

María Nieves Zedeño .............................................................................................................................................. 18

Narratives of Encroachment.................................................................................................................................. 18

Encroachment: The Land, the People, and the Process.................................................................................... 20

The Progression of White Settlement (1850–1890) ........................................................................................... 29

Summary of Encroachment Expansion (1860–1940)........................................................................................ 34

Jack Longstreet: Life History of a Settler............................................................................................................. 37

Encroachment and its Impacts after 1900........................................................................................................... 40

Chapter Three

Aboriginal Demography

María Nieves Zedeño ............................................................................................................................................. 44

Early Demographic Reports .................................................................................................................................. 44

Official Indian Census 1860–1890........................................................................................................................ 45

Demographic Trends in the Early Twentieth Century (1900–1940)............................................................... 50

The Specter of Disease ........................................................................................................................................... 53 i

Chapter Four

Indigenous Farming Systems

Alex K. Carroll, Richard W. Stoffle, and María Nieves Zedeño ...................................................................... 58

The Land .................................................................................................................................................................. 58

Early Historic Records............................................................................................................................................ 62

Primary Agricultural Oases..................................................................................................................................... 66

Optimizing Numic Agriculture.............................................................................................................................. 73

The Ecological Implications of Encroachment .................................................................................................. 76

Conclusions............................................................................................................................................................... 82

Chapter Five

The Transition to Employment

Alex K. Carroll ......................................................................................................................................................... 85

Traditional Subsistence Strategies in Central Nevada........................................................................................ 85

Competition for Scarce Resources........................................................................................................................ 93

Indigenous Responses to Encroachment ............................................................................................................ 96

Narratives of Employment................................................................................................................................... 101

Chapter Six

Indian Schools in Nevada: The Early Years 1890–1928

Alex K. Carroll ....................................................................................................................................................... 104

Federal Policies....................................................................................................................................................... 105

The Early Years 1890–1928 ................................................................................................................................. 106

Boarding School Alternatives............................................................................................................................... 113

Contemporary Manifestations of Historical Processes.................................................................................... 114

Chapter Seven

Social Cohesion and Political Integration

María Nieves Zedeño, Alex K. Carroll, and Richard W. Stoffle .................................................................... 120

The Household: Early Ethnographic Descriptions.......................................................................................... 120

Kinship and Regional Networks ......................................................................................................................... 125

Political Integration and Leadership ................................................................................................................... 127

Ethnic Relationships.............................................................................................................................................. 134

Summary.................................................................................................................................................................. 135

Chapter Eight

The Ghost Dance

Alex K. Carroll and Richard W. Stoffle.............................................................................................................. 137

Wovoka’s Message................................................................................................................................................. 137

Federal Policies....................................................................................................................................................... 139

Local Context ......................................................................................................................................................... 139 ii

Ghost–Dancing: Risk Management.................................................................................................................... 140

Situating the Ghost Dance in Place .................................................................................................................... 140

Ghost Dance Eventscape ..................................................................................................................................... 147

Perspectives on the Ghost Dance of the 1890s................................................................................................ 149

Chapter Nine

Telling Stories

Alex K. Carroll, compiler...................................................................................................................................... 151

Indian History Goals............................................................................................................................................. 151

Oral Narratives in Anthropology ........................................................................................................................ 152

The Faces Behind the Stories............................................................................................................................... 155

How the Indian Man Arrived: An Old Indian Story as told by Tim Hooper.............................................. 155

People of the Land as told by Corbin Harney .................................................................................................. 157

They Lived In Fear as told by Norma Nelson .................................................................................................. 158

Recollections as told by Neddeen Naylor, Leslie Button, Irene Button, Richard Button, and Eugene Button................................................................................................................................................ 159

Land Claims and the Death March as told by Anita Barr ............................................................................... 162

Jessie Tom Lee, Nevada as told by June Tom ................................................................................................. 164

Reminiscences as told by Daisy Sackett Mike ................................................................................................... 165

I Belong Here as told by Larry Eddy.................................................................................................................. 166

The Meaning of Caves and The Birthing Rock as told by Philip Smith ....................................................... 168

The Land Will Talk to You―Tribal Chairman Edward “Tito” Smith ........................................................ 169

The Future of Basket Making as told by Everett Don Pikyavit .................................................................... 170

Singing Medicine as told by Matt Leivas............................................................................................................ 171

The Beginnings of the Yomba Shoshone Reservation and Being a Ranch Hand as told by Homer Hooper .................................................................................................................................... 173

Sacred Sites and Growing Up with a Medicine Man as told by

Betty Cornelius and Lawanda Lafoon ................................................................................................................ 175

When the Bears Came to Siwavatts by Vivienne-Caron Jake......................................................................... 177

Survival of the Self: The Boarding School Experience, by Vivienne-Caron Jake ....................................... 177

Conclusions............................................................................................................................................................. 181

Chapter Ten


Richard W. Stoffle.................................................................................................................................................. 183

Who’s to Know? .................................................................................................................................................... 183

The Committee’s Commentaries......................................................................................................................... 188

References Cited

........................................................................................................................................................ 191


.................................................................................................................................................................... 212 iii


Figure 2.1. Tribal Territories in Nevada .............................................................................................................. 22

Figure 2.2. Nevada population trends in selected counties, 1861–1940 ......................................................... 36

Figure 2.3. Longstreet and his wife Fannie ......................................................................................................... 40

Figure 2.4. Silverbow mining camp, 1905............................................................................................................ 40

Figure 2.5. Warm Springs, Kawich Valley ca.1915............................................................................................. 41

Figure 2.6. Merger Mill, Bellehelen, ca. 1930....................................................................................................... 42

Figure 3.1. Belmont, Nevada in 1893 ................................................................................................................... 49

Figure 3.2. Curtis Littlebeaver at his family house in Eden Creek................................................................... 49

Figure 3.3. The Pete family’s tar paper camp in Warm Springs ....................................................................... 50

Figure 3.4. Composite time series for Indian population by ethnic group..................................................... 51

Figure 3.5. Indian town in Smoky Valley, ca. 1930 ............................................................................................ 51

Figure 3.6. Vaccination of Western Shoshones, 1914........................................................................................ 55

Figure 4.1. The Great Basin–Colorado Plateau–Mohave Desert region with locations of aboriginal farming cases............................................................................................................................................................. 59

Figure 4.2. Western Sub-tribe, Paranayi, and Eastern Sub-tribe, Yanawant ................................................. 64

Figure 4.3. Aboriginal Southern Paiute subgroup districts .............................................................................. 66

Figure 4.4. Irrigation in Owens Valley ................................................................................................................ 73

Figure 5.1. Billy Wilson’s Indian Mail, Aurora, Nevada, 1873 ........................................................................ 96

Figure 5.2. Round Mountain Baseball Team, 1910 ......................................................................................... 100

Figure 5.3. Indian Cowboys and Cowgirls from the Hooper Family, Monitor Valley, ca 1950 .............. 102

Figure 5.4. Death Valley–Lida Work Crew at Scotty’s Castle ....................................................................... 103

Figure 6.1. The Stewart Indian School Blacksmith shop ............................................................................... 106

Figure 6.2. Round Mountain Indian School ca. 1910 ..................................................................................... 113

Figure 6.3. The School at Warm Springs .......................................................................................................... 114

Figure 6.4. Woodshop at Stewart Indian School ............................................................................................. 179

Figure 7.1. Twin River Indian Camp, Smoky Valley....................................................................................... 124

Figure 7.2. Scotty’s Castle Indian Camp, California........................................................................................ 124

Figure 7.3. Breen Creek Ranch, 1909 ................................................................................................................ 130

Figure 8.1. Wovoka, the Prophet ....................................................................................................................... 138

Figure 8.2. The first Ghost Dance site ............................................................................................................... 138

Figure 8.3. Pigeon Spring, with the hill and dance area in the background ................................................. 148

Figure 9.1. Tim Hooper at Stone Cabin Ranch ............................................................................................... 156

Figure 9.2. Corbin Harney, Western Shoshone spiritual leader .................................................................... 157

Figure 9.3. Norma Nelson sorting Pandora moth caterpillars ...................................................................... 159

Figure 9.4. Larry Eddy and UA ethnographer Hsain Ilihiane in the field ................................................... 167

Figure 9.5. Philip Smith describing the importance of places ....................................................................... 168

Figure 9.6. Chairman Edward “Tito” Smith in front of the Chemehuevi corral ....................................... 169

Figure 9.7. Don Pikyavit with two of his baskets............................................................................................ 171

Figure 9.8. Matt Leivas reviews oral history notes .......................................................................................... 172

Figure 9.9. Lawanda Laffoon, Alex Carroll and Betty Cornelius working on oral history ....................... 175 iv


Table 2.1. Trapping and Trailblazing in Nevada ............................................................................................... 23

Table 2.2. Emigrants in Nevada ........................................................................................................................... 24

Table 2.3. Survey and Exploration in Nevada ................................................................................................... 28

Table 3.1. Indian Population Counts, 1867........................................................................................................ 46

Table 3.2. Indian Population in Nevada, 1890................................................................................................... 46

Table 3.3. Ethnic Group by Reservation ............................................................................................................ 46

Table 3.4. Band-specific Population Counts ..................................................................................................... 48

Table 3.5. Southern Paiutes, Nevada, 1873–1874 ............................................................................................ 47

Table 3.6. W. Shoshone, Nevada, 187–1874...................................................................................................... 47

Table 3.7. Nevada–California Border, 1870s ..................................................................................................... 49

Table 3.8. Advance of Pandemics, 1531–1918 .................................................................................................. 54

Table 5.1. Useful Plants by Indian District......................................................................................................... 87

Table 5.2. Travel for Seasonal Resource Procurement..................................................................................... 88

Table 5.3. Geographical Connections among Selected Home Camps and Resource Locales................... 88

Table 6.1. Opening Dates of Indian Boarding Schools ................................................................................. 107

Table 6.2. Student Populations in Nevada, July 1939..................................................................................... 107

Table 6.3. Federal Indian Policy 1890 – present.............................................................................................. 115

Table 7.1. Households in the Lida Region, 1870............................................................................................. 122 v


To the many elders who have walked with us and helped to tell the stories that needed to be told, we dedicate this book to you. In particular, we would like to honor the memory of: Clifford Jake, Bertha Moose,

Vernon Miller, Teddy Shaw, Willis Mayo, Warren Mayo, Hank Patterson, Yetta Jake, Charlie Smith, Dan and

Chrissy Bullets, Eunice Surveyor, Emma Bobb, Kenneth Anderson, and Don Cloquet. Thank you for sharing your love and knowledge.

Eagle Poem

To pray you open your whole self

To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more

That you can't see, can't hear

Can't know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages

That aren't always sound but other

Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River. Circles in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We see you, see ourselves and know

That we must take the utmost care

And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of

All this, and breathe, knowing

We are truly blessed because we

Were born, and die soon, within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.

Joy Harjo, 2002



he successful completion of any project entails extraordinary planning, patience, cooperation, and collaborative hard work involving many individuals. Sustaining American Indian consultation partnerships that involve research, fieldwork, analysis, report writing, and mitigation meetings requires careful planning, patience, coordination, and cooperation among the numerous individuals involved in government-to-government consultation programs on the Nevada Test and Training

Range and on the Nevada Test Site.

This report represents the integrated efforts of two federal agencies, 18 American Indian entities, and many individuals who have collaborated at multiple levels in order to allow this project to germinate. We wish to express our sincere appreciation towards the people who have contributed to this project’s success. This study and related studies conducted over the past ten years could not have been undertaken without the participation of numerous Indian elders and cultural experts who took the time away from their jobs, families, and other commitments, sometimes traveling great distances, to share with us their traditional knowledge, stories, beliefs, and worldviews, often about sensitive topics.

We extend our thanks to those people who shared their stories in person as well as in written form. With apologies at the outset for anyone we may have inadvertently omitted, it is with profound gratitude and respect that we acknowledge the following Indian people: Pat Alpers, Raymond

Andrews, Richard Arnold, Anita Barr, Ronald

Barr, Doreen Bellas, Emma Bob, Johnnie Bob,

Elda Butler, Eugene Button, Irene Button, Leslie

Button, Richard Button, Jerry Charles, Bobbee

Chavez, Lee Chavez, Mary Davis, Maurice Frank-

Churchill, Harold Collins, Lloyd Collins, Betty

Cornelius, Darlene Dewy, Helen Eben, Larry

Eddy, Irene Leivas Esquerre, Pauline Esteves,

Grace Goad, Corbin Harney, Diane Nart, Ellen

Hess, Homer Hooper, Tim Hooper, Clifford Jake,

Vivian-Caron Jake, Clarabelle Jim, John Kennedy,

Joe Kennedy, Lawanda Lafoon, Matt Leivas, Cyn-


thia Lynch, Lalovi Miller, Diane Montoya, Bertha

Moose, Gaylene Moose, Neddeen Naylor, Norma

Nelson, Curtis Littlebeaver, Everett Don Pikyavit,

Edward “Tito” Smith, Philip Smith, Alfred

Stanton, Andy Thompson, June Tom, Andrew

Vidovich, and Charles “Spike” Wood.

Many of the stories and events told here could not have been found without the assistance of knowledgeable librarians and archivists at the

Central Nevada Museum and Historical Society in

Tonopah; the Special Collections Department of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Reno; the

Nevada Historical Society in Reno; the Nye

County Court House; and the Esmeralda County

Court House. We also received guidance from individuals versed in the history of Nevada and its

Indian people, in particular Phil Earl, Don

Hendrix, Alanah Woody, and Sally Zanjani.

We also owe a great debt to the following individuals who have supported this project since its conception: Keith Myhrer, Cultural Resource

Manager and Archaeologist for Nellis Air Force

Base and Range; Lynn Haarklau, Assistant Archaeologists for Nellis Air Force Base and Range;

Paul Green, of Air Combat Command, Langley,

Virginia; Jay Newman, contract Administrator,

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Greg Fasano, Project Manager of Science Applications International

Corporation; and Vicky Best, Deputy Project

Manager for the Native American Interaction

Program, Science Applications International Corporation. We would also like to acknowledge

Robert Furlow, former program director of the

U.S. Department of Energy Nevada Operations

Office and Linda Cohn, current program director of the National Nuclear Security Administration,

Nevada Operations Office, for their significant contributions to the American Indian Program and steadfast support of our team and of this project. To each of you, we extend our warmest thanks.



Keith Myhrer

Nellis Air Force Base and Range Archaeologist and Cultural Resource Manager


mericans consider their culture historically unique due to an aggressive, relatively rare philosophy that dominated the entry and uses of portions of North America during four centuries.

Efforts to achieve equality in cultural values, such as ethnic origin and religious conviction, and a sense of eager creativity to invent and conquer, were comparatively intense. Of several frontiers that remain in the United States, exploration of the cultural values of large portions of the West is considered of notable importance by the federal government.

Nellis Air Force Base (NAFB), assigned to the Air Combat Command (ACC) of the United

States (U.S.) Air Force (AF), manages three million acres of withdrawn land for fighter pilot graduate training on the Nevada Test and Training

Range (NTTR). Within and adjacent to NTTR is

1.5 million acres of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), the location of major underground and above ground nuclear testing. NAFB and NTS environmental programs share scientific resources to enhance management of similar landscapes. The massive land base is larger than most eastern states. Occupation by Euro Americans was comparatively late, and approximately 80 percent of

Nevada is owned and managed by the federal government.

Prime reasons for the delay of historic intrusion include the rarity of water sources and relatively rough geographic conditions. Since the

1940s the NTTR commanders have restricted public visitors from their lands; thus this portion of the southern Great Basin and Eastern Mojave

Desert has been exempt from impacts common to most of the United States. Because Native American uses continued until access restrictions in the

1940s, the descendants of those who kept the lands have minimal separation in generations, in comparison to the remaining United States territories. The NTTR may be considered a frontier for cultural research.

In 1996, NAFB initiated a Native American

Interaction Program and compiled a plan (NAFB

1998) to integrate the archaeology, Native American, and ethnographic subprograms into a holistic approach. Since 1997, on the southern Great Basin frontier cultural landscape under Air Force management, Native Americans work on archaeology crews, compose archaeology document chapters, and are escorted to ancestral areas on the

NTTR. Also, the ethnographers utilize archaeological data to assist in interpretations in Native

American research.

Two major ethnographic projects (Stoffle et al. 2000; Stoffle et al. 2002) concentrated on research in the Pintwater and Sheep Ranges region in the southern NTTR. NAFB emphasizes incorporating cultural research from surrounding lands, and the East of Nellis document (Stoffle et al.

2002) is one example. In addition to the composition of documents, videotaped interviews and Air

Force presentations were professionally composed. The success of these projects stimulated initiated plans to conduct further ethnographic investigations in the northern NTTR, which includes the Kawich Range, Belted Range, and

Stonewall Mountain. To supplement on-site ethnographic studies, NAFB accepted the opportunity to conduct home-interviews with Native

Americans who grew up in the region, which resulted in the present Indian History Project.

The responsibility to conduct scientific research on federal lands is expressed in numerous federal laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, and the Native American Graves and

Repatriation Act. Research studies are costly, and

Congress limits the amount of funds available for all programs, including the cultural resources program. Thus, in most federal agencies, archaeology compliance inventory, required under specific steps for all federal actions, is often the only type of research afforded. Congress also provides federal institutions funds for environmental programs, distributed from applicable executive levels.

In the mid–1990s, ACC established goals for not only a perfect compliance record but also an viii

increased level of scientific research to meet a higher level of excellence. Thus, additional funds for all environmental programs were directed in a discretionary manner into the cultural resource programs at its 23 bases. NAFB made commitments to increase its level of consultation with

Native Americans, under Executive Order 13007.

The Order requires consultation but does not provide direction on the methods needed to achieve that goal or to determine when the level is adequate. Thus, federal institutions, offices, and military bases must also make discretionary decisions on the level of effort to meet compliance with the Order. In comparison to regional federal agencies and military institutions, NAFB’s commitments to Native American consultation are substantially higher in terms of financial and personnel investments. The result, a six-year comprehensive and interdisciplinary Native American

Interaction Program, is considered by NAFB and

ACC leadership as the kind of success that will, through the next decade, yield a reduction in compliance costs. The Air Force anticipates incorporation of Native American methods to increase the effectiveness of environmental management. Finally, Native Americans have opportunities to continue cultural traditions in areas restricted from access for 50 years.


Linda Cohn


Project Manager of the United States National Nuclear Security Administration


he beginnings of the consultation partnership involving the Department of Energy/Nevada

(DOE/NV) Indian program on the Nevada Test

Site (NTS) dates back to 1987, when the Yucca

Mountain Site Characterization Office (YMSCO), then managed by DOE/NV, began a Native

American consultation program as part of site characterization studies for the high-level nuclear waste repository proposed for Yucca Mountain,

Nevada. Today consultation on YMSCO operates independently from the NTS and DOE/NV. This program, however, served as the basis of the present-day American Indian program that not only implements DOE American Indian and Alaska

Native Tribal Government Policy (2000) but also serves as a model for other federal facilities in southern Nevada.

Through its partnership with Southern Paiutes, Western Shoshones, and Owens Valley Paiutes, DOE/NV sought to achieve a better understanding of the natural and cultural resources on the NTS that are important to American Indians.

In addition, they sought to learn what DOE/NV could do to protect and conserve those resources, and what method of consultation would ensure that tribal concerns were identified and considered regarding the effect of NTS activities and programs on those resources. Since most of the underground nuclear weapons testing program activities at that time were concentrated on Pahute and Rainier mesas, which contained the highest densities of known cultural resources, the initial phases of the American Indian program targeted those areas.

The present-day DOE/NV American Indian program was initiated in 1991 to ensure agency compliance with the American Indian Religious

Freedom Act (AIRFA) for the NTS. Its goal was the development and implementation of a government-to-government consultation program designed to elicit American Indian comments and recommendations on the potential effects of

DOE/NV activities and programs on American

Indian traditional resources on the NTS (Beck,

Zedeño, and Furlow 2000). Initially, the NTS consultation included all of the YMSCO tribes and official Indian organizations. At the request of the

Consolidated Group of Tribes and Organizations

(CGTO), involvement of tribal governments subsequently expanded to include the Ely Shoshone

Tribe in Nevada and two additional official Indian organizations, the Owens Valley Board of Trustees and the Southern Paiute Tribal Chairman’s

Association. Since its inception in 1991, sixteen

American Indian tribes and three official Indian organizations from Arizona, California, Nevada, ix

and Utah, representing the Southern Paiutes,

Western Shoshones, and Owens Valley Paiutes, with cultural or historic ties to the NTS have participated in the DOE/NV American Indian program. Fifteen tribes and one official organization still participate on a regular basis and maintain a current list of Official Tribal Contact Representatives (OTCRs).

The CGTO, which would change the nature of the DOE/NV American Indian program and its future activities, while also strengthening the cohesiveness of the involved tribes and official organizations, came into being in 1994. During the final phase of the Pahute-Rainer studies, tribal representatives decided to incorporate themselves as the “Consolidated Tribes” and to issue a position statement along with their recommendations for cultural resource protection at the NTS. The name Consolidated Tribes was subsequently changed to the Consolidated Group of Tribes and

Organizations (CGTO) to accurately represent the tribes and official Indian organizations that comprised the CGTO. While CGTO tribal representatives from each ethnic group represent particular interests regarding the cultural resources of NTS, they work in concert to develop protection and conservation alternatives for these resources.

The CGTO has been responsible for multiple activities on the NTS. Tribal representatives have been involved in the identification and interpretation of cultural resources on various areas of the NTS, the repatriation of cultural materials collected from the NTS under provisions of NAG-

PRA, and the interpretation of sites with rock art.

They have also documented concerns for resources potentially affected by the transportation of low-level radioactive waste to the NTS and participated in a series of rapid cultural assessments of locations potentially affected by grounddisturbing activities on the NTS and off-site locations

Another significant achievement of CGTO has been the development of the American Indian

Resource Document for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the NTS and Off-Site

Locations in the state of Nevada. To accomplish this task, the CGTO appointed two tribal representatives from each ethnic group to assist the

DOE/NV EIS writing team in preparing the

American Indian Resource Document. This committee, known as the American Indian Writers

Subgroup (AIWS), is the first subgroup of the x

CGTO to work on DOE/NV projects. The

AIWS has a history of working with University of

Arizona (UA) ethnographers and with archaeologists at the Desert Research Institute (DRI). These projects have included the writing of American

Indian sections of the Resource Management Plan for the NTS and the development of a research design, fieldwork, and final report for the lowlevel radioactive waste (LLRW) transportation study.

Following the passage of Executive Order

13007—Indian Sacred Sites—by President Clinton in 1996, DOE/NV and the CGTO began to conduct rapid cultural assessments of proposed projects on the NTS and at off-site locations administered by DOE/NV. They sought to identify

Indian sacred sites and develop recommendations for avoiding adversely impacting these sites. These actions were in compliance with Executive Order

13007, which directed federal agencies to avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of Indian sacred sites and to consult with tribes to identify such sites.

The CGTO has also played a central role in the repatriation and reburial of sacred objects on the NTS. These activities were catalyzed by the passage of the Native American Graves Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of 1990, which requires the federal government to consult with tribes to determine if their artifact collections contain any sacred objects, human remains, funerary objects, or objects of cultural patrimony.

While many of the DOE/NV projects were conducted in order to ensure compliance with federal regulations, others reflect interests of the member tribes. For example, the American Indian

Inventory and Interpretation of Rock Art on the

NTS was conducted to provide CGTO representatives the opportunity to visit traditional cultural heritage sites. Consultation included the systematic ethnographic study of petroglyphs, pictographs, and the rock art sites themselves. This study increased understanding of the cultural significance of rock art for contemporary American

Indians and the relationships of these sites to traditional cultural landscapes. The Indian History

Project is another such tribal initiative.

Today, compliance with federal mandates remains a cornerstone of the DOE/NV American

Indian program. At the same time, the agency

(now known as National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Operations Office [NNSA/

NV]) seeks to sponsor meaningful and worthwhile projects, and to protect and to conserve NTS resources in accordance with CGTO recommendations. This program has been, and continues to be, very successful. This success stems from the continued support and participation of Indian people,

NNSA/NV managers, Division directors, and other agency personnel who support the program and provide much needed funding, and the work of UA anthropologists and DRI archaeologists.



I am Aipachahohvaats, who are you?

Vivienne-Caron Jake

Kaibab Paiute Elder and Indian History Project Committee Member


e had lived a long, long time near the watering oasis on the Kawich. He was a small man, with the assigned duty to care for the springs and the stream flow of the land.

In the beginning, he thought about the name he was called by the tribal people. He was a full grown man and to them he was “the boy.” He was a little guy with small hands and small feet, and seeing him would make others look upon him as being detached from another time and place.

His own people gave names to children after observing their traits and habits so he knew the name, Boy, was an acceptable way for him to be identified. At other times, the part of his name he questioned was the “one with the wrinkled face.”

For him it was strange that the label “boy” was used in connection with “the wrinkled one.”

Though the depth of his assignment could not be understood by anyone else, other than one of his own kind, he felt the tribal people understood, for they did not question his existence nor his purpose.

He was Aipachahovaats, so named by those who shared the land and responsibilities with him and who treated him so kindly and understood his place, his time and purpose. He was all that was left of a bigger extended family that gradually moved out of the area to protect other springs and watering places. He became a loner and kept to himself much more.

His little house close by kept him warm and comfortable. The protection it provided him from wild dogs and other harmful creatures had a calming effect on him after a busy day in the garden or trapping small animals.

He and the tribal people who visited and used the watering spot were friendly toward each other and there was an acceptance which couldn’t be measured. The sharing of seeds for planting and harvesting of goods continued throughout his time in the area. The children of the surrounding villages were well-cared for and had been taught to be respectful toward all living things. They were especially instructed to not disturb him or pollute the water.

Sometimes, the spiritual leaders came alone to seek his advice about herbal medicine and healing ways. At other times, they were accompanied by their spirit helper who stayed close by, not conversing with them, but just listening.

He knew that the helpers would always assist the spiritual leaders and complete the required cycles of healing ceremonies with them. During these special visits, Aipachahohvaats felt grateful and happy to be able to exchange information and provide the help needed.

He knew to trust the helpers. Their assignment to the various healers was made by the lifegiver. He also knew that their relationship was special, with complete understanding that to share information and still retain sacred, ceremonial ways within the tribal fold was to keep the culture and ways of the tribal people alive.

Winters were hard on him. Some winters, the snow was so deep that it would cover his small frame very easily. The chill it brought made it extremely difficult for him to get around, so he did as others did, he slept long hours during the winter in hibernation.

Despite his hardships and the loneliness he felt, he knew his life and world was complete with its bountiful growth of plants, animals, birds, and creatures of every conceivable kind. He knew that when he awoke in the spring they would be there for him to see again.

One day during an especially hot day, he had the scare of his life when he saw strangers come to the watering place, seemingly lost, for he didn’t understand where they came from or what manner of men they were.

They were giants by comparison to the natives of the land. Their long hair extended from the top of their heads to their faces, chin, and xii

neck. Their hands and feet were enormous. When they spoke, it was gruff and unintelligible.

At first, these strangers came alone, but as time went by they brought others. With them came changes he had not been prepared for. Larger animals pulled their belongings which were placed on and hung from a house on wheels.

These wheels made ruts in the ground and created a lot of dust. It was not in his mind that these strangers weren’t only passing through, that they were coming to stay.

The animals they owned and used for travel ate most of the grasses nearby and they dirtied up the water with their sloshing. Also, their manner of drinking was disturbing to him. The animals slobbered all over. In their haste for water, they stomped, and urinated all over the plants that were used daily by him. It seemed like a good part of his time, of late, was cleaning up after these creatures.

Other changes he had not forseen were imposed on the native people and bothered him greatly. He was to live through dreadful times when Kawich families were captured and taken away from their homeland. Others were massacred and their land was taken over by the strangers who had arrived.

It was a fearful time to be alive. He no longer felt the freedom to move about at will, so he carefully planned his daily chores around sunup and before the sun went down. One day, at the end of the day, an acquaintance came by to tell him that others were leaving to go underground because the environment was fast becoming damaged and no longer provided the healthy living it once provided.

He was saddened at the thought of having to leave this special site, to leave his Kawich friends behind, but he knew it was inevitable. Too much tragedy had occurred during his time and the native people were continually faced with major problems and decisions. He felt helpless at not being able to help them with the bigger problems.

The giant people didn’t understand the ways of life as seen by him. They were destructive and wasteful. More of them came and frequently their animals were allowed to roam freely about the land and the quiet of the land was no more.

Aipachahovaats decided to go with the friend who led him downward, into the earth. Along the way they saw the water and other living things. It was a journey filled with much happiness. He now xiii began to feel an overwhelming desire to be in the midst of his own people again. He wanted to see and explore the ways of the underworld.

Seasons came and went. Aipachahovaats didn’t see these changes for many years. He was getting older now and he decided it would be nice to visit the upper world before too much more time passed. They would go to see what conditions were remaining of the springs and watering places. He would go with three or four of his male relatives.

The visit to Kawich was not like he had thought it would be. The condition of the land was no longer healthy. Many of the trees had died from diseases and no moisture. The climate was dry and either too cold or too hot. The wild animals no longer ran freely. They had been replaced by cattle and horses who arrived with the strangers.

During his youth, he was told that the wind would sometimes cause him to feel unwanted, especially when it would whirl around him and make dust, but like everything else, it would stay long enough for its purposes and then move on.

Well, the wind now blew more often and made the land look desolate and lonely.

Pollution was everywhere. Instead of trails now, there were paved roads. Along the roadways was trash strewn for miles and miles with no end in sight. Even the air lacked freshness and the smell of pine was faint. He was afraid to touch the thorny bushes that towered over him. What kind of food is this, he thought.

He visited the villages of the Kawich and found faces lacking the radiance of their happiness of years ago. The children still ran playing their games, but he could tell there was a difference in their attitude and demeanor. The adults, too, seemed preoccupied with their work and made no time for friendly visiting.

Soon enough he learned why there were now such drastic changes. The land was now in a turmoil from the effects of bombing, and the sound of monstrous birds (jets, helicopters) was beyond his comprehension. The quiet land was no longer a place of solitude. The goodness that the land had provided in the past was no longer there. It had been destroyed and replaced with a dead, decaying, lifeless environment.

A lot of the springs had dried up while others were polluted and undesirable. He sought the help of elders, but no elders could be found. He

checked with the animals; the animals were sick and not as plentiful as before. Every creature that he had befriended told him the same sad story,

“We can’t understand the ways of some men. The earth is being destroyed, the people are being destroyed, what recourse have we?”

Aipachahovaats decided that there would continue to be visits made to the upper world. His visitations would mean that he still had concern for the people and the earth. He decided that if he would make contact with them once in a while, they would see that he still existed, he still cared, and that they were not alone. Hope was born on that last visit, and hope is all that we have left to pass on to the generations following us. xiv



Richard W. Stoffle


his collection of essays addresses the history of Numic-speaking American Indians of the

Great Basin–Colorado Plateau–Mohave Desert area since these lands passed into the sovereign control of the United States after the Treaty of

Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The goal of this study is to revisit historical processes and events that transformed the lives of these Americans so profoundly that their effects are still being felt today.

The perspective of contemporary Indians who shared their views with the authors, wrote portions of this history, advised on its production, and reviewed its contents, informed the versions of history relayed throughout this book. The themes explored in this collection interweave oral histories, collected by the authors through interviews with Indian people, and data from primary archival sources and publications.

The essays that follow represent a small sample of themes that concern Indian people, who believe that their values, opinions, and version of historical processes and events are seldom portrayed fairly, if at all, in Western literature. This preoccupation with telling their history is all the more relevant in the context of government–to– government consultation between American Indian tribes and federal agencies, wherein productive debates about land management and resource preservation issues hinge on a shared understanding of why the land and its resources are important to Indian people and how Indian people lost control over them. It is precisely under the auspices of such a shared understanding between two land-holding federal agencies (Figure 1.1) and several Indian tribes and organizations from Nevada,

California, Arizona, and Utah that this historical study was conducted. The successful completion of this study attests to the strength of this tribal– federal agency relationship and to the mutual trust it has generated over time.

This chapter is organized into three sections.

It begins with a discussion of the Nevada Test and

Training Range (NTTR) consultation program that funded this study and the more recent involvement of Nevada’s National Nuclear Security

Administration (NNSA/NV). Both agencies manage lands that were once part of the Southern Paiute and Western Shoshone territories. This historical study is designed to contribute important insights that will inform future consultations with culturally-affiliated Numic-speaking tribes. The chapter continues with a discussion of how history is viewed by scholars today. History is seen as a product of contemporary thinking about the past rather than an absolute statement regarding what occurred. While some social scientists strive to write objective history, others are not necessarily committed to objectivity. All history seeks to clarify the past. Indian history does so by adding the perspectives of indigenous people and groups who were participants in events that have frequently been documented solely through the perspectives of those who came to dominate the lands that were once controlled by American Indians. Indian history is sometimes characterized as a kind of

Western history, and this pattern is illustrated by selected examples. The chapter concludes with a detailed discussion of how Indian representatives have guided the production of this study and how the content and organization of each essay and the overall order of the essays evolved through interaction with Indian participants and agency officials.

Government–to–Government Consultation:

Nellis Air Force Base Indian History Phase

The U.S. Air Force and Nellis Air Force Base

(NAFB) follow a commitment made in 1996 to develop a complex program of excellence that allows Native Americans the opportunities to invest in the management of the 3-million acre

NTTR. NAFB’s philosophy is detailed in the Cultural Resources Management Plan (NAFB 1998), called by the Nevada State Historic Preservation

Office “a model for the Air Force.” The plan


Figure 1.1. Yucca Mountain Public Project (courtesy of SAIC)


specifies several major goals, of which the

Indian History project is one element. Beginning in 1996, representatives with ancestral ties to the

NTTR have conducted document reviews and composed chapters in major archaeological research reports. Although the NTTR has been closed to public access since the 1940s, the NAIP now allows the completion of field trips—many planned by Indians—to sites of antiquity and religious significance. Indians also participate in the annual NAFB meetings, where archaeologists and ethnographers formally present plans and results of notable scientific endeavors, and the Consolidated Group of Tribes and Organizations

(CGTO) meet to advise the Air Force of their joint progress.

The field research for this Indian History project involved the active participation of the

CGTO—a pan-tribal, multi-ethnic group created in 1996 to address consultation with federal facilities located within traditional territories (Halmo

1994; Beck, Zedeño, and Furlow 2000). The

CGTO comprises 16 federally recognized tribes, one tribe that is currently pursuing federal recognition, and one pan-Indian organization from the

Mohave, Southern Paiute, Western Shoshone, and

Owens Valley Paiute ethnic groups. All tribes participate in consultation because they have ancestral and cultural ties to NTTR.

Native American Interaction Program


The NAIP began formally in 1996, with

NAFB-sponsored meetings, and with SAIC as its sole contractor. The program’s goal is to provide a foundation for government-to-government consultations (Executive Memorandum, 29 April,

1994). Native Americans are considered comanagers, who assist in protecting and researching their inherited resources. Continued interaction in the field and in meetings is expected to provide

Indian people and Air Force personnel with a sense of familiarity to discuss and mitigate issues before they become untenable.

To facilitate this goal, the Indian people were provided opportunities to be co-managers. NAFB objectives are to involve Native Americans in all aspects of the cultural resources program. They were invited to participate in NAFB planning for archaeology, ethnology, and Indian projects; developing research designs; reviewing compliance proposals and related environmental and cultural resources reports; attending professional meetings; addressing with NAFB personnel the Native

American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act process; and monitoring field inventory projects.

By 2000, Indian people were involved in all facets of this program, including participating in designing a protection fence around a burial found in the

Tolicha Peak Electronic Range Compound. With the completion of appropriate ceremonies in May

2002, NAFB became the first base in Air Combat

Command to meet all the criteria set forth in Executive Order 13007 for a property to be treated as a sacred site.

Tribal Representative Roles

Representatives of tribes and organizations participating in the NAIP are responsible for attending meetings with NAFB officials, reporting the results of these meetings to their respective tribal governments, and informing NAFB of tribal decisions regarding projects and recommendations. Tribal representatives also make recommendations to NAFB regarding research, preservation, and mitigation priorities. One of the most important responsibilities of the representatives is to assist the research team and NAFB’s consultation facilitators in identifying and contacting knowledgeable elders and cultural experts who can participate in the field visits and interviews.

Based on a request from NAFB at the 2000

Annual Tribal Update Meeting, the CGTO responded and appointed the following individuals to act as committee members to guide the Indian

History research. The project began officially on

January 2001, with a two-day meeting held in

Tonopah, Nevada between the University of Arizona (UA) ethnographers and the five members of the Indian History project committee. All members of the committee were present at the meeting. Their names and tribal affiliations are:

Richard Arnold, Las Vegas Indian Center, Las Vegas, NV and Pahrump Paiute

Tribe, Pahrump, NV

Elda Butler, Fort Mohave Tribe, Mohave Valley, AZ

Maurice Frank-Churchill, Yomba Shoshone Tribe, Austin, NV


Vivienne Caron-Jake, Kaibab Paiute

Tribe, Kaibab, UT

Gaylene Moose, Big Pine Paiute Tribe,

Big Pine, CA

Nevada Test Site Indian History Phase

Interest in an interagency collaborative effort arose after completing the first phase of this research. Officials of both federal agencies agreed that they would fund the production of a comprehensive historical study. Thus, in the spring of

2002 a second phase of the Indian History project commenced, with funding provided by NNSA/

NV. This phase brought about the opportunity to expand the original scope of the historical research. Originally, the Nellis Indian History project was designed for the purpose of eliciting historic information on American Indians whose ancestors once lived in the northern portion of the

NTTR in central Nevada; consequently, the first research phase focused on historical events most closely related to Western Shoshones and their relationships with Owens Valley Paiutes. The primary goal of the second phase of the Indian history research centered in and around the Nevada

Test Site (NTS), and thus entailed adding a Southern Paiute historical perspective to the study. Each phase of the Indian History Project was carried out separately; however, both research phases, together, provide a broader understanding of people, places, and events that were and continue to be relevant to the three Numic-speaking groups.

Given that both federal agencies consult with the same tribes, it made sense to write an integrated collection of Indian history essays. It is important to note, however, that the consultation programs sponsored by NAFB and NNSA/NV differ in one important aspect: whereas the former includes the Mohave ethnic group in the consultation program, the latter does not. A historical research project that includes the Mohave awaits future funding and research opportunities.

In the NTS portion of the Indian History project, members of the American Indian Writers

Subgroup (AIWS) were responsible for attending meetings with NTS officials, reporting the project results of these meetings to their respective tribal governments, and informing NTS of tribal decisions regarding this project. Tribal representatives also made recommendations to NTS regarding the themes to be covered in the essays. One of the most important responsibilities of the representatives was to assist the UA research team in identifying and contacting knowledgeable elders and cultural experts who could participate in the field visits and interviews. Below is a listing of AIWS members involved in the NTS Indian History project:

Betty Cornelius, Colorado River Indian

Tribes, Parker, AZ

Gaylene Moose, Big Pine Paiute Tribe,

Big Pine, CA

Johnnie Bobb, Yomba Shoshone Tribe,

Austin, NV

Jerry Charles, Ely Shoshone Tribe, Ely,


Richard Arnold, Las Vegas Indian Center, Las Vegas, NV and Pahrump Paiute

Tribe, Pahrump, NV

Fieldwork for the NTS Indian History project was conducted in April of 2002 in Parker,

Lake Havasu City, and Las Vegas. To ensure a balanced representation among Southern Paiutes, we interviewed tribal representatives from the

Colorado River Indian tribes, Chemehuevi, Pahrump, Las Vegas, and Moapa. The cultural resource managers of the respective tribes selected representatives from these groups, and elders played an active role in identifying research priorities and shaping the order and content of this text.

Follow-up interviews were conducted in January of 2003, at the request of the AIWS.

Whose History?

History tends to tackle important changes in people’s lives that occurred just long enough ago that there are some questions about what happened. In the United States, we tend to think of history as having occurred more than 50 years ago.

After this much time has passed, memories have faded and people have passed on, so history can be debated and reshaped to fit the intellectual desires of contemporary people. Some scholars have said that we really do not want to know what hap-


pened in history, we only want to create a past that suits our present needs for a specific kind of past.

Despite these contemporary musings about what history is and why it occurs in this fashion, there was a time when history was perceived as fact–that is, “how it really was.” During this former time, history was written and published by a small number of elite males. They tended to focus on themselves as a class of people and on events that only they participated in, thus making them the only experts on these issues. Classic history is about wars and the imperial generals who made them. We know, however, that there is more to history than social crisis events and the personal experiences of those who orchestrated them.

Even in war there is the story of the soldiers who fight and the women they leave behind or who even follow them during the battles. There also is the story of the people and societies that are far from battle but are nevertheless influenced by it.

More modern history has moved away from the Great Men and Great Events approach, to look instead at the socially less powerful persons and the quiet social processes that slowly and perhaps imperceptibly reshape whole societies and the environments in which they exist. Process history still considers changes that eventually have dramatic impacts on societies and then on those people in society who are most powerful. There are a few examples of historic reconstruction where nothing special occurred and no one was responsible. William Least Moon’s (1982) Blue

Highways: A Journey in America comes to mind as such an exception, but society tends to suffer only a few works in this genre.

What we do know from the sociology of history and how it is created through research and publishing is that at best it is only a way of looking at the past, and by definition it leaves out many other perspectives. We also know that today, when the “people without history” (Wolf 1982) rise to power, they tell very different stories about the past than have imperial historians. These stories are often uncomfortable to people who have been in control of the production of history, and debates that once would have been confined to the quiet halls of academia are waged in many new public forums.

In a telling moment, Eben, a Western Shoshone elder, said that people who come to visit the local museum in Ely regularly ask for histories

5 of the Indian people of this region. She often responds by telling them, “We don’t have a history.

There is no history of Indians in Ely. People don’t know or aren’t interested in anything like that.” At the same time Eben notes, “We have lots of stories. We had chiefs.” Eben wonders if the community is interested in getting their stories together, stories that are particular to the Western

Shoshone people of this region, who passed these down from generation to generation long before the advent of Euroamerican encroachment. Eben is also interested in looking for elements of her culture that are similar to other American Indian groups. She comments, “Usually all Indians had the same way of life a long time ago; they lived in mud huts, they hunted.”

In part, the challenge of writing the present essays has been to highlight unique people, places, and events while also paying heed to epistemological issues and cultural processes that were embraced by all Numic people, and in some cases, by

Indian groups from as far away as the Great Plains

(see Chapter Eight). In pursuit of this goal, the authors have made special efforts to attend to the interpretations of Indian elders, as well as to the web of contextual factors that have colored the histories and the recollection of diverse people and events.

Getting Yesterday Right: Interpreting the Heritage of

Wales (Jenkins 1992) is the wonderful title of a book published with the support of the National

Museum of Wales, the Welsh Folk Museum, and the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum. The book contains a reinterpretation of the heritage of the Welsh people. This reinterpretation is illustrated by an image on the cover of the book of a

Welsh slate miner washing his dirty body in a tub in a room covered with soot. This image, like the history of the Welsh slate miners and their families, was cleaned up (photo retouched) by English historians who put forth the story that the Welsh miners were physically and financially wellsupported by the English industrialists who employed them in the mines. Scholars who wrote the

English history of this portion of Welsh industrial history were from the same social class and ethnic group as the English mine owners. They told a one-sided and highly self-serving story, according to original research conducted by Jenkins and published by the Welsh themselves. Instead of the English version of history, this book describes harsh working conditions, low pay, and severe

health problems for Welsh miners and their families. Today, the Welsh National Museum contains a series of halls recounting 250,000 years of human occupation in Wales. Here the English occupancy period is given less space than the invading

Romans, who are presented as having made a more positive contribution to Welsh culture than did the invading English.

So it is with all histories. Some have said that history can never be truly balanced, but that a kind of balance can be achieved by equally presenting multiple points of view from participants of the historic period being discussed. The question then arises as to who are the important and critically distinctive participants in history. Are they the poor, the workers, the women, the children, the military officers, the government, or racial and ethnic minorities? Feminist scholars in recent times maintain that the men who have dominated the writing of history have marginalized the female perspective. By elevating the historic views of men, men have created a social and intellectual environment where men today (scholars and laymen alike) are incapable of seeing and respecting a female point of view. Annette Kolodny’s (1984)

The Land Before Her: Fantasy and Experience of the

American Frontiers, 1630-1860 brings pioneer women’s stories into the mainstream of Western

United States frontier history, a field of scholarship that has been clearly dominated by men and men’s stories. In doing so, she expands her earlier argument made in Lay of the Land (Kolodny 1975) that had women the power to do so, they would have made a much different and more environmentally sensitive Euroamerican frontier society than the men around them. Some feminists have argued that male history not only leaves out women, but leaves out the social and environmental alternatives that could have occurred had women been empowered to share in the shaping of their own societies. Clearly there are lessons here for rethinking our futures, based on the alternate pasts that might have been.

American Indian History Studies

Most researchers and authors of Indian histories do attempt to convey balanced and even objective perspectives. Nevertheless, what has happened in retrospect is that these works, like all histories, are biased in many different ways. Issues of gender, power, and ethnicity all influence the writing of Indian histories. Gerald Lewis, a member of the Benton Paiute Tribe in Owens Valley,

California, wrote an essay entitled “Effects of

Modern Society on Paiute Culture and History” in preparation for the 1976 United States bicentennial (Lewis 1974). He maintains that Indian history has a special role to perform both for Indian people and for American society.

There is a need to be aware of the culture and history of the Owens Valley

Paiutes. Since the coming of the whiteman to Owens Valley the impact of his presence has all but destroyed the proud culture of the Paiute Indians…The history of the Paiute people in their struggle against the whiteman in their defense of their homes and land has been greatly misinterpreted through biased white writers. Indian history…has suffered mainly because during early contact there was no Indian who could read or write the whiteman language. Since this was the case, the whiteman was at liberty to write anything he wanted. As a result of this, the American public has accepted most of the early books written as the undisputed truth. The effects of these early lies are felt by Indians today because they’ve been cheated out of everything they had, their rights and now their culture.

Today, new views of the past are emerging due to a shifting of the “power to tell the story,” which is increasingly in the hands of Indian people

(e.g., Deloria 1969, 1970, 1974, 1994, 1997;

Deloria and Lytle 1984). There are a number of approaches to (re)writing Indian history; these are discussed in the next portion of this chapter as biography, autobiography, ethnic histories, and other media efforts.

Indian Biography

Indian biography is an effort by an author to help another person tell his or her own story. This often occurs after a bond of deep rapport has been established between the author and the Indian person whose story is being conveyed in the published article or book. Even in the best of relationships, biography is inherently biased, because


the biographer becomes the final judge for selecting what to tell and how to present it. A further bias is provided by the willingness of audiences to consume the biography, and printing houses to keep it in print.

The title of The Autobiography of Delfina Cuero,

A Diegueno Indian as told to Florence Shipek, interpreted by Rosalie Pinot Robertson (Shipek 1968), explains why scholars have assisted in the recounting of some Indian stories. The caption of

Delfina’s photo inside the frontispiece gives her name (spelled in the Kumayaay language) with the simple statement “her mark” immediately below.

Thus issues of monolingualism in a native language combine with a lack of literacy to make it essential that elders of a certain generation seek and receive help in making their stories accessible.

This book was originally published by a small private press in 1968, and went out of print almost immediately. It was reissued in 1970 and remained in print for a few years. By 1972, Delfina was dead, and the book became a regional classic among a small number of Indian people and scholars. The book was reissued (Shipek 1991) with the support of the Kumayaay people and

Delfina’s family, with a new and even more complex title reflecting an account of her last years and a summary of her ethnobotanical contributions.

The triangular relationship between Delfina

Cuero, the woman elder, Rosalie Robertson, her relative and translator, and the cultural anthropologist, Florence Shipek, spanned more than three decades. This relationship illustrates many of the difficulties and successes that faced Indian people who wanted to share what they defined as important cultural insights about the environment, as well as insights about what it was like being

Indian (or female) on the frontiers of Western society. A somewhat similar relationship was established between cultural anthropologist Alice

Marriott (1948) and Maria Montoya Martinez of

San Ildefonso near Santa Fe in New Mexico. Altough the relationship was more attenuated than that of Shipek and Cuero, the book Maria: The

Potter of San Ildefonso has gone through dozens of printings, largely due to the economic and artistic value of Maria’s pots. Here we see the story of one Indian woman told and retold because of the value placed on her crafts. Whereas Delfina Cuero lived and died in obscurity, Maria’s life and crafts are valued and celebrated far beyond their uniqueness and artistic excellence. There probably are

7 more outstanding Indian potters than ethnobotanists, and it causes one to wonder how the personal histories of these two Indian woman might have been reversed had one of Delfina’s medicine plants been “discovered” by a pharmaceutical company and made into a modern medicine. Again, we see that the stories of these women have differentially become a part of contemporary society through processes that are beyond their control. One story is privileged while another languishes, and thousands more are never recorded.

Michael Hittman (1996) helped to tell the story of Corbett Mack, a Northern Paiute who was born after the Ghost Dance focused so much attention on the Yerington Paiute band. Mack’s story is dramatic and traumatic, given that he was one of many Indian people in the region who became addicted to opium and who faced serious negative imagery from White society after the

Ghost Dance of 1890. Hittman, the editor and a storyteller in his own right, allows Mack’s stories to tell themselves as much as possible by writing in a style that is very close to the style and form through which they were originally conveyed.

While staying out of the way of the stories throughout most of the text, Hittman contextualized many ideas in over 140 pages of useful appendices. The book is approved and sold by the tribal government, and it represents a positive role relationship in conveying Indian history through biography.

Hittman’s career-long relationship with the

Yerington Paiute tribe resulted in an even more complex project for presenting a key aspect of their history. In 1986, Hittman proposed to the tribal council that they approve and support with funding an extensive project associated with the

100th anniversary of the great revelation of Wovoka and the occurrence of the 1890 Ghost

Dance movement. This project involved a commercial poster of Wovoka, the collection and mounting of all photographs of Wovoka for a comprehensive exhibit, a tribally-hosted one-day powwow dedicated to Wovoka, a biography of the prophet, and a petition to the U.S. Post Office for the issuance of a stamp to commemorate this centennial. All these goals, save the last, were achieved, and the resulting book, Wovoka and the

Ghost Dance (Hittman 1997), has become a classic by bringing together an academic analysis of documents, unpublished archival records of writ-

ten communications, and oral history interviews relating to Wovoka and his movement. The tribal council currently sells the book in partnership with the University of Nebraska Press.

Sometimes Indian biography is written to recount the life of an individual as well as to argue a contemporary social point about Indian society or culture. This is the case in the recent analysis of

Cherum, the Pai Tokumhet or hereditary leader of the Walapai, who held this position for all of his adult life (Dobyns and Euler 1998). The analysis conveys a sense of how his leadership role remained basically the same even though he had nine major shifts in role identity during his leadership. While Cherum’s life is important in itself, the concept that the Walapai actually had a traditional system of formalized leadership as well as the social hierarchy which that implies, has been disputed by some scholars (Braatz 1998). As a result of its publication, this biographical article contributes to the Walapai’s own position that they had a society with hereditary leadership that was socially more complex than some scholars are willing to admit. It is a biography that has helped tell their story about themselves as a people.


Even stories that are exclusively told by Indian people are in many ways biased. Any published story has been filtered, even if only by the process of submitting the manuscript for publication. Editors of journals and books have manuscript reviewers and editorial boards, and they themselves appropriately function as knowledge gatekeepers (e.g., Means 1995). Each of these reviewers believes that he or she knows what is both true (at least evaluated to be confidently known), publishable, and of interest to the reader. If the manuscript does not meet all of these criteria, it remains unpublished. Audiences are a special filter and a special problem for Indian histories because audiences do evaluate and respond to the printed word, whether these are the people who purchase books or academics who read, judge, and use published materials. These audiences impose definite limits on what is published by their willingness to consume or not use information told in Indian history reports. So clear and pervasive are some of these filters on Indian history, that tribes have begun their own presses, authored their own history books, and produced videos to reach an even wider audience.

Indian people have written their own stories.

Among the earliest of these stories is Life Among

the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (1883). Sarah was born in 1844, the daughter of the powerful Northern Paiute chief, Winnemucca. She used the role of chief’s daughter to become a spokeswoman for her people. Because she was a gifted speaker and culturally astute linguist, she served to explain White and Indian societies to each other. In this role, she eventually became frustrated with having to talk about everything that she wanted to explain, and so began to write her stories down. According to her editor and friend, Mrs. Horace (Mary)


I am confident that no one would desire that her [Sarah] words should be altered.

It [this book] is the first outbreak of the

American Indian in human literature, and it has the single aim–to tell the truth as it lies in the heart and mind of a true patriot, and one whose knowledge of the two races gives her an opportunity of comparing them objectively [1833:3].

Mary Mann’s use of the term “patriot” is strategic because the book is filled with specific criticisms of United States Indian policies and the people sent to implement them. Mann’s use of the term “human” is interesting when contrasted with

Sarah’s father’s use of the term when he describes one of the earliest interactions with White people

(Hopkins 1883:19–20):

They said there were some white people living at the Humboldt sink. They were the first ones my father had seen face to face. He said they were not like “humans.” They were more like owls than any thing else. They had hair on their faces, and had white eyes, and looked beautiful.

Obviously the definition of what is human was being challenged and redefined for both Indians and Whites. Sarah’s biography thus is an account of growing up in a world where turmoil in


Indian society is caused by the psychosocial and physical/environmental intrusion of Whites. She shifts from her own story from time to time to chronicle important historical events from the perspective of her people. This early autobiography sets a pattern of being both about a person and a critical assessment of historic events.

From the Deep Woods to Civilization by Charles

(Ohiyesa) Eastman (1916) is another one of the early Indian autobiographies. Eastman actually wrote eleven books, among them Indian Boyhood

(1902), The Soul of the Indian (1911), The Indian To-

day (1915), and Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains

(1918). Supplementing these works, he spent much of his life publicly defining, in speeches and articles, a common ground between traditional

Indian and national United States society and culture. Eastman occupied a special place between two societies because he was fully integrated into each. He was born in 1858 to a Wahpeton Sioux father and a Mdewakanton Sioux mother whose father was the famous Western artist Captain Seth

Eastman (Wilson 1977:vi). His early years were spent in social turmoil as the Sioux physically continued to resist the ongoing encroachment of

American society into their lives and lands. He lived many of his early years either under direct threat from American society or as a refugee in isolated Indian communities in Canada. His father was converted to Christianity after being captured by the U.S. Army during a Sioux uprising. When son and father were reunited, Eastman was about to become a warrior in the tribe, but instead was sent to school to learn another culture and became another type of warrior. Eventually he went to

Princeton University and earned a degree as a medical doctor. He was soon posted to the Pine

Ridge Agency and served as “A Doctor Among the Indians.” There he witnessed the building up of tensions between the Army and the Indian people that climaxed in what he calls the “Ghost

Dance War” of 1890–1891 (Eastman 1916:92).

His eyewitness accounts of this event are critical for understanding the “Indian” point of view, and his recommendations to prevent this from happening again were based on a need for crosscultural communication. Like Sarah Winnemucca before him, he emphasized that Indian people had basic rights, even though they were not official citizens of the United States, and that it is the violation of these rights that creates a basic tension in

Indian–White relationships.


Ethnic Histories

In addition to “period” ethnic histories written by Indians, such as William A. Warren’s His-

tory of the Ojibway People (1885), Andrew J. Blackbird’s History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of

Michigan (1887), and John J. Matthews’ The Osages:

Children of the Middle Waters (1961), there are two main types of histories that have been approved by the Indian ethnic group under historical scrutiny. The first type generally begins as a conventional history or ethnohistory and then comes to be read and approved by the tribal members and governments. These range from single articles

(Stoffle and Evans 1976) to books (Cleland 1992;

Shipek 1987) written for an academic audience.

Other books are more directly written by the people themselves, like The Zunis: Self-Portrayals by the

Zuni People, Alvina Quam, translator (1972), and

Finding the Center: Narrative Poetry of the Zuni Indians by Dennis Tedlock, translator (1972). Once approved by a tribal government, these works are then supported in one way or another. The tribe often reprints them or provides the funds for a press holding the copyright to reprint the book.

Such volumes are usually advertised and sold in tribally-owned enterprises.

Indian casinos have uniquely stimulated the production of tribal history books, interpretive centers or museums, and history audiovisuals.

The Cowichan Native Village in Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia is an elaborate reconstruction of portions of traditional life. The exhibit village is filled with the finest of contemporary totem poles, arts, and reconstructed village buildings. The tour requires a local interpreter, who discusses artifacts, buildings, culture, and the river that was the center of village life and is currently managed by the tribe. The formal tour ends in a beautifully constructed cedar-lined room, which is elaborately wired with sound, lights, and projectors so that the audience can literally feel the power and force of cultural places that are discussed during the natively-produced history audiovisual. Afterwards, the audience exits the room into a craft shop where a copy of this production can be purchased along with crafts items

(Cowichan Native Tradition 1999).

The Warm Springs Confederated Tribes in

Oregon have their own museum, which displays the complex stories of the three ethnic groups

(Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute) who now live on the consolidated reservation. This museum

portrays reservation cultures as it even-handedly describes the three ethnic groups who live together after being forcibly relocated by the Federal government. A tribally-produced video, The Mu-

seum at Warm Springs, is sold in the museum bookstore; it moves beyond museum interpretations to describe in strong and negative terms how all three ethnic groups repeatedly lost portions of their traditional lands and natural resources (Odyssey Productions, Inc. 1994). The video and the museum attempt to gain intellectual control over the complex and multifaceted history of Indian peoples who lived in different areas of the region, but who today are confined to a small reservation where they strive to create a common way of life.

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, in Minnesota, has a museum that was produced in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society. All exhibits were produced in consultation with tribal members. Most days, Ojibwe elders work as interpreters, answering questions of visitors while selectively making crafts that are otherwise discussed in the museum. Interactive displays and panoramas bring the visitor into scenes of life in the past as well as contemporary ceremony and everyday life. The museum bookstore is filled with tribally-approved cultural materials. The tribe has produced an elaborate and emotionally difficult tribal history video called The Woodlands, The Story

of the Mille Lacs Ojibwe, which documents what the tribe defines as the illegal taking of land, economy, culture, and lives by dominant White society (Mille

Lacs Band Government 1994). The museum, video, and other strategies for telling their story have been funded by one of the more successful casinos in the region.

Along the lower Colorado River there is a reservation with four very different ethnic groups

– Chemehuevi Paiute, Mohave, Navajo, and Hopi.

This is called the Colorado River Indian Tribes

(CRIT) reservation. The Federal government, who created this reservation, brought together local

Mohave and Chemehuevi peoples who traditionally lived in the area. Navajo and Hopi people were also relocated there, creating one of the more complex interethnic reservations in the United

States. The task of explaining the history and culture of all the people of this reservation has been taken up by the CRIT Museum, which is located next to the tribal offices near Parker, Arizona. The museum is uniquely configured, with a tribal lending library and a tribal archive. It contains special

10 exhibits of outstanding tribal artists such as Mary

Lou Brown, who is a world-famous Chemehuevi basket maker. Tribal video teams have interviewed hundreds of elders, whose stories are curated in the restricted access tribal archive. Special rules govern who can view these archives in order to insure confidentiality, but the main purpose of all these units is to convey the four cultures of the reservation. A crafts shop sells specialty items made by artists from each of the four ethnic groups. The museum director also has cultural resource responsibilities, including being a member of the CGTO.

Today, the Owens Valley Paiutes and Shoshones have an outstanding cultural center and museum where they tell their own stories. The museum is located on the Bishop Paiute Tribal reservation in Bishop, California. The museum has had a number of interesting ethnic misunderstandings and misconceptions to overcome. One spectacular misconception was that the Paiute people had elaborate irrigation systems that were not used to irrigate crops. This observation is of special anguish to the Owens Valley people because it is an issue in their water claims cases as well as a cultural misconception of some standing about an essential aspect of their life. The perception implies that they were bright enough as a people to develop systems of irrigation but not bright enough to use them to raise crops. The misconception stems from the fact that elaborate systems of water management were used to irrigate plants that were not viewed as “crops” by Euroamericans (Liljeblad and Fowler 1986:417). These plants were critical in the traditional diet in Owens Valley. One of these plants is a small root crop that provided an important starch contribution.

Another issue needing some correction is the issue of eating caterpillars and the pupae of a small brine fly larvae, both of which were important sources of protein, for the Owens Valley Paiutes

(Liljeblad and Fowler 1986:418). Europeans defined the eating of insects as repugnant. The Indian people of this valley had extensive access to animal protein, documenting that they ate the moth larva because they enjoyed its taste, not because they were staving off starvation. Some of the interviews in this history project are specifically aimed at addressing what the elders perceived as a misconstruction of their culture and history.

The Bishop Museum has stimulated Indian students to interview elders and work on their

own tribal histories. These high school student projects involve interviewing elders about important events as well as defining their life stories.

When the student projects are of outstanding quality, they become special displays in the halls of the museum. The museum has an extensive approved-book sales section as well as a contemporary crafts store.

These examples of Indian people gaining control over their history though tribal publication and museum exhibits represent positive but limited steps. Despite the expressed desire of most

Indian people to have their group’s stories told in a culturally appropriate and accurate manner, most

Indian tribes do not have the resources to achieve this even through museums or publication. This brief overview of Indian efforts to control their history has demonstrated that there are only two museums owned by the CGTO tribes, one among the Owens Valley Paiutes and the other on the

CRIT reservation. There is no Western Shoshone museum among these tribes. Obviously, other avenues for controlling and rewriting history are needed and many have been sought.

Other Media Efforts

Indian tribes have sought less expensive, more extensive, and more inclusive means of telling their histories. These include small radio stations, ethnic CDs, newsletters, web sites, and children’s books.

Indian Radio Stations

A small radio station, Timbisha Free Radio, is located on what is today the Timbisha Indian

Reservation in Death Valley National Park. When it was formed, however, the National Park Service was attempting to relocate the Timbisha tribal people from Death Valley National Park. In an effort to rally public support for their position, the

Timbisha tribe set up and proceeded to operate the radio station. It was given the frequency 91.1

FM, in reference to the 911 emergency telephone number. Today the tensions between the tribe and the park have been reduced, if not resolved, and the radio station serves to communicate local Indian news and opinions about a range of issues from Indian gaming in California to nuclear testing in Nevada.

A Kaibab Paiute Grand Canyon CD

Congress mandated Glen Canyon Dam water-release studies in an effort to assess the downstream environmental impacts of water release policies on various Indian tribes who have traditional cultural attachments to the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. The Kaibab Paiute Tribe, the San Juan Paiute Tribe, and the Paiute Indian

Tribes of Utah (organized as the Southern Paiute

Consortium) became involved in these studies between 1994 and 2005. Annually, representatives of these tribes have traveled the river by raft from below Glen Canyon Dam to where the river joins with the upper pool of Lake Mead. After the first six of these data collection journeys, three technical reports were written and submitted to the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the dam and the river up to the high water mark, and the

Grand Canyon National Park Service, which manages lands from the high water mark to the rim of the canyon. Although these technical reports were available in hard copy, each cost $40 to duplicate

(at $120 a set), thus they were financially inaccessible to many people. Consequently, there was a felt need on the part of the consulting tribes to have the findings of the project become more available to tribal members and to the public. A key component of the CD would be a statement about their traditional ties to the area. After two years of carefully negotiating the contents, 1,000

CDs were produced for public distribution under the title Nengwetevip: The Land, Resources and History

of the Southern Paiute People. Basically, any tribal member who requested a copy received one; the other copies have been sold through tribal outlets and even used as a text in university courses.

Tribal Newsletters

Tribal newsletters have become an important way of communicating. These tend to be limited to tribal members and friends, but in times of conflict with federal agencies, land management initiatives, and private business projects, tribes often convey their position on proposed development projects and agency policies through their newsletters. At these times, newsletters are often sent to a much broader audience than when they are conveying more parochial news.

One newsletter among the many sponsored by the tribes associated with this project is called

Nangkawittu. The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe pro-


duces this newsletter. Typical of other tribal newsletters, the issue dated January–March 2002 conveys information about BIA grants, new housing, environmental protection activities, local historic preservation activities, the general council meeting, how to find a job, summer youth employment, free child-care services, tribal membership changes, and the outstanding performance of a tribal member who graduated from Notre Dame

University. In addition to more local affairs,

Nangkawittu networks the readership with Timbisha Free-Radio (91.1 FM) for such collectivization efforts as the ethnic protests of the Yucca

Mountain High Level Nuclear Waste Facility, and the Shundahai Network nuclear protests.

Tribal Web Sites

The Internet now serves as an inexpensive mode of communication for millions of people; among these are Indian people who want to talk about issues that are important to them. Most tribal offices have both an email address and a web site. Such sites can become very elaborate, connecting visitors to both the government and museums. Some web sites also convey key information about tribal history, such as that included on the Southern Paiute Consortium’s CD. Today web sites and the Internet have greatly expanded access to tribal points of view.

Children’s Books

The Yerington Paiute Tribe has developed a very extensive array of children’s books. Unlike some children’s books, these texts have important messages, which redefine who the Paiute people are and what key events they perceive as having occurred in their past. Among such events stands the Ghost Dance movements of the 1870s and

1890s. Yerington, Nevada was the home of Wovoka (Jack Wilson), the second Ghost Dance prophet. After the time and energy of this movement had passed, the people of his tribe at Yerington were placed under something like a military house arrest. A fence was erected around the community and people were not permitted to go out at night without the permission of the army.

Social, economic, and other kinds of pressures were placed on the Yerington people to reject the prophet. Many did just this, taking the dominant

American view that Wovoka was a false prophet who preached a dangerous, violent vision. Recent

12 generations of Yerington Paiutes have rethought

Wovoka and his message and have moved back to a positive view of the prophet and his vision, seeing them both as a normal and welcomed aspect of Paiute life. Not only have the tribes supported

Michael Hittman, their tribal scholar, but they have moved this positive message into a series of children’s books. These works are designed to stimulate learning. Two 100-page pamphlets entitled The Numu Way (Pope 1981) and Let Me Tell

You a Story: Adapted Paiute Tales (Pope 1983) are accompanied by equally long workbooks where the lessons of the pamphlets can be reinforced by questions and exercises. In The Numu Way it is said that

…the lyrics of the Ghost Dance Songs come from the theme of the Ghost

Dance. This theme is a message of peace and rejuvenation. It is a prayer for a better day for the Numu and other

Native Americans on this earth and in heaven [Pope 1951:45-47].

In addition to these works for older children, there is a coloring book and easy drawing pamphlet for younger children. The materials were produced through a partnership between the tribe and the National Bilingual Materials development center, University of Alaska. The message is clear

– Paiute people had a real way of life that was fully satisfying to them, and the Ghost Dance was a positive reflection of normal ceremonies.

Tribal Calendars

Calendars are yet another form of cultural education and dissemination. In 2002, for example, the Bishop Paiute Tribe of California issued a wall calendar with photographs of its elders conducting traditional activities (e.g., Figure 9.3) and with explanations of the activities’ history and contemporary significance.

The Indian History Project Process

The idea of writing a regional history focused on NTTR lands, but having a clear Indian perspective, came from talking with the elders during the Wellington Canyon ethnographic project, which was contracted to the UA as one of several scientific studies prescribed in the management plan (NAFB 1998). Elders expressed their desire

to have a strong voice in telling their own version of their pasts. As a result of the expressed interest,

NAFB consulted with Native Americans and encouraged them to formally recommend Indian history studies at the 2000 NAIP tribal update meeting. The positive result is the current Indian

History project.

All parties agreed that the production of an

Indian history should strengthen the relationships between NAFB and the NAIP member tribes by documenting past land and resource uses and justifying present Indian management interests in the range and its natural and cultural resources. This project highlights the centrality of the Nevada

Test and Training Range (NTTR) in the lives of the Indian people, who believe they have lived here since the beginning of time. Please refer to

Chapter Four of the Wellington Canyon report for a fuller discussion of this issue.

The ethnographic team proposed to conduct a thematic Indian history which would include (a) a regional perspective, (b) historical events important throughout the region, and (c) Indian people who lived in the region and participated in key historical events.

(a) The Region. The study addresses Indian land use history centered in Kawich Valley and the Kawich mountains, where many NAFB research efforts are now focused. This valley is of critical importance in Indian history because it is located near the protohistoric Shoshone/Paiute inter-ethnic boundary, which was heavily occupied until relatively recent historic times. The Kawich area has numerous cultural connections with other regions that are either already researched or where Indian studies are now being considered, such as Hot

Creek Valley and White Rock Springs.

(b) The Decisive Event. The study documents regional Indian involvement in the Ghost

Dance Movement, especially the one occurring in 1889–1892, which was stimulated by the visions of Northern Paiute prophet Wovoka.

The current research documents that all the ethnic groups in the NAIP were involved in this movement and that there are at least four more central and southern NV sites to be studied. It is expected that analysis of Ghost Dance sites and ceremonies will provide important insights for the further interpretation of Welling-

13 ton Canyon and Pintwater Cave, where similar ceremonies may have occurred.

(c) The Key Individuals. A key focus of the

Indian history, as envisioned by the elders, is on those individuals who made a difference in the lives of the regional Indian communities that are now part of the NAIP, or whose life histories illustrate experiences common to their communities. Our current research on this topic indicates that there are numerous individuals, some dead, some alive, whose histories must be told from their own perspective or from the perspective of the people who knew them best. We plan to document the lives of these people as they intersected with regional land use and the historical events that affected that use.

Proposed Research Plan

The original research plan encompassed document searches on various university campuses and at local document repositories in Nevada, interviews with key elders whose life histories are associated with Kawich Valley and surrounding valleys of central Nevada, and interviews with key elders who knew prominent Indian individuals in the region. Document searches included local newspapers, travel logs, and public documents such as courthouse records. We planned to divide our research time between the

UA campus and Nevada repositories. Interviews with key individuals identified through the History

Project committee members were conducted at the elders’ homes. The Indian history committee would meet once during the course of the research to advise the ethnographers.

We began this project with a preexisting library that contained numerous relevant sources, as well as previous interviews with elders from regional tribes. This information provided a base from which to begin the Indian History project, but, (as we found out throughout the year), there was much more material to be researched, both primary (e.g., censuses, newspapers, and personal papers) and secondary resources (publications).

Meeting of the Indian History Advisory Committee

The field portion of the project officially began in January 2001, with a two-day meeting between the UA ethnographers and the Indian History project committee. This meeting took place at the Convention Center in Tonopah, Nevada. The first day was devoted to open-ended discussions about topics of historic interest to Indian people.

On the second day we drew a “living outline” for the project, which contained all the topics the Indian History project committee recommended to be researched by the UA. Members of the committee also discussed which parts of the Indian

History project report they would like to write themselves. The afternoon of the second day was spent visiting a historically-known Ghost Dance site and associated rock art sites near Palmetto,


The committee’s contribution to project planning consisted of developing a list of topics of interest, people that should be profiled in the report, and suggestions as to who to interview. Below is the outline developed at the Indian history committee meeting, which is an itemized version of a list of topics suggested during the initial stages of planning and consultation. The intention was to develop an outline that could be modified

(expanded or contracted) as the research progressed—hence the term “living outline.”

The Living Outline of the Indian History


The true value of the living outline lies in its capacity to reflect the process-oriented dynamics that underscored the writing of this regional Indian history. The living outline began more as a wish list of topics that should be covered in an

Indian history as well as the types of information that Indian people wanted to read about, rather than as a feasible work plan under the original

SOW that was in line with the funding the project received. At the same time, this outline reflects a sequence of formal and informal discussions with the Indian participants and their impressions on the history project presentation given at the 2001 and 2002 NAFB meetings

Over the course of writing this history, the living outline underwent many revisions that were each directed towards the overall aim of creating a living document that reflected the collective as

14 well as the individual needs of participating tribal representatives. The following outline represents the beginning stages of a collaborative research project that has culminated in the writing of this book. We include this outline as one means of demonstrating how this project developed over time.

Introduction – History and Place



A. Region and Process

1. Introduction to section

2. Territory encroachment

Land claims


Water claims

Mineral claims

3. Demography

Traditional population

Virgin soil epidemics

Modern diseases

Shifting residences

Traditional activity centers and regions of refuge

Farms, mobile camps, and towns

Rise of Anglo townships and their relations to local Indian communities

4. Employment

Traditional food production

Mixed economy

Western economy

5. Schools

Local – Warm Spring, Eden Creek


Federal boarding schools – Stewart Indian School

B. Decisive Event

6. Introduction to section

7. The Ghost Dance

8. Formation of the reservations (1940)

9. Federal withdrawal (1940s)

10. Identity politics & world protest (1970s)

Land claims protests

C. People

11. Introduction to section

12. The family

Structure of families through time – nuclear or extended

Occupations of family members

Nature of the home itself

13. Individuals

Historic men and women

Contemporary men and women

The essays that follow are a condensed version of the living outline and cover seven main topics, emphasize the period from 1850 to WWII, and integrate excerpts of elder interviews with their main text. A separate chapter containing passages of dialogue with Indian people complements the historical narrative with contemporary frameworks and viewpoints

Archival Research

The ethnographic team has had five opportunities to visit Nevada and California archives:

In January of 2001, Richard Stoffle conducted a week-long search in Carson City, in the Central Nevada Museum in Tonopah, and in the Nye County Court Houses. This was followed by another week-long search conducted by Nieves Zedeño in Tonopah and Goldfield repositories.

In May of 2001, Alex Carroll and Claudia

Roch conducted two-day document searches in the UNLV library in Las Vegas.

Also in May of 2001, Nieves Zedeño spent two days searching documents at the Pine

County Library in Ely, Nevada.

In February of 2002, Nieves Zedeño spent one week searching documents at the University of Nevada-Reno special collections library and at the Nevada Historical Society in


In January of 2003 and throughout 2005

Alex Carroll spent time searching documents and expanding key interviews in Ely, Austin, Reno,

Moapa, and Las Vegas, Nevada, and in Owens

Valley, California. These searches produced a wealth of documentary information in the form of county newspapers; district census data for the decades of 1890, 1900, 1910, and 1920; mining, water, and land claims and transfers; and other various primary sources and published documents.

An example of unexpected information sources is the registry of private livestock brands, dating as far back as the turn of the twentieth century,

15 which contains names and addresses of known

Indian people, such as Captain Jack, who lived in

Hot Creek Valley, and relatives of NAIP representatives and other local families. In addition to these on-site searches, we were able to obtain numerous documents through Internet searches and interlibrary loans using the UA library. This library also has special collections containing original Nevada documents.

Census Data Analysis

An important source of information regarding the structure and function of American Indian families and communities derives from our newly formed ACCESS® database, which compiles U.S.

Federal Census data. A complete census database has been developed for Esmeralda and Nye Counties, central Nevada, for 1900–1910. Data for each county are subdivided by precinct, household head names, types of dwellings, ownership status, the number of adult males and females within a precinct, the number of children in a household, and the number of children living within a given census period. Analysis of these data helps identify dominant patterns of settlement, population ratios by sex, and patterns indicative of population losses due to death or movement. Additional census materials have been gathered from 1880 (Nye,

Esmeralda, and Lincoln counties), 1900 (Douglas,

Lincoln, Lyon, and Ormsby counties), 1910 (Lyon

County), and 1920 (Nye and Mineral counties), and these will be added to the database next year.

Family Tree Maker®, a federally recognized kinship database program, is being used to code federal census data by county. This kinship database is being used to understand the lives of pivotal Indian families and prominent individuals living in central Nevada between 1880 and 1920.

Oral history interviews are being used to crosscheck and supplement the census. Currently, efforts have yielded information on several Western

Shoshone and Paiute families. Information on the

Kawich family, for example, provides a continuous lineage from the nineteenth century through the present. Many of the Kawich family members belong today to the Yomba Shoshone Tribe.

Complex marriage, trade, and ceremonial relationships are also indicated among and between people living in central Nevada and Owens Valley.

Kinship information available through Steward’s ethnography of the Owens Valley Paiute indicates

a possible bridge for kinship relationships documented in central Nevada.

Elder Interviews

Elder interviews were conducted on five occasions: January, March, and May 2001; April,

2002; and January, 2003. We conducted 33 interviews with the following individuals:

January 2001

Emma Bobb (Yomba Shoshone Tribe)

Curtis Littlebeaver Pete (Duckwater Shoshone Tribe)

March 2001

Pauline Esteves (Death Valley Shoshone


Grace Goad (Death Valley Shoshone


Joe Kennedy (Death Valley Shoshone Tribe

– Fishlake Valley community)

John Kennedy (Death Valley Shoshone Tribe

– Fishlake Valley community)

Corbin Harney (Battle Mountain Shoshone

Tribe, Shoshone spiritual leader)

Bertha Moose (Big Pine Paiute Tribe)

Norma Nelson (Bishop Paiute Tribe)

May 2001

Alfred Stanton (Ely Shoshone Tribe, chairman)

Helen Eben (Duckwater Shoshone Tribe)

Funding for additional interviews with

Southern Paiute elders was provided by

NNSA/NV. These interviews were conducted with:

April 2002

Betty Cornelius (Colorado River Indian


Larry Eddy (Chemehuevi Paiute Tribe)

Clarabelle Jim (Pahrump Paiute Tribe)

Lawanda Lafoon (Colorado River Indian


Irene Leivas Esquerre (Chemehuevi Paiute


Mathew Leivas (Chemehuevi Paiute Tribe)

Cynthia Lynch (Pahrump Paiute Tribe)

Lalovi Miller (Moapa Paiute Tribe)

Everett Pykyavit (Moapa Paiute Tribe)

Philip Smith (Colorado River Indian Tribes)

Tito Smith (Chemehuevi Paiute Tribe)

Charles “Spike” Wood (Chemehuevi Paiute


January 2003

Jerry Charles (Ely Shoshone Tribe)

Lloyd Collins (Ely Shoshone Tribe)

Harold Collins (Ely Shoshone Tribe)

Maurice Churchill-Frank (Yomba Shoshone


Neddeen Naylor (Lone Pine Paiute–

Shoshone Tribe)

Leslie Button (Lone Pine Paiute–Shoshone


Irene Button (Lone Pine Paiute–Shoshone


Richard Button (Lone Pine Paiute–Shoshone



Eugene Button (Lone Pine Paiute–Shoshone


Anita Barr (Bishop Paiute Tribe)

Lee Chavez (Bishop Paiute Tribe)

Two individuals (C. Littlebeaver and H.

Eben) were interviewed on several occasions. In addition to the formal interviews listed above, we also spoke informally to some of the community members and elders at the elder center in Bishop,

California. Among the people with whom we were able to talk about the Indian History project on an informal basis were: Mary Davis, Bobbee Chavez,

Doreen Bellas, Ellen Hess, Pat Alpers, Ronald

Barr, and the elder center program leader, Diane

Hart. Further informal interviews included talking with Raymond Andrews following a tribal meeting in Bishop, California. Interviews were open– ended but were guided by an interest in the topics suggested by the Indian History project committee. These ideas included:


Life history (e.g., residential history)


Subsistence and employment

Land encroachment/loss issues

Ghost Dance knowledge

Most interviews were tape–recorded and these were used to produce a summary of elder thoughts on a range of topics. Ethnographic notes were also taken in all interviews. We were able to complement our interviews with those conducted by Margaret Wheat in the 1950s and 1960s (available at the University of Nevada-Reno Special

Collections) and those conducted in the 1970s by the Intertribal Council of Nevada (partially available at the Nevada Historical Society-Reno; also on file at tribal offices). Also invaluable were the interviews conducted by Robert McCracken

(1990) for the oral history projects of Nye and

Esmeralda counties.


The essay collection begins with an overview, in Chapter Two, of the Euroamerican encroachment process beginning in the early 1800s, with special attention to south and central Nevada.

Chapter Three briefly summarizes aboriginal demography and discusses the factors that affected

Western Shoshone and Paiute populations from the first contact with Whites to World War II. The structure of the aboriginal subsistence economy and its transition to dependency on Euroamerican enterprises and wage labor are discussed in Chapters Four and Five; the former focuses on aboriginal farming systems among the Paiutes, while the latter emphasizes non-farming subsistence systems and the adoption of mixed economies and employment among Western Shoshones and Paiutes.

Continuing with the overarching theme of

Euroamerican impacts on aboriginal populations in the study area is the discussion in Chapter Six of the imposition of the school system and the reactions of Indian people to the boarding and day schools. Chapter Seven approaches that theme from the angle of family structure and group politics, and portrays a few of the most renowned community leaders among Paiutes and Western

Shoshones. The collective response to the crisis brought about by Euroamerican encroachment, epitomized by the development of the Ghost

Dance in 1870 and 1890, is described in detail in

Chapter Eight.

Chapter Nine brings the reader back to the present with statements offered by contemporary

Paiute and Western Shoshone individuals who kindly shared their views of history, community, and identity with the authors, in the hope that this essay collection will awaken interest in Indian perspectives of regional history and renew concerns for the preservation of Indian culture and knowledge. The collection closes with a brief discussion of the contemporary structure and future directions of Indian knowledge about the past, including brief statements of significance written by the members of the Indian History project committee.



Territory Encroachment

María Nieves Zedeño

7th E 15 miles crossing a plain and at the foot of a hill found water where stopped for dinner. then crossing the range of hills and following an Indian trail N 10 miles found water and good grass and encamped. saw an Indian to day.


o read Jedediah Smith’s journal entry for

June 7, 1827, upon crossing the Toquima Range and descending into Monitor Valley, where his party encamped near what is now the abandoned site of Belmont, Nevada (Brooks 1977:178).

Smith, a respected explorer and trapper for the

Rocky Mountain Fur Company, was the first Euroamerican to traverse central Nevada, from the

Sierra Nevada to the Great Salt Lake, and also the first White man to encounter Indian people living in the interior basins of the desert West. Smith’s journey marked the beginning of Western history in the region and the opening of this pristine land to Euroamerican exploration, colonization, and settlement by way of encroachment.

The process we call “encroachment” denotes the progression of Euroamerican inroads into aboriginal territory by seizing a portion of land and/or exhausting a resource, and thus preventing the Indian population from accessing places and resources that were crucial for their survival and cultural reproduction. While such practices were once widespread, encroachment is not a legal means for gaining possession of the land, nor the negating of treaty agreements. The effects of encroachment may range from material dispossession to depopulation by disease, war, and starvation, and from cultural and technological assimilation to forceful relocation of entire ethnic groups.

Encroachment in the Great Basin did not begin until the 1820s, yet some of its effects, particularly the virgin soil epidemics of the late eighteenth century, may have reached the region earlier, indirectly and through contact with White and

Indian traders. In this chapter we summarize the encroachment process and discuss its impact on

Indian culture and society. It must be noted that this is not an exhaustive review, but simply a brief overview of a few of the most salient factors of encroachment that have changed the lives of thousands of Indian people whose histories are connected with Nevada’s landscape.

Narratives of Encroachment

Personal memories, as excerpted from interviews with tribal elders, illustrate contemporary perspectives of encroachment and color the rather neutral facts of Nevada’s Euroamerican history through vivid pictures of its impact on Indian peoples’ lives. Those who told us family histories asked that they be written here.

Curtis Littlebeaver

Curtis Littlebeaver, formerly known as Curtis

Pete, is a Western Shoshone elder who grew up in the Kawich Valley in central Nevada and has lived in Tonopah most of his life. He recalled stories told by his grandfather that went back to the Civil

War. His grandfather obtained information from miners and trappers, and his grandmother would act as an interpreter because she spoke English.

Grandfather would tell everybody what he heard about our leader Lincoln, wagon trains, settlers, and the Cavalry.

He told us about how the Calvary went through Eden Creek. Nobody wrote about that. Horsemen were seen at Old

Mill, three miles down the valley near

Eden Creek. The elders sent out young scouts. The scouts sneaked over; they’d crawl a bit. A couple of men got so far and look. They come back and report there’s something shiny on the horsemen’s legs. They got all confused. They didn’t know that it was the swords reflecting sunlight. Be careful, they said, they might kill us. The Indians got back


to the rocks. Watched day and night.

They were resting up, the Cavalry.

Didn’t bother nobody. Maybe they were from Pioche or Hiko and went to Twin

Springs and Warm Springs. They had a fort there. Maybe they went to the fort at Elko. My family got scared. But nothing happened. My grandfather’s friend was a young man at the time. He was one of the scouts that was sent out. He had the energy to run. They knew horses but they didn’t know what the

Cavalry was doing. They set up a lookout on the hill in Eden Creek. They’d take turns. Over down by the meadow about half a mile from our house in

Eden Creek. They didn’t bother nobody. There were about fifteen to twenty men. They all dressed the same: dark clothes and caps, not cowboy style.

Funny looking caps. They were used to seeing prospectors but now the Cavalry had come. They dressed the same. They was Cavalry all right.

Anita Barr

Anita Barr is an Owens Valley Paiute who resides in Bishop, California. As a child, her grandmother used to tell her about the infamous Death

March of the Owens Valley Paiutes.

They were rough on the Indians. See these Indians, they couldn’t take these

Indians. They’d fight from the mountains. The Whites promised a big banquet in Independence. They built a fort down there. Got the Indians to go there. There were big trees. Made a fence. The Whites promised peace and food. Told the Indians to put down their arms. When the Indians came into the Fort, they locked the door. They had a death march: grandmas and kids.

My grandma was going along there. She was a little girl. She got tired. There was nothing to eat or drink. So she sat down on a great big rock. She seen a soldier with his saber drawn. Her grandma told her to hide in a burnt out log. There was little food, little water. She said, no matter what you see or hear, make no noise.


She saw a soldier stab her grandmother and put a sword through her. She was a little girl.

Pauline Esteves

Pauline Esteves, a Western Shoshone elder from Death Valley, California, told of the impacts of encroachment on land use and political knowledge. She notes that contact with Spanish and

English-speaking people and the eventual removal of the Timbisha Band from the area affected the traditional knowledge of territorial boundaries and land rights. The loss of aboriginal language also affected these rights because people did not pass on names and words related to the land. The advance of urbanism, too, affected land use traditions.

According to Pauline, there were numerous and repeated instances of illegal loss of water rights to the White miners. Indians generally did not fight back because they did not know of their rights. An exception was Maggie Shaw, a Western

Shoshone woman from Lida. When the miners tried to take the water source from Maggie’s ranch, she fought in court, at Goldfield, and won.

However, she was forced to move because of harassment. People also lost their ranches because they could not pay the high taxes.

Eventually, the entire Timbisha community lost their land rights to the federal government when Death Valley National Monument was established, in 1933. The National Park Service, in covenant with the owners of the local hotel, agreed to move the Indian community out; the people disagreed but eventually had to move. As a high school student, Pauline saw what was happening to the land and the people and tried to write about it in English class but could not do it because racism in school was rampant and her writings would not be tolerated. So she used a lot of metaphors to write about her community’s loss and disguise the message. Pauline devoted most of her life to fighting back, until 2001, when the land rights were returned to Timbisha.

John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a Western Shoshone elder from Fish Lake Valley, Nevada. He recalls a story about how the local people lost their mine claims and ranches. His uncle, Ed Fred, for example, was a gold miner who did not know that he could reg-

ister a claim, so he simply went around and dug three or four feet into the bedrock until he found gold in small pockets in the clay. This was placer gold that had to be panned. Another local Indian,

Rawhide, also mined for gold. When the White miners took over his mine, he tried to register his claim, but the Whites told him, wrongly, that he could not do it because Indians did not have that right. So he lost his mine and water rights. Back in the 1920s, John says, Indians did not know what their rights were under the law and many could not speak or understand English.

His uncle Ed Fred also lost his ranch, a beautiful orchard near Rosen Creek, because he signed it over while he was drunk. Fortunately, Ed’s son

Tony later hired a lawyer who found out that the land was still unclaimed. He went to court and won the land back. The Kennedys used to work and live on that ranch but, at the moment, they have a federal allotment that was granted to John’s uncle, who in turn willed it to John.

Encroachment: The Land, the People, and the Process

To understand encroachment it is necessary to look into the conceptualization of the land by those who explored, exploited, and eventually settled it. The Euroamerican experience of the early days of exploration was different from that of the mineral bonanza in the early twentieth century.

The emigrants, who in 1849 almost lost their lives as a result of their ignorance of the landscape, most certainly saw Nevada under a harsher light than those who later made fortunes in the livestock industry or in commerce. Each experience impacted the land and the Indian people in unique ways, but all inevitably led to encroachment. To illustrate, in his sketches of the country “east of the Sierra,” Henry Degroot wrote:

It is a region of varied geology and strong meteorological characteristics—a land of contrasts, extremes, and apparent contradictions; of mingled barrenness and fertility, beauty and desolation, aridity and storm. Growing side by side, is the cactus and the wild plum, while issuing almost from the same orifice are hot springs and cold; the waters of the one pure and healthful; of the other, nauseating and un [sic]wholesome. In

20 passing over this strange country one is impressed with the idea that he has come too soon. Everything seems crude and unfinished about him; all nature wears a primitive aspect. The rocks, the vegetation—all things are in a transition state…

All except a few valleys and mountain meadows, is a wilderness, silent and vacant, over which the mirage dances, and the sand storm sweeps—the one warning the weary emigrant to hasten his footsteps; the other luring him from his path and beguiling him to death…

But, despite these and other drawbacks that will readily present themselves, it is now clear that this country is soon to become the arena of active industry, and the abode of a numerous population. The sound of the pick will soon be heard along all its ravines, and over the trails hitherto trod only by the

Indian and trapper, multitudes of men will be hurrying in search of gold, and in the pursuit of other peaceful occupations. Soon cabins will be erected at every spring, and settlers located in every valley. Within a few months thousands of laborers, traders, artisans and adventurers will be going there, and the many-toned voices of industry will be heard throughout all its borders, and unbroken silence will never again reign over western Utah [Degroot 1860:5–6].

Degroot’s sketches accurately captured the conflicting emotions felt by those who happened upon the territory that was to become Nevada. A view of this land as a vast and desolate “wasteland” to be feared, exploited, and left behind but never completely understood, underlay most Euroamerican experiences. Consequently, the encroachment process unfolded over a whole century: it took 30 years for the country to be adequately explored, mapped, and described

(1827–1860), 40 years for permanent White settlements to take root in the Nevada territory

(1861–1900), and another 30 years for the state to transition into modernity. But the effects of these processes were felt by the Indian population and the environment from the beginning, and their cumulative impacts were devastating. Degroot

only partially anticipated what was to become of his unfinished country.

Trapping and Trailblazing (1827-1850)

After the War of 1812 Euroamerican frontiersmen began to move west toward the Pacific

Coast. On the north, mountain trappers pushed their way along the Oregon Trail toward “Snake

Country” or the forests and valleys of the northwest that were inhabited by northern Shoshone groups. The country irrigated by the Snake and

Columbia rivers had been explored earlier by A.

Mackenzie, S. Fraser, M. Lewis, W. Clark, and D.

Thompson, and thus its resources, particularly a wealth of fur-bearing animals, were well known to trappers working for famous trading houses such as the Northwest Company, Hudson Bay Company, and Rocky Mountain Fur Company. On the south, exploration along the Old Spanish Trail began (although illegally) sometime in the late

1700s, reaching the Colorado River, southern Nevada, and California around 1830.

The Northern Route

Early exploration of the northern portions of

Nevada and the subsequent opening of the Humboldt River Trail that took people from Salt Lake

City to California was an outgrowth of the frontier expansion toward the northwest. The opening of this trail was intended to keep American trappers out of the prized Canadian northwest (Edwards

1978:43). In fact, the Humboldt River Trail was traversed by Canadian trapper Peter Skene Ogden of the Hudson Bay Company during his 1829

Snake Country Expedition. From east to west, the

Humboldt Trail began in Goshute territory in

Utah, crossed Western Shoshone territory up to the point where the river bends south, and then followed, from north to south, the Western Shoshone–Northern Paiute boundary. Subsequent trappers and explorers, including Joseph Walker and John Frémont, penetrated into Northern Paiute territory and expanded the trail across the Sierra Nevada into Owens Valley Paiute territory

(Figure 2.1; Tables 2.1 and 2.2).

Even though this area of the Great Basin was considered only marginally productive and thus was not intensely exploited for fur, trappers got thousands of beaver in Nevada and devastated its population in one year (McCracken 1997:60). Beaver, an animal well known for its ability to create

21 symbiotic relationships with its econiche, is essential for the control of river floods and erosion, and its disappearance was no doubt costly.

From a human perspective, the impacts brought about by frontiersmen to the Indian groups whose territories they entered were felt at once. The relationship between trappers and Indians across North America had always been tumultuous and extremely complex, both socially and economically. Trappers sought the Indians’ knowledge of the landscape and their protection against other Indian groups. Depending on the circumstances and the success of each expedition,

Indians were seen variously as partners in the trapping business, enemies or antagonists, and providers of sexual partners. Only with great difficulty can modern historians come up with an accurate and fair characterization of this relationship, but most Western writers would agree with

Howard Lamar, who describes this period as “an era when whites [and Indians] could mingle, trade, and live—however uneasily—in some sort of frontier modus vivendi” (cited in Dunlay 2000:42).

This uneasy relationship only deteriorated with time and to the detriment of the Indian people.

The Indian tribes, for their part, quickly became involved in the fur trading business that gave them access to European goods, in particular alcohol, horses, and firearms. This dependency became more pronounced as Euroamericans encroached upon their land and the trading post grew in importance as the main food supplier

(Martin 1978). Many able hunters and warriors from the eastern tribes abandoned their homeland to follow their White partners all the way to California (Dellenbaugh 1914:296; McCracken


Politically, Indian–White relations during the trapping and trailblazing years also affected the ways in which different Indian groups related to one another. For example, control over the fur trade and trapping grounds determined alliances or war between Indian tribes, and individuals or entire tribes often believed it was beneficial to side with the trappers, or reaching what White (1991) calls The Middle Ground. In his study of the relationships between trapper, scout, and Indian agent

Kit Carson and the Western Indian tribes, Dunlay

(2000:44) writes:

In reality, the Indians dominated the region and were the determining factor in

much that happened. Blevins says that the Indians viewed the mountain man with both awe and contempt: awe because he possessed technological marvels that they could only regard as evidence of great supernatural power—

“medicine”; contempt because he would give away these marvels for something as mundane as sexual intercourse. Anthropologist John Ewers writes that the

Indians first viewed white men as semidivine, possessed of great power for good or ill; closer acquaintance showed them that whites were human, all too human, and they began to judge them by their own ethnocentric criteria, and inevitably found them wanting….

Figure 2.1. Tribal Territories in Nevada (modified from D’Azevedo 1986:ix)


Table 2.1. Trapping and Trailblazing in Nevada

Date Expedition Relevant Route Indian Territories Crossed

1826–1827 Jedediah Smith - Rocky Mountain Fur Co.

1828 Peter S. Ogden - Hudson Bay Co.

Cache Valley - Virgin R.- Colorado R. junction - Needles -

Los Angeles

Los Angeles - Sierra Nevada (Stanislaus R. - Ebbetts Pass)

- Walker L. - Hot Creek - White R. (Ely) - Salt Lake City

Quinn R. - Humboldt R. - Elko - Ruby Mts. - Pequop

Mts. - Tecoma Valley - Utah



NP, WSh, GSh


1830 "Los New der Juan Jesus Villalpando

1830–1831 American fur traders operating from Santa Fe: W.





Wolfskill and G. Yount

Joseph Walker, American fur trader and army spy for B. Bonneville

Retraced above route to Humboldt R. in the spring; advanced as far as Winnemucca and the Humboldt Sink in the fall

Old Spanish Trail: Virgin R. - Muddy R. - Las Vegas -

Death Valley, S. California

Old Spanish Trail, as above

NP, WSh, GSh

Ute, SP, WSh

Ute, SP, WSh

Humboldt R. trail - San Francisco Bay - San Joaquin Valley - Walker Pass - Owens Valley - Walker L. - Humboldt

River - Oregon Trail


James P. Beckwourth, Ute Chief Walkara, & Peg-leg

Smith, horse raiders

Bill Williams, American fur trader

Old Spanish Trail, as above

Humboldt Trail to Pyramid Lake

J. P. Beckwourth, guide and government emissary Humboldt Trail - Truckee R. - Sierra Nevada through

Beckwourth's Pass

Ute, SP, WSh



Key for Tables 2.1-2.3: OVP = Owens Valley Paiute; SP = Southern Paiute; NP= Northern Paiute; WSh = Western Shoshone


Table 2.2. Emigrants in Nevada







Expedition Relevant Route

John Bidwell & John Bartleson, Western Emigration


Great Salt L. - Ruby Mts. - Humboldt R. - Sierra Nevada at

Sonora Pass

W. Workman & J. Rowland

Joseph B. Chiles

George & Jacob Donner

Jesse Applegate & Lassen

1849 Argonauts Jefferson Hunt

Waters and McIntosh

OK Smith

Rich and Stover

Indian Territories


GSh, WSh, NP

Old Spanish Trail SP, WSh

Fort Hall - Goose Creek - Raft R. - Humboldt R. - California WSh, NP

Humboldt trail - Truckee R. - California WSh, NP

Great Salt L. - Ruby Mts. - Humboldt R. - Truckee R. - Donner Pass- Calif.

Oregon Trail - Humboldt R. - Black Rock Desert - Mud

Meadow C.- Calif.

Old Spanish Trail

Old Spanish Trail

Fort Utah - Meadow Valley Creek - Beaver Dam Wash - Coyote Spring (Sheep Range foot)

Split from Smith at Coyote or Division Spring - Muddy R. -

Old Spanish Trail

GSh, WSh, NP


Ute, SP, WSh

Ute, SP, WSh

Ute, SP

Ute, SP, WSh

Pinney and Savage Split from Smith at Coyote or Division Spring - Amargosa R.

- Timbisha - Towne Pass - Owens V. - Walker Pass - Calif.

Ute, SP, WSh,


Bennett, Arcan, and Manly Split from Jayhawkers at Timpahute Range - Eleana Range -

Cane Spring - Death Valley - Bennett’s Well - Sierra Nevada

Ute, SP, WSh,



Wade and Earhart

Split from Jayhawkers at Timpahute Range - Fortymile Canyon - Amargosa River - Death Valley - Towne Pass - Walker


Split from Bennett at Bennett’s Well - Mojave River - Los


Ute, SP, WSh,


Ute, SP, WSh


In Nevada, Indian contact with trappers resulted in exposure to alcohol, disease, and (frequently) violent encounters culminating in death.

Even those Indians who only observed the frontiersmen in passing were affected by disease and by the devastation of animal populations in their surroundings. For example, when Ogden passed through Nevada in 1828 he found Shoshone villages “lining the banks of the Humboldt River.”

Five years later, Walker found the river barren of people, plants, and animals (McCracken 1997:60).

Walker and his party, for their part, engaged in sporadic acts of violence toward the Indians living along the Humboldt; increasing hostility led to violent confrontation and the death of 39 Indians (Edwards 1978:60). Similar episodes involved

Owens Valley Paiutes in the Walker River; Fremont and Carson also related numerous violent encounters with Shoshones and Paiutes that resulted in the death of the latter (Chalfant 1933:97;

Dunlay 2000:62). Ironically, the survival of the frontiersmen largely depended on the resources and guidance provided by the natives they encountered.

An avenue of disease transmission and disruption of Indian society was the taking of Indian women as casual sexual partners, slaves or servants, and wives (O’Meara 1968). Aside from men such as Walker, who had taken an Indian woman as his formal wife and returned to live with her in the West, there were those who lured women to the rendezvous places with offerings of food and other goods or simply forced them to go along. At the rendezvous places all kinds of men would gather to trade, drink alcohol, and share Indian women with disastrous consequences for Indian health and self-worth.

The Southern Route

Yet another set of impacts beset those

Southern Paiute and Western Shoshone bands who lived on the land traversed by the Old Spanish Trail. The origins of this trail are obscure, but the story holds that it was first revealed to Europeans when Yuta Indian guides led Spanish colonial frontiersmen from Santa Fe to the Great Salt

Lake. The historic trail thus followed old Indian trails through some of the Southern Paiute heartlands. Poling-Kempes (1997:79) writes: “Although the Spanish administrators of the late 1700s had envisioned such a trail that would connect New


Mexico with the colony of Monterey, the route’s ancient ruts were blazed by the Tewa, Navajos,

Utes, Apaches, and Paiutes.” This trail connected important indigenous places and resources. Consequently, the sudden influx of immigrants along the Old Spanish Trail directly affected all the Indian communities living in its proximity.

From approximately 1801 until the legalization of trade in the mid-1800s, travel along the trail was frequent despite an official Spanish trade ban (Hafen and Hafen 1993:92–93). The Spanish-

Mexican traders and slavers subsequently pushed this trail south and west toward Alta California

(Sanchez 1997). The trail itself was as treacherous as it was long. Hence, the 1,200–mile stretch separating Santa Fe and Los Angeles has been called

“the longest, crookedest, most arduous pack mule route in the history of America” (Weber 1970:10).

The Old Spanish Trail began in Santa Fe and headed west beyond Abiquiu toward the Great

Salt Lake. It then turned south along the canyon lands of the Virgin River, followed the Muddy

River, passed through Las Vegas, entered the desert along the southern end of Death Valley and the Mohave River, and went through the Cajon

Pass to Los Angeles.

Those who traversed the Old Spanish Trail in the early 1800s—mostly Hispanic and Indian horse raiders and the posses that chased them— sought the shelter of the few oases along the way.

Such oases were the Virgin, Muddy, and Moapa rivers, Las Vegas, Tecopa Hot Springs in Nevada, and Furnace Creek in California, and all were then occupied by Indian groups. Tecopa Hot Springs, a large Paiute village of about 70 inhabitants, was the first in the Amargosa–Death Valley country to be visited by White men, when New Mexican horse traders or “Chahuanosos,” opened the trail leg to California in 1830 (Lingenfelter 1986:21).

Thereafter, heavy traffic characterized this route

(Euler 1972:33) and contributed to accelerate the processes of ecological degradation that undermined aboriginal subsistence, society, and culture.

In 1848, George Brewerton, who trailed with Kit

Carson, described the typical caravan driven over the Old Spanish Trail as follows:

Imagine upward of two hundred Mexicans dressed in every variety of costume…to the scanty habiliments of the skin-clad Indian…Their caballada contained not only horses and mules, but

here and there a stray burro…destined to pack wood across the rugged hills of

New Mexico. The line of march of this strange cavalcade occupied an extent of more than a mile [Vinton 1931, in

Crampton and Madsen 1994].

The first and most obvious impact to native culture along the Old Spanish Trail was the introduction of the horse. On the one hand, horses contributed a new source of meat; on the other hand, the herds trampled cultivated fields and grazed and uprooted useful grasses. The horse caravan drivers raided the Indians’ stored foods and the Indians, to make up for the loss, stole their horses (Lingenfelter 1986:22). A second impact was the violence generated by the horse raids.

In the years following the opening of the trail there were numerous raids and skirmishes between the Indians and the different White parties that happened upon their territory, including Carson and Frémont’s party (Dellenbaugh 1914). Despite the violence, horse raids continued until the

1850s, at the hands of trappers-turned-raiders, including Ute Chief Walkara, Pegleg Smith, Bill

Williams, and James Beckwourth. Thereafter,

Southern Paiutes and Shoshones obtained horses for trade, meat, and transport by making furtive raids on ranches near the passes to San Bernardino and Los Angeles. Death Valley Shoshones

Panamint Tom and Hungry Bill were among the most notorious Indian horse raiders in the region

(Edwards 1978:50; Lingenfelter 1986:31). The fact that the registration of livestock brands was one of the earliest manifestations of Indian assimilation of the private property system (Truett 1950), provides a measure of the importance of the horse

(and, later, cattle) to aboriginal desert culture in early historic times.

In addition to the changes introduced by the horse trade and raid business, the slave trade, which had begun in Spanish Colonial times and took place alongside horse raiding, greatly disrupted Indian families. Caravans on the trail to

California took the opportunity to kidnap Indian children along the way. Famished villages would offer their children in exchange for horses and other trade goods. This trade also stimulated slave raids among neighboring Indian groups. Anglo and Hispanic traders would raid Indian villages to take slaves for profit; the prices of slaves in New

Mexico and California markets ranged from $50 to


$400, and girls sold at higher prices than boys since they were valued as household servants. The loss of females, and by extension marriage partners and food providers, to Ute slave traders was a cause of great concern to the Las Vegas and

Moapa Paiutes as late as 1855 (Edwards 1978:52;

Jensen 1926:188). Most of the slaves were never returned to their communities even after they were granted freedom.

Emigrants and Pioneers (1841-1850)

In his autobiography, pioneer and Argonaut of the 49ers William Lewis Manly described the perception that drove numerous individuals and families to risk their lives in an attempt to reach the West Coast in the mid-1800s:

There had been from time to time rumors of a better country to the west of us and a sort of a pioneer or western fever would break out among the people occasionally. So in 1845 I had a slight touch of the disease on account of the stories they told us about Oregon. It was reported that the Government would give a man a good farm if he would go and settle, and make some specified improvement. They said it was a territory of rich soil, with plenty of timber, fish and game and some Indians, just to give a little spice of adventure to the whole thing…. A trip to

California was not thought of in those days, for it did not then belong to the

United States….

In the winter of 1848-49 news began to come that there was gold in California…and then as the people were used to mines and mining, a regular gold fever spread as if by swift contagion.

Mr. Bennett was aroused and sold his farm and I had a change over my Oregon desires and had dreams at night of digging up the yellow dust. Nothing would cure us then but a trip, and that was quickly decided on [Manly 1929:53].

Following the footsteps of notorious mountain men and explorers who in the 1830s had come through Nevada, parties of emigrants began to flock to the Oregon, Humboldt, and Old Span-

ish trails in search of a better life. Emigration began in 1841 with the Bidwell-Bartleson expedition, representing the Western Emigration Society.

Many other emigrants followed suit, including the doomed Donner party (Table 2.3; Angel 1881;

Edwards 1978; Elliott 1987; Lingenfelter 1986).

As described by Manly, the reasons for emigrating were at first encouraged by the government’s incentives to settle the West, but this focus quickly shifted toward mining after the discovery of gold in California. McCracken (1997:95) observes that the Gold Rush proved to be one of the most significant events in the history of Nevada and its inhabitants.

The emigrant expeditions of the 1840s did not result in the immediate settlement of the Nevada territory nor in Owens Valley, California.

Nevertheless, the emigrants brought about a degree of disturbance to the regional tribes (Hafen and Hafen 1954a). The hungry Argonauts who traversed the land that is now the South Range of

NTTR and the NTS on their way to California depleted what food sources they found, including stored foods. For example, when the Bennett-

Arcane party came across the first Indian food cache and ate it, Manly (1929:124) criticized his fellows, saying: “I considered bad policy to rob the Indians of any of their food, for they must be pretty smart people to live in this desolate country and find enough to keep them alive.” He rightly anticipated that the Indians, upon finding their food supply gone, would come after their stock.

In the Christmas of 1849 Manly’s party camped at Cane Spring and proceeded to consume the entire stash of winter squash of the local

Indian families, while also letting the oxen roam and graze on the stubble of their cornfields (Manly

1929:131). Soon thereafter the Indians followed them and shot three oxen. In addition, the Death

Valley Shoshones supported a number of exhausted Argonauts who used Furnace Creek as their rendezvous camp on the way to the Sierra

Nevada (Lingenfelter 1986).

Years later, Nye (1886:295) would relate the sentiments of Chief Pa-Wichit of the Pahranagat

Valley Paiutes regarding the emigrants:

[the Chief] said,

You merry-cats, [a name they saw fit to give us]-what for you come to our country digging up stones? and your ponies eating up the grass in the valley, and

27 next summer, perhaps, destroying out corn and melon patches[?]

Nye lamented that nothing had been done to change the impression that had prevailed from the onset of the pioneer settlement, which posed the

Whites and the Indians as “natural born enemies.”

Whereas the trapper saw the land with a businesslike eye and the explorer and surveyor with a political/scientific eye, the emigrant regarded the land as his only means of achieving a better way of life than that left behind. Therefore, the emigrant viewed the local tribes as competitors for vital resources and treated them with fear and distrust.

And yet, the emigrant who eventually settled in the country strongly depended for his survival on the natives’ knowledge of the landscape.

Explorers, Surveyors, and Agents (1843-


The presence of individuals commissioned by the federal government at different times during the nineteenth century to carry out a variety of exploratory missions impacted the native population in unique and far-reaching ways because exploration and survey were strategic to the encroachment process (see table 2.2). The earliest explorations, beginning with John Frémont’s 1843 expedition, focused on documenting the topography, geography, and regional resources. Frémont’s reports, accompanied by the maps made by cartographer Charles Preuss, were crucial for learning about and understanding the Nevada territory and constituted the blueprint followed by the emigrant parties before and during the Gold Rush (Dellenbaugh 1914; Manly 1929).

A second wave of explorations that followed the Gold Rush emigration targeted the creation of infrastructure associated with settlement. In 1859,

James H. Simpson and J. Reese of the Army Topographical Engineers undertook an expedition to find the shortest overland mail route from the

Great Salt Lake to California. Given that the

Humboldt Trail was not accessible year-round, and that the Old Spanish Trail was long and tortuous, Simpson set about to find a third alternative (Simpson 1876). The result of this survey became the Pony Express and Central Overland

Line mail delivery route, which passed just north of Smoky Valley, following roughly what is now

Table 2.3. Official Survey and Exploration in Nevada

Date Expedition

1843-44 John Frémont, U.S. Army Topographical Engineers,

Great Basin Mapping Expedition











J. Frémont, J. Walker, & T. Talbot

J. Frémont

J. H. Simpson and J. Reese, U.S. Army Topographical

Engineers, Central Route Survey

Sir Richard Burton, Royal Geographical Society

Geo M. Wheeler, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Geographical Survey

G.M. Wheeler (return)

John W. Powell, U.S. Geographical and Geological

Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region

J. W. Powell and G. W. Ingalls, Special Commission for the Bureau of Indian Affairs

G. W. Ingalls Special Commission for the BIA

Columbia R. - Long V. - Black Rock Desert - Pyramid L.-

Truckee R. - Carson R. and Sink - Mason V. - Carson Pass, CA

Sierra Nevada - Techachapi Pass - Old Spanish Trail - Utah

Great Salt L. - Pilot Peak - Shafter Pass; split in two parties:

(1) Same as 1833 route to Walker L.- Owens V., Table 2.1

(2) Ruby Mts. - Diamond V. - Toyaibe Range - Big Smoky V. -

Walker L. - Truckee R. - Sierra Nevada




GSh, WSh



Pioche - Beatty

Snake V. - Ely - Eureka - Austin - Reese R. - Carson Desert - Carson R. - Lake Tahoe - San Francisco



Retraced route back to Eureka - Antelope Range - Great Salt L. NP, WSh, GSh

Salt Lake City- Camp Floyd - Meadow Creek - Skull V. - Antelope

Sp. - Ruby V. Diamond Sp.- Smoky V. -Reese R. - Smith Creek -

Carson V.

GSh, WSh, NP

NP, WSh, SP San Francisco - Halleck Station - Elko - Old Fort Ruby - Hamilton - Long V. - Steptoe V. Utah

Utah - Pioche - Grapevine Canyon - Meadow V. Wash - Las Vegas - Eldorado Canyon - Spring Mts. - Indian Sp. – Pahranagat -

White Pine - Railroad V. - Halleck Station - San Francisco

Great Salt L. - Sevier R.- Pipe Springs, AZ - Uinkarets Plateau -

Colorado R.- Kaibab

Salt Lake - Fillmore - Kanab - St. George - Moapa - Las Vegas -

Havasu – eastern Nevada

Western and Central Nevada, from north to south



SP, WSh, GSh



Highway 50 and cutting across the heart of

Western Shoshone territory. Subsequently, the route was used by the stagecoach service, which had connecting lines reaching into Hot Creek Valley, where the Moore and Pritchard stations were located (Beck and Haase 1989:55).

Exploratory reports written between 1840 and 1860 often included some description of the region’s landscape and resources, the native population, and contact episodes, and thus the reports provided emigrants and settlers with elements from which to judge the potential risks and difficulties of encroaching in Indian country (e.g., Dellenbaugh 1914; Simpson 1876). Frequently idiosyncratic and judgmental, these reports generated stereotypes of the country and the people that proved difficult to eradicate even in modern anthropological thought. The view of Numic people as “The Digger Indians” is one such stereotype that, as McCracken (1997:87) notes, was first used by Simpson in 1859 to refer to the Western Shoshones of Smoky Valley. These reports, along with later pieces written by geologists, geographers, army men, and anthropologists, furnish a harrowing view of the devastating impacts of encroachment on Indian culture and society over the first

80 years of Euroamerican presence in the West.

Exploration conducted during the late nineteenth century, after settlement had begun, had a broader scientific and geopolitical focus. Geographical and geological surveys funded with congressional appropriations intended to describe in detail the physical characteristics and economic potential of mineral deposits and water sources located west of the 100th Meridian. Along with scientific description and measurement, the expeditions were charged with assessing population, industries, communications, and irrigation; this information was sought to aid the government in regulating settlement, resource exploitation, and

Indian assimilation in the Western territories.

Geo M. Wheeler’s geographical survey of the

Great Interior Basin (1869–1871) and John W.

Powell’s Rocky Mountain Survey expedition of

1871–1872 (Dellembaugh 1908) are the most notable examples of late nineteenth-century scientific expeditions. Not surprisingly, their reports contained detailed description and assessment of Indian groups and their needs in terms of economic aid, education, and religious indoctrination (see

Chapter Four). Powell, a geologist, anthropologist, and linguist, became the director of the Smith-

29 sonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnology and greatly influenced the development of modern American anthropology. He was the first scientist to conduct ethnographic research during his expeditions into Utah and Nevada (1873–74).

Powell’s Anthropology of the Numa (Fowler and

Fowler 1971) is an invaluable source of information on demographic and cultural aspects of

Southern Paiutes and Western Shoshones at a critical time when disease and encroachment were rapidly decimating the population and dismantling their social and political structure.

Finally, systematic geological surveys of Nevada conducted at the turn of the twentieth century constitute a valuable, although indirect, source of information on Indian–White relations and the progress of encroachment. S. H. Ball’s survey and inventory of the mining districts of southwestern Nevada (Ball 1907) and F. C. Lincoln’s state inventory of mining districts (Lincoln

[1923] 1982), for example, include notes on the history of land and mine claims. Ball’s 1905 field notes are useful for assessing the loss of access to water—whereas in Frémont’s time the springs were pristine and the Indians were the only source of information on water supplies in the desert, in

Ball’s time the White settlers had already taken possession of strategic water sources.

The Progression of White Settlement


In Nevada, the settlement process did not begin until 1850, when gold was discovered at the mouth of Gold Canyon in the Carson Valley (Edwards 1978:139). That year a group of Mormons established Mormon Station in the valley. According to the records of the Mormon Church in Salt

Lake City, in the spring of 1851 Colonel John

Reese and Stephen A. Kinsey left Salt Lake City for the purpose of establishing a trading post somewhere on the overland trail east of the Sierra

Nevada. The post was eventually located near

Mormon Station, at a place named Genoa. Reese invested $2,000 in a log cabin, a stockade corral, and a fenced garden. This became the first permanent White settlement in what would become the

Nevada territory (Angel 1881:31).

Prior to Reese’s arrival there was a six–miner encampment in the area. The following year, however, the population had increased to one hundred men. So many people concentrated along the east-

ern slope of the Sierra that it became necessary to establish a “squatter government” to regulate rights for acquiring and holding property. Relevant for this history is the fact that the squatter settlement rules established in 1851 by the citizenry of Genoa included explicit provisions for the surveying of land claims. They designated an official surveyor (J. H. Haynes), created offices of

Recorder and Treasurer to record and issue claim certificates and to receive a $25 fee for this service, respectively, and limited claims to quarter– sections. A Committee on Resolutions was also created and a petition to Congress for a distinct

Territorial Government was drafted (Angel

1881:25). In 1852 the state of Utah created seven counties along the California border, including

Weber, Deseret, Tooele, Washoe, Storey, Ormsby, and Douglas, to provide governmental structure to the pioneer settlements.

In 1852 John Reese also recorded the first quarter–section land claim in the Carson Valley, extending from Mormon Station to the Carson

River. Six similar claims adjacent to Reese’s were entered in the same year. Reese also applied for the privilege of establishing a toll bridge on the

Carson River, to repair the trails, and develop other infrastructure. Further land claim regulations implemented by the citizenry in 1853 fostered encroachment by demanding continuous occupancy of a land claim by either the claimant or his agent, and limiting absences from the claim to 29 days, after which the claim would be vitiated. Recording fees were also drastically reduced to $5, thus making it more affordable to record a claim (Angel

1881:34). This territorial law, written, approved, and enforced by the settlers of Carson Valley, appeared nine years before Congress actually passed the Homestead Act in 1862, thus enabling people from all backgrounds and trades to legally take over pristine Indian land on a “help yourself” basis—as Truett (1950) ably puts it—before the federal government issued similar mandates.

The Nevada Territory

Throughout the 1850s, the Carson Valley citizenry made several attempts at consolidating territorial government; at their request the Utah legislature unified several Western counties into

Carson County—a short-lived and largely unsuccessful initiative. Differences between the Mormon-dominated state legislature and the settlers of western Utah increased, culminating in the events surrounding the Mountain Meadow Massacre of

1857, which was at first blamed on the Paiutes but later attributed to Mormon initiative (Brooks

1950a). In that year the White “inhabitants of the

Great American Basin” drew up an official petition addressed to the U.S. President and both houses of Congress to organize a territorial government independent from Utah. They argued that the distance between the Sierras and Salt Lake

City was such that, even in fair weather, communications were difficult and law enforcement was lacking. The citizenry contested the state government’s ability to effectively rule a distant frontier.

They further argued that the number of new settlers, estimated between 7,000 and 8,000 souls along the western Utah territory, was high enough to guarantee appropriate and sufficient organization to maintain infrastructure, defend private property, and manage and control the regional

Indian tribes, which the citizens overestimated to approach 75,000 souls (Angel 1881:43–45).

By 1858 Congress had approved the formation of the new territory as a political strategy to keep both the frontier Mormons and the Indians under control. But it would take several more years for Nevada to become first a territory (1861) and then a state (1864). Indian lands were officially acquired by the state through a series of land sessions, among which the Treaty of Ruby Valley, signed in 1863, remains as the main vehicle for

Nevada Shoshone dispossession. At that point in time, Indian society had already experienced serious physical and environmental degradation and become increasingly dependent on the non-Indian economy. Clemmer (1978:63) cites an Indian agent who in 1862 reported that “the wild game is being killed by the Whites, the trees from which the Indians gathered nuts (pine nuts) are being cut down, and the grass from which they gathered seeds for the winter is being taken from them…”

Given the fragility of the desert environment, intensive hunting, grazing, and timbering not only decreased the Indian food supply but likely rendered some marginal areas temporally or even permanently uninhabitable (Rusco 1974:13). This process, which began in the 1830s, was greatly accelerated by the rapid development of the two industries that shaped Nevada physically, demographically, and socially—livestock and mining.


The Livestock Industry

The livestock industry constituted one of the main factors underlying Euroamerican encroachment during the mid-nineteenth century, and certainly the principal reason for establishing permanent settlement before, during, and after the mining bonanzas in Nevada. In fact, many miners first entered Nevada as ranchers and sheepherders, including the famous Henry “Old Pancake”

Comstock; most of those who remained in the frontier after mining declined returned to ranching while others did both.

The earliest known livestock introduced in the territory dates as far back as the 1830s, when explorers and trappers brought cattle with them as food supply or drove horse herds along the Spanish Trail for commercial purposes. Domestic sheep flocks also traversed the southern route in the 1840s and the northern route as late as the

1850s (Short 1965:8). Although some of these animals were left behind to forage on their own, most were killed and consumed by either the travelers or the Indians. Reese brought the first cattle herd to Genoa in 1852 for consumption as well as for commerce along the emigrant trail to California, but his enterprise did not center on ranching, at least initially. The Mormon colonies that followed Reese’s initiative established small ranches and farms with herds of up to 25 head. These enterprises disappeared in 1857 when the Mormons moved back to Utah to defend Deseret from the

U.S. Army (Short 1965:1–5).

The ranching industry came to western Nevada in the late 1850s as an extension of the Mediterranean transhumant pastoral system of southern California (Jordan 1993:249). California-style ranches varied in range and herd size, with a few large Anglo-owned operations, but—for the most part—by 1849 ranches were still in the hands of

Hispanic Californians whose land grants were localized along the coastal valleys and riverine marshes. No known land grants existed in the

Western territory (Short 1965). The early southern

California industry was strongly influenced by the

Hispanic Mediterranean tradition, and thus initially focused on the production of hide and tallow. However, the Gold Rush of 1849 and the concomitant development of large population centers along the California coast stimulated an industry shift to beef cattle.

The beef cattle boom lasted from 1848 to

1856; its rapid growth was largely a result of mining, but its evolution was also stimulated by the growth of the Angloamerican ranching industry along the northwest coast and in north-central

California. In the late 1850s, however, the demand for beef cattle diminished along with the mining rush, and the market became glutted. California ranchers began to move their operations to other states and territories, east of the Sierra Nevada and the Humboldt River. Sheep herds introduced into the Carson Valley at that time were permanent; however, the early Mediterranean-system cattle operations entailed only seasonal occupation, with open-range winter grazing in Nevada and summer mining in California (Short 1965:5). Even so, by

1859 the cattle industry was well established in the

Carson Valley. With the stimulus of silver mining, by 1864 permanent ranches had sprung east, toward the Reese River and as far as Big Smoky Valley (Jordan 1993:242, Figure 46).

The discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859 and the ensuing influx of mining hopefuls entirely transformed Nevada’s livestock industry, from a mostly seasonal and small-time operation to welldeveloped ranching businesses and partnerships.

Some ranches, including the Miller & Lux partnership, had landholdings of almost one million acres extending over three states (Jordan 1993:253). The

Smith, Mason, and Lovelock ranches were among the largest landholdings in the state. Their enterprises consisted of beef cattle and horses that took advantage of the well-watered valleys and excellent feed provided by native bunch grasses, such as

Great Basin wild rye and salt grass, and the white sage or winterfat (Jordan 1993:251). A severe drought in California in the late 1850s contributed to the rapid development of the Nevada industry as well. By 1860 there were an estimated 10,000 domestic animals, including hogs, cattle, and horses, in Carson Valley and vicinity, plus many more that had died from starvation and were seen scattered on the hills (Angel 1881:67). Competition for range was particularly difficult during those years, when huge cattle drives coming all the way from Wyoming, Texas, Montana, and California, found their way to Nevada, where the herds were fattened before reaching the coastal markets (Short 1965:19). The industry reached the farthest eastern and northern portions of Nevada by 1870. While most of this inland expansion originated in California, the east—and north—


counties in Nevada, particularly White Pine

County, received some influences from Texas ranchers by the late 1860s. This influence extended as far north as the Quinn River Valley

(Jordan 1993:242).

Because of the close connections between mining and ranching, the bountiful decades of

1860 and 1870 were critical for the evolution of later forms of White encroachment in Nevada, with representatives that ranged from the transient herder to the resident businessman. Ranches and farms quickly spread east toward the rich and wellwatered basins of central Nevada, including the

Reese River and as far east as Smoky Valley; the latter was settled in 1863 by H. Robinson and William Shay (Berg 1941:38). By 1870 there were already 72,000 head of cattle in the state, causing terrible overgrazing problems. According to rancher Mason, in 1870 it required 160 acres to sustain one head of beef cattle for one year (Short

1965:21). Because open-range grazing involved moving herds to feed at different elevations each season, overgrazing tended to destroy understory species, systematically and extensively. Within the next eight years sheep and cattle herds would increase tenfold, with disastrous environmental and human consequences (Clemmer 1978; Short


Stock diseases and plagues that destroyed the hay fields further aggravated this condition. And yet, rather than dying out, the industry continued to grow and evolve, expanding in the south toward the Amargosa Valley and in the east toward the Pahranagat Valley, both of which were core

Indian population areas. This expansion coincided with the exhaustion of the Comstock Lode and subsequent decline in statewide production of silver after 1880 (Edwards 1978:295); miners who did not leave Nevada turned—or returned—to ranching.

By 1880 most of the natural ranges were open to grazing, and resources were being exploited intensively; the number of cattle had increased twelve-fold since 1865 (Angel 1881), and ranchers were faced with the need to grow feed.

Alfalfa was imported into Nevada and adapted well to the high desert, but in the winter it required irrigation. Other feed plants, such as

Timothy grass, also were brought in to the state to replace the native understory species that had been grossly overgrazed (Short 1965:42). Jordan

(1993) suggests that the success of feed planting and harvesting may have been at least partially due to the ranchers’ implementation of traditional Indian methods of irrigating grass fields to stimulate the growth of useful wild plants. With this practice, herds could be enlarged to untold numbers, or so ranchers thought, until the winter of 1889–

1890, when up to 40 percent of the Nevada cattle and 45 percent of the sheep and horses were lost to the dry and cold season, ruining even the most prominent cattlemen, including Mason (Short

1965:57–61). This disaster contributed to a reorganization of the industry, new legislation, and full recovery by the turn of the century. In 1901, the first Farmers’ Institute of Nevada was organized in Elko to formally offer technical training to the ranchers.

The Mining Industry

Numerous treatises on the history of Nevada mining (e.g., Carpenter 1953; Hulse 1971; Lincoln

1982; Paher 1970; Paul 1963; Requa 1933; Tingley et al. 1993) have been written; therefore, in this brief historical summary, we will only mention a few facts that are relevant for understanding the encroachment process.

Gold and silver were mined in western Nevada throughout the 1850s, but in minor quantities. A small group of White miners and Chinese workers had kept prospecting and placer mining for gold at the entrance of Gold Canyon and at

Sixmile Canyon, near Dayton (Lincoln 1982:222).

But it was not until 1859 that the mining rush began in Nevada with the discovery of the famed

Comstock Lode. That discovery brought miners from California, who rushed into Nevada to lay their claims. Even though each mining bonanza was relatively short-lived and benefited a minority of prospectors and investors, mining became the industry around which Nevadan politics, economics, and settlement revolved.

The early mining bonanza lasted for about 20 years, but it was succeeded by numerous mineral discoveries throughout the territory and later the state. The industry had several immediate and long-term effects on the Indian people and the environment, including (1) loss of access to land and water and a concomitant decrease of economic self-reliance; (2) environmental degradation through extensive timber cutting and underground digging; and (3) exposure to imported disease, alcohol, and violence associated with resource


competition, development, and racial conflict (see

Forbes 1967).

Of immediate impact was the fact that numerous mining claims were registered throughout the territory. As mentioned above, the “squatters law” allowed anyone who could pay five dollars to register a claim in the respective county and thereby institute private property. Furthermore, the mineral reduction technology required access to water, resulting in the claiming of fresh-water springs that were pumped and improved. For miners who switched from the primitive dry reduction technology represented by the Mexican

arrastra mill to wet-grinding technology, access to permanent water flow was of paramount importance. Mr. E. B. Harris, a Virginia City entrepreneur who opened the first hydraulic mill, reported that the profit and convenience of this technology was such that within a few months numerous other mills opened in the vicinity of the Comstock

Lode. The business’ greatest weakness, however, continued to be the scarcity of running water and the high price of water harvested from underground tunnels to supply the mills (Angel


Those miners who did not produce enough mineral-rich rock to pay for the services of the industrial hydraulic mills had to reduce their own mineral and thus had to lay hands on their own nearby water sources. In addition to the mining claims, the profusion of water claims was catastrophic for Indian groups who depended on these water sources throughout the year. Given the letter of “the squatters’ law” in the early days of the claims system, anyone, Indian or otherwise, could conceivably walk into a courthouse and register a claim. Yet Indian people did not register claims because of linguistic barriers, cultural perceptions, and—worst of all—fear of the White miners who not only threatened people with fictitious penalties and actual violence but fed them misinformation regarding their land and water rights. This situation continued unabated and progressively worsened toward the turn of the twentieth century.

In addition to the loss of land and water during the mining bonanza, the technology that developed to increase underground and surface production resulted in the depletion of piñon-juniper woodlands and the onset of severe droughts and soil erosion. First, the construction of underground scaffolding required the cutting of mature trees that could yield primary beams. Once these trees were depleted, the technology evolved to allow the fitting of secondary beams and primaries from juvenile trees by cutting “square sets” on each beam end. This modular technology allowed the exploitation of huge lodes, such as the Comstock, Ophir, and Mexican, because the scaffolds built with fitted square-sets could be expanded practically ad infinitum (Edwards 1978:147). Secondly, large quantities of wood were necessary for the construction of large industrial mills and the operation of their hydraulic systems, furnaces, smelters, and steam-powered machinery. According to E. B. Harris, as the hills surrounding Virginia City’s mills were cleared of trees, the price per cord increased from $1.71 to $15.00 within a year or two. The resulting devastation through erosion, drought, and catastrophic flooding was such that it prompted commentaries such as Angel’s (1881:137):

Our American, with little regard for the next generation, will strip mile after mile of timber away without planting a single tree to take its place. The western slope of the Sierra, as well as the eastern, is becoming denuded, and, in consequence, the cloud-burst, unknown to the early comers of California, is becoming a frequent visitor…. The [rain] water, that should have been drawn away by miles of woodland, was being precipitated in a small territory.

Indeed, cloudbursts became such a familiar phenomenon that the Western Shoshones who lived in the outskirts of Belmont, in Nye County, eventually learned to predict them and did so for the summer of 1889, when a severe drought caused the farmers from Monitor Valley to lose their crops (Belmont Courier, June 22 1889), and the bed of the Humboldt River to dry out (Belmont

Courier, August 17, 1889). Cloudbursts actually occurred in the Belmont area in late August that year.

To transport the timber from the Sierra Nevada into the valleys, slow and expensive oxen trains were used at first; gigantic wood drives extending up to four miles or more took place on the Carson River every spring, causing dangerous log jams (Paher 1970:48). But the demand was such that it soon required the construction of flumes, or artificial V-shape water canals built on


the slopes, that allowed the rolling of huge timbers and logs virtually cost-free. To illustrate, the Pacific Wood, Lumber and Flume Company built

15–mile-long flumes that delivered up to 500 cords or 500,000 linear feet of lumber a day. Edwards (1978:148–149) estimates that during the years of greatest activity as much as 33 million feet of timber and 170,000 cords of fuel were transported per year. The commercial value of timber harvested from the Lake Tahoe Basin forests reached 80 million dollars over the twenty–year period of early bonanzas.

Edwards (1978:152) provides yet another example of resource depletion: the pumping of underground water, scalding hot and odoriferous, that seeped through the mineshafts and formed enormous lakes. This water had to be drained before the miners could remove the ore, and— because of its high mineral content—this water could not be reused for reduction, placer operations, or domestic purposes. To bring the water to the surface and drain the lodes, steam pump engines of up to 540 horsepower and pump rods as long as 2,500 feet were brought into the mines.

The large pumps could lift some 8,300 tons of wasted water every 24 hours. Paradoxically, by

1870 the need for permanent running water to operate mines and related industries was such that the Virginia Gold Hill Water Company was created to bring water to the main population and industrial centers in Nevada. A huge engineering project brought about the first water pipeline, which ran from the Sierra Nevada to Virginia City.

Waters were piped from as far as Hobart Creek

(Franktown Creek), Hobart Reservoir, and Marlette Lake, located in the Truckee River Basin, across the Washoe Valley and into the city (Horton 1997:9).

Another mammoth project was the huge tunnel designed by Adolph Sutro to help drain the mines of hot water at the 1,600-foot level. Sutro sold his idea by presenting it as the solution to deadly fires in the mines and as help with the flooding and air pollution problems. He even devised an artful slide show using lanterns and presented it to the miners and investors at the Piper

Opera House (Edwards 1978:153). He succeeded in constructing his tunnel, but by the time it was finished in 1878, the Comstock mines had begun to slow down production and some were operating below the critical 1,600-foot level. Yet, in what

Horton (1997:9) calls “the most monumental

34 mine dewatering effort in the State, and very possibly the entire west,” the Sutro tunnel succeeded in draining tons of hot mineralized water into the

Carson River—a cold stream filled with trout— with incalculable damage to the riverine ecosystem.

The introduction of hydroelectric power was another development that mostly resulted from the Comstock’s constant need to power the working and pumping equipment. The first plant was located in the Truckee River, 33 miles from Virginia City. Eventually Virginia City was served with domestic electricity. It is said that on the first night the lights were turned on in the city, tens of thousands of waterfowl died of fright. These were simply the first of numerous other infrastructure projects that contributed to the progression of encroachment in Nevada.

Summary of Encroachment Expansion (1860–1940)

As McCracken (1997:121–130) observes, whereas the Comstock Lode was rich “beyond dreams” and required a large workforce, it was also highly localized. Therefore, independent prospectors who could not get a share of the

Comstock Lode were compelled to seek gold and silver ore outside this area and experienced varied degrees of success. For example, in 1859 employees of the Overland Mail Co. discovered ore in

White Pine County; an individual by the name of

“Indian John” showed the Ely mines to a prospector party in 1867 (Lincoln 1982:247). In 1861 California prospectors discovered rich veins of silver in Aurora, where Esmeralda County would eventually be located, and in 1862 a Pony Express rider came across silver-rich quartz near Austin, in Lander County. In 1865, prospectors working down the Toquima Range discovered silver in Monitor

Valley, leading to the establishment of Belmont

(Berg 1941:22). These discoveries prompted an eastward expansion of resource exploitation and settlement. Aurora had 17 mills and Austin up to

29 within a few years of discovery, with similar environmental and human impacts to those described for the Carson Valley–Virginia City area.

Expansion continued throughout the 1870s and 1880s, with a proliferation of mining districts and associated population centers, particularly in western Nevada. The revenues of the Comstock

Lode and demographic explosion created the op-

portunity for territorial and statehood status and stimulated a rapid development of communications, infrastructure, and services. But by the

1890–1900 decade, early mining bonanzas had finally come to an end. Whereas during the 1870s

Storey County alone accounted for one half of the state’s population (19,000), by 1900 it had less than 5,000, and only 40,000 people remained in the entire state (Elliott 1987:4). Only those pioneers like Jack Longstreet or Harsha White who— through ranching or limited farming—had established an economic basis that did not depend solely on mining, were actually able to remain in the state.

The lull in mining and the stabilization of other means of long-term productivity resulted in the development of a low-density population of between 1,500–4,000 permanent settlers per county, comprised of ranchers, farmers, laborers, missionaries, die-hard miners, and a skeleton crew of public servants. These numbers remained unchanged for at least 50 years, increasing only during early-twentieth-century mining bonanzas in a few districts and after World War II.

Figure 2.2 presents Horton’s (1997) compiled demographic data for seven counties, to illustrate differential encroachment in mining versus nonmining areas, for the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although these data do not differentiate between Indian and non-Indian populations, they do reflect encroachment-related fluctuations, because the main drivers of immigration attracted non-Indians, while at the same time

Indians were pushed away. The eight-decade series clearly shows county-specific variation, thus facilitating a comparison of the demographics of mining counties relative to others without significant mining operations.

In examining the graph, it is immediately obvious that the earliest and largest demographic impact was the development of the Comstock

Lode in Storey County; in comparison, other early mining bonanzas in Lander, Esmeralda, and White

Pine counties did not significantly attract out-ofstate prospectors and associated business people.

A similar trend may be found in California’s Inyo

County (not plotted) for the early 1860s, where the discovery of gold in Monoville and of silver in

Coso led to a population influx of only 2,000–

3,000 souls (Chalfant 1933:127). Mining at Comstock was such a magnet for immigrants that even the adjacent counties, including Ormsby (now

Carson City), Washoe (not plotted), and Douglas

(not plotted) counties, had less than one-fifth of the population of Storey County. Yet the Storey

County population collapsed following the mining decline. Conversely, counties with a history of missionary activity, ranching, and farming in addition to mining, such as Lincoln, maintained a low but steady population density throughout the eight decades in question (1860–1940).

By 1888 Nevada had one million acres open for selection and purchase, in tracts of from 40 to

640 acres, at $1.25 per acre. The land for sale, advertised in the Belmont Courier (March 10, 1888), was distributed across several counties and included important Indian core areas and regions of refuge, including Fish Lake Valley, Smoky Valley,

Railroad Valley, Pahranagat Valley, Muddy River,

Las Vegas, Pahrump, Virgin River, and Ash

Meadows, among others. To attract more settlers, the state advertised these open lands widely, and

(as published in the cited issue of the Belmont Cou-

rier) journalists emphasized the “salubrious climate,” agricultural potential, availability of grazing ranges, and the opening of railroads.

The legislature eventually appropriated funds for developing irrigation works by damming the mountain streams and building reservoirs, given that only “men of means” could dig private wells on their parcels (Belmont Courier, April 7, 1888).

The result of these advertisements was seen the ensuing year, when the newspaper announced that

“many acres of land in Southern Nye have been bought during the past few weeks by California and Nevada capitalists” in advance of the promised construction of a new railroad line (Belmont

Courier June 1, 1889). Although the population did not significantly grow in the following decade, provisions were taken by the legislature to ensure proper filing of water rights with the County Recorder (Belmont Courier, August 24, 1889).

By 1890 survey and settlement had taken place in central and southern Nevada to the extent that newcomers endeavored to develop the state’s economic potential beyond localized mining. For example, Geo. Nicholl, General Agent for Nye

County’s board of directors, undertook an exploratory trip from Belmont, across the ranges and toward the south, all the way to Pahrump, to gather information for the board. His observations attest to the change in perceptions of the

Nevada Territory, from a wasteland to a potentially productive land. He noted:


Figure 2.2. Nevada Population Trends in Selected Counties, 1861–1940








1861 1870 1875 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940







White Pine

…Central and southern Nye county

[appear] on the present maps of the county as a great blank, known as the

“Lava Fields” or “Great Desert,” which name implies a barren, sandy waste, destitute of moisture and vegetation, and unfit for any useful purpose….

[But] I saw enough to convince me that the great bugbear of a desert is a myth, and that the country traveled over will compare favorably in pasturage and cultivatable land with other portions of the county; the only drawback being a scarcity of water, so far as I have seen, although other portions, I judge, are better supplied, from the amount of snow and timber visible from my route....

Yellow Pine Mountain, or Timber

Mountain, alone contains 80,000,000 feet of saw timber, besides a vast amount of wood for fuel, fencing, etc., and affords, if the waters were reservoired, a sufficient amount to irrigate the whole of Pahrump Valley….

If the much talked of railroad ever crosses Nye county near the center, east, and west, this will be the garden of Nye county, as Pahrump now is. Water will be obtained from storage and artesian sources to supply the demand, and will be settled when the proper time comes….

Enough has already been done in

Southern Nye to establish the fact, that no better fruit, grain or hay country exists in Nevada [Belmont Courier, May 24,


In that same year, the Department of Agriculture sponsored a biological survey of Death

Valley by ten “celebrated scientists” and field naturalists, indicating the onset of systematic government-sponsored research and ecological as-


sessment of the desert West beyond the Colorado

River, and with economic interests in sight.

Population data for 1900 clearly indicate a transition between the economic-demographic boom associated with the discovery of silver in western Nevada and the twentieth-century development of new mineral districts in Esmeralda,

Nye, and Ely counties. The population peak in

Esmeralda County, centered in the 1910s, reflects the development of the Goldfield District (Lincoln 1982:67). The peak for Nye County reflects the proliferation of mineral discoveries throughout the county and particularly in Tonopah, beginning in 1904 and lasting slightly longer than the

Goldfield bonanza. The population rise for White

Pine County, on the other hand, indicates a continuous, long-term demographic growth due to more stable mineral production, ranching, and development of agriculture and other industries than in the other two counties; this trend lasted into modern times.

Jack Longstreet: Life History of a Settler

Stories of a relatively lawless region peopled by prospectors, ranchers, and Indians engaged in ongoing contests to control scarce lands and resources are not uncommon within the annals of nineteenth-century Nevada history. This is not surprising given that competition for resources was high, law enforcement was of a rudimentary character by today’s standards, and inequities between different ethnic groups were publicly and legally sanctioned. Bancroft (1890:160) observes that during the late nineteenth century, Nevada statesmen created several criminal and civil laws that sustained discriminatory practices.

For example, in an act concerning crimes and punishments, it was provided that no black, mulatto, Indian, or Chinese should be permitted to give evidence against or in favor of any White person. In the civil practice act it was also provided that “all might testify, whether of negro or Indian blood, who had not one half or more of black blood in their veins,” thus placing the value of property above that of the life or liberty of those who were three quarters White. In addition, cohabitation with Indians, Chinese, or Negroes was made punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500, or imprisonment in the county jail for not less than one month nor more than six months.

In the face of economic, ideological, and legislative practices that often divided people along ethnic lines, some individuals nevertheless found common ground with their alleged competition, and sometimes even rallied against structures of power that reinforced such dichotomies. Jack

Longstreet is among those whose life history speaks to the development of dominant and ambiguous social relations between Whites and Indians that characterized the encroachment process.

Much of Jack Longstreet’s later life has been carefully reconstructed in the historical narratives of Zanjani (e.g., 1988, 1994). Through her writings, the ways in which Euroamericans perceived his actions are well articulated. What is less understood, however, is how Longstreet’s life impacted some of the indigenous people of central Nevada with whom he associated over the course of many years. Furthermore, very little is known about

Longstreet’s life prior to his arrival in Nevada.

Information recorded by census taker James Blair

Gilmore in the 1900 federal census from Nye

County, Tybo Precinct (line 14), indicates that

Longstreet was originally from Louisiana. Gilmore lists A. [Andrew] Longstreet as a 65–year-old male whose official occupation was stock raiser. In the same document, Longstreet’s marital status is recorded as single; however, his Shoshone wife,

Suzie Longstreet, is listed within the same census on a separate page. This is an example of the negation of interethnic marriages, which were not legal until the introduction of miscegenation laws in Nevada in 1919.

While Longstreet’s domestic alliances with

Indian women were muted in official texts, fantastic myth-producing images of him as the ribald lawless cowboy are prolific. In historical reconstruction, Longstreet has frequently been depicted as an outlaw. This image has been further enhanced by the fact that Longstreet had his ear cut off after being caught stealing horses at a young age. In addition to his well-known roles as an outlaw, gambler, horse raiser, gentleman, prospector, and saloon and store owner, Longstreet played an important role in mediating, advocating, and sometimes exacerbating conflicts between Euroamerican settlers and the indigenous people of central Nevada. According to Zanjani (1988:36),

“Longstreet was [unwittingly] moving into the role that historians have found was typically played by squaw men at the Indian agencies throughout the


West during the frontier period—defender of Indian interests in the white world.”

In some cases Longstreet unreservedly defended Indian rights; however, it is equally important to note that he was a complex man whose relations with Indians were not without conflict.

At one point he was charged with killing Bob

Black, the brother of his wife, Fannie Black. Notwithstanding this event, Longstreet was one of the few Euroamericans who openly vocalized his concerns over the mistreatment of Indians. Zanjani

(1988:36) claims that “Longstreet was, so far as we know, the only man in the Moapa to speak out against the injustices suffered by the Indians under

Bradfute, and four years later in Sylvania would again be seen trying to bring crude redress against another repressive figure.” In the first incident,

Longstreet accused the local Indian agent, W. R.

Bradfute, of using Indian lands for his own profit, and pursuing policies that directly compromised the physical welfare of the Indians living on the

Moapa Reservation. Zanjani (1988) also cites a letter sent to Bradfute’s boss, Gibson, where

Longstreet waged the following charges that are presented in their original script.

I charge him with killing and selling

Government catell for his own use and benefit

I charge him with hiring out those

Government mules for pay and converting the same to his own use and benefit

I charge him with hiring men to brand the anuel increas of the Government catell and paying form the same with government property

I charge him with willfull neglect to look after the Government property committed to his charge resulting in a totell loos to the Government of more that 500 head of catell….

He has Rented out the Government land to private parties that raised their on severall hundred bushells of Grain using the Governments farming implements and the Governments team and taking in payment theire for a part of the crop whitch he sold and converted to his own use and benefit

Finally I charge him with conducting the agency soley for his own pecuniary benefit and with a totell disregard to the

38 wellfair of the indians. I therrefore demand an investigation when I shall be prepared to prove all of the above charges.

Although these charges were much disputed,

Bradfute was eventually dismissed after a full investigation was conducted and changes aimed to diminish the appropriation of Moapa resources were undertaken, with varying levels of success

(Zanjani 1988:43). Using verbal attacks as a means of problem resolution was, however, the exception rather than the rule with Longstreet.

While running a bar at the Palmetto Mill in

Sylvania in 1891, Longstreet attempted to redress inequities between White mining operators and local Paiutes and Shoshones in a more direct and openly confrontational manner. After attending a

Ghost Dance with the Shoshones and Paiutes of

Palmetto only days after the massacre at Wounded

Knee (December 29, 1890), Longstreet and another White man reportedly instigated a worker’s revolt against Starlett, who was the superintendent of the local mine (Zanjani 1994:38).

Up until this time many Paiutes and Shoshones of the Fish Lake Valley had attempted to peacefully adapt to disruptions to their livelihood and traditional ways of life that accompanied the influx of Euroamericans into an arid region with scarce resources. One means towards this end was to secure work in the mines or the ranches. However, Lingenfelter (1986:103) indicates that mining activities in Palmetto and nearby regions were highly sporadic. A mill opened at Pigeon Springs in 1868 was abandoned in 1869, and the revivals of dead camps at Lida, Palmetto, Sylvania, Gold

Mountain, Tule Canyon, and Tecopa Spring between 1880 and 1890 were equally short lived. As a consequence, Paiutes and Shoshones working at these operations were sometimes denied regular employment or cash remuneration for their labor

(Zanjani 1994); yet due to changes in their traditional resource base, the Indians remained in a position of dependence upon the Euroamerican economy.

It is probable that these cumulative stresses led Ghost-Dancing Indians under the instigation of Jack Longstreet and Ross Edwards to wage a worker’s revolt in January of 1891. Longstreet reportedly encouraged Indians to demand money for work they had performed but for which they had never received payment. Upon demanding

remuneration from Charles Murphy, who lived at the Home Rule Cabin on the Tule Canyon Trail, they were met with a shotgun blast that discouraged them from pursuing the matter any further with him. Next, the Ghost Dancers went to confront the mining superintendent, Robert Starrett, who initially refused to pay them. Only after being physically tortured did he finally agree to accede to their demands (Zanjani 1994:39).

Although Longstreet regularly resorted to violence or direct confrontations, the relations he developed with many Indian people appeared to be based on mutual consent. After moving to Nevada, he befriended Paiutes and Shoshones from

Moapa, Owens Valley, and Fish Lake Valley.

Through these relations he became fully fluent in

Numic languages. In addition, he married two indigenous women; the first was a Paiute woman named Suzie, and the second a Shoshone woman named Fannie Black (Figure 2.3).

Although information is relatively scarce about his two wives, it has been confirmed that

Suzie worked as a washerwoman. This was a common occupation assumed by Indian women working for Euroamericans. In contrast, the men of her community worked as farm laborers, stock riders, and workers in the mines (U.S. census

1900, Nye County). Suzie Longstreet is listed in the 1900 census at the Tybo District of Nye

County. At this time she was reportedly unmarried, but lived with a 21–year-old Shoshone man named Pass-Pass with whom her relationship remains unspecified. Suzie was the only Paiute living in a Shoshone settlement of 21 separate households. Although the census taker, James Gilmore, listed many of the ages of people from this settlement, Suzie’s birth date was unknown. At a later date, Longstreet married Fannie Black, whom he met in Rhyolite, Nevada. According to popular tales, Fannie joined Longstreet after he confronted a man who was physically abusing her. Thereafter, the two reportedly remained together until

Longstreet’s death.

Both Suzie and Fannie were known to be very resourceful women who demonstrated proficiency in tasks ranging from medicinal curing and food preparation to shoeing horses and drawing ore buckets to the surface at his mine (Zanjani

1988:137). Although no children were known from his marriages, Fannie Black had a son named

Charles, and several children were adopted or taken in temporarily. One young Indian woman named Emma was adopted at an early age and raised by the couple. The question that has yet to be answered involves the identity of Check

Longstreet, who was reportedly a “half-breed.”

Longstreet also established working relationships with several Indian people, including Frank

McAllister, George B. Thatcher and George

Thatcher (legal advisors), George and Bob Montgomery, John McArther, Billy Moyer, and Thomas

P. Gimple. Perhaps one of the most singular facts about Longstreet is that (unlike many of his contemporaries) he treated the Indian people whom he met as equals. Although he demonstrated a capacity and willingness to defend Indian rights, his motivation did not appear to stem from a paternalistic attitude. Instead, it seems that he shared values with many of the Southern Paiutes and

Western Shoshones that became central figures in his life following his relocation to Nevada. Even after accumulating large sums of money,

Longstreet continued to live a simple life while pursuing two of his chief interests, gambling and horse racing, both of which were pursued within

Paiute and Shoshone communities. During his life, some of the short-term impacts of

Longstreet’s presence were evidenced in the removal of a self-interested BIA agent, the fomentation of a worker’s rebellion, and the creation of longstanding relations with the Indians.

The long-term impacts of Longstreet’s presence are more difficult to determine. In terms of social memory, official texts tend to iconize him as the “Last of the Frontiersmen” (Zanjani 1994) in a manner that parallels efforts to concretize narratives of the last of the ‘noble savages.’ The irony of this representation resides in the fact that

Longstreet was among the few who were able to transcend dichotomies founded upon social constructions of ‘race’ and ‘power’, which are issues that indigenous people, social scientists, and policy makers continue to struggle with today.

A reexamination of Longstreet in roles that were often accompanied by turbulence and unrest suggests that he was a man who pursued a vision that was sometimes admired and sometimes feared, but rarely understood. Longstreet died in

Tonopah at the age of 92 from injuries caused by a gunshot fired by claim jumper and gambler Phil



Figure 2.3. Longstreet and his wife Fannie (from Zanjani 1988:112)

Encroachment and Its Impacts after 1900

The advent of the twentieth century coincided with the introduction of the corporation into mining and ranching. The early enterprises were largely in the hands of individuals or small partnerships and were usually short-lived; those who failed to profit from mining or ranching simply abandoned their land or water claims. On the other hand, the beginning of a new mining bonanza, alongside the coming-of-age of the ranching industry, required investments that could not be easily obtained except through formally established companies (Elliott 1988). These changes led to the institutionalization of resource exploitation and expansion into areas formerly considered wastelands because of their inaccessibility. Claims were leased or transferred rather than abandoned.

The effect of this expansion was the shrinkage of “regions of refuge,” or the locales where, at the beginning of the contact period, Indian groups could retreat to when threatened or forced away from their core areas. The Hot Creek and Kawich ranges and adjacent valleys, and the Silver Peak and surrounding valleys, formed such “regions of refuge” until the early 1900s (Figure 2.4).

These discoveries also prompted the exploration of areas previously left untouched. Although there had been Euroamerican presence in the “regions of refuge” located in Nye, Esmeralda, and


Lincoln counties before the 1900s, this presence was limited, for the most part, to small and isolated mining discoveries in Tybo, Hot Creek, Pioche, and Lida, among others.

Figure 2.4. Silverbow Mining Camp, 1905 (Central

Nevada Museum & Historical Society)

Ranching was also present but it tended to involve far smaller operations than those in western Nevada, with many ranchers actually marrying

Indian women and living among the local communities in important Indian centers such as

Round Mountain, Oasis Valley, the Amargosa

River, and Ash Meadows (Lingenfelter 1986:21;

Paher 1970:309). Population had expanded eastward during the earlier bonanzas but, as indicated above in Figure 2.2, not in large enough numbers

to exert a great deal of pressure on the environment and the Indian people. This situation changed permanently with the new discoveries.

The Tonopah and Goldfield discoveries prompted a flurry of mining and water claims in surrounding areas. To illustrate, court records from Belmont, Nye County, indicate that between

1905 and 1910, close to 400 claims were filed in the Kawich Range and Valley. The claims were distributed among several districts, including

Silverbow, Goldreed, Ellendale, Broken Arrow,

Clifford, Bellehelen, Hannapah, and Reveille. To the north, the Tybo and Hot Creek districts were revitalized by the new activity. The vicinity of

Belmont, Manhattan, and Round Mountain, to the west, also saw increased productivity (Paher 1970).

To the south, silver was found at Stonewall Mountain in 1907. In Esmeralda County, some of the older placers in the vicinity of Tule Canyon and

Lida continued to be worked on a small scale by

Indians, Mexicans, and Chinese, but Lida declined in 1907 due to litigation. Operations that had thrived in earlier years in Sylvania and Pigeon

Spring, near the Lida Junction, moved to the Palmetto and Silverpeak mines in the 1910s. In Lincoln County, early mining developments in Caliente, Pioche, and Hiko continued into the 1920s.

Toward the extreme southeast in what is now

Clark County, mining districts near the Colorado

River, including El Dorado, Searchlight, and

Overton, and along the Muddy and Virgin rivers, thrived at the turn of the century (Paher 1970). All of these districts included locales where Indians camped, collected food and other useful resources, kept gardens, and conducted ceremonies.

Ranching also grew, particularly after 1915, when the large bonanzas began to decline. Water and land claims were sold or transferred, mostly to a few rancher families or companies. For example, court records for water rights as well as photographic archives and other documents housed at the Central Nevada State Museum indicate that the Hot Creek and Kawich rangelands were progressively acquired by the Fallini and Wilson families, and by the United Cattle & Packing Company. Records also show that small, individually owned operations, such as those of Jack

Longstreet in the Kawich Range, were sold or transferred to the ranching families; e.g.,

Longstreet’s numerous water claims were transferred to the OK Reed estate at the time of the mining decline. These modern ranches not only acquired land but also purchased cattle from smaller operations, as indicated by the branding records (Truett 1950).

Figure 2.5. Warm Springs, Nevada, circa 1915 (Central Nevada Museum & Historical Society)

Some of the largest operations, as for example the Fallini Ranch (Figure 2.5), began recording cattle brands in 1915 and continued to do so through 1940. The Fallinis recorded water rights all the way into the 1950s. OK Reed had multiple operations in Winnemucca (1894), Tuscarora

(1915), Fallon (1923), and Kawich (1910). Jim

Butler and E.J. Reed joined in a ranching operation in 1937 (Tonopah) and purchased brands from the Wilson Ranch (Tonopah and Tybo).

These brands were formerly the property of John

E. Nay (1916). The Reed brands were finally purchased by the J. Butler estate in 1947. John E. Nay of Tonopah, who married Harry Stimler’s sister and owned land in central Nevada into the 1960s, began recording his brand in 1917. Ed Clifford Jr. began ranching in Belmont in 1891 and continued through 1915, when the Clifford family had cattle in Stone Cabin, Austin, Tonopah, and Goldfield.

The Humphrey-Reed Land and Cattle Company recorded a brand in Goldfield in 1917 and it transferred to the United Cattle & Packing Company in

1917. This company also contined to accrue and register brands and water rights into the 1950s.

Whereas the nineteenth-century introduction of mining, ranching, farming, and other productive enterprises into Nevada created havoc in the lives of Indian communities, the modernization of

Nevada’s main industries had a somewhat stabilizing effect on Indian families who were no longer self-reliant. On the other hand, the institutionalization of ranching, farming, and mining activities ended once and for all any possibility of recovering land beyond small reservations. Local mills


such as Reveille and Bellehelen (Figure 2.6), and ranches such as the Fallini or the Wilson, offered employment opportunities to multiple generations of local families, facilitated on-site schooling as an alternative to boarding school, and allowed the construction of permanent habitations and the maintenance of small herds of Indian-owned livestock; at the same time these operations took permanent possession of critical Indian water sources.

Figure 2.6. Merger Mill, Bellehelen circa 1930 (Central

Nevada Museum & Historical Society)

The modern system of land and resource ownership did trickle down to a few Indian families who were able to claim or purchase productive lands for ranching, mining, and farming. But for the most part, modernity stripped away what selfreliance was left at the turn of the century, and this situation did not change until the establishment of the modern reservations. Stewart (1978) observes that, despite poverty and marginality, the

Western Shoshone clung to their traditional core areas for as long as they could and only gave them up when the reservations were established in the

1930s and 1940s. He attributes this behavior to the fact that numerous independent Western Shoshone bands, which in prehistoric times were scattered across a vast area and had access to enormous territories, were seeking reservations in their own traditional homelands and regions of refuge.

Thus, they kept rancheria-style homesteads on public lands and even private ranches (whenever allowed) until they either purchased the land, obtained land on a reservation, or were no longer allowed to homestead. The movement toward reservation land can be indirectly traced by looking at the home address of those individuals registering or transferring cattle brands. As indicated in


Truett (1950) most brands registered to known

Indian surnames switched addresses more than once, but by the 1930s they had addresses close to

Ely, Yomba, Death Valley, or Duckwater.

With the Great Depression came the need to create employment opportunities for large numbers of people. The Hoover Dam Project, which began with the signing of the Boulder Canyon

Project Act of 1928 and that flooded important

Indian village and farming locales such as the one at the mouth of Las Vegas Wash, was the first of a series of developments that helped the state survive the depression. Examples of development projects funded with federal aid grants were the

Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Depot in Mineral

County and the Union Pacific Railroad Depot in

Las Vegas. Other projects that permanently changed the landscape were irrigation works on the Truckee and Carson river basins and the water pumping operations on Lake Tahoe. The Civilian

Conservation Corps established over 20 camps across Nevada and worked to repair some of the damage caused by deforestation, erosion, and catastrophic flooding of earlier decades (Edwards


The final act of encroachment discussed here was the withdrawal of lands for defense-related facilities in Nevada during World War II (Edwards

1978:355). Aside from the construction of modern mines and associated facilities to aid the war industry, the U.S. involvement in the war required

50,000 fighter planes a year. Nevada was sought as the ideal place to develop a military runway and gunnery training range that would in peacetime contribute to the state’s economic growth. So in

1941 the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps acquired the Western Air Express runway and field,

80 miles west of Las Vegas, to develop an aerial gunnery school for the Army Air Corps. This facility became the Las Vegas Army Airfield and thereafter NTTR, which extends over one million acres, from the Kawich Range in central Nevada to Indian Springs in southern Nevada.

In addition to the obvious and vast impact of losing access to an area that constitutes the heart of Indian territory, the effects of flyovers and target training on the range are multiple and longlasting, and have been identified by modern Indian people. The flyovers may disturb elements such as the wind; vibration and noise may damage delicate resources including springs, rock formations, and rock art. Target training and bombing

cause direct impacts to land and resources. Animals are frightened by the noise and run away from the range; according to a Western Shoshone elder, animals also lose their ability to reproduce.

Finally, in 1945, the Atomic Energy Commission reserved a portion of the bombing range to conduct nuclear weapons testing in what became the NTS. Hundreds of atmospheric and underground nuclear tests were conducted between

1951 and 1991, and sub-critical experiments continued after the nuclear testing ban (U.S. Department of Energy/Nevada Operations Office [U.S.

DOE/NV] 1996). Atmospheric tests caused incalculable damage to human health, as well as severe environmental degradation. Indian communities that were downwind from the NTS reported an increase in cancer occurrences and other unexplained illnesses. More recently, the need to store nuclear waste in the Yucca Mountain Site and to transport waste from all over the country for final storage in Nevada has been a matter of great controversy. Indian communities whose lands are crossed by waste transportation routes have suffered economic and social impacts. More pervasively, it is believed that the unleashing of nuclear energy without proper knowledge as to how to handle it may have also caused irreparable spiritual damage to the Indian people. And ultimately, as

Stoffle and Arnold (2003) state, the facilities where nuclear tests were conducted and where the waste is being stored, as well as the transportation routes, overlap with the southern Paiute-

Chemehuevi and Hualapai path to heaven, and thus may prevent souls from reaching heaven after death.



Aboriginal Demography

María Nieves Zedeño


othing reflects the magnitude of the impact of Euroamerican encroachment on aboriginal populations of the Americas better than a review of demography at contact and in the ensuing decades. By the same token, nothing explains the reaction, often violent, of Indian groups against non-Indian settlers more eloquently than an examination of the effects of disease and population displacement on the social and political cohesion and on the ethnic and cultural integrity of Indian groups. This chapter utilizes available information on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century regional aboriginal demography to provide a glimpse of these historical population shifts.

The information used here to reconstruct a picture, albeit incomplete, of Indian demographic trends comes from several sources: (1) official census figures for selected Nevada districts, from

1870 to 1910; (2) ethnographic accounts of Indian population reported by Powell and Ingalls in

1873–1874; (3) population figures reported by

Steward (1934, 1938); and (4) observations of population attrition, disease episodes, slavery, violent death, and starvation, collected from personal accounts, newspapers, and various published sources. Together, these data paint a clear picture of both the severe impact of encroachment on

Indian populations and the resilience of Indian people, who nonetheless survived and maintained attachments to the land and cultural traditions.

Early Demographic Reports

It is difficult to estimate, except in a most general manner, what the earliest Indian population numbers in the southern Great Basin were at contact. This is because until about 1860, Nevada

Indians were reported in the official census together with those of Utah or of the Northwest states; the only reference to the size of families and villages comes from early travelers’ accounts.

For example, in 1828 Skene Ogden reported that

Shoshone Indian villages “lined the banks of the

Humboldt River” (in McCracken 1997:60). In the

1830s, large Southern Paiute villages, such as Tecopa Springs, which included about 70 inhabitants

(Lingenfelter 1986:21), were located along the Old

Spanish Trail. Many more population centers mentioned by trappers and trailblazers were located in oases and river valleys, including, from east to west, Kanab, Shivwits, Moapa, Las Vegas,

Ash Meadows, Pahrump, Death Valley, Beatty,

Deep Springs, Fish Lake Valley, and Owens Valley. Smaller homesteads and task camps dotted the desert landscape, roughly corresponding to the location of springs and natural water tanks. Reports of these camps abound in the midnineteenth-century travel and exploration literature. Overall, the known archaeological remains of late prehistoric habitation (e.g., papers in Beck

1999; DuBarton and Drollinger 1996; papers in

Fowler 1977; Grayson 1993; Thomas, Pendleton, and Cappannari 1986) and the early eyewitness accounts suggest the existence of a stable, low-tomedium density aboriginal population that was exceptionally well adapted to desert environments

(see Chapters Four and Five).

Official Counts before 1860

According to the U.S. Census Office (1894), prior to 1846 there was no general law for taking a census of Indians within the United States. However, the founding fathers, particularly Thomas

Jefferson, emphasized the importance of carefully keeping count of all tribes and their numbers, as

Jefferson stated in his 1787 Notes on the State of Vir-

ginia (Peden 1995). No systematic population counts were taken by the Lewis and Clark expedition. Thus, the first mention of Shoshone population estimates, including only those of the riverine valleys west of the Rocky Mountains and north of the Great Basin, comes from the list of 230 tribes compiled by Rev. Jeddediah Morse in 1822. He estimated that the Northern and Eastern Shoshone groups amounted to 60,000 souls. Ten years later, Samuel Drake reported that 8,000 Snake

Shoshones were living at the foot of the Rockies.


Such early figures varied widely, depending on factors such as the season in which the counts were taken, or whether the counter relied on secondary sources, e.g., traders or Indian guides. In

1846, Congress passed the Indian Appropriation

Act, which stated:

And it shall be the duty of the different agents and subagents to take a census and to obtain such other statistical information of the several tribes of Indians among whom they respectively reside as may be required by the Secretary of War, and in such form as he shall prescribe [U.S. Census Office 1894:15].

As a result, the seventh census of the United

States, taken in 1850, attempted the first systematic count of Indian tribes. The numbers reported by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs lumped together all Indian tribes in the Oregon and Washington territories (estimated at 23,000 souls) and all those tribes in the Utah territory (estimated at

11,500 souls). The eighth census of the United

States, taken in 1860, differentiated between “civilized” and “unenumerated” Indians, and these two categories were reported in two separate tables.

The Nevada territory was identified for the first time in that census, and included 7,550 “unenumerated” and no “civilized” Indians. Utah territory had 20,000 unenumerated and 89 civilized


Unofficial Accounts

In addition to these early figures, other accounts provide an idea of the distribution and density of villages in specific areas of interest.

Simpson’s population observations, made during his exploratory journey of 1859, include an estimate of 6,000 to 7,000 Northern Paiutes living along the Humboldt, Carson, Walker, Truckee,

Owen’s, Pyramid, and Mono rivers and lakes. He counted, based in part on the Utah Indian agency report, another 2,200 Southern Paiutes scattered from western Utah to the Sierra Nevada (Simpson


In his general description of a trip across

Nevada in 1860, Sir Richard Burton (1862:289 and passim) observed:

The Shoshone own about one-third of the territory; their principal settlements lie north of the Gt. S. Lake, and on the line of the Humboldt or Mary River, some 400 miles west and 100 to 125 miles south of the Oregon line. They number 4500 souls, and are the wildest in the S E. parts of their motherland…

Seven bands roam over the country from the Humboldt River to 100 miles south of it, and extend over 200 miles from east to west: the principal chief,

Wanamuka, or “The Giver,” had a band of 155 souls and lived near the Honey


It is unclear from this passage whether the seven bands are actually Shoshone, Washoe, or

Paiute, but later in his narrative Burton did recognize Wanamuka’s band as Paiute living side by side with a band of “Shoshonko” near Honey

Lake. Simpson (1876:34), however, clearly refers to the Honey Lake people as Washoe. A cursory reading of Simpson’s report suggests that Burton may have paraphrased, somewhat incorrectly, that earlier journal and added his own observations to it. About the Paiute and Ute groups, Burton

(1862:29) said:

During the last thirty years they have considerably decreased, according to the mountaineers, and have been demoralised mentally and physically by the emigrants: formerly they were friendly, now they are often at war with the intruders.

As in Australia, arsenic and corrosive sublimate in their springs and provisions have diminished their number. The nation is said to contain a total of 14,000 to 15,000 souls divided into 27 bands.

Burton included Northern Paiutes, Utes,

Goshutes, and Southern Paiutes in his account of the 27 bands, mentioning that they were distributed from California to Arizona. In his figures he included children, whereas many other observers did not do so.

Official Indian Census, 1860–1890

The process of enumerating Indian people nationwide became better organized and more


detailed in 1867, owing to the reports of the Indian superintendents and agents, but they were not, by any means, exhaustive or complete; many tribal names were listed but no figures were provided for them. Nonetheless, the following population figures of relevance were provided in 1867

(Table 3.1; U.S. Census Office 1894:18).

Table 3.1. Indian Population Counts,


Pi-Utes, Carson City Agency, Nevada

Shoshones, western bands, Utah

Pah-Utes, Utah

Owens River, Tule River, California

(or ca. 1,000 about 1860)





The ninth U.S. census of 1870 reported an estimated total of 16,423 Nevada Indians, 23 of whom were identified as being “out of tribal relations” and the remainder as “estimated nomadic.”

In Utah, there were an estimated 12,975 enumerated and an estimated 4,600 nomadic individuals.

In the U.S. census of 1880, the Nevada Indian agencies reported that 6,800 were living on a reservation; there were also an additional 2,803 Indians living off-reservation, yet counted as civilized.

In 1890, the U.S. census distinguished between taxed or taxable (self-sustaining) and nontaxed or reservation Indians, reporting that in Nevada, there were a total of 3,599 self-sustaining, taxed or taxable Indians and 1,552 Indians living on a reservation; additionally, 5 male Indians were reported to be in prison.

The 1890 county figures indicate that, for those counties that did not experience unusually high immigration, the ratio of the non-Indian to

Indian population was roughly between 3:1 and

5:1 (see Figure 2.2). This ratio could have been overwhelming for self-sustaining Indians in terms of competition for scarce resources, particularly for water, timber, and game.

Counties reported the distribution of the selfsupporting, taxable or taxed Indians, as follows:

Table 3.2. Indian Population in Nevada,


Churchill County

Douglas County



Elko County 301

Esmeralda County

Eureka County

Humboldt County

Lander County

Lincoln County

Nye County

Ormsby County

Storey County

Washoe County

White Pine County











The ethnic distribution of reservation Indians was registered as indicated in Table 3.3.

Table 3.3. Ethnic Group by Reservation

Pi-utes, Pyramid Lake Reservation 485

Pi-utes, Walker River Reservation 481

Pi-utes, Duck Valley Reservation 203

Western Shoshone, Duck Valley Res. 383

For the year of 1890, a special Indian census ordered by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs adjusted the total number of Nevada Indians from

5,156 to 6,490. There are no Southern Paiute counts for Nevada; this ethnic group may have been counted in the Utah Indian census. As a whole, the Utah census counted a total of 3,456

Indians and another 2,848 individuals not counted in the general census.

Even when one takes into consideration the limitations of the early demographic estimates, a rough comparison of the 1870, 1880, and 1890

U.S. census figures for Nevada Indians indicates that, between the 1870 and 1880 censuses, the aboriginal population estimates had decreased by

42.5 percent, and that between the 1880 and 1890 censuses estimates had decreased by another 33.4 percent. Utah population numbers show a decrease of almost two-thirds in the 20-year span.

Three explanations may be offered for these decreases: first, there may have been a lack of consistency in data gathering methods on the part of the

U.S. census agents; second, there was increasing


encroachment and concomitant disease and starvation episodes that led to the deaths of thousands of Indians; and third, there was a shift in population from accessible areas to “regions of refuge” or remote locations where Indian groups sought safety from the advancing settlers and thus remained inaccessible to the census agents.

Whereas the first impacts of encroachment were felt by aboriginal groups at the onset of exploration, specific events in Nevada history during these decades—those surrounding the development of the mining and the livestock industries— are critical for understanding demographic trends in Indian populations. For example, the Nevada and California Indian Wars of the late 1860s and the progress of the Comstock Lode bonanza coincide both with a huge episode of Euroamerican immigration into Nevada around 1870 and a massive decrease in the estimated Indian population for that decade. In Utah, the arrival of the Mormon settlers also caused distress among local Indian groups (see Chapter Four). The dramatic decrease in population by 1890, which could have driven aboriginal society to the limit of viable biological and cultural reproduction, also foreshadowed the Ghost Dance Movement in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada (see Chapter Eight).

Ethnic- and District-Specific Demography, 1870–1890

The earliest fine-grained accounts of Indian population by band, tribe, ethnic group, and district, within the study area, were collected by John

W. Powell and G. W. Ingalls, Special Commissioners of the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the years of 1873 and 1874 (Fowler and Fowler 1971).

Their census figures are invaluable for understanding both population density and sociopolitical organization. The power of Powell’s accounts stems from his training as an anthropologist and natural scientist, his unusual linguistic skills, and his experience in fieldwork. As Fowler and Fowler

(1971:19) observe,

Powell obtained much of his information through direct observation and by interviewing in the native language whenever possible. He spoke Ute and its dialect Southern Paiute passably well and used this skill to his advantage. On occasion, he relied on interpreters. . .

Powell approached his ethnographic studies with a scientific detachment nearly unique in his day. He did not denigrate the customs and habits of the

Indians, or the Mormons, he met.

Rather, he approached their ways of living with an attitude of genuine curiosity and a certain objectivity.

Both commissioners visited with the Numicspeaking tribes of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and southeastern California and reported on their “organization, enumeration, distribution, condition, and wants.” The commissioner’s Indian census included information on the tribe or band, locality, chief, and total number of individuals per tribe or band, including men, women, and children 10 years and under (Fowler and Fowler 1971: Table

1). Table 3.4 summarizes the commissioners’ census data for Utah and Arizona

After enumerating the Arizona and Utah

Paiutes, the commissioners met with the Nevada tribes. In the name of efficiency, Powell proceeded to meet with the southern Nevada and southeast California Paiutes, whereas Ingalls traveled to central and western Nevada to visit the

Shoshones. Ingalls went to the Pahranagat Valley, to Hot Creek, and then to Belmont. For Nevada and the Nevada–California border, this information is summarized in Tables 3.5 and 3.6. To those figures one may add the 1870s informant census estimates for Western Shoshone and Northern

Paiute bands living in the Nevada–California border (in Steward 1938:48; Table 3.7).

Village- or band-specific estimates for Owens

Valley Paiutes exist in the informant census; they reflect, according to Julian Steward’s table references (1938:48), an 1860 population of 1,000.

Conceivably, relatively large independent villages and smaller camps continued to exist along the valley during the following decades. In fact,

Leland (1976:59) cites a U.S. census figure of 1850

Paiutes living in Inyo County for the year of 1890, which accounts for Big Pine, Bishop, Ft. Independence, Lone Pine, and Indian Ranch. In addition, she cites 337 Paiutes as living in Kern

County, California in 1890. Powell’s 1880 notes also contained observations on the Northern Paiutes but no population estimates (Fowler and

Fowler 1971:229–233). Even though the Powell and Ingalls’ (Fowler and Fowler 1971) and Steward’s (1938) population figures circa 1870 include


only those Indians who they actually met and had the opportunity to enumerate, these are comparable to the 1867 counts conducted by the U.S. census agents. The Nevada Shoshone demographics are almost identical, whereas the Southern Paiute figures provided by Powell and Ingalls exclude

Nevada’s Northern Paiutes and therefore are understandably lower than the 1867 counts that only reported “Pi-ute” groups by agency instead of by ethnic group. Conversely, Leland (1976:30) gives a figure of ca. 7,000 Northern Paiutes (including reservation and non-reservation Indians), which would approximate special census reports more closely. Including the Utah, Arizona, and California southern Paiutes, as Leland does, would also raise the Special Commissioner’s count by at least


Table 3.4. Band-Specific Population Counts, 1873–1874






Long Valley

Pa-gu Lake


St. George

1 band

1 band

1 band

1 band

1 band

1 band

1 band

1 band

Chief Pi-vi’-ats

Chief Ta-hun-kwui

Chief Tau’-gu

Chief Na-guts

Chief Choong

Chief Un-ka’-ta-si-ats

Chief Chuar’-um-peak

Chief Moak-Shin-au’av



U-in-ka’rets Mts.

Shi’-vwits Plateau

1 band

1 band

Chief To-mo’-ro-unti-kai

Chief Kwi-toos’

East of Colorado R. 1 band


Table 3.5. Southern Paiutes, Nevada 1873–





Moapa Valley 7 bands* 378

Pahranagat Valley 1 band 171

Meadow Valley 1 band 151

Las Vegas 1 band** 161

Colville vicinity

Indian Spring

Cottonwood Island

Potosi & Pahrump

Kingston, Ivanpah &

1 band** 34

1 band** 18

1 band ** 57

2 bands*** 56

Providence Mt.

Ash Meadows

3 bands*** 85

1 band*** 31

Amargosa Valley 1 band*** 68

Total 1,214

Allied under regional chief To-shoap

Allied under regional chief Ku-ni-kai-vets

Allied under regional chief To-ko’-pur















Ruby Valley 3 bands*

Hamilton vicinity 1 band*

Elko and vicinity 5 bands*

Robinson - Spring V. 2 bands*





Duckwater 1 band*

White River Valley 1 band*



Belmont vicinity 1 band** 116

Hot Creek 1 band** 22

Big Smoky Valley 1 band** 25

Morey vicinity 1 band** 25

Fish Lake vicinity 1 band** 62

Reese River & Austin 7 bands*** 530

Battle Mountain 6 bands**** 194

Unionville vicinity 3 bands***** 175

Total 1,946

* Allied under regional chief Tem-oak

** Allied under regional chief Kai’-wits

*** Allied under regional chief To-to’-a

**** Allied under regional chief Pie’-a-ra-poo’-na

***** Allied under regional chief Ber-roo-na’

Table 3.6. W. Shoshone, Nevada, 1873-


Table 3.7. Nevada–California Border,


Western Shoshones

Death Valley

Deep Springs



Beatty 29

Belted Mountains 42

Railroad Valley 34

Northern Paiute

Fish Lake Valley area 100

Saline Valley 56

In short, whereas the U.S. census gives a statewide view of Indian population, the Indian agency data reflect more precisely the approximate size of localized bands and tribes under the reservation system and thus are more useful for understanding event- and region-specific processes than are the general trends illustrated in the national census.

Towns, Outskirts, and Regions of Refuge


A direct demographic result of the mining bonanzas of the late nineteenth century was the growth of a myriad of short-lived towns, the most prominent of which were connected to the main transportation routes and mail lines. Central Nevada provides a good example of this effect.

There, towns such as Austin, Ione, Belmont,

Manhattan, and Tybo grew in the heart of Indian territories during the 1850s and 1860s (Figure 3.1).

The establishment of these settlements had direct and dramatic consequences for the local

Indian bands, which progressively lost access to their traditional resources near the mines and towns, and thus became increasingly dependent upon the resources and jobs these towns could provide (Berg 1941; Littlefield and Knack 1996; see Chapters Two and Five).

The rise of Euroamerican mining towns had two simultaneous effects on Indian demography.

First, local bands that needed to ensure access to jobs and other resources developed temporary encampments on the outskirts of the main settlements. Emma Bob, a Yomba Shoshone elder we interviewed for this project, told us that she remembered coming from Round Mountain to visit her Tonopah relatives, the Dyers, and staying on the outskirts of Tonopah in these temporary camps. Curtis Littlebeaver, a Tonopah Shoshone elder who grew up in the Kawich Valley, indicated that such camps, usually containing houses made of tar paper, also developed in the vicinity of local and Indian boarding schools, so that the families of school children could be close to their kids. His family actually had one tar-paper house near the

Warm Springs grade school in addition to its permanent ranch (Figures 3.2 and 3.3).

Figure 3.1. Belmont, Nevada in 1893 (Central Nevada

Museum & Historical Society)

Figure 3.2. Curtis Littlebeaver at his family house in

Eden Creek (Central Nevada Museum & Historical


Secondly, the bands whose territories were progressively encroached upon retreated to their

“regions of refuge” or the more remote areas away from the main transportation routes. The stability of Shoshone and Paiute communities is sometimes erroneously conflated with their proximity to Euroamerican settlements or with the degree to


which indigenous communities incorporated western economic or social practices. Thomas,

Pendleton, and Campannari (1986:266) suggest that wintering sites were less stable in “more marginal areas” such as the “Kawich Mountains, eastern California, Battle Mountain and [the] Gosiute territory.” We challenge this contention and suggest that rather than being some of the most marginal regions, these areas were some of the most active sites of ceremonialism and political resistance. Such areas served as regions of refuge where social cohesion could be most successfully fostered, while also providing refuge for participants of the highly charged revitalistic movement known among White people as the Ghost Dance

(see Chapter Eight).

Figure 3.3. The Pete family’s tar-paper camp in Warm

Springs (Central Nevada Museum & Historical Society)

Chief Kawich, for example, had a camp on the outskirts of Belmont, but his primary residence was on Breen Creek; he also retained his chiefly rights to retreat north to Smoky Valley for subsistence, and social and ceremonial activities.

The distance from Breen Creek to Tybo (33 miles) and to Belmont (55 miles) made interactions with

Euroamericans possible but not imperative, and distance acted as a buffer. As a result, the Kawich

Range was maintained as a region of refuge. The chief could call up his band to gather in the region of refuge whenever he thought it was necessary, as for example during the winter of 1890 when the

Northern Paiutes were performing the Ghost

Dance in Esmeralda and Mineral counties (see

Chapter Eight). Some of the Shoshone families, such as the Hoopers from Belmont and Manhattan, also had places in the less accessible regions of Monitor Valley (interview with Tim Hooper by

M. Wheat 1966).

A similar situation developed in Tybo, Hot

Creek Valley, where local Indian families had both shanty towns near the settlement and traditional campsites farther inland, in remote areas of the valley. Yet another example of this demographic pattern is described in the correspondence of farmer-in-charge Levi Gheen (1872), from the

Shoshone Indian Agency at Ruby Valley. Local newspaper reporters identify a third region of refuge, on Battle Mountain, which became an important site of fandangos and Ghost Dances (see Table 8.1) beginning in the late 1880s.

The constant interaction with White settlers, combined with the high mobility of the Indian families at that time, contributed to the spread of disease in broad regions and to the progressive loss of economic and political independence.

Demographic Trends in the Early Twentieth

Century (1900–1940)

Leland (1976) provides an excellent annotated summary of U.S. census demographics for the Great Basin Indian groups, and specifically for

Nevada and California Paiutes and Shoshones, for the first half of the twentieth century. Figure 3.4 is a composite of two time-series built by Leland for

1870–1970. We have heeded Leland’s misgivings about changes in the ethnic categories used in the most recent censuses, and therefore will not include the decades of 1950 and 1970 in this discussion. The principal problem with the census after

WWII is that the census bureau changed the ethnic categories used for counting non-reservation

Indians, so that resulting population figures are not comparable to pre-war counts. Therefore, while the Indian population of the Great Basin as a whole significantly increased after the war, and in 1970 was almost as large as it was in 1870

(Leland 1976:29), the ethnic group numbers in

Figure 3.4 do not reflect that trend.

Of relevance to our discussion of the relationship between encroachment and Indian demography in the study area is the long-term effect visible in the drastic population decrease across ethnic groups around 1930. Two related hypotheses may be formulated to explain this long-term effect: first, this trend may reflect a pattern of


Figure 3.4. Composite time series for Indian population by ethnic group (from Leland 1976:30–31)










1873 1890 1910

W. Shoshone

S. Paiute & Chemehuevi

1930 1950

N. Paiute

O.V. Paiute


[Note: The 1950 and 1970 figures only include reservation Indians] widespread death of children and adults of childbearing age from disease and starvation during the second half of the nineteenth century; and second, the trend may reflect a decrease in births and the survival of newborns at the beginning of the twentieth century, because of depopulation and dismal living conditions, respectively. It may also be proposed that the massive population decrease caused an economic and social dislocation of the household and community units, resulting in the emigration of individuals or families away from their aboriginal territories

The population shifts from country to township contributed to the fragmentation of the community; twentieth-century townships such as

Goldfield and Beatty also saw the formation of outskirt Indian towns, as in the earlier days of

Manhattan and Belmont (e.g., Figure 3.5). Such towns also grew around enterprises that offered work, including mines, ranches, hotels, and national parks and monuments. The construction and maintenance of Scotty’s Castle in the 1920s, in

Death Valley, illustrates an entire Indian community depending on one enterprise for their subsistence (Littlefield and Knack 1996:234). In fact, some of the elders we interviewed and their relatives once joined this working community.

Local Manifestations of Population Dynamics

One way to obtain a local measure of the long-term effects of Euroamerican encroachment on the Indian population is to look at household structure. The household is one of the most fundamental units of analysis used in ethnography. It goes back to the work of Lewis Henry Morgan

(1818–1881), whose long and prolific research on the aboriginal family, household, and house life had a profound effect on generations of anthropologists, and particularly on John Wesley Powell and Julian Steward. Steward’s model of demography at the local level has been particularly influential.

Here we present an example of household structure in two Nevada counties. Appendix A provides numerical descriptions of Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute household configurations over the first decade of the twentieth century for Esmeralda and Nye counties.

According to Thorndale and Dollarhide

(1987:214), the boundaries for these counties remained the same between 1900 and 1910; therefore, diachronic comparisons within and between counties are possible. A few exceptions notwith-


standing, the precincts recorded changes noted between 1900 and 1910. As a result, it is possible to identify patterns affecting the counties as well as variables within particular precincts. However, it is not always possible to trace diachronic changes within a single precinct or locality. Despite this limitation, changes in household sizes, the gender constitution of households, the ratio of adults and children, property relations, and general household structure types are detailed in the 1900 and 1910 census counts. Using these data, it is possible to examine some of the claims set forth in Steward’s broad regional analysis of households and communities.

Figure 3.5. Indian Town in Smoky Valley, 1920s

(Central Nevada Museum & Historical Society)

First, Steward (1937:625–634) estimated that there was an average of one to two people per square mile in fertile regions of the Great Basin and one person to 50 or 60 square miles in arid regions, such as the Great Salt Lake. For the Paiutes of Owens Valley, Steward provided a slightly higher population average of 2.5 persons per square mile (Steward 1933:237). Furthermore, he claimed that the population of Owens Valley was relatively constant between 1855 and 1930. Steward’s demographic figures for the Great Basin are significant in two respects. First, if the regional populations were relatively constant, then Western expansionism would not have negatively affected group survival among the Southern Paiutes and

Western Shoshone communities of Nevada. Second, Steward provided synchronic observations, yet these observations have been used to make generalizations of a diachronic nature about the

Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute. A review of census data of the same regions from 1900 and

1910, as well as Leland’s ethnic-group time-series for the entire century (see Figure 3.4), indicates that Indian demography at the household level, as well as at the community and regional level, was a highly dynamic process that underwent continuous and clearly patterned changes, hitting an “alltime low” that coincided with the Great Depression and with the release of the Merriam Report in

1928, and shortly before the Indian Reorganization Act was passed in 1934.

The data from Nye and Esmeralda counties for the turn of the twentieth century also indicate that local populations fluctuated significantly during the first two decades. Although 1880 population figures for these counties are incomplete and highly variable in terms of the quality of information reported, federal census figures from this period nonetheless demonstrate a steady decline of

Indian populations. Ethnographic and newspaper reports also indicate that a series of disease episodes occurred concurrently with these population declines. Finally, these data indicate that the mining-related increase in Euroamerican populations in these counties was simultaneously accompanied by a decrease in indigenous populations (compare

Figure 2.2 and Figure 3.4). Based on this information, we contend that Steward’s population figures should be treated as rough and synchronic estimations based on partial data sets, and that both regional and local Indian populations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries suffered decreases through disease and other Euroamerican impacts, which continued until about 1930.

The total household populations recorded for Nye and Esmeralda prior to 1900 are difficult to derive. First, before 1900 it was not a formal practice to count Indians by the household.

Therefore, although many census takers did report indigenous populations by community, county, reservation, or even Indian agency, the resultant findings are uneven. Next, the records from 1890 were destroyed by fire. After 1900, however, population estimates increased in both accuracy and detail. The 1900 census counted an indigenous population of 1,303 for Nye and Esmeralda counties, with 359 in the former and 944 in the latter. In 1910, this total fell to 372 persons, with

162 residents recorded in Nye County and 210 in

Esmeralda. This shift indicates a decrease of 931 people, or 71.46 percent of the 1900 household population. Upon further breakdown, the data indicate a decline of 54.87 percent for Nye


County, and a decline of 77.75 percent for Esmeralda County, with the household population of

Walker Lake Precinct alone falling 84.89 percent.

The logical question is whether such a decline in household populations can be explained in part by a movement of people out of these counties as a result of seasonal activity, by permanent emigration due to mining encroachment, or by errors or omissions in the records.

Another approach to this question is provided through an analysis of childbirth figures.

Although death rates are not recorded for adults, census takers did record childbirth figures and the numbers of children that were still living at the time when the census was recorded. The cumulative number of births recorded to Indian individuals and couples from these counties in 1900 and

1910 was 1,218 (783 for Esmeralda County and

435 for Nye County). The average survival rate for both counties was 67.17 percent, or 60.41 percent for children in Esmeralda, and 73.92 percent in

Nye. The adult-child ratio for Esmeralda County from 1900 to 1910 was 2.07:1.36 and was

2.03:1.52 for Nye County. In both cases the ratio of adults is larger than that of children, indicating that only 75 percent of the Nye County population and 65 percent of the Esmeralda population was replacing itself. If the population was falling by 30 percent in terms of reproduction, this still leaves another 41.5 percent to be explained by other factors.

It is possible that part of the population moved out of Esmeralda and Nye counties between 1900 and 1910 in conjunction with “push and pull” factors that influence people to stay in a given locality or move either towards or away from particular influences (Anthony 1997). Such factors include economic opportunities within a given region, resource availability, family obligations, and interethnic relations that may be dominated by competition, cooperation, or a combination thereof. The decline in the household populations of Esmeralda and Nye counties between 1900 and 1910 (30 percent children and

41.5 percent unknown) may also indicate deaths resulting from epidemics and malnutrition.

The Specter of Disease

It is known that disease spread into the

Western territories even prior to the settling of

Nevada and Utah. Stoffle, Jones, and Dobyns

(1995:192) estimate that from 1849 to 1856, diseases that potentially affected Numic speakers contributed to a ten-fold decrease in population.

For example, local newspaper articles and ethnographies indicate that the population of central

Nevada was impacted by disease episodes before the decade of 1870–1880, which is the period of time described by Powell and Ingalls (Fowler and

Fowler 1971) and recalled by Steward’s informants

(1938). These sources also indicate that Western

Shoshone and Southern Paiute populations continued to decline in conjunction with disease episodes that occurred thereafter. Table 3.8 provides a diachronic view of the advance of European diseases into Indian Territory, and is intended to show, with a few examples, that disease spread rapidly and nationally within a few centuries.

Regional Disease Episodes

A number of disease episodes reported for

Nevada and neighboring territories preceded or occurred concomitantly with the first official regional Indian census conducted by Powell and

Ingalls in 1873–1874. The Territorial Enterprise

(February 26, 1869) reported that the Pyramid

Lake and Humboldt River Indians had lost entire families to smallpox in 1862. Another smallpox episode was relayed in the Mountain Champion (December 26, 1868). The reporter stated:

The Board of Health in San Francisco, says the small-pox is increasing ten percent daily. In the city of Virginia it has become epidemic. The Indians have taken the alarm and left the place. The disease has made its appearance at Austin, and as we are in daily communication with that place we would urge upon our citizens the necessity of vaccination without delay. Our Indian population having never been vaccinated, are entirely unprotected, and if the disease should ever get among them it would prove a perfect pestilence.

Table 3.8. Advance of Pandemics, 1531–1918









New Spain and probably far beyond the colony northward including Pueblos and more.

New Spain to Pueblos and perhaps beyond


1576 Bubonic New

Scarlet Fever Pueblos; Lower California tribes









Measles Mexico City to California tribes










Lower California peoples

All Native Americans in North America

Southwest; Mexico City to Lower California

Lower California tribes; possibly Choctaw

From Central Mexico across all of North America (1)


1788 Smallpox New

1828 Smallpox California

1830– Malaria California and Oregon tribes; 75 percent and less mortality(1)


1849 Cholera Maricopa,

Smallpox 1863 to Southwestern and southern California Groups(1)




1871 Smallpox Ruby

1875 Typhoid Pioche,

1876 Measles Owens



1877 Smallpox Owens

1887 Measles Walapai(1)



Gonorrhea Fishlake Valley, Nevada(4)

Territory Reservation Tribes(1)

1890 Unspecified Reno,

1890 Diphtheria Ely,

1890 Unspecified Owens


1892 Measles


Indian Territory Reservation populations(1)

1892 Influenza Indian





Territory Reservation tribes(1)

California to Rio Grande Pueblos; Navajos(1)

All North American Indians(1)

(1) Mountain Champion (December 26,1868), Austin and Virginia City, Nevada vada

(5) The White Pine News (March 1, 1890) Ely, Ne-

(2) Stoffle et al. (1995), Pioche Mine, Nevada

(3) Cragen (1975:184), 80 medicine men accused of witchcraft and killed in Inyo Co., California

(4) Steward (1938:64) nia

(6) The White Pine News (May 3, 1890), Ely, Nevada

(7) Inyo Independent (November 28, 1890), Califor-


Shortly thereafter, the farmer-in-charge of the Shoshone Agency reported the spread of smallpox among the Ruby Valley Indians. That was a hard-hit area for disease given its proximity to the northern route followed by the explorers, emigrants, and settlers from Salt Lake City to California (see Chapter Two). In his 1871–1872 reports to Utah Commissioner of Indian Affairs

Major Geo. Dodge, farmer-in-charge L. A. Gheen repeatedly mentioned the agency’s efforts to get every Indian under its charge vaccinated against the smallpox. After that, vaccination was instituted and practiced on a regular basis (Figure 3.6).

Gheen and his aides traveled across the area under the agency’s jurisdiction to ensure that everyone was vaccinated and that there were no infected bodies left unburied. Gheen thought he had the epidemic under control by the spring of 1872.

But even after the Indian vaccination campaign had begun systematically across the territory,

White settlers thought that the Indians spread the disease, and during the epidemics Indians were banned from the main settlements. In Gheen’s words:

Figure 3.6. Vaccination of Western Shoshones, 1914

(Nevada Historical Society, Reno)

This morning I sent a man, (Mr. Simpson), to Secret Canyon [to] bury the dead Indians, and as he has had the smallpox―and has no fear―I have instructed him to remain there some days―and post me thoroughly as to their condition…. I was unable to go there myself as the Indians here now require all my attention―I am having them all vaccinated. The Citizens of this place [Hamilton] strongly object to any of these Eureka Indians coming in here for supplies―and in conformity to their expressed wish, and to save much growling and possibly future trouble between the Citizens and these Indians―I would like to have your instructions for me to go where they are and distribute what is necessary for them. This disease knows no friends―and it would make serious trouble if I should be the means of introducing it in this place, which so far has been free [letter to G. Dodge,

March 13, 1872].

Curtis Littlebeaver, who grew up on Eden

Creek in the Kawich Mountains, recalls that many disease episodes afflicted the Indian populations of central Nevada in the late nineteenth century.

In an interview conducted in January 2003, Littlebeaver indicated that tuberculosis was present in

Reveille Valley, but no one in his family contracted it. When waves of virgin soil epidemics began to reach the Numic people of Nevada, many responded by using herbs gathered in the mountains. For example, they used tolza for syphilis and many other ailments. In addition, Littlebeaver indicates that there was also another herb that wasn’t as good as tolza for treating syphilis.

He also remembers hearing about episodes of smallpox and diphtheria killing Paiute and Shoshone people. Littlebeaver says the diseases came with the pioneers. Before the arrival of the pioneers, Littlebeaver’s grandfather said that the worst illness he suffered from was an occasional cold. That changed with the influx of virgin soil epidemics to which the indigenous populations had no immunity.

In reality, concentrations of White and Indian settlers tended to be either the originating foci of infection or the means of its spread. Western mining camps were known as such. For example, the Territorial Enterprise (May 11, 1872) reported that at least one Indian had died of smallpox in Pioche. An outbreak of the typhoid was also noted at Pioche, Nevada, where many

Southern Paiutes lived and worked in August,

1875 (Stoffle, Jones, and Dobyns 1995). Another source of disease spread was sexual intercourse between White men and Indian women, and frequent rape. Fables and true stories about the beauty of Indian women were spread in the east to lure White men into the West. Consider, for example, the following excerpt published in the St.

Louis Republic (December 13, 1874):


Joaquin Miller’s supposably overdrawn romances are declared not to be all romance, at least so far as relates to the existence of beautiful Piute women.

Maj. Powell, the explorer, says that one branch of the Piute tribe has women round-limbed, graceful, sweet-faced, and undressed. The circulation of such facts as these ought to encourage

Southwestern immigration [reprinted in

Missouri Historical Society Bulletin 1965:


Many White males who chose to emigrate alone eventually sought intercourse with Indian women and thus contributed to the spread of disease. The Territorial Enterprise (May 9, 1871) reported that in 1871 the entire Austin Shoshone band was affected by venereal diseases and some were dying as a result. Steward (1938:64) also noted that gonorrhea was prevalent among the people of Fishlake Valley. Furthermore, Steward maintains that Fishlake families “changed residence so often and traveled so widely that relatives were scattered over several valleys [and they were known to] cooperate with people from Deep

Springs and Lida” (Steward 1938:62). If Steward’s claims about the mobility of people from Fishlake

Valley are accurate, it is probable that this disease was spread over a large region in a short period of time.

Several disease episodes are also mentioned in Two Paiute Autobiographies (Steward 1934:426).

These accounts concern Jack Stewart (Hoavad-

unuki), who lived in the region of Owens Valley.

In one incident, Hoavadunuki passed blood after eating meat. This illness was blamed on a witch doctor, who also reportedly made another doctor ill and was “blamed for killing a great many people, especially women” (Steward 1934:427). In addition, Jack Stewart states that he became infected and nearly died from a venereal disease, which spread after White men moved into Owens

Valley. He also recalled a “time [when] a different white man’s disease came into the valley and killed nearly all the old people” (Steward 1934:427). Although he was a young man, like many others, he became sick during this epidemic.

It is quite probable that venereal diseases were introduced to the people of Owens Valley by

1862, if not earlier. As Cragen (1975:30–31) notes, on July 15, 1862 Colonel Evans reported:


The undersigned having learned with regret that some person or persons in this valley have so far forgotten themselves and their self-respect as American citizens and enlightened men as to attempt to take advantage of their present power over the Indians of this valley by catching hold of the Indian women while they engaged in gathering seeds for their subsistence, with a determination to satisfy their vicious lusts by having carnal connections with such women even by force; therefore it becomes my unpleasant duty to publish the following order;

1. Hereafter any man, men or set of men, whether soldier or citizen, found guilty of molesting or in any manner interfering with the Indian women of this valley shall be arrested and punished according to the law. By order:


Lieutenant-Colonel Second Cavalry

California Volunteers, Commanding

Newspaper articles help to explain the decreasing Indian populations after the census of

1873. In fact, people were sick so frequently that the Indian doctors were at a loss to cure them and were killed by their own people (according to

Numic tradition a doctor who lost three patients had to be ritually killed.) In the late 1800s such killings were so common that they were routinely reported as “Indian Witch Murders” in local newspapers across Nevada and southeastern California. Similar news was reported by the Territorial

Enterprise (November 5, 1873), Reno Weekly Gazette

(April 17, 1884), Reese River Reveille (July 8, 1886), the Reno Evening Gazette (April 4, 1881; January 3,

1888), the Silver State (March 8, 1890; May 7, 1891; several articles during June 1891), the Elko Inde-

pendent (March 11, 1890), and the Pioche Record

(December 13, 1890), among others.

For example, on November 28, 1890, a local writer from Independence, California reported that three medicine men were killed in Owens


Last Sunday night the Indians at Camp

Independence beat the brains out of one of their number, a man known by

the name of “Charley.” He was a

“medicine man” and is the third who has been murdered here in Owens Valley in a short time…. If three of the tribe die from natural causes, no matter what the disease may be, the life of the medicine man is forfeit and the Indians never fail to kill him. They say he is “all the same coyote” and causes the death of other Indians [Inyo Independent November 28, 1890].

Given that three medicine men were killed, the author implies that at least nine Indians died in

Owens Valley during a short period of time. Numerous epidemics across the region were also reported around the time of the Mason Valley

Ghost Dance (see Chapter Seven). For example, on March 1, 1890, a reporter for the White Pine

News wrote that “there is a great deal of sickness in Reno.” Notice also that the dates given for the

Indian doctor murders also cluster around the time of the Ghost Dance episode. Given the prevalence of diseases introduced by Euroamericans, Indians became doctors only very reticently.

One man, Jack Stewart, Hoavadunuki, chose not to become a medicine man. In his autobiography, he explains that although he was given two opportunities to become a puhagant, he declined because he was also given to understand that he would be killed if he chose to pursue this option (Steward


In addition to spreading disease, sexual intercourse between Indians and Whites led to the birth of children that often were abandoned by their Numic mothers. Among Owens Valley women, rape was a prevalent and violent form of exploitation. Sometimes other tribal members would adopt the children that were born because of these encounters. In the long-run, this practice led to much confusion and misinformation about family geneaologies.

The Lasting Effect of Disease on Population at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Disease significantly reduced Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute populations, and as late as 1920 serious epidemics such as the influenza were reported in newspapers (e.g., Lovelock

Review Monthly, February 27, 1920) as affecting local communities as well as national populations.

Preventive efforts, mainly vaccination, had already been instituted years ago and were now a matter of routine on the reservations (see Figure 3.6).

However, the effect of the early pandemics had permanently changed the demographic structure of the aboriginal groups, and had further threatened to eliminate cultural reproduction by inducing Indians to kill their own knowledge keepers, such as the medicine people. As noted above, the population crash in the early twentieth century was likely the cumulative result of earlier losses.

Despite the long-term devastation caused by disease, the Indian communities managed to maintain social cohesion, and activities deemed important to both cultures continued to be practiced at the turn of the century. In the following chapters we examine in more detail other factors affecting population and culture, collective responses and adaptations to the new order, and sociopolitical cohesion.



Indigenous Farming Systems


Alex K. Carroll, Richard W. Stoffle, and María Nieves Zedeño

ral histories and archaeological, historical, and ethnographic evidence indicate that farming was an important part of the subsistence patterns of Paiute groups whose traditional homeland included portions of southern California, southern

Nevada, southern Utah, and northern Arizona.

Records of well-developed systems of native agriculture, particularly along the Santa Clara and Virgin rivers in Utah, the Muddy River in Nevada, and the Owens River in California, are evident as early as the Spanish Colonial period (Angel 1881;

Holt 1992:4; Lawton et al. 1993:375). So pervasive was Paiute agriculture that Casebier and King

(1976) note that at the onset of Euroamerican encroachment, wherever there was water there was aboriginal farming. Despite extensive records of well-developed agricultural systems, scholarly histories and ethnographies from the early-tomiddle twentieth century tend to emphasize the non-agricultural subsistence strategies of the

Southern Paiutes (e.g. Steward 1938, 1941; Kelly

1971; Underhill 1941). One consequence of such portrayals is that the significant role that agriculture played in the development of Paiute culture and society has been repeatedly underestimated.

This chapter contextualizes Numic farming systems historically and ecologically to illustrate how indigenous adaptation to the diverse environments of the Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, and Mojave Desert was more complex than has generally been acknowledged in modern anthropology. Because not all Numic-speaking groups practiced agriculture to the extent the Paiute did, and in some cases not at all, non-farming subsistence strategies at contact and thereafter are discussed in Chapter Five and focus heavily— although not exclusively—on the Western Shoshone of central Nevada. Through a survey of aboriginal agricultural activities, particularly among the Kaibab Paiute of northwestern Arizona, the

San Juan Paiute of northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah, the Pahrump Paiute of southern Nevada, the Shoshone of Death Valley, California, and the Owens Valley Paiute of California, this chapter shows the presence of subtle yet resilient systems of botanical and environmental knowledge developed over hundreds of years.

Concomitantly, we show that under the stewardship of Euroamericans who began colonizing these territories in the mid-nineteenth century, these ecosystems underwent radical and frequently devastating changes that resulted from insufficient knowledge of lands and environments under colonization. Herein, a dearth of knowledge of place is evidenced in increased erosion, repeated episodes of severe flooding exacerbated by particular damming practices, and the depletion and destruction of much of the fauna and flora upon which Paiute and Shoshone subsistence practices depended.

The Land

To understand the adaptive strategies of indigenous populations to the diverse environments of the desert West, it is first necessary to consider the geography of the area where aboriginal farming flourished (Figure 4.1).

Generally, two geographical zones were host to farming activities: riverbanks and spring-fed oases nested within the basin-and-range and canyonland topography whose elevation, temperature extremes, soil quality, and irrigation viability varies regionally with the latitude as well as with the local conditions. The first example of aboriginal farming discussed here occurred in the region known as the canyonlands of the Colorado Plateau in

Utah. This is an area known for its rugged topography, low precipitation, and short growing season, but it also contains juniper forests, permanent streams, and sheltered valleys with good agricultural potential. Next we provide examples from the Mojave Desert, which extends over 25,000 square miles from the Sierra Nevada range to the

Colorado Plateau, and merges with the Great Basin to the north and the Sonoran Desert to the south and southeast. It is known for its desert climate, characterized by extreme variations in daily temperature, with frequent winter frosts and


Figure 4.1. The Great Basin – Colorado Plateau – Mohave Desert region with locations of aboriginal farming cases


an average annual precipitation of 2–6 inches (50 to 150 mm). The Mojave Desert has a typical basin-and-range topography, with alkaline soils that support sparse vegetation (creosote bush, Joshua trees, burroweed, and occasional cacti). Death

Valley rests at the heart of the Mojave Desert, and receives water both from the Amargosa River drainage and from the underground spring system.

Our final example comes from the Owens Valley, which runs through a broad, fertile, forested area and parallels the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada.

Hydrologically, two river systems in the

Great Basin are of particular interest: the Muddy

River in southeastern Nevada and the Owens

River in southeast California (Grayson 1993:4). In the neighboring geographical region of the Colorado Plateau, the Colorado, Santa Clara, and Virgin are riverine systems with known concentrations of indigenous agriculture (e.g., Holt 1992:4;

Palmer 1928a, 1928b). In terms of physiography, the surface features of the Great Basin have been described as vast desert valleys flanked by massive mountain ranges running north and south (Grayson 1993:14). According to this designation, the

Sierra Nevada and Cascades serve as the western boundary, the Rocky Mountains demarcate the eastern boundaries, and the Columbia Plateau marks the northern limits. The southern boundary is less distinct, but generally runs from Las Vegas in the east, to north of the Mojave River in the west (Grayson 1993:14). Significantly, the sparsest vegetation tends to be found in the southwestern quarter of the Great Basin, which is known for severe evaporative stress and little precipitation

(Harper 1986). In addition to receiving little rain, amounts of water vary significantly from year to year, thus making diverse adaptations superior to a singular mode of subsistence (Hutchings and

Steward 1953).

In comparison to the massive alterations exhibited in the basin and range country to the west, and in the Rocky Mountains to the east, the physiographic features of the Colorado Plateau are noted for their structural intactness. The Plateau itself is comprised of

…thousands of miles of canyons…alcoves, grottoes, potholes, pour offs, plunge basins, and rincons. There are windows and towers, cliff-walls riddled with honeycombing or pitted with


‘conchoidal’ fractures. Above the rims of the canyons one finds retreating cliffwalls hundreds of miles long, each leaving behind it a landscape strewn with colossal erosional remnants. There are at least 25 major plateaus, hundreds of mesas, thousands of buttes, domes, towers, monuments, temples, spires

[Wheeler 1990:100].

From the perspective of ecology, the higher elevations in the Great Basin are known for juniper/piñon combinations, whereas the valleys are composed of shadescale and sagebrush (Grayson

1993:21). The Colorado Plateau is

…sandwiched between the Great Basin to the west, an arid region of alkaline basins and faulted mountain ranges, and the Rocky Mountains to the east [which is a] lusher landscape of high peaks and rich forests. The region’s flora and fauna thus has elements of each of these provinces as well as a significant number of endemic species that have evolved in areas of relative isolation atop the Plateau [Wheeler 1990a: htm].

By examining the biotic communities, one can delineate between the Great Basin and Mojave

Desert. Lovich (2002) indicates that the principal distinguishing feature of the two floristic regions is the presence of creosote bush in the Mojave Desert and its absence from the Great Basin (see also

Billings 1951; Holmgren 1972). In addition, big sagebrush dominates much of the Great Basin floristic region, but is virtually non-existent in the

Mojave Desert except at moderate to high elevations.

History and ethnography provide yet another lens through which to examine the aboriginal homelands of the Numic people. Grayson

(1993:34) proposed the term “ethnographic Great

Basin” as a means of understanding cultural communities situated within this region. For over a century, explorers and scholars have been studying the indigenous populations of the Great Basin as well as the Colorado Plateau and Mojave Desert. Such studies, ranging from linguistic to ar-

chaeological analyses, serve as the foundations for much current scholarship. In the discussion that follows, we return to ethnographic and historic accounts to integrate environmental and cultural analyses in an effort to highlight indigenous systems of ecological knowledge and shed light on the interrelatedness of particular people, places, and resources. By examining the written texts of explorers and settlers of the nineteenth century, one may begin to unpack early Euroamerican notions of the land and the indigenous people; such as, for example, the strong focus on oases and views of the remaining desert as wild, untamed, and frequently uninhabitable.

The process of understanding a place is often accompanied by place-naming activities. Explorers first began to apply geological and geographical names to portions of the Numic homeland in the mid-nineteenth century. John C. Fremont was the first explorer whose interest lay in scientific discovery (see Chapter Two). He was the first to use the term “Great Basin” in 1845. While Fremont was principally interested in the hydrology of the

Great Basin, this term evolved to have multiple layers of significance, ranging from the hydrographic to the cultural, physiographic, floristic, and faunal elements it contains (Fowler 1986:15).

Several decades later, Geo. Wheeler of the

U.S.G.S. published a useful synopsis of the geography of the Desert West that illustrates both how much exploration had advanced since Fremont and how different the Euroamerican views of the land were at that time in comparison with those of the Indians. On the basis of his 1860–1870 explorations of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and California, he wrote:

This area embraces exemplars of the

Basin Range systems and of the borderland between them and the Great Colorado Plateau, and combines many varieties of mountain and plateau forms of which the territory is largely composed; detrital valleys and desert wastes constituting the balance. The divide between the Great Basin and the Colorado crosses the sheet centrally almost northerly and southerly, forming a part of the southeastern perimeter of the landlocked area. The Colorado is the main drainage line, into which empties the

Virgin River. The sinks, for the little

61 remaining basin drainage, are either reservoir lakes or subterranean. With the exception of the arable land of the

Muddy, Santa Clara Creek, Pahranagat,

Belted, and Virgin are still covered with timber at the summits, and a spring is infrequently noted. Otherwise even the springs found at wide intervals throughout this large area are unreliable, often dry, and many that were found active when visited are not necessarily permanent [Wheeler 1889:282].

Wheeler’s account is significant in several respects. First, he provides a descriptive account of the Southern Paiute homelands towards the end of the nineteenth century, when large populations of Euroamericans had been placing additional demands upon the limited resources of the Great

Basin and Colorado Plateau for nearly half a century. Next, Wheeler indicates that water proved to be a valuable resource that concentrated in the riverine environments along the Muddy, Santa

Clara, and Virgin rivers, as well as in the Pahranagat and Belted regions. Explorers, trappers, prospectors, and settlers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries consistently expressed interest in asserting dominance over these portions of the Numic territories. Less apparent in his description and overall writing style, but still significant, is the lack of enthusiasm for the nonriverine environments and ignorance of the small but vital desert springs. This sentiment, which pervaded the encroachment process, extended toward the Indian groups who knew the desert and had demonstrated their capacity to survive in such environs.

Perceptions of portions of the western deserts as “uninviting” areas that once evoked “terror” among European travelers are further expressed in Wheeler’s (1889:282) description of the

Grand Canyon. He writes:

The mouth of the Grand Canyon is found at the southeast, where commences the Colorado Plateau, marking a new character of uplift and displacement, as compared with the basin ranges. This area forms a part of the great Death Valley of southern Nevada, which has lost many of its terrors since the great expeditions of 1869, 1871,

1872, and 1875. Although typical of the

Desert, this region is now entered as well as circumvallated by advancing emigration, crossed by the iron river of commerce, and although uninviting to a degree, yet nevertheless has, particularly in the forests and the mine, large storehouses yet to be needed by increasing population, while each decade it grows nearer to centers of settlement. The climate is that of the more southerly parts of the Great Basin; i.e., uniform and mild in winter, parching hot in summer.

It may be assumed that within the lower levels of certain desert sections of this sheet, as was observed in the Death Valley depression, the thermometer at midnight in August reaches as high as 119°


After assuring his readers that the dangers attributed to this land have abated, Wheeler indicates that Euroamericans should begin to excise the forest and mineral products from this land for their personal use. He concludes that there is a dearth of rain, “permanent agricultural resources are slight, the grazing considerable, [and] the timber limited, [yet] there is a large field within which to discover and exploit the precious metals”

(Wheeler 1889:282).

Embedded in this scientific rendering of the geography of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau is a descriptive account of physiographic resources that were deemed invaluable by newcomers, along with a prescriptive account of how to meet the demands of an imagined Euroamerican population of the future. The importance of such perspectives will be discussed in greater detail in the final section of this chapter, which deals exclusively with the efforts of Euroamericans to establish sovereignty over Numic lands. In particular we discuss the progressive displacement of Indian groups from the riverine lands where native agriculture was well established, and the ongoing degradation of environments little understood by the first Euroamerican settlers.

Early Historic Records

The records of early explorers provide some of the best descriptions of aboriginal agricultural practices at the time of contact. Furthermore, de-

62 scriptive accounts provide a basis for reconstructing the environmental conditions that existed after colonial exploration ensued. European travel in the region of the Colorado River corridor began with Spanish expeditions out of New Spain. The

Spanish came to know the lands of Arizona as early as 1540, and contacts between the Southern

Utes and Spanish at Abiquiu and Santa Fe were made in the 1600s, but extensive explorations of the region did not occur until the late 1700s. By that time, journeys into the region were fairly common, owing to the existence of Indian trails upon which historic exploratory routes, particularly the Old Spanish Trail (see Chapter Two) were drawn. The Spanish were familiar with the

Ute and Paiute territories and both official and unofficial trading took place. The Spanish believed there were riches, especially silver, to be found in the area. In response, the colonial authorities issued a decree in 1765 “that no person could enter into Indian country without a specific license from the provincial governor” (Cutter 1977:6). In June,

1765, an exploratory party led by Juan Maria Antonio Rivers was sent northwest from Santa Fe in search of a Paiute guide he had heard could lead him to the Colorado River. The group traveled up through eastern Utah and reached the upper Colorado River near Moab. One of the explorers, Gregario Sandoval, later accompanied Fray Francisco

Ananasio Dominguez and Fray Silvestre Velez de

Escalante into the same general area.

Over the next decade, interest in trade, expansion, and colonization was spearheaded by the

Viceroy of New Spain, Antonio Maria de Bucareli y Ursua (John 1975:396). Bucareli was convinced that the colonization of Alta California, along with other mission settlements such as Monterey and

San Diego, would serve as an “important barrier to Russian and British incursion” upon the northwest coast of the United States (John 1975:559).

The Escalante and Dominguez Record of

Indigenous Agriculture

The Dominquez–Escalante expedition was organized in response to Viceroy Bucareli’s request to the Franciscan Order “for all possible information about the territory between New

Mexico and Sonora and California” (John

1975:574). The Dominguez–Escalante expedition left Santa Fe on July 29, 1776 and eventually reached the Grand Canyon region, where the

Spanish explorers came across Southern Paiute

Indians living north and south of the Colorado

River. Fowler and Fowler (1971:7) report that “the party contacted Utes in western Colorado, Timpanoaguts Ute near Utah Lake, Pahvant Ute south of Utah Lake, and several groups of Southern Paiute near the site of Cedar City, Utah and along the upper Virgin River drainage.” From the diaries of these explorers, as well as the records kept by trappers, ethnographers, and settlers of the nineteenth century, we are able to ascertain that there was a strong tradition of farming among the

Southern Paiutes living along the Santa Clara, Virgin, and Muddy rivers, as well as among the Pahvant Ute of west central Utah (Palmer 1928a:8).

For example, on October 17, Escalante noted that the servants of the expedition obtained some pieces of squash “from the Parussi Indians,” who are identified as the Shivwits Paiutes (Chavez and Warner 1976:83, ff330). On October 19, Escalante purchased from Uinkaret Paiutes “about a bushel of seeds and all the cactus pears,” some of the latter being “fresh cactus pears already ripened in the sun, and others dried in cakes…They told us that they called themselves Yubuincariri…”

(Chavez and Warner 1976:86, ff. 336). The Uinkarets described themselves not as cultivators but as gatherers of seeds, cactus fruits, piñon nuts, jackrabbits, and other game. They told Escalante that the Shivwits people planted crops of corn and squash. They identified neighboring Paiutes as

“Payatammunis” and “Huascaris,” the latter group being identified as the “Cedar Indians” (Chavez and Warner 1976:87, ff. 338–339). Escalante also encountered “Pagampachi” or Kaibab Paiutes, their “Ytimpabichi” neighbors to the northnorthwest (Chavez and Warner 1976:89, ff. 350), and Payuchis, who (given their location) were probably San Juan Paiutes (Chavez and Warner

1976:102–103). Early Spanish influence on the

Southern Paiutes was principally indirect. No discussion of this indirect impact is complete, however, without recognizing that the primary effect of Spanish exploration was demographic in nature. Imported Old World diseases to which Paiute people had no immunity reached them through their trading networks with other Indians

(Stoffle and Evans 1976; Stoffle and Dobyns

1982, 1983). These diseases spread well beyond the Spanish frontier prior to any direct contact. In addition to the demographic collapse among

Southern Paiute people caused by contagious dis-

63 eases, the spread of horses and weapons to the

Utes and Navajos increased their mobility and intensified pressure on the Southern Paiutes (Kelly and Fowler 1986).

Whereas the Utes rapidly adopted horse riding technologies and thereby ushered in a cultural revolution, the Paiutes rejected the horse, which was known to compete for native seeds and grasses required for their own subsistence. The

Paiutes’ decision to abstain from adopting an equestrian lifestyle partially protected limited food resources within their own territories; nevertheless, they were strongly impacted by the Ute’s decision to proceed with this alternative.

The Antonio Armijo Records

The next major phase of intrusion into the

Southern Paiute country began with the commercial ventures of Antonio Armijo. Initiated in 1829, his travels contributed to the development of a route that successfully linked the distant settlements of New Mexico and California through the eastern portions of the Southern Paiute territory recorded by Jacob Hamblin as Yanawant in 1850

(Brooks 1972; Little 1881; Stoffle and Dobyns

1983a; Stoffle et al. 1991:7–8).

The term Yanawant has been used in a narrow sense to describe a single group of people (e.g., the Santa Clara Indians), and broadly to describe an entire region (e.g., “Dixi”; Figure 4.2). Here we use the term to designate the eastern sector of the

Southern Paiute homeland, beginning with the

Santa Clara River and moving towards the San

Juan Southern Paiute, who may have planted in the oases along the San Juan River and its tributaries at Paiute Canyon as well as the springs and wash floodplains along the Echo Cliffs to the

Moenkopi area near Tuba City (Bunte and Franklin 1987:30).

Antonio Armijo began his foray into the

Yanawant portion of the Southern Paiute homelands in 1829. Instead of the Old Spanish Trail or the Escalante route, Armijo’s party sought a more direct passage across the southern borders of present day Grand Staircase/Escalante National

Monument This monument extends 150 miles from the northern rim of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona to the top of the Paunsaugunt

Plateau in southern Utah, and is bounded on the east by the Cockcomb and on the west by the

Hurricane Cliffs (Utah Geological Survey 2002).

Figure 4.2. Western Sub-tribe, Paranayi, and Eastern Sub-tribe, Yanawant

While the primary purpose of Armijo’s expedition was to develop a commercial route between

Abiquiu and Los Angeles, other agendas were pursued as well. For example, the empresarios used this expedition as a scoping mission wherein they

…note(d) the various products that the territory of the Mexican Republic possess(ed) in this region…. [Through their observations they determined] that there exist(ed) suitable locations for establishing new villages and that in the hills there appear(ed) variously colored rocks or veins resembling minerals, some of the said hills having the shape of elevated bufas without forest or grass land, streaked with veins or rock strata

[Hafen and Hafen 1993:156–157].

The journey of Armijo and his 30 men is described in a newspaper article from Santa Fe, New

Mexico dated April 28, 1830 (cited in Hafen and

Hafen 1993:157). The author noted:

The gentiles of the Payuche [Paiute] Nation inhabit the vicinity of the above mentioned river [the Colorado River].

Their living quarters are jacales [huts], and they live on grass seeds, hares and rabbits, using the skins of the latter to cover a small part of their body. There follow various other nations inhabiting these lands: the Narices Agujeradas

(Pierced Noses)…the Garroteras, dexterous in handling a four-edged garrote

(stick); the Ayatas dressed in buckskin….(who) cultivate fields…(and) dress…like the preceding ones.

The Spanish word Ayata derives from ayote, which means “pumpkin” or “squash”, thus indicating the centrality of agriculture within this community.

Following the lead of a Navajo guide, Armijo and his party traversed the Colorado River at the

Crossing of the Fathers, after which they took a westbound trail that crossed the Paria River and continued west towards Kanab. On November

30, Armijo recorded in his diary that “at the water


hole of the Payuche: three Indians were found, no trouble ensued, and it was necessary to scale a canyon for which purpose we had to carry the baggage in our arms” (Hafen and Hafen

1954b:94). The editor of the journal noted that the place may have been Piute Canyon or a location near the canyon called Upper Crossing Springs.

This trail leads down into the area where San Juan

Paiutes cultivated their fields. Armijo’s journal entry suggests that he passed through the fields and observed an impoundment dam for creek or spring water, which he described as a lake and named “Las Milpitas” or little cornfields (Bunte and Franklin 1987:46–47). On December 1, 1829 they arrived at the lake of Las Milpitas (The Little

Corn Patches) before working their way down a canyon (Hafen and Hafen 1993:160). During his travels, Armijo described another place called

Calabacillas (Little Wild Squash) Arroyo, a name that also strongly suggests the presence of indigenous agricultural activities (Hafen and Hafen


After Antonio Armijo conducted his expedition, the state officially sanctioned commercial trade between the settlements of New Mexico and

California. “Armijo’s route quickly became the favored route to California for the next twenty years, as New Mexicans used it as a trade and immigration trail to the west coast” (Sanchez


Intensified trading also continued along the routes utilized by Escalante and Armijo. As a result of influxes of non-indigenous groups, native residents were exposed to disease, as well as the destruction of natural vegetation upon which certain Southern Paiute people depended for their survival. The overgrazing destroyed much of the native vegetation within several miles of the trail.

As late as April of 1848, Brewerton witnessed a caravan traveling along the Old Spanish Trail.

This procession consisted of the following:

Some two or three hundred Mexican traders who go once a year to the Californian coast with a supply of blankets and other articles of New Mexican manufacture; and having disposed of their goods, invest the proceeds in Californian mules and horses, which they drive back across the desert. These people often realize large profits as the animals purchased for a mere trifle on the coast, bring high prices in Santa Fe.

This caravan had left Pueblo de los Angeles some time before us, and were consequently several days in advance of our party upon the trail—a circumstance that did us great injury, as their large caballada (containing nearly a thousand head) ate up or destroyed the grass and consumed the water at the few camping grounds upon the route

[cited in Hafen and Hafen 1993:192].

Moreover, in 1849, Isaac C. Haight, a clerk and scribe for a Mormon party, wrote: “The explorers were encamped on the Sevier River near the famous war chief and a party of his braves.

The Indians were suffering from measles and several of their number had died” (Palmer 1929:38).

In the midst of disruptions brought about by encroachment, many Numic groups endeavored to maintain agricultural subsistence patterns. The scholarship of Brooks (1972) and Holt (1992) provides a useful glimpse into the continuity of

Numic agriculture into the middle of the nineteenth century. Holt writes, “During the 1840s virtually every traveler’s diary mentioned Paiute agriculture” (1992:5–6). Furthermore, Brooks

(1972:56–57) indicates that during the 1850s irrigated fields as large as 10 acres were fairly common. He states:

Some 10 acres are cultivated here, and as many more at the settlement below this, indeed, along the river are small

Indian patches of 2 to 10 acres cultivated and some of the missionaries have visited other portions of these bottoms and say there are many more small patches uncultivated [Brooks 1972:56–


Holt suggests that a sufficient labor pool was maintained by living in social groupings larger than a nuclear family. Ethnohistorical information gleaned from the diaries of Euroamericans from the 1840s–1850s also confirm that “Southern Paiutes then lived in larger groups than did those who survived the 1860s and…spent a significant amount of time cultivating crops” (Brooks 1972;

Hafen and Hafen 1954b).


As Paiutes endeavored to maintain traditional practices in the face of the fundamental changes advancing on all fronts of life, influxes of new populations along the Old Spanish Trail, Armijo’s route, and Escalante’s route progressively altered the land and resources. With the introduction of new populations into the Southern Paiute homeland, Southern Paiutes found that the resources upon which their survival depended were being incrementally destroyed or overtaken by White explorers, prospectors, and settlers.

Primary Agricultural Oases

Before exploring some of the ramifications of processes catalyzed by encroachment, we provide a survey of the principal areas within the

Southern Paiute lands (Figure 4.3) where indigenous agriculture was being practiced before

Southern Paiutes lost access to key riverine lands.

Yanawant Subtribe

Southern Paiutes inhabiting the higher altitude plateaus of southern Utah and northern Arizona planted their summer crops primarily in the

Santa Clara oasis, up the Virgin River from that tributary, and along Kanab Creek. Paiute farmers grew maize and other crops on sandbar fields along the Colorado River. The San Juan Southern

Paiute people may have stayed south of the larger stream, planting in oases along the San Juan River and its tributaries, at Paiute Canyon, and the springs and wash flood plains along the Echo

Cliffs to the Moenkopi area near Tuba City (Bunte and Franklin 1987:30). The eastern subtribe may have called itself Yanawant (Hamblin 1969:39)).

Shivwits/Santa Clara District

Kroeber’s (1970) model suggests that Southern Paiutes who farmed in the riverine heartland along the Santa Clara River (Tonaquint) and middle

Virgin River would have harvested wild resources in hinterlands to the south (including the Shivwits

Plateau) as well as to the north (including the watersheds feeding the tributaries of the upper Santa

Clara River).

For this reason, it seems essential to combine the Shivwits and Santa Clara districts. Within this ecoscape, Paiute people moved freely back and forth between the oasis farmlands and the upland areas used primarily for wild-resource harvesting.

The data indicate that the Santa Clara, and to a lesser degree the middle portion of the Virgin

River, was the horticultural and population center of a district whose upland territories included the

Shivwits Plateau in the south and the upper watershed of the Santa Clara to the north (including the

Pine Valley and the Bull Valley mountains).

The Santa Clara River rather than the middle and upper Virgin River, apparently constituted the primary horticultural core of the Shivwits/Santa

Clara District. It is possible that the many villages along the middle Virgin River, and possibly in a separate Southern Paiute district, were located past the Hurricane Cliffs on the upper Virgin River.

When Escalante arrived on the middle Virgin

River in 1776, he found Paiute farmers who called themselves Parussits. The name supposedly refers to the Parussi River, which they used to irrigate their farms. Escalante later renamed it the Rio

Virgin. According to Bolton’s (1950:205) translation of Escalante:

In a small plain on the bank of the river, there were three small corn patches with their very well made irrigation ditches…. From here downstream and on the mesas on either side for a long distance, according to what we learned, live Indians who sustain themselves by planting maize and calabashes, and who in their language are called Parussi.

The importance of the Parussits people is reflected in the fact that their name (and the place of their agricultural communities) was retained long after they left the middle Virgin River. In 1936,

Tony Tillahash told Preshnall (1936:5) that the river we now call the Virgin was known as the

Par-roos, “white foaming water.” The Paiutes living along the lower part of the stream, below the

I-oo-goo-intsn, were known as Pa-roos-itsn. Tillahash’s oral testimony also documents a distinction between the Paroosits and the I-oo-goo-intsn. The relationship between agricultural communities on the middle and upper Virgin River cannot be established at this time because they had largely disappeared by the mid-1850s, probably due to diseases. Still, agricultural communities did exist, and it is suggested that the Parooits were a local group within the Shivwits/Santa Clara District.


Figure 4.3. Southern Paiute subgroup districts (from Kelly and Fowler 1986)

The primary lands for agriculture in the

Shivwits/Santa Clara District appear at numerous sites along the Santa Clara River. Although central to Southern Paiute subsistence, early Europeans were surprised at the pervasiveness of indigenous agriculture. While traveling along the Santa Clara in 1826 and 1827, trapper Jedidiah Smith reported that Indian farmers approached him with two gifts. First, Smith was given a rabbit “as a token of friendship” and next, an “ear of corn as an emblem of peace” (Alley 1982:120). In addition to these gifts, the Paiutes “supplied the hungry trappers with corn and pumpkins” (Alley 1982:120).

Smith states that his “men were pleased but surprised to find these crops in what they considered an inhospitable region” (Alley 1982:120). Among the cultigens recognized by Smith were pumpkins, squash, and gourds. Smith noted that these items were grown at the junction of the Santa Clara and

Virgin River, and at the mouth of the Muddy


Paiutes employed irrigation to increase the yields of their harvests. Smith writes that “the Paiutes dammed the Santa Clara and were irrigating their fields through a tree trunk” (Alley 1982:120).

Fifteen years after Smith’s travels along the Santa

Clara River, John Brown (1849) indicated that the

Paiutes continued to practice agriculture within this region. He writes, “Next day we came to some Indian farms where the savages had raised


corn, wheat and squash. We passed on to the

Santa Clara.” A more detailed description of agriculture among the Southern Paiutes of this district is provided in the accounts of Mormon colonists who entered the region in 1852 and 1854.

Whereas John D. Lee reported that he had seen

100 acres of land being cultivated along the Santa

Clara, the party that arrived from Fort Harmony in 1854 indicated multiple sightings of 10–acre farms. Lee recorded:

The Santa Clara River is 12 rod wide and 20 inches pure, clear water-rich bottoms, though narrow, and heavily timbered for the distance of 30 miles. On this stream we saw about 100 acres of land that had been cultivated by the

Pintes [sic] Indians, principally in corn and squashes; and judging from the stocks, the conclusion would be that heavy crops are and can be raised in these vallies. This tribe is numerous, and have quite an area of husbandry [Lee


The party that preceeded him reported that there was a village about one mile upstream from the confluence of the Santa Clara and Virgin rivers, and a large population center some six miles farther upstream from the village. Here, the Santa

Clara Paiutes were farming extensively near the population center. The party also found smaller villages and associated agricultural fields dotted along the upper course of the Santa Clara. Thomas D. Brown wrote the following:

There was good crops of wheat ripe in some places which they were cutting and using, and abundance of corn, many beans, and a green substance between the rows…. Some 10 acres are cultivated here, and as many more at the settlement below this, indeed, along the river are small Indian patches of 2 to 10 acres cultivated and some of the missionaries have visited other portions of these bottoms and say there are many more small patches uncultivated [cited in Brooks 1972:56–57.

The Mormon’s interest in taking over the

Shivwits/Santa Clara agricultural lands resulted in growing tensions, culminating in battle. The

Shivwits/Santa Clara people rebelled against

Mormon domination but were forced to take refuge south of the Colorado River with the Northeastern Pai. About two-dozen Shivwits warriors fought beside the Pai in the Hualapai War of

1855–1869 (Dobyns and Euler 1970:38; Dobyns and Euler 1971:18). Later these people returned to the north side of the Colorado River, but they remained culturally conservative in what might be called a region of refuge (Aguirre Beltran 1973) on the Shivwits Plateau. There they managed to make a meager living farming around springs, hunting, and collecting in the upland portion of their traditional territory until this portion of their land was also acquired by Mormon cattlemen.

When John Wesley Powell conducted research among the Shivwits in 1873, he did not mention the Hualapai War. Instead he concentrated on collecting ethnographic data that centered upon pre-contact culture, languages, and material culture. Consequently, Powell’s records do not reflect the power struggles among Mormons and Southern Paiutes and Hualapais of this time. Powell uses the term U’–ai-nu-ints, which he defined as “people who live by farming” and also glossed as “Santa Clara Indians” (Fowler and

Fowler 1971:156). This term is Eanengwets (“farming people/planter”) in modern transcription. This may be the same term as Hamblin’s Yanawant. In another report by Powell, U-ai-nu-ints are identified as the people “who live in the vicinity of St.

George” (Powell and Ingalls 1874:47, 51), and in yet a third manuscript, Powell renders the same word U-en-u-wunts as the name of the Santa

Clara Indians (Fowler and Fowler 1971:161). Elsewhere, Powell renders the term as Yen-u-unts, as

“farmers, those who cultivate the soil” and as

Yum-a-wints and Y-ai-nu-intz, “people who cultivate soil, farmers” (Fowler and Fowler 1971:144).

The Indians who lived at Washington, St.

George, and Santa Clara were farmers, and they knew something of the practice of irrigation. They cultivated corn, beans, and sunflowers for their seed, and other plants used for food and for fiber.

For this reason the comparatively small area of

Utah’s Dixie in which farming was done was called “U-an-o,” and the farmers were “U-an-nuince” or “U-ano-its.” The name has no clan or


tribal significance but rather is vocational (Palmer


The Indian words that Euroamericans have adopted to label a geographically localized group of Indian people often did not carry a literal locational meaning. Yanawant certainly referred to the people of the Santa Clara River, since they cultivated crops, but it is probable that Euroamerican usage gave the term a more localized reference than the term originally had. When the broader meaning of the Yanawant—that is “people who farm”—is considered, and when this is tied to a regional leader who defines himself as the head of the Yanawant, a more likely meaning is as a reference to all the people within his territory who farm.

Robert Lowie, who early on worked among the Shivwits Paiutes, also reported the following brief account. The Indians planted corn (hawu’ b)

[hawivi] and squashes (paranaro [meaning a kind of squash; naxurus means “squash”]) before white contact. Furthermore, he confirms that irrigation was employed (Lowie 1924:200).

Kaibab Paiute District

Early ethnographic fieldwork among Southern Paiute people provides additional records of the Southern Paiutes’ use of plant resources in and around the Grand Canyon. The aboriginal territory of the Kaibab Paiutes incorporated much of the Colorado Plateau region lying north of the

Colorado River in northern Arizona and southern

Utah (Stoffle and Evans 1976:174). Kelly (1934) indicates that the southern boundary of Kaibab

Paiute territory extended from the junction of the

Paria and Colorado rivers downstream until just beyond Kaibab Creek.

In addition to making full use of at least 96 species of non-domesticated plants, the Kaibab

Paiutes practiced irrigation horticulture (Stoffle and Evans 1976:175). Cultivated crops included maize, beans, and squash. The Grand Canyon provided important foodstuffs to Paiute people that were collected seasonally, processed, and stored for year-round use. The Kaibab Paiutes had gardens along the Colorado River at 2,300 feet, roasted agave along the upper edges of the canyon, hunted deer in the mountains of the Kaibab

Plateau at 9,000 feet, and gathered from hundreds of acres of sunflowers and Indian rice grass in the sandy foothills of the Vermillion Cliffs.

In 1776, Escalante indicated that the Southern Paiutes were cultivating the irrigable fields in their territory (Euler 1966:33). Seventy-six years later, John D. Lee recorded 100 acres of cultivated fields among the Santa Clara Paiutes, along with agriculture in the stream bottoms of the Virgin

River, which may have been in the Kaibab District. He states, “Their corn was waist high; squashes, beans, potatoes, etc. look well. They had in cultivation four or five acres; their wheat had got ripe and was out” (Woodbury 1944:143).

Powell, too, observed that “the Kaibab Paiute had cultivated the soil and had maize gardens along the river prior to settlement of the area by Euroamericans” (Powell 1957:100; Powell and Ingalls


The Kaibab Paiutes had the land, the domesticated plants, and the technology necessary to become fully sedentary agriculturalists by A.D

1100. Nevertheless, they continued to utilize subsistence strategies that mixed horticulture with hunting and wild plant procurement. Stoffle and

Evans (1976:177) suggest that they maintained mixed methods of subsistence in order to most effectively use the broad range of resources in an environment that only had permanent water sources in some portions of their district. Consequently, it made sense to farm along Kanab Creek and near the artesian springs, yet in areas lacking permanent water sources, hunting and plant procurement proved more adaptive.

San Juan District

The San Juan District extended from Monument Valley and Kayenta in the east to the Little

Colorado in the south, and from the San Juan

River in the north to the Moencopi Plateau in the south (Kelly 1932:167). Within this territory, the

San Juan Paiutes reportedly spent much of their time in the western portion of the territory due to

Navajo aggression. At the same time, the San Juan

Paiutes were not limited in movement or resource use to their own territory. For example, the San

Juan Paiutes went to harvest wild game and plant resources in places like House Rock Valley west of the Colorado River and the San Francisco Peaks to the south. These trips were carried out under reciprocal-use agreements with other Southern

Paiute territorial units and other American Indian ethnic groups. These reciprocal agreements were negotiated and cemented through a number of


sacred and secular ceremonies, such as the rounddance ceremonies (Bunte and Franklin 1987:19).

Parallels have been drawn between the subsistence strategies of the Kaibab Paiutes and those of the San Juan Paiutes; however, the San Juan

Paiutes typically had less water than the Kaibab

Paiutes to the west (Kelly 1932:170). Kelly reported that the Paiutes learned to farm from the

Hopi. Her informant JF indicated that his grandfather grew corn. Kelly notes that the San Juan Paiutes: “grew maize, kum (cf. Kaibab name for modern corn); beans, muruis; squash (or pumpkin), na (?) gitis (?); watermelon, piarkanimp; cantaloupe, muruna; sunflower, mukwivi” (Kelly


One known site of agriculture among the San

Juan Paiutes is called Willow Spring, in Navajo

Canyon. The father of Kelly’s informant farmed this site. He reportedly irrigated the land with spring water through a ditch that he had constructed (Kelly 1932:170). After planting his seeds in the spring, he would leave the site for the summer in order to procure wild plants. Then in the fall he would return to harvest his crops.

Pahranagat District

Additional evidence of indigenous agriculture is found in the Pahranagat Valley, which is located to the north of Las Vegas and Moapa,

Nevada. Within the southeastern portion of this region, farming occurred in proximity to the north-south flowing Muddy River and possibly the

White River, which extends into the neighboring district of Panaca (Kelly 1934). Information about native agriculture in the Pahranagat region was collected by William Nye, who led a prospecting party through the region in 1864. Nye reported that he and a party of silver prospectors decided to make winter camp in the mountains near Pahranagat. Nye estimates that at the time his prospecting party arrived, a community of approximately 200 Paiutes lived in the fertile valley of

Pahranagat under the leadership of chief Pah-

Witchit. As Pahranagat was one of the few fertile valleys with water in “an otherwise arid region”

(Nye 1886:294), this place was desirable in the eyes of both natives and newcomers.

Nye’s journal entries indicate that Paiute agriculture served as the main form of subsistence for the natives who lived in the land of “Shining

Water.” Nonetheless Nye considered “It…a mystery how these Indians managed to wring from…[nature] a bare subsistence” (Nye

1886:295), as there was no wild game observed beyond some hungry coyote and lizards. Within the Pahranagat Valley, Paiutes reportedly planted and harvested a number of crops. Chief Pah-

Witchit once protested that the prospectors’ ponies ate up the grass in the valley, thereby destroying their cornfields and melon patches. This concern grew as the resources of the group shrank with the approach of winter. While Nye indicates that he “never knew of a single theft, though we left our camp alone repeatedly” (Nye 1896:295), he and his party eventually felt compelled to leave

“that little strip of fertility, with its grass-bordered streams” (Nye 1886:294).

Ash Meadows, Death Valley, and Panamint


In addition to using agriculture as a primary form of subsistence, and employing irrigation works as well as burning techniques to facilitate crop development (Stoffle and Dobyns 1983:76–

78), it is probable that the Southern Paiutes taught neighboring Paiute and Shoshone populations how to cultivate plants. According to Lingenfelter

(1986:19), “limited farming began at Mahunu [the most prosperous Shoshone village in Death Valley] about the time the first whites arrived, but the

Mahunutsi probably picked up the idea from the

Ash Meadows Paiute, not the whites.”

The Southern Paiutes of Ash Meadows reportedly grew two types of hau’ wiv (corn), known as “squaw” and “speckled squash.” They also grew three types of pumpkins or squash, called

padan’a (crooked-necked squash), hama’tats (round furrowed, and green or brown), and tuwunt’ (large, round, and green), along with kaka’damudi (blackeyed beans) and wa’samudi (brown beans) (Steward

1941:231). Steward (1941:232) indicates that additional crops included muskmelons (kamitu), sunflowers (a:k u), beans (a white variety), black eyed beans, and possibly lima beans, as well as watermelons (pavonokutc), tomatoes, and wheat.

The Ash Meadows farmers practiced dry farming as well as irrigation farming. They planted their crops with the aid of a digging stick and were known to preserve squash through dry techniques

(Steward 1941:232). In addition to cultivating domesticates, the Southern Paiute cultivated wild strains of plants through a number of techniques.


These included using burning to clear areas of brush and stimulate new growth, as well as transplanting and pruning plants (Steward 1941:232).

After teaching their techniques to the Shoshone of

Death Valley, the practice of agriculture was adopted on a fairly wide scale. Lingenfelter

(1986:19) indicates that

…each [Shoshone] family cultivated a dozen or more acres. Corn, beans, and squash were the main crops. Later,

Dock [Chief of the district and resident at Grapevine Canyon] and Gold Mountain Jack, another Mahunutsi, each started second farms out on the floor of

Death Valley at Panugu, where Gold

Mountain Jack’s family spent about half of their time.

The people of northern Death Valley reportedly began to practice horticulture shortly after encroachment began (Steward 1938:88). Steward suggests that the plants selected as well as the patterns of cultivation were learned from neighboring

Southern Paiutes. Steward’s informant BD thought that soon after horticulture was introduced in Death Valley, it spread to Lida, Beatty, and Tupipah Springs east of Beatty. BD recalls that his father, uncle, and grandfather cultivated

50 acres in Grapevine Canyon. In addition, “Cold

Mountain Jack also had a ranch about a mile below the village and one other family had a plot”

(Steward 1938:89).

Steward also states that before the introduction of shovels, digging sticks were used for planting. Furthermore, each species was planted in a separate row and farming, including irrigation, was performed by both sexes. Each plot was family owned, and at the death of an owner, the fields were allowed to lay fallow for one or two years.

Although Steward maintains that horticulture was introduced after Euroamerican encroachment, this mode of subsistence had become an important aspect of the local indigenous economies by the end of the nineteenth century. When the mining boom hit Rhyolite in 1906, however, many people left their farms to haul wood for the mines.

North of Death Valley, Shoshones of

Panamint also adopted agricultural practices on a limited basis. The Panamint Valley, bounded by the Panamint Mountains and the Argus Mountains, was reportedly only sparsely populated be-

71 cause of the general aridity. By contrast, in the hinterlands of the Panamint and Argus mountains, many small springs were used by local and neighboring groups. When botanist Fredrick

Coville (1892:352) visited the Panamint Shoshones in 1891, he indicated that the community was engaged in indigenous agriculture as well as hunting and plant procurement activities. He wrote:

At the mouth of Hall canon, near Hot springs, at the west foot of the

Panamint mountains, and in Johnson canon, on the eastern or Death valley slope of the same range, the Indians have under crude irrigation and cultivation two or three acres of ground.

Coville also identified some of the principal cultigens he encountered. These included “corn, potatoes, squashes, and watermelons” (Coville

1892:352). At the end of the nineteenth century, the Panamints continued to hunt jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, quail, and mountain sheep. In addition, they hunted chuckawalla lizards, kangaroo rats, and mice. They also continued to procure a wide range of wild plant resources that were used for food, medicine, and the creation of items of material culture.

Owens Valley Farms

A well-developed system of Numic agriculture also existed in the most southerly district of the Northern Paiute territory of Owens Valley.

Owens Valley, which is deemed part of the outer

Great Basin, “lay at an altitude of 4000 feet at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California which, surpassing altitudes of 14,000 feet, provides varied zones of natural resources ranging up to the Alpine and gave rise to many streams which increased the fertility of the otherwise arid valley”

(Steward 1941:215). Steward indicates that among the people of Owens Valley, local agriculture was supplemented by irrigation that was overseen by an elected irrigator or the village chief. Furthermore:

Most other seeds and roots grew in or near the valley and were accessible from the permanent village. Some, especially the roots of Brodiaea, Eleocharis, and other various greens, and the seeds of

Helianthus, Chenopodium, and Juncus, grew in the swampy lowlands or on irrigated land. In the northern part of the valley the irrigator was elected. Each family harvested where it liked on harvested land. In the south the village chief was in charge of irrigation, either performing the task himself or requesting young men to do so. Each woman owned a subdivision of the area [Steward 1941:53].

While agriculture appeared to be well integrated into the social systems of Owens Valley

Paiutes, Steward (1941:53) suggests that Spaniards or Euroamericans could have introduced such agricultural practices. He speculates that although this irrigation was previously considered to be aboriginal (Steward 1933:247–250), it is possible that it was introduced “by Americans, who penetrated the valley after 1850, or by Spaniards who had settled at least the southern portion of it much earlier.” Wassen (1862:226) stated:

These Indians had dug ditches and irrigated nearly all the arable land in that section of the country, and live by its products. They have been repeatedly told by the officers of the Government that they should have the exclusive possession of these lands, and they are not fighting to maintain that possession.

Alternative positions about the origins of agriculture among the Owens Valley Paiute have been proposed, and Steward eventually reverted to the position that Owens Valley agriculture was indigenous in origin (Steward 1970:123). However, the analysis conducted by Lawton and his colleagues (1993) provides the most conclusive evidence about the origin of agriculture among the

Owens Valley Paiute. Based upon three years of fieldwork and the use of previously untapped historical documentation, Lawton et al. (1993:332) conclude that agriculture within the Owens Valley was “almost certainly of indigenous origin.” The significance of this information is twofold. First,

Owens Valley represented the most densely settled portion of the Great Basin, with 30 separate villages and an aboriginal population of at least

2,000 people (Lawton et al. 1993:333). Second, indigenous agriculture, coupled with dam and ditch irrigation, developed on a considerable scale

(Steward 1930), and the election of head irrigators

(tuvaiju) calls into question Steward’s theoretical position regarding the putative lack of social complexity of Numic indigenous populations.

One of the earliest records of indigenous agriculture among the Owens Valley Paiute is presented in a newspaper account from 1859. On

August 27, 1859, a reporter for the Los Angeles Star noted:

Large tracts of land are here irrigated by the natives to secure the growth of the grass seeds and grass nuts—a small tuberous root of fine taste and nutritious qualities, which grows here in abundance. Their ditches for irrigation are in some cases carried for miles, displaying as much accuracy and judgment as if laid out by an engineer, and distributing the water with great regularity over their grounds, and this too, without the aid of a single agricultural implement [cited in

Lawton et al. 1993:354].

In spite of the widespread presence and use of irrigation works, the reporter concluded: “They are totally ignorant of agriculture and depend entirely upon the natural resources of the country for food and clothing” (Los Angeles Star, August

27, 1859). This assessment is significant in that it signals a limited knowledge on the part of certain

Euroamericans regarding Numic indigenous horticultural practices. Steward took a similar position in his 1930 paper, called “Irrigation without Agriculture.” At the root of his misconception was the inability to recognize the practice of irrigating wild plants as a genuine form of agriculture. Steward

(1930) reported that irrigation existed throughout the Owens Valley and was concentrated at the northern end of the valley near the present town of Bishop, California.

On each side of Bishop Creek at pitana patu was an irrigated plot, a northern one measuring 4 by 1-1.5 miles, and a southern plot approximately two miles square. The irrigation system for these fields consisted of a dam on Bishop Creek a mile below the Sierra Nevada Mountains and a main ditch leading to each plot. The northern ditch was over two miles long and the southern more than


three miles long; both were immense earthworks the size of modern canals (Steward 1930:151, 157).

In the historical documents of A. W. Von

Schmidt, a surveyor who worked in the Owens

Valley from 1855–1856, there is evidence of even more extensive irrigation works in the vicinity of

Round Valley and Bishop. According to Von

Schmidt’s records, irrigation existed on Rock

Creek, Pine Creek, and Horton Creek (cited in

Lawton et al. 1993:342). Significantly, Von

Schmidt’s journal entries repeatedly confirm not only the widespread use of native irrigation, but also the constant presence of “1st rate soils” and

“fine grasses.” Lawton and colleagues (1993:346) identify the full extent of these irrigation works through the analysis of maps constructed by one of Steward’s informants, Jack Stewart (Steward

1933:326), and the survey maps of Von Schmidt

(1855). Figure 4.4 shows the results of the research carried out by Lawton and his colleagues.

Optimizing Numic Agriculture

In the previous overview of historic and ethnographic data, we have demonstrated that agriculture was an integral subsistence practice among the Southern Paiutes, Western Shoshone, and

Owens Valley Paiutes. This agriculture involved

(1) the use of irrigation works, (2) the rotation of fields, (3) the ownership and inheritance of land,

(4) the use of agricultural implements, (5) the use of selective burning techniques, (6) the election of irrigation leaders, (7) the cultivation of naturally occurring plants, and (8) the cultivation of domesticated plants. The Southern Paiutes and their neighbors used each of these elements in the development of optimal farming systems.

In “Historic Memory and Ethnographic Perspectives on the Southern Paiute Homeland,”

Stoffle and Zedeño (2001) inquire how long a group must farm in order to develop optimal irrigation systems. They note that the ancestors of contemporary Zuni (Ashiwi) experimented with farming technology, the locations of fields, and floodwater irrigation systems for at least 500 years before the arrival of Europeans (Anyon and Ferguson 1984; Ferguson 1995; Ferguson and Hart

1985). Based on this information, Stoffle and

Zedeño (2001) suggest that a multi-generational experimentation effort is required to produce optimal irrigation systems that permit the establishment of a sustainable and fully sedentary population.

Using a parallel case study of aboriginal farming along the Santa Clara River in southern Utah, the authors demonstrate that Paiute farming had been practiced along the Colorado River and the

Colorado Plateau for several centuries before contact. The Santa Clara case study provides a vehicle for demonstrating some of the core elements that constituted agriculture among the Southern Paiutes and neighboring groups. Below, each element and its manifestation among Southern Paiutes of the Santa Clara/Shivwits District is elucidated.

Figure 4.4. Irrigation in Owens Valley (Lawton et al.



[Originally based on Steward (1930, 1933, 1938) and

Von Schmidt (unpublished records). Redrawn from

Steward (1933:Map 1)]

Irrigation Works

Stoffle and Zedeño (2001) indicate that most of the Southern Paiute fields along the Santa Clara

River were irrigated by stream diversion into primary canals and field laterals. Southern Paiutes adapted their irrigation technology to a variety of environmental conditions in their diverse habitats.

The Santa Clara was small enough that

Southern Paiutes could successfully dam and divert its waters. When Elder George A. Smith visited the newly established Santa Clara Mormon

Fort in 1857, he reported that there were 13 earthen dams across the stream above the fort

(Smith 1861). Between the earthen dams were a series of beaver dams along the Santa Clara River.

The coexistence of beaver dams and Southern

Paiute farming along the lower Santa Clara River suggests that the Santa Clara Southern Paiutes let beavers perform some portions of the dam construction and maintenance in the Indian water management system.

According to Thomas D. Brown:

There appears many patches of good wheat land on this stream, across which

Beaver dams are built every few rods, & the banks being low, the water overflows much & renders the bottoms good grazing patches [Brooks 1972:55].

The Mormons who colonized these areas were direct immigrants from Northern Europe.

Upon assuming control of these riverine areas and removing the Paiute farmers, they eliminated the beavers, their dams, and their labor. In addition, they eliminated the traditional ecological knowledge that Paiutes had developed over thousands of years. Elimination of the flood control provided by the beaver dams was probably one of the causes of the series of disastrous floods that swept away much of the rich bottomland after Mormon colonization began.

Field Rotation

In 1854 Mormon colonists from Fort Harmony surveyed indigenous agricultural practices along the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers. Thomas

D. Brown reports, “Some 10 acres are cultivated

74 here, and as many or more at the settlement below this, indeed all along this river are small Indian patches of 2 to 10 acres cultivated. And some of the missionaries have visited other portions of these bottoms and say there are many more small patches uncultivated” (Brooks 1972:56–57).

Stoffle and Zedeño (2001) indicate that

Brown’s reference to “uncultivated patches” represents fields the Paiutes left fallow or allowed to revert to natural vegetation. Larson (1961:2) also reports that indigenous farmers on the Santa

Clara and Virgin rivers practiced field rotations:

“A forced rotation probably worked in their favor, because they merely harvested the corn and then planted on new ground, returning to the old when the roots were enough decayed to permit them to plant again.”

The practice of field rotation is evidenced in records outside of the Santa Clara and Virgin

River riverine areas. Julian Steward’s informant from Owens Valley told him that southern and northern plots were irrigated in alternate years

(Steward 1933:247). Based on this information,

Steward concluded that the Paiutes of Owens Valley used field rotation practices, “preventing soil exhaustion.” Lawton et al. (1993:338) proposed a second reason for this practice, maintaining that field rotation “enabled the plots to reseed themselves.”

Ownership and Inheritance of Land

Southern Paiutes developed and sustained indepth attachments to the land that were expressed linguistically as well as through physical engagements with particular places that were rooted in ecological knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Powell observed:

An Indian will never ask to what nation or tribe or body of people another Indian belongs to but to what land do you belong and how is your land named.

Thus the very name of the Indian is his title deed to his home…. His national pride and patriotism, his peace with other tribes, his home and livelihood for his family, all his interests, everything that is dear to him is associated with his country [Fowler and Fowler 1971:38].

Mortuary customs among Southern Paiutes further affirm the presence of ownership claims.

When a person died, a common practice was to leave the land that he or she owned fallow for one to two years. This practice was initiated even if the crops were ready to be harvested, indicating that the land and the products of the person’s labor on the land were both considered a part of the person who had left the physical world. This practice also extended to other family members whose labor had been invested in a particular field. After the death of Chief Tutsegavit’s son, the chief relocated his fields to a different place. According to

Jacob Hamblin:

The Chief told me he was a going to move farther up the River to plant corn he…raised corn here last Summer on this land but one of his boys died here he could not think of of [sic] planting corn here now…the Chief came to me and Said he wanted to go up the Tonequint to plant corn he planted corn here last year one of his Boys Died on his land and he should not plant the

Same land until another year [Hamblin


Material Culture

The tools that Southern Paiutes used in the development of an optimal irrigation system are not fully known. However, the products of their work provide evidence of their capacity to significantly shape their environments. Brown reported a dam across the Santa Clara that was “3 rods” wide and 48 feet long, feeding into an irrigation canal about three-fourths of a mile long (Brooks

1972:56). Paddle-shaped sticks served as one tool used in the creation of water-control systems.

Robinson noted: “They make dams and have water sects, which they make with sticks, which are formed something like a canoe paddle” (Brooks

1950b:29). Anthropologist Robert H. Lowie states, “Ditches were dug with an implement called a pasau, which was shaped with a sharp rock” (Lowie 1924:200). In addition, digging sticks were regularly used for seeding fields at the onset of each growing season.

Selective Burning

The practice of selectively burning fields in order to stimulate new plant growth was a practice held among Southern Paiutes as well as their neighbors. Early observers documented the use of fire in clearing fields along the Santa Clara River

(Stoffle and Zedeño 2001). In addition, Stoffle and Dobyns (1983:76–78) note that the mid nineteenth century Mormons recorded the Paiutes’ common practice of burning brush and grasslands to stimulate new growth, to benefit humans directly by increasing seed production and indirectly by increasing the forage for game animals.

Irrigation Leaders

We propose that—as agricultural systems requiring irrigation works became increasingly embedded in each Paiute community—the necessity of internal organization increased. Among the

Owens Valley Paiute, the community responded by creating a head irrigator, called tuvaiju’. This leader was elected via popular assembly each spring. Among his responsibilities, the tuvaiju’ would decide when everyone would begin irrigation, and might also direct the construction of dams (Steward 1930:15).

The Cultivation of Domesticated and Wild


In addition to the cultivation of New World domesticates, wild plant species formed an important part of the Southern Paiute diet. Water management that spread the flow of the river and retained the topsoil optimized growing conditions for desirable wild plant species as well as for domesticated crops. When Thomas D. Brown visited the Virgin and the Santa Clara rivers in 1854, he reported:

There was a good crop of wheat ripe in some places which they were cutting and using, and abundance of corn, many beans, and a green substance between the rows which we stooped and wished to pull out, till they told us it was part of their food [Brooks 1972:56–57].

Within the Southern Paiute subsistence strategy, planting and irrigation of domesticated plants

(including maize, beans, squash, amaranth, and


chenopods) shaded into irrigation of nondomesticated plants growing wild in the cultivated fields (including Mentzelia). Irrigation of wild plants in the cultivated fields in turn shaded into irrigation of stands of wild plants (berries, wild seed grains, greens) as a result of dams across the river (Stoffle and Zedeño 2001).

From Optimization to Elimination

Cumulatively, these practices fostered sustainable agricultural practices among the Numic people of the riverine portions of the Numa aboriginal territory. With the arrival of Euroamerican travelers and settlers, however, the delicate balance established between the Southern Paiute people and the aboriginal territories within the

Great Basin and Colorado Plateau was fundamentally altered. Although the development of sustainable agricultural techniques probably took untold centuries, disassembling of these practices and of the ecological balances that had been created within these environments occurred in a matter of decades.

The Ecological Implications of Encroachment

In the final section of this chapter we explore some of the principal ecological impacts of nineteenth century Euroamerican encroachment among the Southern Paiutes. As the historical and cultural processes of encroachment among Western Shoshones and Paiutes of Nevada are relayed in Chapter Two, we focus on the Southern Paiutes of southern Utah and northern Arizona in the present chapter. In particular, we attend to two recurrent patterns of change: first, the movement of Southern Paiutes from core areas where agriculture was typically practiced to hinterlands; and second, changes in the floristic and physiographic dimensions of the Southern Paiute homelands that occurred concomitant with nineteenth century

Euroamerican population influxes. Here we demonstrate how the land-use practices of northern

European immigrants contributed to disruptions in the ecosystems of the Great Basin, Colorado

Plateau, and Mojave Desert. Whereas the Paiutes and their indigenous neighbors understood the importance of collecting water in desert environments and using it sparingly, the immigrants frequently employed the upside-down philosophy of draining meadows to create lands for the cultiva-

76 tion of crops such as hay and alfalfa, or using water as a conduit for garbage and feces, instead of making every effort to keep water sources as clean as possible. These differences in land-use practices contributed to tensions between the old keepers of the land and the newcomers.

Mormons and Gold: Displacement and Ecological Destruction

In the middle of the nineteenth century, two encroachment processes dramatically altered

Southern Paiute society. These forces included a mass influx of Mormons into southern Utah in

1851, and the Gold Rush of 1849. Thereafter, large bands of Euroamericans began to enter the

Southern Paiute aboriginal lands in progressively larger numbers. Upon arriving, they began to find and claim for themselves the riverine portions of the Southern Paiute homelands for agriculture, and (eventually) the hinterlands for grazing livestock. Consequently, native subsistence practices of agriculture, plant procurement, and hunting became progressively less viable. The pervasiveness of colonization is indicated in William

Palmer’s (1933:90) statement that if one made a map of the Indian tribal homelands, one would find in most cases that their locations were almost identical with the places selected by the Mormon pioneers for settlements. The only reason that encroachment did not precipitate inter-tribal strife was that it came so rapidly that the problem overwhelmed the natives. Holt (1992:25) affirms the rapidity of this process, stating, “It took the Mormons only fifteen years to found colonies at most of the best agricultural sites in Paiute country. Settlements were established at Parowan and Cedar

City in 1851, at Las Vegas in 1857, St. George in

1861, and along the Moapa River in 1865.” To illustrate, we examine the processes of encroachment and ecological degradation in two Southern

Paiute districts.

Kaibab District

In the early 1860s, Mormons began to colonize Kaibab Paiute territories. Driven by a vision of creating a religious nation known as “Zion” as well as an “agricultural empire,” the followers of this doctrine had already established stock ranches at Short Creek, Pipe Springs, and Mocassin by

1863 (Stoffle and Evans 1976:180). By 1864

Mormons had established their first settlement at

the site of Kanab, where they intended to raise livestock and establish a flourishing agricultural community. Other ranches were also established in the Utah mountains. Consequently, all of the major water sources in the Kaibab territory came under Euroamerican control within a single year

(Stoffle and Evans 1976:180).

With the settlement of “the best Paiute campsites, fields, and water…by Europeans”

(Holt 1992:29), the viability of indigenous agriculture plummeted. Consequently, reports of traditional agriculture in the 1860s and 1870s are scarce compared to sightings from the 1840s and 1850s.

Holt speculates, “It may be significant that I found no mention of independent Paiute irrigation in Utah between 1870 and the establishment of reservations.” Holt’s findings are repeatedly confirmed in the ethnohistories of the regions where the Mormons gained a foothold.

When Mormons first moved into the riverine portions of the Kaibab territories, Southern Paiutes responded by reverting to a subsistence strategy of hunting and plant procurement. Stoffle and

Evans (1976:180) indicate that left unchecked, the intensive harvesting of resources that ensued within a circumscribed physical region could have led to ecological disaster. However, before this came to pass, the biotic communities were even further disrupted through the introduction of horses, cows, and sheep.

Of all the stories of the Arizona Strip, none has as much general interest as does the story of the cattle industry, and none has as much bearing upon the future of this land. This began early, soon after the first exploring trips of Jacob Hamblin, when James M. Whitmore established a ranch at Pipe Springs. In 1866 both he and his herdsmen were killed by Indians, and soon after,

Brigham Young bought up the claims as a center for the church-owned cattle herd. Soon after the temple (at St. George) was finished, the church cattle herd was sold to individuals and went under the name of the Winsor Stock Growing Company.

In 1878 it was merged with the Cannan Cattle

Company, and between them it did not take long to denude the lush Cannan Valley and the whole

Pipe Springs pasturage. In the meantime local cattlemen had formed cooperative herds at Mociac,

Ivanpah, Nixon, Parashont, and other watering places. At each, the white men had purchased the water from Indians, giving a pony or a gun for the larger springs, and a blanket, a sheep, or some trinkets for the seeps. In almost every case they moved more cattle to the watering place than the land could support permanently (Brookes


In the earlier phases of encroachment, some

Paiutes demonstrated collective resistance towards the Mormons’ efforts to overrun the most fertile regions of their homeland. In 1864, certain Paiutes and Utes began a campaign against the Mormons that lasted for three years. During this time, they waged surprise attacks against the settlers from

Sanpete County to the south of Kanab (Corbett

1952:258; Woodbury 1944:168). Other Southern

Paiutes chose to guard the Mormon settlements in exchange for access to land and water rights that had previously been denied (Stoffle and Evans

1976:182). As a result of raiding and warring with certain Navajos and Paiutes, the Mormons abandoned the settlement of Kanab in 1866. However, in 1870 new settlers arrived at Kanab from Salt

Lake and competition over resources resumed.

Following the resettlement of Kanab, the

Paiutes were once again marginalized from the water and biotic resources of their district. Furthermore, the effects of a much larger population on resources previously used almost exclusively by

Kaibab Paiutes had begun to surface. Jacob Hamblin writes of the overtaxing of resources, saying,

“I found the land had been so divided in the

Kanab field that what was considered my share was nearly worthless. I sowed some wheat but it proved a failure” (Little 1881:139). As the Kaibab

Paiutes lost access to their lands and their resources, many of them starved to death (Ratliff

1973). Stoffle and Evans note: “All evidence indicates that the loss of 82 percent of the Kaibab

Paiute population occurred because they lost essential subsistence resources during a ten-year period of resource competition” from 1863 to 1873.

Many Southern Paiutes subsequently moved into the most marginal portions of their traditional lands, where they experienced ongoing stresses due to a lack of sufficient resources. After 1874, however, the Anglo settlers began using the hinterlands outside of Kanab for sheep and cattle grazing (Webb, Smith, and McCord 1991:27).

These lands included House Rock (Ousuk) Valley,

Kaibab, and the Uinkaret plateaus (Gregory


As the Mormons gained control over Kaibab territories, they altered the ecological balances established between Kaibab Paiutes and their envi-


ronments. Webb, Smith, and McCord (1991) present a thorough analysis of environmental changes in the alluvial plains along the Kanab and Johnson creeks. Citing evidence gathered from tree ring studies, these authors note that the historical record indicates that the arroyo of Kanab Creek was initiated during a series of floods beginning in

1882. Floods occurring over a period of 50 years also “initiated (the development) of other arroyos in Southern Utah” (Webb 1987, cited in Webb et. al. 1991:20). Furthermore, Webb and his colleagues note that scar clusters upon tree samples between 1866 and 1916 indicate that the series of floods within this region did not occur randomly.

“In the case of Kanab Creek, the likely cause for the non-stationary nature of flood frequency during the period of arroyo formation are [sic] poor land-use practices and (or) climatic fluctuations or change” (Webb et al. 1991:21).

The introduction of sheep and cattle at

Kanab Creek in 1863 and 1870 represents one land-use practice that rapidly depleted the natural grasses that the Paiutes used as a primary food source. As the natural vegetation decreased, cattle were moved to more distant and higher elevations.

As a consequence, this process caused the further depletion of plant life throughout many areas integral to the livelihood of certain Southern Paiutes. Traditionally, these lands had been used by members of the Kaibab District, and possibly neighboring districts, for a number of purposes that include—but are not limited to—the gathering of natural vegetation for food and medicinal and ceremonial purposes, as well as for the hunting of animals who were equally reliant upon the existence and maintenance of the natural vegetation. Through both individual and corporate cattle ranching, much of the natural vegetation was completely depleted. Bagley, Criddle, and Higginson (1959:12, cited in Webb et. al. 1991:21) note that by 1956, only 41 out of 695 hectares of native vegetation (around Kanab Creek) remained.

In addition to damage resulting from sheep and cattle grazing, the irrigation practices of the

Anglo settlers within the Eastern Yanawant territories contributed to the extensive erosion and channelization of the alluvial plain. Here, the preeminent northern European practice of draining off excess water, rather than collecting water to prepare lands for cultivation, contributed to notable alterations of the ecosystem. Robinson

(1972:17) indicates that the construction of dams and ditches, and the draining of meadow areas within the alluvial reaches to allow cultivation of natural and introduced grasses and alfalfa for hay, all catalyzed processes resulting in increased channelization and erosion. In the 1880s, one of the meadows in Johnson Wash was so wet that people could not cut their hay. In response,

Hyrum S. Shumway…plowed a furrow through the center of the valley…. It drained off the excess water so the hay could be gathered. But alas, the protective covering of sod had been broken and every rainstorm thereafter took its load of sandy soil from beneath the meadow grass. When the summer rains began, they cut Derby’s fish pond and many acres of choice meadow land besides, leaving in its wake a wash twenty feet [6.6 m] deep, extending from north to south down the center of the valley

[Robinson 1972:17].

The land-use practices underlying Anglo agricultural and ranching resulted in increased channelization at different times in and around the newly established settlements. In Alton, the entrenchment of arroyos did not occur until 1930

(Webb et al. 1991:21), whereas at Kanab Creek and Johnson Wash “at least 85 x 10




of sediment was eroded between 1877 and 1985” (Smith

1990, cited in Webb et al. 1991:24), with most of the erosion occurring between 1882 and 1910.

Flooding along the Paria River also resulted in the entrenchment of arroyos between 1883 and 1924

(Gregory and Moore 1931 and Herford 1986, cited in Webb et al. 1991).

The size and timing of flooding, as well as the degree of resultant erosion, varied from settlement to settlement. The analysis conducted by

Webb and colleagues (1991) suggests that poor land-use practices contributed to the magnitude of floods as well as the damage resulting therein. For example, on Kanab Creek, conclusive evidence verifies that flooding was largely transitory. Yet,

“tree ring evidence from Kanab Creek from A.D.

1462–1985 indicates a period of increased flood magnitude between 1882 and 1936 that is unprecedented in the over 500-year record” (Webb et al. 1991:24).

The dramatic changes in channelization and natural vegetation within the Eastern Yanawant


territories resulted in conditions that posed serious consequences for both indigenous and nonindigenous populations. With an influx of both

Anglo settlers and indigenous populations displaced from their traditional lands in the Western

Yanawant territories as well as neighboring lands, competition over natural resources increased. Initially, many Southern Paiutes moved towards the more marginal lands within those territories in order to increase their chances of survival. However, the rapid population growth experienced as a result of both Anglo immigration and the exodus of many neighboring indigenous groups, coupled with increased flooding, erosion, channelization, and the depletion of natural vegetation, made the procurement of the most basic resources increasingly difficult. By 1880, interconnected layers of ecological and human processes had radically altered the lives of many Southern Paiutes living in the Eastern Yanawant territories.

Jacob Hamblin, one of the men most responsible for the success of the Mormon colonizing efforts in southern Utah, wrote to J. W. Powell in 1880 that, “The watering places are all occupide

[sic] by the white man. The grass that product mutch [sic] seed is all et [sic] out. The sunflowere seed is all distroyed [sic] in fact thar [sic] is nothing for them to depend upon but beg or starve”

(Fowler and Fowler 1971:110). Once the natural vegetation was disturbed, the results were often long-lasting. Gregory (1945:33) notes that “in this semiarid region the natural herbage is scanty and when destroyed reproduces itself with seeming difficulty.”

Shivwits/Santa Clara District

A second example of extreme environmental and cultural change from 200 years of encroachment is found in the Shivwits/Santa Clara District.

Mormons began the systematic colonization of this portion of the Southern Paiutes’ territories in

1854 with the establishment of the Mormon mission at Fort Harmony under the leadership of

Jacob Hamblin. Shortly thereafter, church authorities moved some of their members and established a settlement along the Santa Clara Creek, where large populations of Southern Paiute farmers were known to live. By 1857, Hamblin was charged with presiding over the Santa Clara Mission, which grew into the town of St. George only seven years after the settlement was first established (Knack


The Mormon Church quickly established other settlements in several Paiute districts. These settlements were part of a corridor to the sea that would strategically help them gain control over the

Sea of Cortez. Among the early settlements were

Filmore (1851), Parowan (1851), Cedar City

(1851), Santa Clara (1854), St. George (1861), and

Las Vegas (1855) (Stoffle et al. 1995:185). Other settlements, including Meadow Valley north of

Santa Clara, Circleville on the west side of Sevier

River, and Kanab in the district of Kaibab were established in 1864 (Knack 2001:53). As a result of their colonizing activities, church members gained control over the most fertile lands and water sources throughout the aboriginal Paiute territories in a single generation. Furthermore, “within fifteen years of [establishing] their first southern settlement, over three thousand Mormons were living in the one hundred miles between St.

George and Moapa alone, far outnumbering native Paiutes” (Arrington 1958:117).

The Mormons of Santa Clara endeavored to take physical control of the Southern Paiute territories as well as ideological control over indigenous owners. Efforts to establish hegemony involved the introduction of large numbers of northern Europeans who were following a carefully designed plan to systematically displace the indigenous people from the most fertile regions of the native homelands. This plan was reinforced with paternalistic rhetoric, corporal punishment, and death threats of a supernatural variety (Holt

1992:12, 32; Knack 2001:64, 89, 90). Once the

Mormon settlers gained control of the primary fields and irrigation sites, they began to alter the irrigation works in both small and drastic ways.

Disruptions of the old ecology were immediately evidenced in the water use patterns. In reference to the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers, Joseph Earl

Spenser (1940:185) observed:

At the start the main problem of cultivation was the availability of water for irrigation. With a scant population in the early days, only simple ditches and canals could be built and these only for the lowest lands. Extremely serious lateral erosion of stream beds, initiated by abnormal rains and furthered by human


agency, destroyed many of the lowest fields at an early date, so that canals at higher levels were required. This, coupled with the intense need for more land due to increasing population, brought about the extension of canal systems and field holdings which finally culminated in the occupation of several high-lying benches containing alluvial covers, and in the founding of several new villages.

In Fort Harmony the effects of Mormon irrigation were noted as early as 1857. A visitor noted, “The slopes were much injured by the drought, the river having entirely dried up, so that it has not reached the settlement’ (Ray n.d.:1).

Along the Santa Clara, the impacts of Mormon irrigation practices were also experienced in the early years. According to Ray (n.d.:13):

During December 1861, the Swiss settlers built a dam and a canal to furnish water to the new townsite. This was completed by December 25, at a cost of

$1030. …The day the task was completed, rain began to fall and continued to do so for some time. On New Years

Day a terrific flood swept away the new dam as well as destroying the fort and other buildings of the mission.

While the Southern Paiutes had experienced flooding before, the scale and frequency of flooding that occurred after the Mormons seized control of the irrigation systems was unprecedented.

“Big floods have opened up springs in the creek as the water supply has gradually increased until in

1900 it was estimated to be ten times as great. The creek could be stepped across when the fort was first established, but in 1862, the bed of the stream at Hamblin’s Fort was “150 yeas [sic] wide and 25 feet deep” (Ray n.d:14). It is probable that increased flooding was exacerbated by the Mormon settlers’ decisions to eliminate the beaver and beaver dams that had previously served as a primary means of flood control. Juanita Brooks notes that at the time the wife of Thales Haskell was shot by a young indigenous man, Haskell was out in the creek taking out beaver dams (Brooks

1950b). Given the importance of beaver dams, it is likely that this shooting incident stemmed from frustrations over the disruption of indigenous irrigation methods.

In addition to fundamentally altering the ways in which water sources were dispersed, the

Mormons insisted that the Southern Paiutes practice Western agricultural techniques, which entailed fully sedentary adaptations. Ironically, while transhumant adaptations appeared to be the most adaptive strategy of subsistence under circumstances of growing resource demands, this is the singular adaptation from which the Mormons sought to relieve the Southern Paiutes. At the same time that the Mormons were trying to force

Paiutes to give up transhumant adaptations, they were beginning to experience their own failures with agriculture. Shortly after Jacob Hamblin helped to establish a Mormon settlement at Santa

Clara Creek, the Indian crops began to fail. “The

[Mormons] planted their crop, and for a time it seemed that they would do well. Then the creek began to dry up. The Indians came to Jacob complaining. The old chief, Tutseqgavit, told him that if the Indians would work with them they should have food and now their corn was drying up”

(Brooks 1942:27).

Ecological damage, and consequently the diminishment of the indigenous peoples’ autonomy, was further worsened by the introduction of livestock around the new Mormon settlements. With the westward expansion of the railroad in the

1870s, overgrazing was exacerbated to endemic proportions, and by 1880 “there was not a single locality west of the Wasatch Mountains from

Cache Valley to Bain of Virgin River that did not exhibit effects of overstocking” (Knack 2001:93).

Among the Santa Clara/Shivwits Indians, the livestock problem yielded no easy answers. With the cattle eating away much of the food they required for themselves, some Southern Paiutes resorted to taking items from the Mormon settlers. Although the Mormons felt justified in taking all of the primary lands and resources of the Santa

Clara/Shivwits Indians, they were nevertheless riled by the Paiutes’ occasional disregard of the putative property rights of the Mormons. In response to alleged thefts by the Southern Paiutes, the Mormons adopted a custom of corporal punishment. Jacob Hamblin stated:

If anyone [of the Santa Clara Paiutes] stole, he either paid a price for what he


had taken, or was stripped, tied to a tree and whipped, according to the magnitude of the offense. The Indians did the whipping, while I generally dictated the number of lashes [Little 1909].

A second means of bending the will of

Southern Paiutes came through threats of supernatural punishment. Knack reports an incident that was recorded during a feast in Parowan in

1854. The chief, Kanarrah, began by stating that

The Pah-eeds had sometimes stolen our cattle, but it was because they were poor and very hungry, while we were very rich…. But they would not steal anymore, but be always “tu-o-je-tik-aboo”― very good, true friends. President [of the settlement] John C. L.

Smith thought this a fine opportunity to inculcate morality and industry and made them a speech. He told them that they should not steal or be lazy. If they did they woud make the Great Spirit very angry and they would all die off until hardly any would be left. They should quit stealing and should work and be like the whites and instead of dying off they would live and increase and become numerous and wealthy [cited in

Knack 2001:90].

In actuality, Shivwits/Santa Clara Paiutes had already been severely impacted by population losses as a result of both disease and starvation. In

1854, Mormons estimated that there was a population of approximately 800 Southern Paiutes living in the villages along the Santa Clara River

(Bleak 1928:17–18). However, in 1855–1856, epidemics swept through the area and killed many of the indigenous inhabitants. The spread of disease among the Shivwits/Santa Clara Paiutes can be explained through the recruitment and immigration policies of the Mormons during the nineteenth century. Mormons recruited their members from the poorest sectors of the industrial centers in Northern Europe. When they immigrated to

Zion, they carried many “crowd diseases” that were then transferred to the Southern Paiutes.

Contagion spread through proximity. Such proximity was fostered by Mormons buying/adopting

Southern Paiutes, trading activities, interethnic marriages and general sexual relations, and the hiring of Paiutes as laborers (Stoffle et al.


Within the Southern Paiute territories, multiple virgin soil epidemics swept through the aboriginal territories when the Mormons began to colonize these areas. Over the first decade of colonization, the Mormons introduced ten documented Old World diseases, including measles, malaria, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, whooping cough, smallpox, typhoid fever, intestinal parasites, mumps, and cholera. Stoffle et al. 1995:191 note that there was a 50 percent mortality rate in

1855–1856 alone.

The Southern Paiutes living in the riverine portions of their territory were particularly vulnerable to typhoid fever and intestinal parasites. As a consequence, there was a high mortality rate among infants in St. George, Utah during the first few decades of settlement. Stoffle et al. (1995:188) indicate that the primary mechanism of disease transmission for these parasites was through the practice among Mormons of defecating in surface waters. Other diseases were evidenced as well. In

1854, missionaries witnessed a Southern Paiute man die of tuberculosis on Santa Clara Creek

(Stoffle et al. 1995:186). In addition, people were equally vulnerable through the Mormon policy of draining water sources as a means of eliminating malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Disruptions of the balance between Southern

Paiutes and the land were compounded by the loss of game resources. Ironically, the systematic depletion of faunal sources triggered by Euroamerican encroachment became a justification for the

Mormon’s progressive enslavement of a previously autonomous people. Brigham Young told the members of his church:

This is the land that they and their fathers have walked over and called their own…this is their home, and we have taken possession of it, and occupy the land where they used to hunt…. But now their game has gone, and they are left to starve…. It is our duty to feed these poor ignorant Indians; we are living on their possessions and at their homes. The Lord had brought us here and it is all right. We are not intruders, but we are here by the providence of


God [Church, Journal of Discourses,

11:264, cited in Knack 2001:51–52].

Some Paiutes responded to the multiple threats of encroachment by retreating to the hinterlands. Unfortunately, using the Shivwits Plateau as a region of refuge helped the Mormons to establish dominion over core indigenous areas. In addition, once the Mormons brought cattle into the area, they sought to usurp the Paiutes from their regions of refuge as well so that they might allow their livestock to graze.

Special Agent Anthony W. Ivins spearheaded the movement to remove Southern Paiutes from the Shivwits Plateau and force them to relocate on lands along the Santa Clara River in Washington

County, Utah. Efforts to gain federal support for a reservation began in the 1880s “after the Mohave

Land and Cattle Company declared that it had bought the land and water rights to that plateau by giving the Paiutes a few head of cattle” (Knack

2001:131). After allegedly “acquiring the interests” of the Shivwits Plateau, Ivins proceeded to argue for the necessity of removing Southern Paiutes from this hinterland region of refuge so that his vision of cattle ranching could be realized. Initially Ivins alleged that the Shivwits remained on the land, the right to which they had sold to others. They became insolent, frequently killed cattle for food, and when questioned replied that the country was theirs (Ivins 1924). Rather than questioning the legitimacy of the Euroamericans’ rights to the Shivwits Plateau, Ivins proceded with his plans to physically remove all Shivwits/Santa

Clara Paiutes to a reservation along the Santa

Clara River.

Ivins petitioned the federal government to create a reservation for these Southern Paiutes that would once again force them to occupy space in accordance with the perceived needs of the

Mormon settlers. Although the federal government was moving away from the establishment of reservations, Ivins convinced it to grant $10,000 for this purpose (Knack 2001:136). Ivins identified three ranches where he intended to force 194

Shivwits/Santa Clara Paiutes to relocate. Ironically, this land was still owned by the

Shivwits/Santa Clara Paiute people, and no deeds existed among the three Mormon families that had encroached upon the land during the mid 1870s.

In fact, the land had never even been surveyed.

Therefore, it was technically impossible for the federal government to buy the land. Rather than acknowledging the aboriginal land rights, however, the federal government proceeded to buy the improvements to the land for a sum of $3,100. By contrast, the Indians were given $1,204.50 for all of their necessities. As the weather was reportedly warm, they were denied blankets and clothing

(Stoffle et al. 1991).

After purchasing the improvements to the land of Samuel Knight, Mrs. Congor, and Mrs.

Woodbury along the Santa Clara River, Ivins met with 24 of the 194 people that would be forced to move from the Shivwits Plateau. Although over half of the Paiute family heads of households were not in attendance at this meeting, Ivins asked the attendees to vote for a chief who would serve in a mediation role between themselves and the Euroamerican settlers and federal government. In addition to appointing a chief without the full backing of the Shivwits/Santa Clara people, Ivins selected a portion of land of which a notable portion was not farmable. Along parts of the Santa

Clara River, the land was described as almost perpendicular, and therefore suitable for little more than cattle grazing. In response to the smallness of the territory available for farming, Ivins maintained that it was all right because it was more productive than the land of the Dakotas and northwest states (Stoffle et al. 1991).

Through these collective patterns of encroachment, the Shivwits/Santa Clara Indians were progressively separated from their hinterlands as well as from the core riverine lands where they had developed optimal agricultural systems over several centuries. Holt (1992:35–36) maintains that encroachment nearly resulted in the extermination of the Shivwits/Santa Clara Paiutes through displacement and disease. Over time, the prospects for survival among these people became progressively worse. “For the remnants of the population that survived the initial white conquest, life centered around a cycle of intermittent wage labor, gleaning Mormon fields, some farming on tiny plots of land, and hunting… Some Paiutes attached themselves to particular white farmers and worked for subsistence-level wages and/or a small portion of what they harvested” (Holt


The end of economic self-sufficiency and surrender to wage labor is examined in Chapter




Through an examination of Southern Paiute agricultural practices, we have demonstrated that the importance of autochthonous agricultural practices has been underestimated in certain ethnographic and historic accounts. We have also illustrated that competition between native and non-native populations for land and resource, the usurpation of the most fertile regions within the

Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, and Mojave Desert, and insufficient knowledge of native botanical practices, all contributed to stereotypes of the

Numa as a principally non-agricultural people.

The Paiutes and Shoshones developed indepth place knowledge of specific ecological zones over hundreds of years. Knowledge of the land was held by the community, as well as by specialists who knew a great deal about the animals, the plants, the land, and the ancestors.

Through continuous engagements with their surroundings, Paiutes and neighboring peoples came to understand that the land was alive, and that all elements of the land—the air, water, plants, and animals—were part of the world, and by extension, themselves. This understanding became the foundation for systems of knowledge that were maintained from generation to generation through embodied practices and rich oral traditions. Inherent to this paradigm of knowledge was a system of rules about how to engage the environment. It was understood that all aspects of the natural world were valuable, and must therefore be treated with the respect accorded to a human being. By contrast, the Euroamericans that came to dominate the lands of the Paiutes and Shoshones lacked the specific knowledge of the Paiute and

Shoshone homelands that can only be developed through centuries of collective learning (Stoffle and Zedeño 2001). Consequently, attitudes and ideas from the distant European environment informed the ways in which the new settlers engaged the land. Understandably, the history of encroachment became the focal point of many

Indian stories (see Chapter Nine).

Western history has underrepresented the centrality of agriculture among the Southern Paiutes. Furthermore, “official histories” have repeatedly attributed the introduction of agriculture to

Mormon immigrants. In each case, efforts to erase evidence of traditional ecological knowledge can be traced to efforts to establish domination over traditional Paiute territories and indigenous residents. The validity of such accounts, as well as the dominant view of Southern Paiutes as a nonagricultural people that has emerged as a result of such misrepresentations, must be carefully scrutinized.

Upon moving into the aboriginal territories of the Southern Paiutes, many Mormon pioneers imagined they were embarking on a mission wherein they would turn this land into an “agricultural empire” (Gregory 1945:32). What they did not realize was that Southern Paiutes and neighboring groups had already developed sophisticated means of subsistence that were in harmony with the diverse ecologies of the Great Basin,

Colorado Plateau, and the Mojave Desert. By contrast, the Mormons came to the aboriginal territories of the Southern Paiutes with many western concepts of agriculture that had yet to be tested on the fragile ecologies of these riverine ecosystems.

In addition to contentions arising over the colonization of lands that were already fully occupied by Southern Paiutes, changes in the physical ecology of these territories created additional problems for the new immigrants as well as for the indigenous people. Extensive erosion cutting deep into the alluvial plains, alternate phases of droughts and severe flooding, and the depletion of much of the natural vegetation, occurred in and around many of the newly colonized settlements.

Studies show that middle to late nineteenthcentury land-use practices, which included the rerouting of water for irrigation, the intensive farming of certain portions of land, and the heavy grazing of both sheep and cattle, appear to have exacerbated conditions that resulted in the alteration of the alluvial plains throughout many portions of the Southern Paiute homelands.

In conjunction with these alterations, Southern Paiutes were systematically driven away from the fertile portions of the riverine landscapes where they had previously developed methods of irrigated agriculture that took several centuries to optimize (Stoffle and Zedeño 2001). Southern

Paiutes commonly responded to the risks of encroachment by retreating to hinterlands and increasing hunting and plant procurement activities.

As the viability of these subsistence activities decreased, Paiutes sometimes moved to the margins of Mormon settlements and mining towns where they found periodic wage labor (see Chapter Five).


Alternatively, some Paiutes opted for rituals of resistance and change effected through the syncretic Ghost Dance movement of 1890 (see Chapter Eight).

In conclusion, the historical and ethnographic data show that in the presence of communally-held ecological knowledge, the Paiutes and Shoshones created successful strategies for engaging their natural surroundings. For example, in addition to learning details about unique characteristics of multiple ecological niches, the Numic people developed methods for responding to perturbations such as el Niño and la Niña temperature and rainfall fluctuations, and changes in faunal and floral communities. Indigenous people learned to adjust to perturbations in the environment by adopting transhumant adaptations based on the availability and use of both hinterlands and heartlands. These communities also adopted a host of sustainable ecological adaptations, ranging from the use of beaver dams to route water to the burning of vegetation to increase plant productiveness and soil fertility.

By contrast, the first Euroamerican settlers came into this land lacking a pool of knowledge about this vast area. As a result, they often made poorly informed decisions that were aimed at short-term benefits and profit rather than the long-term sustainability of entire ecological systems.



The Transition to Employment

Alex K. Carroll


ccording to James Mooney, a Bureau of

American Ethnology scholar and one of the foremost experts on the 1890s Ghost Dance, the Paiutes of Nevada had a reputation for “being very good workers” (Mooney 1896:765). In fact, Indians throughout the Great Basin engaged in wage labor from the first days of non-Indian settlement in their aboriginal lands (Littlefield and Knack

1996:144). Mooney maintained that one of the principal reasons for using Indian labor in the greater portion of Nevada and along tracts that were occupied by scattered ranchers engaged in stock raising was that White population was sparse. The wage-labor conditions that he witnessed among the Northern Paiutes of Mason

Valley, Nevada were indicative of a rather late historical development, which accompanied the settlement of Mason Valley as well as other regions within the Great Basin. Prior to rapid influxes of immigrants into this region between the middle to late nineteenth century, however, resident Northern and Southern Paiutes and Western Shoshones maintained the traditional subsistence economy that their ancestors had developed long ago.

This chapter summarizes the conditions of the Numic economy at contact and discusses the impact of non-Indian encroachment on traditional subsistence strategies; namely, the loss of access to pre-contact subsistence means and the concomitant adoption of mixed and wage-labor economies at the turn of the twentieth century. First, traditional subsistence strategies for the Indian districts identified by Julian Steward as representing the aboriginal ranges of Western Shoshone and Paiute bands are described. Second, census data on employment for these districts, combined with other published sources, are presented to illustrate changes in the economic strategies of native populations in the study area. And third, specific examples of Indian employment conditions under non-

Indians are discussed through an analysis of the journals of White settler Tasker Oddie and through the oral histories of contemporary Western Shoshone elders from central Nevada.

Traditional Subsistence Strategies in Central Nevada

Julian Steward’s ethnographic analyses of the people of the Great Basin (1938, 1941) provide valuable information about the subsistence strategies and working conditions of the Western Shoshones and Paiutes of central Nevada, both before and during the commercial development of aboriginal territories. The subsistence strategies of these groups were founded upon in-depth knowledge of faunal resources and traditional plants and the seasonal availability of diverse resources. Furthermore, the capacity of local Paiutes and Shoshones to effectively respond to changes in climatic and ecozone conditions allowed them to successfully adapt to environments that many Euroamericans deemed uninhabitable (Clemmer

1978:62; Steward 1938, 1941).

The Paiutes and Shoshones of Central Nevada used a combination of subsistence strategies that included swidden agriculture; the collection of edible, medicinal, and other useful plants; and the hunting of large game such as bighorn sheep, deer, elk, and antelope, and of smaller game including fowl, reptiles, rodents, fish, and insects (Steward

1938:33). They were especially reliant upon the native plants and smaller animals within their environments. Consequently, the introduction of mining and cattle and stock-raising into the Great

Basin caused major disruptions within regional ecosystems, leading to the reduction of many plants and animals that were once used for nutritional, medicinal, and other daily needs (see Chapter Two) In fact, Hamblin (1881:87–89) observed that in the neighboring state of Utah, Indians were reduced to starvation due to overgrazing of their resources only 15 years after the Mormons had arrived in Utah in 1847 (see Chapter Four).

Prior to the arrival of Euroamericans, indigenous people of Nevada used numerous traditional


plants to provide for the majority of their needs.

Both Shoshones and Paiutes relied on a diet that combined traditional roots, seeds, berries, greens, and animal protein. Steward notes that junipers and piñon trees covered approximately 12 percent of Nevada, and the latter served as one of the main sources of food (Steward 1938:18). Table 5.1 indicates the traditional plants that Steward identified as significant among his informants. Success in both plant procurement and hunting depended upon the capacity to utilize resources throughout the valley. With the establishment of Euroamerican ranches and mining, however, such diverse forms of exploitation were no longer available.

Furthermore, when residents were forced to more heavily exploit a smaller pool of resources, large alterations of the ecosystem ensued.

It is important to note that Steward

(1938:14–33) originally listed 83 species from the

Owens Valley to the Reese River, 62 of which are presented in Table 5.1. However, ethnobotanical research that has since been conducted by numerous scholars in the Great Basin, Mohave Desert, and western Colorado Plateau has led to the identification of over 300 plants traditionally used by

Paiutes and Shoshones. Two overviews, in particular, demonstrate the breadth of native plant knowledge: the first contains plant checklists and native names by ethnic group (DOE/NV 1996:

Appendix G); the second one, by Rhode (2002), summarizes traditional uses recorded by numerous investigators, notably Stoffle, Evans, and Halmo

(1989). Thus, Steward’s notes on plant uses for the early historical period represent an incomplete and narrow view of resource use and ecological knowledge of native populations in the study area.

This incomplete documentation may be due in part to his theoretical emphasis on the adaptive nature of the “cultural core” of his study subjects.

Based on this theoretical understanding, he only recorded and analyzed systematically that information that seemed critical to the support of his framework, whereas other information was not emphasized.

One consequence of this approach is that secondary information was sometimes omitted or only cursorily examined. It is probable that Steward’s emphasis on the “gastric activities” of the indigenous people of the Great Basin led him to attend more closely to food plants than to medicinal or ceremonial plants. His contemporaries, who collected vast inventories of plant and other resource uses in their study areas (see, for example,

Ojibway ethnobotanies by BAE ethnographers

Densmore 1929 [1979] and Gilmore 1933), did not share this narrow view.

Frequently, traditional plant resources were widely dispersed, and therefore people moved about regularly in order to make use of plants whose location and seasonal availability varied

(Tables 5.2 and 5.3). Steward (1938:20) observed that the Shoshones and Paiutes organized their labor at the level of the family as well as at the level of the broader community. Furthermore, all seed-gathering activities were carried out by family units. Steward’s informants explained that Paiutes and Shoshones also organized the procurement of resources through a sexual division of labor. Although a woman often gathered a large percentage of the plants used for subsistence, the whole family shared these items.

Among the Northern Paiute from the Fish

Lake Valley region, women collected many of the plants and the seeds that were used by their members, yet men assisted in harvesting pine nuts, which formed a critical part of their regular diet.

Steward notes that not only did many Shoshones and Paiutes of both sexes harvest pine nuts, but also due to the impossibility of harvesting an entire crop, no exclusive property claims were imposed upon a particular stand (1938:27). Outside of harvesting this crop, whose maximum size was probably 12,000 pounds for a single family, many types of work were determined by gender.

Women tended to the home and children, prepared foods, and made pottery, baskets, and clothing, whereas men did all the hunting of large game, the manufacture of weaponry, and the building of houses (1938:44).

Although Steward maintained that there was little occupational specialization, his own data reveal the presence of groups headed by chiefs in charge of rabbit drives and ceremonial activities in the Fish Lake region. Furthermore, the presence of well-developed trading alliances among the people of Owens Valley and Beatty suggests more elaborate social organization than that intimated by Steward (1938:45). Federal census data for western and Central Nevada (1880–1920) also confirms the presence of traditional specialists, including chiefs, physicians, basket weavers, and


Table 5.1. Useful Plants by Indian District (after Steward 1938)

PLANT NAME Ely Lida Humboldt Owens




Ruby Valley


Redtop x x x






Berry x x x x x

x x




Brush x

Common Sage x x

Aster Canescens





Burr Marigold

Fish Lake

x x x x

x x









Spike Rush


Sunflower x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x

x x x x x x x x x

x x


x x x x x x x x

x x x

x x

x x x x x


Wild Wire Rush

Stick Seed





Eve. Primrose



x x






Choke x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x

Death V.

Cherry x x x x




Dock, sorrel (European)


Elderberry x

x x x x x x x x x

x x Beatty x x x x x



Tansymustard x Tonopah

Porcupine x x x x x

Grass x Fish

Screw Bean Ash Meadows


Table 5.2. Travel for Seasonal Resource Procurement

Home Camp Distance (miles) Traveled to Resource Location

Pinenut Rabbit Deer Sheep Antelope

Seeds Roots





Springs 11–186 11~25 Local

Fish Lake Valley



Belted Range


Hot Creek



~6–31 ~6–8.5 10







Beatty 13–25



5–10 20–30

0–69 4 12–69

Creek >30

Pine 37





22–54 28 28 28 28–30


21–30 16


10–84 0–40 0–40




Eureka ~32

Table 5.3. Geographical Connections among Selected Home Camps and Resource


Fish Beatty Kawich

Lake V.





Fish Lake Valley

Cactus R./Antelope Sp.




x x x x x


x x x x x x



Death Valley

Little and Big Smoky Valleys

x x x






x x


x x






hunters (see also Kelly’s [1939] comparative study of Southern Paiute shamanism).

Deep Springs Valley

The residents of Deep Springs had access to diverse resources covering a terrain of over 250 square miles (Steward 1938:59–60). According to

Steward’s informants, the families known to live in

Deep Springs until at least 1888 gathered pine nuts in the White Mountains, the Eureka Valley, and Fish Lake Valley. A woman’s individual labor generally benefited her immediate family. Therefore, women would gather seeds for their households, yet sharing one’s food with guests was a socially valued practice. In contrast, all members of the community shared large game. Men hunted deer and antelope in the White Mountains and at

Antelope Springs (Pazo) respectively. Leaders such as Big Mouth Tom from Fish Lake Valley headed communal hunts. Members of these hunting parties assumed a number of roles, which ranged from spotting and herding the animals in the desired direction to shooting the animals and preparing the bodies for use.

In conjunction with the decision making of tribal leaders, the subsistence strategies of people living in Deep Springs reflected seasonal resource availability. In years in which traditional plants, nuts, seeds, and animals were plentiful, the Deep

Springs community kept their subsistence activities highly localized. For example, they would gather pine nuts in Dead Horse Meadow, Fish

Lake Valley, and the White Mountains, which were respectively 11, 14, and between 15 to 22 miles away from Deep Springs. In lean seasons, however, Steward reported that the people of

Deep Springs would go as far as Eureka (186 miles away) in order to ensure sufficient food supplies through the winter months.

Many seeds and roots were collected from nearby locations when resource availability permitted. Animal protein and furs could also be acquired by hunting rabbits within the immediate surroundings of Deep Springs, and antelope and duck were available at Deep Springs Lake, which is approximately 11.5 miles from Deep Springs.

For larger game, hunters would travel between 15 and 90 miles to locations ranging from the White

Mountains to Bear Creek. Considering that all of these trip lengths would be doubled when return mileage is factored in, the importance of local sources becomes magnified. Furthermore, the likelihood of going to distant locations such as

Eureka for pine nuts or Bear Creek for deer diminished except in times of great need.

Fish Lake Valley

The native residents of Fish Lake Valley collaborated with the people of Deep Springs, and even sent their leader, Big Mouth Tom, to preside over the rabbit drives and ceremonial affairs at

Deep Springs, because their leader, army scout Joe

Bowers, was “off dealing with white people all the time” (Steward 1938:61). Chalfant (1933:143, 218–

219) relays several accounts of Bowers’ assistance to Euroamericans. In the fall of 1861, Bowers reportedly protected a group of Euroamerican prospectors, whose numbers included J. S. Broder,

Col. L. F. Cralley, and Dan Wyman. They had wintered at Cottonwood Creek with the intention of developing placer claims. However, by the spring a group of Indians demanded that they leave. Bowers is said to have told the Indians that the land under dispute was his property; however, he simultaneously told the prospectors they must leave the area. In any event, the possibility of a violent confrontation was averted through Bowers’ intervention. A decade later, Capt.

MacGowan, who had commanded Camp Independence, awarded Bowers with a six-dollar pension for his support of Euroamericans during a decade when direct confrontations between prospectors and Indians were more common.

Due to Bowers’ active role among the Euroamericans, Big Mouth Tom was assigned to take over some of Chief Bowers’ responsibilities at

Deep Springs. In addition to crossing physical and political boundaries through this appointment, people of these communities collaborated on other fronts as well. Most importantly, they shared resources—especially the piñon trees in Fish Lake

Valley. Moreover, members from each valley were known to intermarry. In light of the interdigitation of several of the crucial organizing principals of these communities, it is not surprising that the people of Fish Lake used parallel methods of securing resources from their environments. Fish

Lake Valley is an arid region that is bounded by the White Mountains on the west, becoming flatter as one moves east towards Lida (Steward



Steward estimated that—in contrast to the people of Deep Springs Valley, who procured resources in an area of 250 square miles—residents of Fish Lake Valley covered as many as 900 square miles. Despite this mobility, the people of Fish

Lake regularly convened for ceremonial events and festivals, and Michael Hittman (1973) maintains that the leader of the 1870s Ghost Dance,

Wobziwob or Fish Lake Joe, was born in Fish

Lake Valley.

Beginning in 1865, Euroamericans began building ranches at all of the major water sources within Fish Lake. As a consequence, all but one family of Paiute and Shoshone residents were living on ranches owned by Euroamericans by 1888.

These ranches included the Patterson Ranch, the

Geroux Ranch, the Moline Ranch, Oasis Ranch, and McNett Ranch (Steward 1938:64). Given the general aridity of Fish Lake, as well as the relative

‘thinness’ of resources, it is not surprising that dramatic population losses and increasing economic dependency of the remnant population occurred when Euroamerican ranchers began to take over the principal water sources throughout

Fish Lake Valley and its neighboring regions. To compound the problem, cattle and sheep were grazing on many of the foods that the Shoshones and Paiutes required for their subsistence.

Like their neighbors at Deep Springs, the people of Fish Lake Valley were highly reliant upon traditional plants, particularly pine nuts. On average, residents of Fish Lake traveled 18 miles from their settlements to collect pine nuts during the fall. Steward (1938:27) estimated that a single family could consume as much as 12,000 pounds of pine nuts within a given year. This figure suggests that even though pine nuts were generally available at local sites in amounts sufficient to meet the needs of community members, the labor required for accumulating and transporting this staple product remained significant. As a result, entire families participated in harvesting this food source, and frequently pine nut harvesting was conducted at the level of the community. The people of Fish Lake also utilized roots, seeds, grasses, and Joshua buds from the neighboring regions. Five sites where these items were regularly harvested were Yogomatu, the White Mountains, Pau uva, Deep Springs, and the Silver Peak

Range. Once again, the average distance from villages in Fish Lake to resource sites was relatively short (9.24 miles). Typically, hunting was also

90 conducted in the Fish Lake region when resources were sufficient.

On average, Fish Lake hunters traveled 9.5 miles for larger game such as deer, mountain sheep, and antelope. In contrast, Steward noted that Fish Lake residents would travel 20–30 miles to attend rabbit drives at the Oasis Ranch. This pattern diverges from that of their neighbors of

Deep Springs, who would travel only a little over a mile to hunt rabbits. For the people of Fish Lake,

Oasis Ranch also served as a place of festivals, and during lean years the social activities and rabbit hunting were combined to capitalize on labor availability, with a concomitantly shorter season in which to prepare for the potential scarcities of winter. In good years, festivals were conducted at

Tu vana or Ozanwin.

Lida and Neighboring Regions

According to Steward (1938:68–70), Lida was less renowned as a place unto itself than as a hub that connected places such as Fish Lake, Gold

Mountain, Stonewall Valley, and Clayton Valley.

Lida is in close proximity to the Northern Paiute site of Pigeon Springs, and the people of these communities frequently traveled the 10 miles between them for economic and ceremonial purposes. Residents within this area lived in villages at

Lida, Tule Canyon, Stonewall Mountain, Clayton

Valley, Old Camp, the site of Montezuma (which boasted two springs) and at three sites east of

Goldfield that grew up around the springs of Kamuva, Hugapa, and Wi:pa.

Prior to the development of a Western economy, the people of Lida relied upon a subsistence economy that was similar to that used by the people of Fish Lake. Plants and small game formed the most essential parts of their diet. However, although large game such as antelope was hunted, it was relatively scarce, and therefore of less importance in Paiute and Shoshone diets than smaller animals such as rabbits and traditional seeds, greens, and roots. Pine nuts were perhaps the most important source of food throughout much of central Nevada. Pine nuts were usually available in relative abundance immediately around Lida, as well as in the vicinity of Pigeon

Springs. In the event of scarcity of resources at these sites, the people of Lida would travel as far as Silver Peak, Grapevine, or Kawich to secure seeds, nuts, berries, roots, and game (Steward

1938:70). The families living at Stonewall Mountain, Tumbasai’uwi, often gathered many of their seeds from the region of Corral Springs (Steward

1938:69), and people from Lida also regularly visited the camp known as Tsaiyiyugwi (Cow Camp or

Tule Sitting) for seeds as well as Lycium berries.

In addition to optimizing their resource bases by using a vast territory, the people of Lida and surrounding regions actively altered their ecosystem through the use of swidden farming. This burning technique stimulated the growth of Uyup:

(Chenopodium), Waiyabi (Wheat Grass), Waciup

(unidentified seed), and Tui (unidentified root).

Each fall, the residents of Lida would burn the brush upon Magruder Mountain (Steward

1938:70), and return to tend and harvest each plant during the appropriate season. Lida residents typically gathered their pine nut stores at sites located within a 10-mile radius of their homes.

On occasion, people from the Kawich

Mountains would harvest pine nuts in the vicinity of Lida, and vice versa. However, as these settlements were separated by a distance of almost 70 miles, the shared use of pine nut stands between these groups tended to be the exception rather than the rule. Lida residents typically traveled an average of 19 miles to harvest other traditional plants within their territory, including roots, seeds, and berries. In the local areas around Lida and

Magruder Mountain, ranging between under a mile to 4 miles, local residents used a wide array of traditional grasses and roots. At more distant sites, ranging from 18.6 to 67.55 miles, other types of seeds, nuts, and berries could be acquired. Given the longer distances involved in traveling to

Grapevine, Corral Springs, and the Kawich Mountains (40–67.55 miles), it is probable that Lida residents developed elaborate systems for monitoring the seasonal availability of resources within each region.

Beatty and Belted Mountains

The Paiutes and Shoshones who resided in villages within a region that extended from the

Amargosa Desert to the Pintwater Range also sought to optimize their relationships with their environments. This region was renowned for its aridity as well as for a relative scarcity of resources. Whereas the people of Deep Springs and

Fish Lake required 250 and 900 square miles of territory, respectively, in which to procure food, those of Beatty and the Belted Mountains used as many as 1,300 square miles. Residents of this area also adapted to this region by building their settlements in close proximity to multiple springs.

Furthermore, they domesticated a number of plants, including corn, melons, pumpkins, sunflower seeds, and beans (Steward 1938:97).

People from the communities of Beatty and the Belted Mountains were known to interact with each other, and “Beatty people also associated with Death Valley people and the Belted Range with Kawich Mountain people” (Steward

1938:94). Steward’s informant TSt identified six sites near Beatty at the time of the 1880 census.

As in the case of Fish Lake, many of these sites had been appropriated by Euroamericans long before Steward conducted his ethnographic analyses. In some cases both the Indian name and Euroamerican name are remembered; however, in other cases the Indian name has been forgotten.

Villages were located (a) at the head of the

Oasis Valley, (b) at the Howell Ranch near

Springdale, (c) at Burn’s Ranch or Hu:nusu (Canyon Willow), (d) at Hick’s Hot Spring, (e) at the mouth of Beatty Wash, and (f) at Pa: navadu (Water Flat). An estimated 42 people resided at a second site known as Eso (Little Hill). This site is located on the southern portion of the Belted

Range. During the mining boom at Rhyolite,

Panamint Joe, from Tavaondo wayo (Standing

Rock), served as the Shoshone chief. Nearby sites included Wuniakuda, Mutsi (Thistle?), Sivahwa

(Small Tank), Tuna va at Whiterock Springs, Kui-

kun (Captain Jack Spring), Tupipa (Rock Water),

Topopah Spring (Pokopa), and Cane Springs (Steward 1938:95).

The residents of these areas developed subsistence strategies that were almost entirely geared towards the procurement of plant resources. According to TSt, people of this region utilized resources over as many as 1,300 square miles (Steward 1938:94). During the spring the buds from

Joshua trees and other greens were commonly used. By May/June, people began to gather bunch grass seeds either in the vicinity or on the south side of the Black Mountains and near Big Dune in the Amargosa Desert (Steward 1938:96). Mountain sheep hunting soon ensued in the Grapevine

Mountains, followed by the gathering of many other needed plants, including Sakainaga from

Beatty, Salvia from the Bare and Yucca Mountains, and Lucium from the Bullfrog Hills, as well as rab-


bit hunting. Steward reports residences moved in

July in order to more fully take advantage of resources near Ammonia Tanks, such as wheat-like grasses called Hu:gwi, rye grasses, and occasionally even mesquite. By the fall, efforts turned toward harvesting pine nuts. During years when pine nuts were scarce, people would seek pine nuts first in the Grapevine Mountains. If this source also failed, they would go to the Kawich Mountains.

The people of Beatty harvested pine nuts at sites ranging from 12 to 25 miles away from their villages, whereas people of the Belted Range traveled up to 42 miles to gather their seasonal supply of pine nuts in the Kawich Range. Many of the other traditional plants used by Beatty people were locally available; however, they were known to journey as far as Ammonia Tanks (32.50 miles) to gather rye grasses and Hu:gwi. On average, however, they traveled distances of 14.15 miles to harvest traditional plants. Steward also noted that animal products constituted a much smaller portion of their daily diet. However, many smaller forms of game, particularly rabbits and squirrels, were available locally. For larger game, such as the mountain sheep, hunters typically went to the

Grapevine Mountains, which is approximately 25 miles away from the permanent settlements in


Kawich Mountains District

Steward’s informants estimated that approximately 15–20 families with a total population of 90–120 people lived on the Kawich Range, Hot

Creek, and Tybo. The Kawich Range is located north of the Belted Range (Steward 1938:110), whereas Hot Creek and Tybo are positioned east of the Monitor Range and west of both Railroad

Valley and the Pancake Range. Although the settlements in the Kawich Mountains, Hot Creek, and Tybo are sometimes treated as discrete regions, the Kawich Range and Hot Creek Range share the same north–south fault line. With the exception of the region around Warm Springs, these ranges are continuous with one another. As a consequence, the people and permanent settlements along these mountain ranges are treated as a single district rather than as three discrete regions. Within these regions, subsistence activities were concentrated both within and outside of the communities.

Residents of Kawich established their principal settlements near Breen Creek, which is south of Kawich Peak, and at Eden Creek, northeast of

Kawich peak. Residents in these settlements harvested pine nuts within their immediate surroundings on a yearly basis. Furthermore, they traveled between 25 and 75 miles to harvest pine nuts in the Monitor Range and at Silver Peak when sufficient resources were not available within the

Kawich Range. Other traditional plants were often gathered locally, as well as in the region of Antelope Springs, which is located in the Cactus

Mountains, approximately 28 miles from the

Kawich settlements at Eden Creek. Kawich residents also regularly held rabbit drives in the Cactus Flat and Belted Range, travelling an average distance of 36 miles. Furthermore, Steward noted

(1938:110–112) that Kawich residents attended festivals in Tybo and Belmont, which entailed a round trip journey of between 50 and 60 miles.

The pine nut crops utilized by the people of

Kawich were sometimes located at great distances from each other. In times of scarcity, the chiefs of

Kawich would direct people to places where resources were more plentiful. The leadership of shamans also influenced antelope hunts. Steward

(1938:113) claims that “after the mining boom in

1865, Kawatc’s [Chief Kawich’s] influence was extended.” He also reports that Chief Kawich presided over large festivals of a growing Shoshone community. Steward’s account of Kawich’s power is partially accurate and partially misleading. Although Kawich’s authority was officially recognized by Euroamericans at the onset of the mining booms, Kawich’s authority predated the presence of Euroamerican settlements. Moreover, what

Steward considered a ‘growing’ Shoshone community represented, in fact, changing settlement patterns among Shoshones rather than an actual growth of population. Both Paiutes and Shoshones often settled on the margins of mining towns in order to gain intermittent employment as wage laborers. Nevertheless, their populations declined during this period as a result of disease and malnutrition.

Like other Paiutes and Shoshones within the study area of central Nevada, the residents of Hot

Creek used pine nuts as a staple form of nutrition.

Pine nuts were harvested at various sites along Six

Mile Canyon, at an approximate distance of 10 miles from primary permanent settlements. It is probable that in times of scarcity, the residents of


Hot Creek would go as far as the Kawich Range to procure sufficient stores of pine nuts, but as a rule, most were gathered locally. Other traditional plants were gathered locally in the Toyaibe Forest as well as in the Toquima Range, which was approximately 34–40 miles away. Rabbits were available in the Little Smoky Valley, and antelope were hunted in the Tybo area as well as on Kawich

Peak and in the Kawich Canyon. On average, hunters traveled 47 miles on each leg of antelope hunts. Following harvests, as well as hunting seasons, festivals combining ceremonial, social, economic, and political events were held locally or at the sites of Manhattan or Millet’s Ranch, some 34 to 53 miles away.

In the southern portions of the Hot Creek

Range, residents of Tybo adopted subsistence economies that mirrored aspects of those of both

Hot Creek and Kawich residents. Most frequently, the people of Tybo harvested pine nuts in stands southeast of Tybo in the Reveille Range (24 miles) and due south of Tybo in the Kawich range (30 miles). In addition to regularly utilizing local nuts, roots, berries, and animals, Tybo residents traveled 16 miles to the southern Hot Creek Valley to participate in community rabbit drives and antelope hunts.

Little Smoky Valley and Vicinity

Among the people of Little Smoky Valley and neighboring regions, subsistence economies assumed relatively similar patterns to those communities previously described. Pine nuts were frequently gathered from local or neighboring stands with sites ranging from 6.45 to 32 miles away.

Other traditional plants were gathered locally, and hunting occurred within the immediate region as well as at sites ranging as far as 50 miles away. In addition to hunting rabbits and antelope, deer were regularly hunted in the region around Snowball Ranch, which is located in the Antelope

Range. The information on subsistence economies utilized by residents of this area reveals significant overlap in resource use areas, indicating strong community ties among the people living in Little

Smoky Valley, Eureka, Fish Creek, Fish Springs,

Diamond Valley, and Pine Creek Valley (Steward


Competition for Scarce Resources

With the introduction of ranching and nonindigenous forms of mining, the subsistence strategies that the Paiutes and Shoshones of central and southwestern Nevada had employed for millennia no longer proved adequate to meet their needs. While competition existed for virtually all resources, the loss of access to primary sources of water and piñon trees resulted in some of the most profound changes for indigenous people

(see Chapter Two).


Concomitant with the development of ranching and mining, efforts to establish control over water resources became a critical issue for many.

As early as 1865, whites assumed control of the crucial water sources in the Fish Lake Valley. This water was first diverted for ranching and for the mining of borax in 1875. The discovery of borax in the neighboring county of Inyo, California also resulted in radical changes (Chalfant 1933:306–

308). Over the next 25 years, the mining industry and ranching interests continued to develop. With the discovery of “croppings of the Mizpah mine…by Mr. and Mrs. James L. Butler” (Chalfant 1933:330), a new era of commercial interests requiring a continuous supply of water and wood developed in Tonopah and Goldfield as well as in neighboring regions.

Although property claims were established upon all of the principal water sources in central

Nevada, it would be a mistake to believe that official recognition of water distribution led to a resolution of water disputes. Since the nineteenth century, writers have confirmed that a scarcity of water remained a problem for many of the ranching and mining communities. In 1865 a Nevada surveyor reported, “Many millions of acres of land in this state now comparatively worthless, would be valuable if irrigated” (cited in Elliott 1987:173).

Elliott (1987:137) also reports that at Comstock, water resources were so scarce that more water had to be obtained from the Sierra before development could continue.

Water problems occurred for a number of reasons. First, the places where minerals were discovered often lacked sufficient water supplies.

Without a sufficient water supply, a potentially productive mine could be closed down if the production costs of processing the minerals at a more


distant location exceeded the profits that could be made from the minerals themselves (Lingenfelter

1986:52). Second, demands on limited water and power supplies escalated with the large influxes of human and livestock populations that accompanied ranching and mining interests. Demands for water and power continued to escalate as mining and mill operations employed increasingly sophisticated technologies in the processing of ores

(Elliott 1987:214). In addition, drought conditions further taxed limited supplies of water. Andy

Thompson, a local Shoshone from the Beatty area, recalls, “We were used to having a lot of water in the olden days and then all the springs started drying up and everyone started moving out” (McCracken 1990a:10).

The legislative response to the arid-lands problem was to pass two acts in 1885 and 1889 that aimed at (1) recognizing “public ownership of unappropriated waters of natural springs” (Elliott

1987:174), and (2) establishing a “Board of Reclamation and Internal Improvements” (Elliott

1987:174). Underlying both acts was the assumption that further development of the desert was desirable, and with sufficient manipulation of both local and regional water supplies, this development could succeed. While the first act fostered commercial development, it simultaneously diminished the control Paiutes and Western Shoshones had over aboriginal springs. In 1903 the Nevada legislators introduced an additional measure, known as the 1903 Irrigation Law, “which created the Office of State Engineer, one of whose responsibilities was regulation of the appropriation of water from the state’s rivers, springs, and streams” (Report of State Engineer 1903/1904, in

Bowers and Muessig 1982:84).


In addition to competing for scarce water sources, the forests (where many indigenous people hunted both large and small game and harvested pine nuts) were needed by Euroamerican settlers for the construction of towns and the running of mines and mills. It has been estimated that only a small percentage of Nevada was forested

(Steward 1938). Yet, with the influx of immigrant miners and ranchers, demands on this small resource rapidly escalated. A local newspaper reported that central Nevada’s piñon-juniper woodlands supplied not only the charcoal industry in

Eureka and Tybo, but also provided materials for building in all parts of the region. In the 1860s there was a steam sawmill at Washington, and lumber from piñon was produced at a mill in Silver Creek. The latter mill moved to Big Smoky

Creek in May of 1864, and was supplemented by a machine to cut shingles that would replace “the straw and dirt that builders have in great measure been compelled to use” (Reese River Reveille May 3,

1864:1:7; May 14, 1864:2; cited in Bowers and

Muessig 1982:61). Ironically, many Shoshone and

Paiute men were hired to chop, saw, and haul these limited wood supplies. Through these labor exchanges, Shoshones and Paiutes were sometimes able to secure remuneration to meet some of their most pressing physical needs. Yet these activities also contributed to the destruction of two of their principal food resources, pine nuts and ecosystems that housed both large and small game (federal census of Nye and Esmeralda

Counties, 1880–1920).

The introduction of sheep and cattle, as well as a growing population of mustangs, also radically changed the ecosystems in which the Paiutes and Shoshones of central Nevada had traditionally met their subsistence needs. Bowers and Muessig

(1982:80–83) note that overgrazing became a serious problem for both ranchers and indigenous people. Andy Thompson confirms this point, noting that during the drought of 1932 “the government was shooting them [the cattle] for $20…if they quit walking” (McCracken 1990a:8). Drought conditions were exacerbated by poor land use practices. Thompson maintained that the land

“…was over-grazed [because] they had too many cattle in there. I don’t know how many cattle

[Reed] had—6,000, 7,000, 8,000” (McCracken

1990a:8). Thompson also recalled that “there were a lot of mustangs all over these valleys. Every valley had about 400 or 500 mustangs. That was one reason, I think, that O.K. Reed had to quit— there were just too doggone many mustangs”

(McCracken 1990a:14).


In the 1880s barbed wire fence was introduced as a means to curb overgrazing (Jordan

1993; Short 1965). Although fencing was considered a valuable method for protecting “pastures, springs, and other watering places from both wild horses and other men’s livestock” (Bowers and


Muessig 1982:83), fencing compounded the problems of indigenous people endeavoring to secure sufficient resources over large expanses of terrain.

The use of fences created rigid property boundaries that compromised traditional methods of resource procurement. For people who were used to using hundreds of square miles to gather and harvest the resources they needed, these artificial boundaries served as barriers that kept them from being able to effectively utilize the resources of their environments. The availability of resources varied from location to location and also reflected seasonal and climatic conditions. With the introduction of cattle and sheep, a growing wild mustang population, and the concomitant decline in many traditional plants and animals, the introduction of fencing only further compounded processes culminating in starvation conditions.

In addition to solidifying notions of exclusive property rights, fencing introduced new costs to farmers, who were frequently without sufficient means to protect their properties via artificial enclosures. “Barbed wire, now in common use, was new to this market, and its cost was twenty-five cents a pound, and rough lumber sold at $55 or more per thousand feet” (Chalfant 1933:318). Furthermore, wild animals that were not accustomed to barbed wire fences were injured with a frequency that led reporters to offer medicinal cures within local papers (Inyo Independent, August 24,

1889:3). Although fencing costs and animal injuries served as deterrents to some, others supported fencing initiatives because in the absence of these measures, the herds that were alongside fields would destroy many crops. Just south of our study area in Owens Valley, “an item of 1873 said that there were 200,000 head of cattle, horses and sheep in the mountains around Mount Whitney, and many of them wintered in Owens Valley”

(Chalfant 1933:318). Disputes over the destruction of crops in Inyo County and some of the neighboring counties led to the “no fencing law” in the early 1870s. “This law placed responsibility for destruction of crops on the stockmen, whether the land was or was not fenced” (Chalfant

1933:318). In central Nevada, fencing was not required by law, but due to the liability that accompanied ranching, fencing became a more common practice as a matter of course.

Wage Labor

After being divested of the best lands, and plant, animal, and water supplies, many indigenous people were left with few options outside of selling their labor within the Euroamerican economy

(Bowers and Muessig 1982:22; Forbes 1969:61).

With the onset of industrialism in central Nevada, those who had controlled the modes of production also began to impose a Western division of labor on the Paiute and Shoshone workers. This process transformed Paiutes and Shoshones from being the exclusive heirs of the land to the lowest paid wageworkers within a hierarchical scheme favoring Euroamericans, particularly investors:

“As industrialized mining moved into Central Nevada, the man working at the mine was no longer able to share in the risks and profits of the mine.

Instead, he received a wage based on the time worked, while others took the risks of operating the mine, made the decisions, and hoped to share the wealth” (Bowers and Muessig 1982:41). In addition, Euroamericans imposed their own sexual division of labor on the indigenous people who worked for them (Littlefield and Knack 1996:150).

Ironically, when Euroamericans first began to seek out mining claims, they regularly turned to the expertise of Paiutes and Shoshones to find the minerals they desired. For example, Harry Stimler was a one-half-Shoshone Indian who helped to secure mining claims that were later taken over by

White miners (Zanjani 1992). Littlefield and

Knack (1996:149) also note that indigenous people played a critical role in the discovery of mineral resources: “Prospectors carried ore samples to show to Indians, and many mines were ‘discovered’ when the Euroamerican was led right up to the outcrop by a Paiute guide” (Jensen [1926:214,

266], cited in Littlefield and Knack 1996:149).

Numerous stories, some fabled and others true, are still being told about Tom Fisherman, a Shoshone Indian who Zanjani (1994:15) regards as

“the most gifted prospector the Silver State has ever produced.” Fisherman is credited with the discovery of Goldfield, which made Stimler’s fortune. It is also said that Jim Buttler, the wealthy

Tonopah prospector and busnessman, benefited from his close relationship with the local Indians and his fluency in their language. Many other rich findings, including the mines in Rhyolite and Hot

Creek, are the result of Indian knowledge of the land (Zanjani 1994:18).


Once mining claims and districts were established, the indigenous inhabitants were no longer valued for their knowledge of particular regions or minerals. Instead, they became marginal figures within economic schemes that produced approximately $447,330,536 statewide, and $138,435,l85

“outside the Comstock…from 1859 through

1880” (Elliott 1987:98). Through an examination of federal census reports, a picture of the changing economic conditions among the Paiutes and

Western Shoshones is clearly revealed. It should be parenthetically noted that the county lines and districts repeatedly changed between 1880 and

1910. Furthermore, not all districts were regularly surveyed and populations of towns rose and fell in quick succession. As a consequence, it is not always possible to map diachronic changes in one district or precinct. However, the broader impacts of changing economic patterns within western and central Nevada are repeatedly confirmed. Within this arena, Northern and Southern Paiutes and

Western Shoshones shifted from being the principal controllers of the land and the forces of production to being unskilled wage workers who were vulnerable to unemployment and low wages (Zanjani 1994:38).

Appendix B shows the number of people employed within a given occupation listed in the census. In addition, where census takers indicated the number of months that a person had been unemployed, this figure is listed in parentheses within the box tabulating the number of people within a given occupation. Note that the ratio of

“Traditional” and “Non-Wage Workers” to

“Wage Workers” was 113:89, or 1.27:1 for Western Shoshone and Southern Paiutes living in Esmeralda County in 1880. According to this ratio,

44 percent of all workers were already on wages. If half of the unaccounted population was working traditional jobs, this would put the ratio at

144.5:42. In ensuing decades, this percentage increased to at least 50 percent for Nye and Esmeralda counties. While the census materials are useful for tracing general trends, they fail to reflect two important factors. The first is the number of people that were unemployed at a given point in time, and the second is the use of mixed economies to survive underemployment, unemployment, or competition for traditional resources.

Indigenous Responses to Encroachment

One response to the radical modifications that accompanied the Euroamerican settlement of western and central Nevada entailed the use of mixed economies. As resources came increasingly under the control of Euroamericans, the land use practices that Paiutes and Shoshones had developed after studying and adapting to their environments for thousands of years became overridden by ideas and practices implemented by

Euroamerican miners and ranchers that had recently relocated to the Great Basin. Finding traditional subsistence practices significantly changed or curtailed, many Paiutes and Western Shoshones increasingly adopted strategies that entailed a fusion or admixture of both traditional and Western modes of economic production.

Growing competition for the most fertile lands and the few sources of water resulted in a general reduction in the availability of traditional plants and animals. Furthermore, Euroamericans rejected the value of many of the traditional foods of indigenous people. Therefore out of multiple sources of food utilized by local indigenous people, only pine nuts and fish became readily marketable commodities within economies increasingly dominated by Western ideologies and practices (Littlefield and Knack 1996:148). In addition, few measures were taken to ensure the long-term availability of traditional resources, and forests where pine nut stands occurred were increasingly used for building materials or for fuel necessary to process ores (Klett et al. 1984, 105–

134, 143–166, in Littlefield and Knack 1996:149;

Thomas 1971). Collectively, these measures diminished the viability of relying exclusively on traditional subsistence economies. As a consequence, Southern Paiutes and Western Shoshones became increasingly dependent upon Euroamerican economies. As the Nevada State Journal reported on December 27, 1884, by the end of the century Indians were either partially or fully engaged in ranching and mining activities; the 1894

U.S. census report on Indians taxed and non-taxed similarly noted that by 1890 at least 50 percent of the Indian economy came from wage labor. In addition to ranching and mining, employment opportunities were afforded to a few Indian individuals who could engage in high-risk, strenuous activities, such as tracking and carrying the mail.

To illustrate, in 1872–1873 Billy Wilson’s Indian


Mail became locally famous for having defeated the worse blizzards and thus saved Wilson’s business (Earl 1986; Figure 5.1).

In conjunction with the previously cited census materials, some of the earliest reports of indigenous labor in the regions of central Nevada are noted in the letters of Tasker Oddie 1898–

1902 (Douglass and Nylen 1992), the oral histories of McCracken (e.g., 1990a; 1990b), and oral histories gathered by the authors for this project. The picture that emerges from these recordings is one in which Paiutes and Western Shoshones initially experienced diminished resources, resulting in malnutrition and sometimes death. Both Paiutes and Shoshones attempted to stave off rapid population losses by engaging in subsistence strategies that blended traditional methods with Western forms of wage labor. While the first generations of Paiutes and Shoshones to confront Euroamerican economic practices faced the most direct and immediate physical risks, particularly the loss of aboriginal lands, starvation, disease, and social disruption, later generations continued to experience hardships as well. In the case of the latter, the nature of these risks began to assume new forms as relationships with the dominant Western economy underwent continuous alterations.

Figure 5.1. Billy Wilson’s Indian Mail, Aurora, Nevada,

1873 (from Earl 1986)

Tasker Oddie’s Journals

Tasker L. Oddie was a 27-year-old attorney and business executive from New Jersey when he came to Nevada in 1898 to work as secretary of the Nevada Company, which had mining interests in the state. He was honest and hard-working, and eventually accumulated a small fortune from his involvement in the mining and ranching industries. His skill and personality took him all the way to the U.S. Senate. His correspondence is an invaluable source of information on White–Indian working relations and the economic conditions of the local bands.

Starvation Conditions

The first generations to experience the ruptures that accompanied Euroamerican encroachment were faced with a multitude of stressors that placed the well-being of both individuals and whole communities at continuous risk. Some of these risk factors were witnessed and recorded in the journals of Tasker Oddie (1898–1902). Many of the indigenous people with whom Oddie had contact lived in conditions that led to recurrent states of malnutrition, even starvation. Oddie maintained:

If…[Paiutes and Shoshones] get a good square and belly full of grub three times a week, they can get along. When they eat they gorge. They will eat often, however, if they get a chance [Douglass and

Nylen 1992:129].

The lack of sufficient food sources among the Paiutes and Western Shoshones is also confirmed in Oddie’s comment about the public slaughtering of cattle. He stated:

There is quite an excitement when a beef is killed, and, as usual, a lot of Indians and squaws gathered around and watched the proceedings. They grab the entrails and take off every ounce of them. Old Aleck, who is such an old nuisance, of whom I have written, was there too. He filled his pockets. He has an old, broadcloth, frock coat that he got from someone years ago. He always wears it, also a hat with feathers in it and, in summer, moccasins. It is a curious combination to see his make-up

[Douglass and Nylen 1992:194].

On a similar note Oddie commented, “an

Indian is not particular what he eats as long as he gets plenty of it. When they are alone they enjoy things like rats, dogs etc. So I do the cooking


while I am with Pablo, as he might cook up some delicate morsel which would not be palatable to me” (Douglass and Nylen 1992:205).

The former statements are significant on two accounts. First, Oddie’s journal entries confirm that procuring adequate food resources remained a constant concern for the Indians that Oddie came into contact with at the turn of the twentieth century. And second, his statements suggest that

Indians altered their diets around Euroamericans, and thus did not always consume traditional foods. Ironically, many of the traditional foods that Oddie considered inedible were far more nutritious than the Euroamerican foods that many

Paiutes and Shoshones began to incorporate into their diet (e.g., cooked meals known as ‘grub’).

In addition to adopting foods that proved to be deleterious to their health, many Paiutes and

Shoshones found that even as full-time wage laborers, they were not always able to secure sufficient resources because of underpayment. One of the Indians working for Oddie reportedly stole items. Oddie reacted by “keep[ing] [his] door locked while he is around” (Douglass and Nylen

1992:191). In response to the same employee,

Oddie admitted, “I have to get rid of him sometimes in not a very polite way, when he gets to be a nuisance. He is deaf, and you have to talk quite loud to him. He cannot hear a thing when you talk to him about work, but, if you whisper grub he can hear it a mile” (Douglass and Nylen


These stories confirm the claims of Littlefield and Knack (1996:153), who note that not only was

Indian labor valued because it was more readily available than white labor, but also because Indians made far fewer demands upon their employers than other groups of employees. Most importantly, Western Shoshones and Paiutes did not always have to be paid with real wages; they were frequently hired on an as-needed basis, and they did not have to be given room and board. Indian laborers were often paid with food for themselves on the days that they worked. As a consequence, unless a whole Indian family was working seven days a week, they could not be ensured of procuring even a base subsistence wage without combining these wages with traditional resource procurement strategies.

Despite the absence of adequate wages, however, some Euroamericans expressed resentment when family members of wageworkers asked for food. In the case of the Indian Charlie Anderson,

Oddie writes, “He is Pablo’s uncle, so he takes all the credit for what Pablo does for me, and expects grub on the strength of it” (Douglass and Nylen

1992:207). Oddie reports one occasion in which miners found a man’s requests for food so bothersome that they “were on the point of giving him

[Old Alec] some grub with a strong dose of medicine (physic) in it, but he left just in time to save himself” (Douglass and Nylen 1992:207).

In general, Euroamerican laborers tended to fare much better than their Western Shoshone and

Paiute counterparts. Oddie stated:

I expect to go out to the quicksilver mine before a great while. I will probably take an Indian with me, as he will work cheap, and I can do pretty good work in a mine myself now, so I will not be at much expense. I cannot afford much now. I spent considerable money last fall because I had first class miners… [Douglass and Nylen 1992:199].


Oddie’s statements confirm that among Paiutes and Shoshones wage labor was intermittent and remuneration varied. In the case of Indian

Jack and Old Pablo, who both worked as laborers for Oddie, this variable treatment is evident. While some Indians received a meal for their labor, others received a wage ranging between 50 cents and one dollar a day: “When we need any extra work, such as hoisting, where we are both at work below, we get an old Indian named Jack, for 50 cents a day” (Douglass and Nylen 1992:172). In contrast, Old Pablo received a wage as well as food.

Oddie commented:

My Indian, Pablo, is getting along finely with the trail. He has over a mile done already, and through very rough rocky country. He is a very faithful worker. I pay him $1 a day and grub. When I am up there I work on the trail too. It will add tremendously to the value of the mine to have a good trail to it, as a man will be able to ride all the way up to it, and pack heavy loads up on mules or jacks… [Douglass and Nylen 1992:205].


Although some Indians fared better than others within this system, the value placed on the indigenous laborers remained low. Oddie writes,

“When I got bucked off, I unfortunately fell in a bad place. Hereafter I am not going to take any more chances than I have to, because it is an easy matter to get an Indian to ride the horse the first time, and if he gets killed there is nothing lost”

(Douglass and Nylen 1992:67).

Types of Labor

Paiutes and Shoshones demonstrated skill in occupations that accompanied Western as well as traditional cultural systems. Among indigenous men, the most common forms of employment related to ranching, mining, hunting, and tracking.

Among indigenous women, collecting traditional foods, creating items necessary for daily living such as baskets, and working as housekeepers and laundresses, were the most prevalent occupations.

In many cases, Indian men and women continued to practice traditional forms of subsistence alongside occupations introduced through the demands of a Western economy. However, the efforts of

Paiutes and Shoshones to engage in mixed economies were not always understood by Euroamerican employers. Among the latter, both implicit and sometimes explicit attention was directed towards nullifying traditional indigenous economies or reducing their importance within environments that favored economic schemes based on the extractive and hierarchical principles of capitalism and industrialism.

The oral histories by McCracken (1990a,

1990b) and our interviews, as well as the published journals of Oddie (Douglass and Nylen 1992), confirm that Paiutes and Shoshones played important roles in the mining and ranching industries.

Although frequently underpaid and underemployed, Indian laborers within central Nevada demonstrated a wide range of skills. For example,

Indian Frank was particularly gifted as a horse breaker. Oddie wrote:

The strength of that Indian [Indian

Frank] is wonderful. He can throw a horse head over heels as easily as possible. He would work on them with a long rope till he had them broken to follow him. I have been quite friendly with him, and he has been so with me. He took a ride with me when I was riding my horse one of the first times. It is important to have someone with you when you are breaking a horse, so as to herd your horse if he starts for a dangerous place. In breaking a horse you have to let it go where it pleases at first. Indian

Frank is a Piute [sic], Most of the Indians around here are Shoshones, which are small-sized. The Piute are taller and more commanding. This Indian Frank is one of the best built men I have seen for a long time. He will ride a bucking horse bareback [Douglass and Nylen


On another occasion, Oddie hired an Indian named Patsy to shoe his horse. He recalled:

I got an Indian named Patsy to shoe him for me. Patsy is fine at that work.

He will shoe the wildest bronchos. He will keep after them till he gets the shoes on. Sometimes they take him all over town while their feet are tied up, but he sticks to them [Douglass and

Nylen 1992:37].

Paiutes and Western Shoshones were also well known for their skill as trackers. Oddie commented:

Every night a small band of the horses would break away and start back to their old grounds, so Indians would start on their trail and bring them back. While I was there some of them went over fifty miles away from the bands. The Indians are very quick at tracking them and are merciless riders, so they catch them soon as a rule [Douglass and Nylen


Paiutes and Western Shoshones were also hired to do some of the most physically taxing labor of processing ore from the mines. “We are going to put an old Indian and squaw to work to sort it, as it is quite a job. That is, they will break it up in small pieces, and pick out the ore that will pay to ship….” (Douglass and Nylen 1992:194).

Although Indians were often hired to perform


menial tasks around the mines, Oddie observed that some of the people he hired were very skilled laborers. “The man I have is very handy. He can do all kinds of mining, tool sharpening, mine timbering, building, chopping wood, packing mule trains etc., so he will be a good one for me to have….” (Douglass and Nylen 1992:129).

Barter and Commerce

Indians within the region also engaged in commerce and barter. Oddie noted:

My horse stood the trip well and came home in fine spirits. He has more nerve and spirit than any horse I ever rode. He is a beautiful animal, a very fast walker and a pretty good runner. I have not run him against another horse yet, and do not expect to as I have plenty of work for him. I call him ''Joe'' after the Indian

I bought him from [Douglass and Nylen


Death Valley Shoshones were notorious for horse hustling and selling (Lingenfelter 1986; see

Chapter Two). Bartering of wild game also was a common occurrence among the Shoshone bands under Chief Kawich. During the years of 1889–

1891, the Belmont Courier, in particular, noted on repeated occasions that the local Indians would barter ducks and sage hens available in season with the citizens of Belmont.

Mixed Economies

There appeared to be a general consensus among Euroamerican miners and farmers that the labor power of Indians was of great value. According to Oddie, “There is an advantage in hiring an Indian in place of a white man in such a place, because an Indian is more easily satisfied, and can stand more hardships” (Douglass and Nylen

1992:206). Moreover, the Paiutes and Shoshones exerted extraordinary amounts of energy for small degrees of remuneration. Oddie states in passing that he “had an Indian chop and saw wood for me yesterday. I told him to do a dollar’s worth and he cut me enough to last several months” (Douglass and Nylen 1992:190).

Despite the multiple benefits that Euroamerican employers gained from employing

Indians, no small bit of confusion resulted from

100 the Paiutes’ and Shoshones’ efforts to combine both traditional and Western forms of subsistence.

Tasker Oddie’s writings (1898–1902) confirm a dominant misconception towards mixed economies when he states, “The Indians are not workable. They are a lazy lot. They kill a lot of ground squirrels and dry them and as long as they last they will not work” (Douglass and Nylen 1992:19).

Some Euroamericans extended a pejorative view to other traditional activities as well.

In regard to an Indian man hired to haul hay and barley for the animals used in the mines, Oddie (Nylen and Douglass 1992:136) complained,

“He was lazy and no account. Every morning, just at day break, he would chant the most doleful song. It is a kind of religious [sic] or superstitious

[sic] with the old bucks.” Ironically, the same person was reported4 to wake before dawn, find and haul wood, make fires for Oddie, and haul tons of barley and hay up slopes so steep that the wagon load would often tip over, and the process would have to be repeated (Douglass and Nylen


In the early part of the twentieth century, alternative sources of income to sustain mixed economies began to emerge from unexpected sources, including professional baseball and prizefighting (Berg 1941; Horton 1997; Figure 5.2). In fact, Goldfield was known for its boxing matches, and one of the elders we interviewed, John Kennedy, was a boxer in his youth.

Figure 5.2. Round Mountain baseball team, 1910

(Central Nevada Museum & Historical


Collective Interventions

Aside from the Northern Paiute reservations near Pyramid and Walker Lakes that were estab-

lished by the government in 1875, Indians in central Nevada were left to fend for themselves until well into the twentieth century (Bowers and Muessig 1982:21–22). As this chapter demonstrates,

Paiutes and Shoshones of central Nevada endeavored to successfully adapt to changing ecosystems and dramatically altered economic, political, and social environments. Most frequently, adaptation occurred through the adoption of mixed economies. The latter response allowed Paiutes and

Shoshones to capitalize on both their newly acquired and traditional skills in milieus that proved to be hostile on many fronts.

In addition to adapting through changed subsistence patterns, Paiutes and Shoshones began to participate in the collective movements formerly known as the Ghost Dances of the 1870s and 1890s. These movements signify one aspect of community responses to the risks that accompanied the juggernaut of a moving frontier along with White settlement and industrial development.

In Chapters Six and Seven we examine other critical events that unfolded in the wake of Euroamerican expansion. In particular, we explore how people became either centered or marginalized through the institutionalization of particular relations of power, and the effects of these power shifts within the eras in which they occurred as well as in the present.

Narratives of Employment

As Euroamerican economic activities came to dominate the aboriginal territories of the Numic people, communities and individuals navigated through a radically changed socio-economic landscape. In this final section, we have gathered together oral histories that reflect some of the experiences undergone by individuals, families, and whole ethnic groups. The following excerpts of interviews conducted by the authors and by

McCracken (1990a) exemplify Indian involvement in mixed subsistence and the development of modern jobs.

Bertha Moose

Bertha Moose, a late Paiute elder from Big

Pine, California, spent most of her childhood with her grandmother and thus participated in many traditional subsistence practices. Bertha relates that her grandmother collected pine nuts on the edge of Deep Springs and then sold some to the

101 local store. She also made and sold baskets at the store to supplement the household income. They had a small farm by Fish Springs and they would walk the distance to the farm from Big Pine to irrigate their crops. Bertha’s mother, on the other hand, worked as a seamstress and also as a cook for ranch hands at the Kellogg Ranch in Fish Lake

Valley. Thus Bertha stayed back with her grandmother on the outskirts of Big Pine. Bertha’s brother Archie worked in agriculture and was deferred from the Service because of his need to stay at home and work to sustain the family.

Curtis Littlebeaver

Curtis Littlebeaver was interviewed in 2001 specifically for this project. He is a Western Shoshone elder currently enrolled with the Duckwater

Shoshone Tribe of Nevada. Curtis Littlebeaver was born in 1929 in Eden Creek in the northern portion of the Kawich Range. His mother was a member of a long-time Kawich resident family and his father was a Southern Paiute from Pahrump who worked for the Fallini Ranch and the

United Cattle Company (see figures 3.3–3.4). Curtis Littlebeaver recalls that many families were engaged in mixed economies that were synchronized to match the seasonal availability of diverse resources. During the winter months, the Eden

Creek families would move south to their fall– winter grounds at Whiterock Spring on the Eleana

Range (Nevada Test Site). As there was plenty of game at the Whiterock camps, these sites were highly valued. He notes, however, that when the

U.S. Air Force established the bombing range, much of the wildlife was destroyed. The father of this Western Shoshone elder then began to trap feral horses, but “there was not much to make a living from there,” so the southern portions of the

Kawich Range became increasingly difficult to inhabit.

Prior to these changes, however, the families at Whiterock Spring would move north to the ranches near Eden Creek at the first signs of spring. This elder noted that his family was the only Indian family in Eden Creek who continued to own and operate their own “squatter” ranch even after World War II. From spring until autumn they worked as cowboys at the Fallini Ranch and grew crops. Other Indian families in Eden

Creek were also compelled to work, primarily as cowboys on ranches acquired by Euroamericans.

Frequently, their labor was in great demand during the summer and through the fall. Littlebeaver says that “Indians were better workers than Whites because they were local and they were reliable.

White cowboys did not stay long.” Yet, each winter, the Indians of Eden Creek were laid off and had to secure other forms of employment. He recalls that after the yearly layoffs occurred, many families would travel as far south and east as Caliente, Pioche, or Hiko, where they would attempt to obtain work with the local Mormon ranchers.

When he was still a boy his family moved to

Warm Springs so that he could attend classes at the local school, which was built by the Fallini family for the local White and Indian children (see

Chapter Six).

Daisy Pete Smith

Daisy Pete Smith, sister of Curtis Littlebeaver, was born and raised in Eden Creek along with her parents, grandparents, siblings, and regionally renowned great grandparents, Rosie Kawich

George and Reveille George. She recalls that her father would work seven days a week to support their large family. He worked in the mines and as a ranch hand. The women performed hard labor doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, and taking care of white children. When the wife of their Italian neighbor Mr. Fallini died, her grandmother and great grandmother cared for the Fallini children.

They “were all like family and they always made sure we had food on our table.”

Andy Thompson (McCracken 1990a)

Andy Thompson was a member of another

Shoshone family who lived in the Beatty area and who also “used to roam around White

Rock…where the Test Site is” (McCracken

1990a:2). Thompson remembered the Pete family and recalled that they lived in an Indian settlement

“right up against the mountains from the Reveille mill” (McCracken 1990a:6). “One of my grandpas lived up there—Pedro Sam.” In addition to using a traditional subsistence economy at White Rock, the Thompson family frequented a lake called

nukind, which means “running water.” At the age of six, Andy Thompson began attending a public school near Pink Creek “on the other side of the

Railroad Valley” (McCracken 1990a:3), and later attended school in Sharp, Nevada (McCracken

1990a:28). Like the previously cited elder, Thomp-

102 son secured a living by combining traditional and

Western modes of economic production after attending public schools.

During the “cold months” of winter Thompson would trap animals over an expanse of land that covered approximately 150 miles. He would begin setting traps in Sharp and then head for Cedar Pipeline. The area in which he trapped also covered Railroad Valley to the Bordoli

(McCracken 1990a:16). Thompson recalled that

“quite a few” Indians were trapping in the area, along with “some white trappers” (McCracken

1990a:16). Throughout the rest of the year,

Thompson relied upon wages earned as a cowboy at the OK Reed Ranch. As a cowboy, Thompson reportedly made between 40 and 45 dollars a month. He explains that virtually all Indians were great riders “because that’s the way they made their living—riding” (Figure 5.3; McCracken

1990a:12). Due to overgrazing as well as the presence of a large population of mustangs throughout the valley, his employer, OK Reed, eventually closed down. After spending much of his adult life working as a cowboy and trapper, Thompson moved back to Sharp in 1941 in order to assist his stepfather with a ranch owned by the latter.

Thereafter, Thompson drove their cattle up to

Duckwater because his stepfather “wanted to be with Indians” (McCracken 1990:17). He reports,

“We were the only Indians living down there then.

There used to be a lot of Indians but they all moved up here [to Duckwater]” (McCracken


Grace Goad

Grace Goad, a Western Shoshone elder from

Death Valley, California, was interviewed for this project. Grace remembers that in the 1920s many families worked on short-term regional projects such as the construction of Scotty’s Castle, near

Death Valley (Figure 5.4). Long-term employment was obtained through the local ranches and mining companies, including the Pacific Coast Borax

Company. However, the pattern of seasonal movement remained in place throughout her youth; people from Death Valley would move up to the cooler hills of Lida during the summer. But the families stopped moving in the summer after

1950, when the National Park Service took advantage of their absence and tore down their houses while they were in Lida. In the 1960s–1970s they

had to pay $7 in rent to live in the park, but eventually Superintendent Dick Martin helped them get deeds for their homes.

Grace says that female employment mainly consisted of housework, such as laundry. The Inn at Furnace Creek also employed women for cleaning, cooking, and laundry. Grace herself worked as a maid at the Inn and did similar work in the summer in Lone Pine, since her husband’s family was from Owens Valley. But when Fred Harvey took over the Inn the wages went down, and they decided to quit that work and go back to working on ranches. The community then became much smaller than it was in her childhood.

Figure 5.3. Indian cowboys and cowgirls from the

Hooper Family, Monitor Valley, ca 1950 (Central Nevada Museum & Historical Society)

Yet another source of employment for Death

Valley Shoshones was the National Park Service;

Grace worked on the park’s maintenance crew until retirement. Unfortunately, employment with the NPS was seasonal, and thus there were no government retirement benefits. She worked for

35 years, from 1962 to 1987.

Alfred Stanton

At the time we interviewed Western Shoshone elder Alfred Stanton, he was the chairman of the Ely Shoshone Tribe. Alfred told how in his grandfather’s era, people depended on the land to live well. Thereafter, his grandfather ensured that he and his brother learned enough of the White world to be able to compete in it favorably. For example, his grandfather made great efforts to learn English and always carried a pocket diction-

103 ary with him; in it he made numerous notations and repeated each word until he learned it. The grandfather made sure that Alfred learned English too. In contrast, his great aunt, the famous medicine woman Mary Stanton, never spoke a word of

English, but was able to carry on her trade, travel, and interact socially without apparent trouble. As a child, Alfred would accompany the tribal leaders to meetings with government officials and lawyers because he spoke “good English” and would help them navigate the urban environment; for example, he still remembers the first time he led the leaders into an elevator. He also traveled with

Mary Stanton.

Figure 5.4. Death Valley–Lida work crew at Scotty’s

Castle (Littlefield and Knack 1996:234)

Alfred also related the importance of being enrolled in the U.S. Army before, during, and after

WW II. Not only was the Service a source of employment, but it also instructed Indian men in useful trades, including construction, mechanics, and electricity. He notes that although the Service at that time was racist and the pressures of the war made many Indians turn to alcohol, the magnitude of what men learned from the Army outdid its negative side, as long as they could turn that knowledge into a useful thing.

At Ely, the copper mines also offered numerous opportunities for employment; Ely was not a populated area until the copper mines opened in 1908 and people moved in from

Kawich, Spring Valley, and Duckwater, among other places. The community swelled from less

than 100 to 250 individuals and survived the ups and downs of the mining business. In the mid-

1960s he apprenticed for pipe fitting at the mine.

He was a union leader for a long time, before running for office.

Alfred is convinced that—thanks to his grandfather’s teachings and foresight—he got “the best of both worlds.”



Indian Schools: The Early Years (1890–1928)

Alex K. Carroll

The government tried to take every children. They don’t want them to learn their language. Take them from their

Indian ways.

John Kennedy

Back in those days they were trying to make Indians white overnight, you know what I mean?

Andrew Vidovich

Now they want people to go to school to learn the Indian language and…I wonder why that is?

Homer Hooper


ext to the implementation of federal policies designed to remove indigenous people from their traditional and aboriginal territories, legislative measures mandating the education of Indian children according to Western tenets of knowledge have resulted in some of the most profound and enduring impacts upon the lives of historic and contemporary American Indians (e.g.,

Archuleta et al. 2000). Within the state of Nevada, a massive re-socializing campaign directed at the youths of each indigenous community began in

1890 with the opening of the first non-reservation boarding school three miles southeast of the capital in Carson City, Nevada (Nevada Historical Society, Reno 83–24/III/4:2/18). Over the next century, Paiutes, Shoshones, Washoes, and indigenous youths from beyond the borders of Nevada were exposed to educational regimes at the

Stewart Indian School, local day schools, and public schools that promised to permanently alter traditional economic and social milieus that had developed through centuries of experience.

Much scholarship has already been dedicated to assessing and critiquing policies directed at reshaping and eliminating indigenous cultures via compulsory education. The Merriam Report represents one of the earliest as well as one of the most influential critiques of ideas and practices exercised in the education of Indian pupils throughout the United States (Merriam et al.

1928). More recently, ethnographic teams at the

Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology have taken a lead role in examining the impact of formal Western education upon the indigenous groups of Arizona (Kelley 1967; Officer 1956).

Additionally, the work of Knack (1978) provides insights into the educational experiences of contemporary Southern Paiutes, and Archuleta and others (2000), Huff (1997), Lomawaima (1994), and Spring (2001) have been instrumental in identifying critical issues surrounding the education of indigenous children through a Western paradigm.

In this chapter we explore the diverse impacts of compulsory education upon the Paiutes and Western Shoshones of central Nevada during the early years (1890–1928). Thereafter, we identify contemporary manifestations of historic educational policies within these communities.

Throughout this analysis we demonstrate how governmental policies enacted at the Steward Indian School served as ‘instruments of social reproduction’ (e.g., Willis 1977). There, Indian children were purposefully separated from traditional communities of knowledge and simultaneously prepared for jobs within economies derived from

Western rather than traditional indigenous philosophies of land and resource use. Building on the work of Willis (1977), Knack (1978), and Littlefield and Knack (1996), we illustrate how the vocational training that students received in boarding schools prepared them for the lowest paying jobs within local economies and thus served to reproduce rather than reduce social, economic, and political inequities extant between


the indigenous and non-indigenous populations of

Nevada. We also provide narrative recollections of students attending Indian boarding schools within different periods, along with those of a former

Shoshone student who attended a non-segregated day school in Warm Springs (known as the Eden

Creek School).

Throughout this analysis we describe the methods children and families utilized in order to mediate the risks that accompanied compulsory education. Risk reduction measures included the enactment of rituals of resistance, the display of varying degrees of compliance, the relocation of families to be near the schools, and the development of support networks within educational institutions. These networks sometimes muted traditional ethnic animosities and thus laid some of the groundwork for the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century phenomenon of pan-Indian awareness. As a local analysis, this chapter is intended to complement a larger body of literature dedicated to the investigation of how Western forms of education have affected indigenous groups throughout the United States. At the same time, the reader should bear in mind that the processes articulated through the oral histories presented in this chapter reveal patterns of risk perception, adaptation, and resistance that often parallel the experiences of indigenous people exposed to Western forms of education in regions beyond the scope of the present study.

Federal Policies

During the late nineteenth century, relations between indigenous and Euroamerican groups were in the process of being reconceptualized and reconstructed within Nevada and throughout the

United States. Although relations between these groups had never been static, the 1890s were particularly eventful. During this period federal policies were being enacted to “resolve” the “Indian

Problem” (Berkhofer 1978:169).

One method of resolution involved measures of forced segregation. The dominant means of instituting this policy entailed placing people on reservations where they would remain under close surveillance and control (Berkhofer 1978:170).

The late-nineteenth-century reservation policies helped Euroamericans gain greater control over aboriginal lands and resources, as well as over the dominant modes of production through which resources were utilized. Control over many mobile indigenous populations was further augmented by the reservation system, which aimed to turn indigenous people into farmers with fences. Cumulatively, reservation policies resulted in diminished access to land, traditional plants, animals, and water, and declines in population due to disease and starvation (Steward 1938; Hittman 1973; Stoffle,

Jones, and Dobyns 1995; Stoffle et al. 2000; Zanjani 1994).

Although a growing majority of indigenous people throughout the United States was being forced onto reservations by 1890, in Nevada many indigenous and non-indigenous people initially resisted reservation legislation. While reservation boundaries were marked in Nevada as early as

1859 at the Pyramid and Walker Lake reservations

(Elliott 1987:396), only 25 percent of Paiutes were living on reservations by 1890 (Logan 1980:281).

Much of the resistance stemmed from the fact that many Euroamerican communities were already highly dependent upon the cheap labor pool ensured by the presence of indigenous people near mining and ranching settlements. While living on ranches and on the margins of mining camps, many Numic people regularly performed menial labor for Euroamericans in exchange for food or wages. However, work was frequently sporadic, and payment for labor was not always forthcoming (Zanjani 1994:38).

A second means of resolving the “Indian

Problem” involved the implementation of policies of compulsory education designed to eradicate the presumed “otherness” of indigenous groups. “By the end of the century nearly half of all native children attended school for some period of time”

(Berkhofter 1978:170). In Nevada, the Clear Creek

Indian School, which was later renamed the Stewart Indian School, was established south of Carson

City in 1890 (Elliott 1987:397). Prior to its establishment, it is estimated that approximately 8 percent of Indians within Nevada were receiving some form of Western education.

Nineteenth and early twentieth-century educational policies placed indigenous people in increasingly risk-imbued situations involving the disruption of family and community social systems; the interruption of traditional methods of education, language, and religious practices; and the exposure of children to multiple disease epidemics. Through non-reservation boarding schools, indigenous youths from diverse linguistic,


tribal, and cultural backgrounds came to share the same living spaces for extended periods of time.

While living in these institutions, students were in regimes in which their behavior was strictly regulated through ongoing surveillance, behavioral modification programs, and the liberal use of corporal punishment. Students attending school during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries soon learned that the expression of traditional ideas and behaviors resulted in demerits and loss of individual privileges and freedoms, whereas behaviors approximating the ideals of a White culture were rewarded. Within these contexts, students endeavored to mediate risks through rituals of resistance and displays of varying degrees of compliance. Over time, some of the children and faculty of the Stewart institution, particularly returning graduates, endeavored to transform the

Stewart Indian School from a place to be avoided to a region of refuge.

The Early Years, 1890–1928

Designed, implemented, and maintained by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the juggernaut of educational reform began its tumultuous journey through the indigenous communities of central

Nevada during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. In the 1880s, C.S. Young, then

Superintendent of Public Instruction, made a recommendation to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Nevada state legislature that an Indian school be established. Anticipating the problems that the new school system would represent for

Indian people, in 1885 Northern Paiute leader

Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins planned to open a school for Indian children on the 130-acre ranch she received as a gift from Nevada’s Senator Stanford (Nevada State Journal, May 6, 1 885). But on

January 25, 1887, the people of the state of Nevada passed an act (supported by Senator William

Stewart) to establish “an Indian school for the purpose of training and educating Indian children…in Ormsby County” (O’Brien 1990:34).

After gaining congressional funding, the Clear

Creek Indian Training School was established on the outskirts of Carson City, Nevada.

Local newspaper accounts from Ely, Nevada reveal that the creation of the Indian School at

Carson was represented to the local Euroamerican community as an economic transaction, rather than as a social engineering program that would reconfigure indigenous-Euroamerican relations on a local as well as a national scale. According to the

White Pine News, the Carson Indian School was expected to require appropriations of $66,000 to

$76,000 (White Pine News, March 8, 1890). One week later, the story was discussed in terms of the potential economic benefits that local businesses would experience in conjunction with the creation of the Indian school in Carson City. According to one estimate, the presence of the Indian school would generate approximately $3,000 in revenue per month (Times Review in White Pines News,

March 15, 1890). Unstated were the immediate and long-term economic impacts that would befall indigenous families when their children were removed from their homes. Even less clear were the potential social ramifications of compulsory education.

While four Indian schools had been founded in Nevada by 1887, including Pyramid Lake

School (1887), the Walker River School (1882), the Western Shoshone School (1882), and the

McDermitt School (1886), a non-reservation school had yet to be established (Jackson

1969:11). One of the principal reasons given for the creation of a boarding school was that many youths living in rural locations were still unable to attend the available institutions (Scrugham

1935:348–349). Furthermore, while elementary education was available through local schools, fewer facilities existed where Indian youths could receive a high school education.

To address these issues, “H.M. Yerington,

Jewett W. Adams and S.L. Lee [were]…appointed

[to] a commission for the purposes hereinafter named, to be known as the Indian School Commission” (O’Brien 1990:34). Through their organizational efforts and federal funding, the Carson

Indian School, which was originally called Clear

Creek Indian Training School, opened on December 17, 1890 (Nevada Historical Society, Reno 83–

24/III/4:29:18). Other off-reservation boarding schools, which were to have equally profound effects upon the lives of American Indian communities, were established during one decade preceding and following the founding of Carson City

School in 1890. In Table 6.1, the dates of boarding school openings throughout the United States are provided (Officer 1956:16).

An analysis of enrollment and employment figures indicates that the Stewart Indian School experienced continuous growth from the late


nineteenth to the middle twentieth century. When the Stewart School was originally opened in 1890, only 37 Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe youths were enrolled, and three teachers were assigned to instruct them in all subjects (Wamble 1982).

Table 6.1. Opening Dates of Indian Boarding Schools

Date Est. School












Chemawa Indian School, OR

Chilocco Indian School, OK

Albuquerque Indian School, NM

Haskell Institute, Lawrence, KS

Grand Junction School, CO

Santa Fe Indian School, NM

Ft. Mohave Indian School, AZ

Carson Indian School, NV

Stewart Indian School, NV

Phoenix Indian School, AZ

Sherman Institute, Riverside, CA

However, by January of 1891, 91 pupils were attending Stewart Indian School on a full-time basis. This off-reservation boarding school continued to provide services to a population of students who were mostly from the Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe communities within the state of Nevada. Between 1900 and 1901, 243 students attended Stewart, and by 1905, the student body had increased to 305 pupils with an enlarged staff of 25 employees. Enrollment continued to rise in smaller increments, as indicated by the 1919 figure of 371 students.

The Reform Years, 1928-1945

The age range of Indian students expanded rapidly during the Great Depression. In 1933, 637 students enrolled in grades 1–10 at Stewart Indian

School, and in 1936 the school faculty added grades eleven and twelve. By 1939, the highest number of students continued to attend boarding schools; however, populations at day schools appeared to be rising. In Table 6.2, the number of students attending day and boarding schools is delineated.

Following WWII, more students began to attend Steward from out of state, and by 1947 the institute had admitted 147 Navajo students. The

Navajo contingency continued to grow, and by

1958 over half of the 613 students attending Stewart were Navajo. School counts taken seven years later indicate that 625 pupils were registered on a full-time basis (Johnson 1977). Although enrollment figures indicate higher student enrollments, after WWII the number of students from within the state of Nevada continued to decline, and progressively higher numbers of Nevadan students chose to attend reservation day schools or public schools. Consequently, by the ‘modern period’ beginning in 1945, the boarding school’s principal function had changed. Rather than serving as a primary education facility, Stewart became known as an alternative educational center directed mostly towards meeting the needs of students who were experiencing difficulties in public schools.

Table 6.2. Student Populations in Nevada,


Nevada Indian Schools

Nixon, Pyramid Lake Sub-Agency

Ft. McDermitt, Carson City


Carson Boarding School, Carson

Indian Agency, Stewart

Reese River, Carson City Agency via Austin

Fallon, Fallon Sub-Agency

Campbell Ranch Indian Agency,


Walker River, Walker River Sub-

Agency of Carson Indian Agency,



No. Pupils


Social Impacts

The implementation of compulsory education within the co-educational facilities at Stewart dramatically affected indigenous children, families, and communities. In practice, the assimilation policies of the early years (1890–1928), and to a lesser extent in the reform years (1928–1945), translated into rational, systematic efforts to disrupt, and if possible eradicate, the transmission of indigenous knowledge from elders to youths. Pai-









ute Ed Johnson, former curator of the Stewart

Indian Museum (Nevada, September/October

1990:33), reflects, “What they were trying to do was civilize the Indians, get the Indianness out of them.” Johnson’s statement is illustrative of the guiding principals underscoring federal policies of

Indian education from 1869–1928. In practice, bureaucrats working under the aegis of the BIA

“remove[d] the child from tribal influence by placing him in a federal boarding school; during his stay the school…[taught] him disrespect for tribal institutions, forb[a]de the speaking of his native language, expose[d] him to Christianity, [and] instruct[ed] him in skills related to [a] non-Indian, rather than Indian economy” (Officer 1956:116).

In the place of indigenous populations fluent in the languages, lands, religions, subsistence strategies, narratives, and social and political codes of each ethnic group, the schools endeavored to create a pool of ‘new Indians.’ These new Indians would be bereft of traditional knowledge, but much more malleable to the needs of a society structured by Western values and practices

(Archuleta et al. 2000:56). The founder of the Carlisle School, Richard Henry, summed up the popular sentiment underscoring assimilation measures when he stated that the key to ‘civilizing the Indian’ entailed “kill[ing] the Indian and sav[ing] the man” (Prucha 1990).

Once plans to open the Stewart Indian

School had been confirmed in 1887, Indian Service agents working in conjunction with the BIA approached Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe representatives to inform them of federal policies mandating Indian education. According to Jackson

(1969:22), tribal leaders actively voiced their concerns about sending their children to a nonreservation school. The Paiutes reportedly “complained bitterly over the fact that their children were being forced to attend a school situated so far from home.” They also objected to the “unnatural environment of the White school.” Furthermore, the Shoshones felt discriminated against because their enrollment numbers were higher than those of the Paiutes, and the Washoes resented the fact that their children were not provided with meals because their settlement was in close proximity to the school.

Although many families were reluctant to send their children to Stewart, they were lured by the hope that their children’s economic futures might be improved if the children were exposed to Western forms of knowledge. Frequently, parents expressed the desire that their children would receive training that would prepare them for future occupations (Figure 6.1). Such hopes came at a time when the people of Nevada were experiencing the repercussions of drought. In addition, indigenous communities throughout Nevada were still endeavoring to find effective means to survive in a world where subsistence economies were increasingly untenable. As the Western economies introduced by miners and ranchers became more powerful, many indigenous people began to adopt mixed economic strategies that included traditional subsistence methods along with sporadically available wage labor (see Chapter Five). Given these circumstances, it is not surprising that Western forms of education were perceived as one avenue through which the welfare of each community might be improved.

Figure 6.1. The Stewart Indian School blacksmith shop

Despite a willingness to be optimistic regarding federal policies of Indian education, the social memories of this period are infused with metaphors of disruption and powerlessness in the wake of educational reforms. Most poignant in many people’s minds are the memories of children being

‘rounded up’ and taken away by representatives of the same government that had allowed its citizens to take away aboriginal lands. A student recalls,

“Some agent [from the Bureau of Indian Affairs] picked me and my brother up and took us up to

Carson City. I didn’t have much choice” (Burns in

O’Brien 1990:35). Children were sometimes sent to Stewart when a parental figure died, or when there was no one within their extended family that could take care of them. Andy Vidovich, the son of Susie Crest, who was of mixed Shoshone and

Paiute ancestry, with a Yugoslavian father, was born in Tule Canyon south of Lida. Vidovich recalls:


After Mama died, we were sent to Stewart. Jerry an’ I was little fellows, Jerry had a dress on when he was sent to

Stewart, and I was about 6 years old. We was sent to Stewart because there was no woman to care for us, nobody around, you know [Wheat 1966:7].

In a recent interview with Norma Nelson, this story repeats itself. Norma recalls how her mother was paid to take care of several children who had been orphaned. Upon reaching school age, they were taken to Stewart and taught to milk cows. In addition to sending orphans to Stewart, children were sent there during periods when food and clothing were scarce. The superintendent of

Stewart Indian School in the first decade of the twentieth century observed a seasonal pattern in pupils’ attendance; the school filled during the winter months when food was scarce and clothing needed, but emptied during the summer months when the parents were able to secure employment and little clothing was necessary (Johnson 1977).

Upon arriving at Stewart Indian School, the first generations of students were introduced to an institution driven by the purpose of assimilating the Indians into a White world. In practice this entailed labeling everything Indian ‘bad’ and ‘forbidden,’ and everything White ‘good’ and ‘desirable.’ To instill such counter-intuitive lessons, school officials endeavored to keep children away from their families for extended periods of time:

They’d just bring them in raw. They had to stay there for 3 years. They bring you in there, they sign you up for three years; you can’t get out of there for three years, unless your father or mother come and take you. But after three years, like us, we lived way down to

Lida, the government will pay our expense down there, and J.D. Oliver, or some of the big employees, would bring us home. And then, in the fall, they’d come down ‘n get you [Wheat 1966:10–



In addition to being placed in environments designed to undermine and destroy indigenous ideas, values, beliefs, and practices, students at-

110 tending Stewart were exposed to multiple lifeendangering diseases. Ed Johnson, who authored

Walker River Paiutes, notes: “Students from kindergarten through the eight grade…were subject to the ravages of diseases including measles, whooping cough, smallpox, and the flu. Soon after the school opened, students were afflicted with the mumps…” (Johnson 1977), and dysentery reportedly ran rampant (Jackson 1969:36). Not infrequently, these diseases ended in death. Johnson

(1977) reports, “Students died at the school…. In

1905 there were several cases of serious illness, mostly pneumonia, five proving fatal. [In addition], Superintendent James B. Royce and many students died during the 1918 worldwide flu epidemic.” In a recent interview, Norma Nelson also noted that one of her sisters died of meningitis that she contracted while attending boarding school.

Mrs. Hershey, a White woman, was reared on a reservation in Utah, where her father was a minister. She remembers that when she first came to

Stewart there was much sickness. “It seems there was one epidemic after another then…but since we started giving immunization, we don’t have much serious sickness anymore” (Reno Evening

Gazette , January 12, 1962). By 1913, a hospital bed was added and children began to receive immunization shots, and in 1916 school officials opened the first Indian hospital and sanitarium in Nevada

(Wamble 1982).

Mistakenly, some reporters attributed a

“great deal of the sickness” that occurred among the students at Stewart to a “lack of medicines and food, and unhealthy living conditions on reservations” (Reno Evening Gazette, January 12, 1962). The lack of medicine, insufficient foods, overcrowding, and both physical and psychological trauma indicated in personal histories of former pupils and in the Merriam Report suggest that the spread of disease was catalyzed by conditions within the school itself. In response to these physical dangers, some children ran away. In addition, parents were known to remove their children from the schools (Johnson 1977).


From the 1890s through the 1930s, and possibly later, Stewart was run as a semi–military institution in which Indian children’s lives were closely monitored and controlled. “Although the rules

gradually were relaxed, students once were required to wear uniforms, march to class, and attend drill instruction” (O’Brien 1990:33). In addition to marching to class, they were required to perform drills in front of the superintendent on a weekly basis. One former pupil maintains, “It was designed to break the morale of the Indians but it didn’t work” (Wamble 1982).

Prior to the institution of reforms advocated by Lewis Merriam and John Collier, the use of corporal punishment extended to all aspects of the boarding school experience. Strict behavioral regimens were designed to “physically, ideologically, and emotionally remove Indian children from their families, homes and tribal affiliations”

(Archuleta et al. 2000:19). When Vidovich went to school at Stewart, Ashbury was the agent and J.D.

Oliver was the disciplinarian. Vidovich recalls:

His word was law all the time…that was during the days when they were trying to make Indians white over night, you know what I mean? And they beat that

Indian tradition out of ‘em…. All that pride was taken out of ‘em. They broke him [Wheat 1966:10].

Measures of non–compliance were regularly met with extreme force. “In the first 30 years…discipline was immediate—and often brutal. Girls were locked in the attic of the girl’s dormitory. Students were forced to carry railroad ties around the grounds. Some were shackled. Children who ran away—and many did—were returned in leg irons and chains. Even in the late years, students were subject to severe punishment” (Reno Gazette-Journal, November 8, 1994).

Such stories of student resistance abound

(O’Brien 1990:34).


Speaking in one’s native tongue was a common cause of punishment. While such policies were justified as methods for precipitating assimilation, many contemporary writers describe these measures as cultural genocide (e.g., Archuleta et al.

2000:19). The lack of fluency in English was initially one of the greatest barriers separating both the Stewart students and teachers as well as the students from different reservations. In an article from the BIA on why Indian Boarding Schools failed, the author wrote:

Ignoring completely the tribal differences which have been discussed in earlier issues of Indian Education, the infant representatives of hundred of tribes were thrown together indiscriminately.

The better to encourage the learning of

English, the speaking of tribal languages was forbidden. The ban was enforced through corporal punishment— occasionally of a brute nature. Little children barely seven years old were torn from their parents, shipped sometimes thousands of miles from home, without understanding what it was all about, and then housed in vast ugly, friendless dormitories where sixty to a hundred and more children shared a single room.

Bathing and toilet facilities were.…inconvenient and unsanitary….Thus did we undertake to ‘civilize’ our wards—in an atmosphere which must have made the most primitive of Indian homes appear as paradise in comparison [Bureau of Indian Affairs


Ned Crutcher of Herlong, California, a 71– year-old Paiute/Shoshone, was sent to Stewart

Indian School in 1924. This was four years before the writing of the Merriam Report, which called for a series of reforms ranging from increasing the quality and quantity of food given to students to decreasing the menial work which students were required to perform outside of the classroom. Like many of his peers, Crutcher recalls that he was prohibited from speaking in Paiute or Shoshone.

“You learn quick. The idea was you were not to speak your language. I got caught I got punished for it” (Nevada, September/October 1990:36).

One Pomo woman, Elsie Allen, was forced to attend a boarding school in Covelo. She recalled:

I was eleven year old [when I went to

Covelo] and every night I cried and then

I’d lay awake and think and think and think. I’d think to myself, “If I ever get married and have children I’ll never


teach my children the language or all the

Indian things that I know. I’ll never teach them that, I don’t want my children to be treated like they treated me.

That’s the way I raised my children…[Margolin 1993:182].

Although punishment awaited the Indian pupil who was caught speaking anything but English, some of the older students at Stewart chose to employ rituals of resistance that allowed them to keep their languages alive while also ensuring that younger students would have the opportunity to speak in their native tongue. Effie Dressler recollects, “The older girls would come get us little ones and take us off behind a building so we could speak our language” (Nevada, September/October 1990:36).

Given the severity of the corporal punishment that awaited those who chose to speak Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe, the courage of this measure of resistance is worthy of note. In his interview with Margaret Wheat, Andy Vidovich recalled how he was treated when he spoke Paiute.

Wheat asked, “Didn’t you tell me one time that the kids were not permitted to speak Paiute or any other Indian language?” Vidovich responded:

If you do, they break your head open.

See, they call it blacksnake rule. The disciplinarian and the night watchman, the big officers, had black snakes on ‘em.

They catch you talkin’ Indian, boy! They jus whale on you ‘til you can’t move….

Anytime…day or night, or anywhere or any place…. So as to break that Indian language, so they’ll acquire the English language [Wheat 1966:15].

Social Reproduction

In addition to creating an atmosphere that was designed to strip Paiutes and Shoshones of their cultural identities, the Stewart Indian School curriculum was designed to create a cheap pool of wageworkers that would service local economies.

During the first 40 years of its existence, the Stewart Indian School approximated a work camp in which the labor of the students was required to keep the institution afloat. Within this system, children were required to work half the day and attend school during the other half of the day.


O’Brien (1990:38) writes, “Vocational training predominated in the early years because the school, which fed and clothed itself, used its residents for production of food and clothing and for maintenance of the grounds and building.”

Johnson states that in 1895, the school raised

1.25 tons of sweet corn, 32.5 tons of hay, 1.5 tons of rye, 15 tons of beets, 32.5 tons of potatoes, 1.5 tons of carrots, and 1.5 tons of other vegetables.

These were stored for winter use (Johnson 1977).

In spite of a heavy workload, however, the labor of students was not always sufficient to provide enough food for all of the pupils. “Former students have said that they raided the fields, vegetable cellars, Genoa and Carson orchards, milked the cows, caught rabbits and cooked their own stew because they were often still hungry after meals were served” (Johnson 1977).

Critics of pre-reform policies have disparaged this system’s heavy emphasis on menial labor, the small amount of funds that were allocated for this institution in comparison to the cheapest nonindigenous boarding schools, and the low academic standards that were set in comparison to non-Indian schools from the same period. After the Merriam Report was published in 1928, the quality of care and instruction in all BIA-affiliated institutions came under closer scrutiny. Shortly thereafter, BIA officials went to Stewart to assess the quality of instruction as well as the general welfare of students. They recommended a number of reform measures, including the institution of vocational training. Consequently, programs were revised and students were “given instruction and a choice of jobs in animal husbandry, farming, ranching, baking, blacksmithing (later auto mechanics), laundry, plumbing, carpentry, stone masonry, home economics, nursing skills, bookkeeping skills, sewing, tailoring, printing, and cobblery”

(O’Brien 1990:38).

Achuleta et al. (2000:34) note that “the school’s vocational training reflected federal intentions to fit Indian people into the lower economic sectors of American society as small-scale farmers, manual and unskilled laborers, or domestic workers.” One method of reinforcing vocational habits while simultaneously reinforcing the cultural values of Euroamericans entailed the practice of placing children in White families over summer vacations. While living in these settings, students were required to help the families by doing physical tasks ranging from washing clothes and baby-

sitting to engaging in agricultural and ranching duties. Summer placements served to prolong the period of time in which students were separated from their families, a practice that school officials believed would expedite their assimilation goals.

While many social critics have stepped forth to question this method of education, other parties have voiced their support for vocational training.

Not infrequently, former students cite the vocational training that they received as the most valuable aspect of their time spent at the Stewart Indian School.

Rituals of Resistance

Former students within our study attributed little value to the disciplinary structure in which the students’ daily affairs were organized. In response to the rigors of a semi-military institution that was designed to “take the Indianness out of

Indians,” students employed innovative strategies to protect themselves and maintain a sense of cultural identity. Children would sequester themselves behind buildings where they would speak in their native languages. Moreover, older students often took the lead in ensuring that younger students had the opportunity to practice speaking their own languages. Students also developed

“elaborate codes of slang and became expert note passers to circumvent school rules that impeded communication” (Archuleta et al. 2000:26).

Some students also created strategies to ensure that they had ongoing contact with siblings within an institution that forbade socializing between male and female students. The Vidovich children went so far as to disguise their younger brother as a girl before arriving at the school:

Jerry was a little baby. When he was going to Stewart he had a dress on him.

And they put him in the big girls’ dormitory, and they got to bathe him and dress him, and fix him up. See, I tell you, that’s the reason we [Vidovich children] are so close together, on account of that [Wheat 1966:15].

The enforced segregation of male and female students is described in the following passage.

Vidovich recounts:

They have places called the “dead line.”

Places where big girls can’t come over from their place across a certain sidewalk there. And the little girls can’t come over certain place this side [Wheat


While adherence to ‘the dead line rule’ was strictly enforced, children of all ages were known to ‘cross the line’:

An’ Jerry here, get pretty lonesome, you know, and used to come on over to the little girls’ side, and he’d git [sic] over there, and he’d just bawl, you know. We had tough matrons there, too, them times, you know; boy, they really were rough. They used to come over there, and they’d say, “You-u-u shut up now, you.” And they’d keep a-crying. “You little black devil, you. You shut up!”

And they’d go over there and just whale the devil out of them. Gee, I used just figure if I could only get me a big branch of something, I’d go right in and beat her head off. I used to walk over, and then I’d get a good whaling. I’d try to put my arms around ‘im you know

[Wheat 1966:15–16].

The decision to separate children by sex disrupted sibling relationships as well as courting relationships that had sometimes begun before the students arrived at the school. Rather than acknowledging the cultural appropriateness of allowing youths to participate in tribally-sanctioned rites of passage, however, school officials endeavored to curb these behaviors entirely. The most effective means of stopping cross-gender relationships was to frighten students into submission. This was done by introducing the Judeo-Christian concepts of sin, hell, and damnation (Jackson 1969). Although such indoctrination curbed culturally instilled behaviors, students who left school and then returned again were notorious for reverting back to the ideas and practices of their own ethnic groups.

Running away was another ritual of resistance that occurred with some frequency. In oral histories collected in the Zion/Pipe Springs Ethnographic Project (Stoffle et al. 1997:84), a woman


from Koosharem talked about the places where some of the children hid within the Virgin River

Gorge area:

Sham people [Shivwits Reservation] used to go over there to hunt Mountain

Sheep. Ray Mose and Norbert Zungia ran away from school at Ft. Mohave and hid out in the Virgin River Gorge area.

They found a cabin with food in it and lived in this. The school never found them.

The parents of indigenous students were often equally critical of the processes of indoctrination that children were exposed to during their stay at Stewart Indian School. In our interview with John Kennedy, he related the story of how his father and extended family acted in concert to remove John and his two siblings from Stewart:

The government tried to take every children. They don’t want them to learn their language. Take them from their

Indian ways. One train picked up all the little kids. Dad got us out of the school.

Picked up all three kids in a Model T

Ford. Took [us] to Telescope Peak with his aunt—hide [us] out—skipping [us] from here to there, family to family to miss school.

Boarding School Alternatives

Although many Paiute, Shoshone, and

Washoe children from throughout Nevada attended the non-reservation Stewart Indian School from 1890 until the end of WWII, others were given the option of attending local reservation schools or public schools (Wamble 1982). By

1887, four Indian schools had been founded in

Nevada, including Pyramid Lake School (1887), the Walker River School (1882), the Western Shoshone School (1882), and the McDermitt School

(1886) (Jackson 1969:11).

In the region of the current study, a public elementary school attended by White and Indian children was established in Round Mountain in

1907 (Figure 6.2). In addition to establishing an elementary school, the residents of Round Mountain started a library in April of 1907 and a newspaper in June of 1906 (Berg 1941). While the library was short-lived, the newspaper, Round

Mountain Nugget, was regularly printed between

June of 1906 and November of 1910 (Round Moun-

tain Nugget, August 7, 1909).

Although the Round Mountain School was established in 1907, construction of the building did not begin until August of 1908. For a total of

$1,500, the residents built a one-room schoolhouse measuring 20 x 30 feet. Other notable features included large windows and a seven-foot porch. The first teacher at this school, Mrs. W. R.

Gibson, taught students of all ages in this oneroom school. Berg (1941) reports that at times

Indians comprised half of the student body. Although the number of children attending classes eventually swelled to as many as 40 or 50, Berg

(1941) reports that there was usually only one teacher to instruct all pupils; however, in 1935 two teachers were briefly employed. Until November of 1937, the Round Mountain School served as the official elementary school and unofficial high school. Thereafter, teachers and students relocated to a four-room school that was used jointly as an elementary and high school facility.

Figure 6.2. Round Mountain Indian School, ca. 1910

(Central Nevada Museum & Historical Society)

In 1915, yet another small public school attended by White and Indian children was established in Warm Springs, Nevada (Figure 6.3). This one-room school, known as the Eden Creek

School, was founded shortly after the Fallini family took over the ranch at Warm Springs. In a recent ethnographic interview, a Shoshone elder who was born and raised in the south Kawich

Range reflected upon his educational experiences at the Eden Creek School, as well as on his experiences at the Steward Indian School, which he attended in the early 1930s.


For the Pete family, living in Warm Springs with the family intact proved to be beneficial for the nine Pete children who attended school along with their Euroamerican peers. While living there, the Pete children attended school in a one-room schoolhouse along with the Fallini children, several kids from Sharp, including Bert Williams and

Daisy Williams, and a local White family known as the Argonis. Curtis Littlebeaver remembered his teacher Helen Humphrey with fondness, but was quick to note that not all of the children were equally disposed. After attending Eden Creek

School, which in his words had “nothing to do with Indian school,” Littlebeaver transferred to

Stewart Indian School to attend high school classes.

Figure 6.3. The school at Warm Springs

Littlebeaver’s recollections of Stewart Indian

School were decidedly less favorable than his memories of Eden Creek. He attended Stewart in

1939, after the federal government had already mandated a series of reforms. Nonetheless, Littlebeaver’s descriptions resonate with depictions of the school in the pre-reform period, which suggests that the basic method of behavioral control and anti-Indian values had not been fundamentally altered. Littlebeaver viewed Stewart Indian School as a military–like institution where rules and condemnation prevailed. He believes that many of the youths he met at Stewart did not like school and did not want to “go the white man’s ways too much.” He recalls, They’d go to school for a little while and drop out, you know how it is, reading, writing, that’s good enough for us, that was the attitude.” Littlebeaver indicates that while this attitude prevailed among his peers, the parents of many children felt that “it would be best for them to get an education.” Although Littlebeaver attended unwillingly and ran away, he comments,

“As far as education for a youngster to know what’s going to come ahead living in a white person’s world and we work for them, so it is better to speak English and have education.”

Littlebeaver’s statement reveals an uneasy compromise with a system of education and socialization that failed to meet his needs or the needs of many of his peers. With all of its limitations, however, Littlebeaver still maintains that indigenous youths need Western forms of education in order to understand and engage others in a world dominated by Euroamerican ideas and interests. When one considers that the person behind this position is someone with a thirst for knowledge fed through historical research and writing, the gap between educational ideals and their impoverished manifestations becomes clear.

Contemporary Manifestations of Historical


The views of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the general public regarding Indian education have changed several times over the course of more than a century. As a result, the curricula utilized by non-reservation boarding schools, reservation schools, and public schools have altered as well. Officer (1956:116–117) has identified three periods in which policies, as well as their enactment, were modified. A fourth period, characterized by the theme of cultural revitalization, has been added to the original synopsis. It represents the 1950s to the present (Table 6.3).

The creation and enactment of federal education policies have fostered enduring legacies among the Paiute and Shoshone of central Nevada. In oral histories and personal narratives recounted by elders in interviews conducted in central Nevada in 2001, former students’ responses suggest levels of significance associated with indigenous education policies to which this chapter can only allude. At the same time, those who have personally experienced educational mandates during different historical periods have expressed collective themes that continue to have tangible social impacts in the present. In the remainder of this chapter, we identify several social issues collectively raised over the course of these interviews.

Specifically, these issues revolve around two core themes: loss and adaptation. Due to the nature of


these experiences, these themes are not mutually exclusive.

Language Loss, Language Gain

The rigid enforcement of English within Indian schools in Nevada has resulted in immeasurable losses as well as significant gains. Today the

Paiute and Shoshone of central Nevada are without exception fluent in the English language. As a result, the indigenous people of central Nevada are able to communicate with people outside of their original speech communities. While the speech commonality acquired through fluency in

English clearly extends to persons associated with the dominant ‘White’ culture, fluency in English has also created channels for communication between and among indigenous groups that previously shared no common language. The boarding school experience of the late nineteenth century thus laid the linguistic foundations for pan-Indian affiliations that have continued to evolve over the course of the last century. Although tribal histories and traditional alliances and animosities were never erased by a growing awareness of pan-

Indianness, the development of interethnic indigenous alliances has held and continues to acquire new social, political, and economic significance.

While the acquisition of English has empowered Paiutes and Shoshones in realms outside of their immediate communities, participation in

Western forms of education has simultaneously undermined native languages to such an extent that very few people remain who consider themselves to be fluent speakers of their native languages. Among those who still speak Shoshone and Paiute fluently there is a growing conviction that they are among the last. In his interview with the authors, Littlebeaver affirmed that he is fluent in Shoshone and “never gave that up.” While he can speak “every word of it,” he is distressed by the fact that “there is no one left to talk to.” Similarly, Homer Hooper, son of Alice Hooper and grandson of Chief Kawich, revealed that while he still speaks his own language, he had a hard time finding people with whom to speak because none of the young people speak Shoshone. His wife,

Nancy Hooper, maintained that hardly anyone still speaks Shoshone. When asked how many people were fluent, she estimated that she knew of only five to 10 people (McCracken 1990b:10–11).

Many tribal elders fear that Numic languages are on the verge of dying out. In response, midnight efforts to revitalize this knowledge have emerged and are evidenced in tribal language programs and collaborative efforts such as the Salt Song Project.

Bertha Moose, an Owens Valley Paiute, and daughter of Elsie Bowers and George C. Collins, had the good fortune of being taught her native language at a time when growing numbers of children were exposed to more English than Paiute.

Bertha’s mother attended boarding school at the

Sherman Institute, along with her sister, Lillian.

Bertha recalls that her mother never lost her language and made a conscious decision to teach

“Indian” [Paiute] language to her children. Bertha also spent a lot of time with her grandmother, who spoke very little English. When Bertha began school, she was fluent in “Indian,” but had to be taught English. As she grew older she recalls that truant officers would come to her grandmother’s house and ask why Bertha was not at school. Although her grandmother spoke no English, Bertha taught her grandmother one phrase to get the truant officers to go away: “Go away. Bertha is sick!”

In a telling moment, Homer Hooper asked the rhetorical question, ‘Now they want people to go to school to learn the Indian language and…I wonder why that is?” (McCracken 1990b:10). The poignancy of Hooper’s question lies in its capacity to reveal the arbitrariness of Indian educational policies. Whereas federal policies of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were purposively designed to promote English and eradicate the use of native languages, today the same languages that were systematically undermined are the centerpieces of language enhancement programs. Those who have the greatest stake in preserving native languages are faced by multiple challenges, not the least of which is how to keep languages alive when the speech communities where a child previously learned the language are rapidly disappearing.

Dual Cultural Awareness

Many elders describe their experiences as participants and members of more than one speech and cultural groups. When reflecting about the life of a sister who died of meningitis while at the Stewart Indian School, Norma Nelson raised




Table 6.3.Federal Indian Policy, 1890–Present

Federal Indian Policy dismantle Indian political systems incorporate Indians into the general cultural stream of the United States

Policy Implementation remove the child from tribal influence by placing the child in a federal boarding school teach the child disrespect for tribal institutions forbid the child from speaking native languages expose the child to Christianity instruct the child in skills related to a non-Indian, rather than an Indian economy

1928–1945 acknowledge the values of Indian cultures permit Indians to proceed at their own pace towards incorporation into the general stream of the United States let the child attend school near home and allow the child to be with family at night teach respect for tribal institutions encourage retention of select elements of Indian cultures bring Indians into the planning of the school program provide training in skills useful away from the reservation for those Indians who desire to live elsewhere

1945–1956 remove the federal government from the

‘Indian business’ as rapidly as possible encourage Indian attendance at public schools when educating Indian children in federal schools, concentrate on preparing the Indian child for eventual off-reservation employment so as to help make

Indians self-supporting relieve the pressures of increasing reservation populations prepare Indians for federal withdrawal revitalization

American Indian Education Foundation

Act 1999 increase cultural awareness promote educational advancement address language loss retain students


the issue of cultural fluency. At school Nelson’s sister was introduced to one culture, and at home another. At school, she reportedly enjoyed going to church and singing. “But when she came home my grandma and grandpa told us stories of the land, so she got both.” In reflecting about her own education, Nelson recalls that she went to school in Bishop and later finished school in Yerington. Her family, like many families, was compelled to move around to wherever work was available. Nelson’s father was a truck driver, and later went to work on the Hoover Dam building roads. During this time, Nelson and her mother lived with him in a tent they had set up nearby.

Due to the frequency with which they moved,

Nelson says she “…hardly got education.”

Nelson’s statement appears to reflect a perception of being less fluent in Western cultural constructs and practices than in the cultural matrixes of her own indigenous community. Although she reports that she ‘hardly got education’ she qualifies her statement by saying, “Then again, my dad taught me everything about the land.” In other words, Nelson received a traditional education, and as a consequence became well versed in a type of knowledge that has until recently received little recognition among non-indigenous people.

The sense of dual cultures is also raised by

Alfred Stanton and by Curtis Littlebeaver; the latter maintains that although Western education has a history of failing to meet the needs of many indigenous children, the children nevertheless need

Western forms of education to survive in a world with Western practices and beliefs. Littlebeaver also discusses the concern he noted among his peers of ‘becoming too white.’ His statement indicates that there is a tension between learning enough about the ideas and practices espoused by non-indigenous communities to be able to successfully negotiate cross-cultural encounters, and becoming accommodating to the point of compromising or negating a sense of cultural identity.

Alfred Stanton, on the other hand, expresses the conviction that he “got the best of both worlds.”

The theme of conflicting cultural values is raised in Knack’s (1978) analysis of the educational and work experiences of Southern Paiutes.

Knack maintains that while educational institutions steeped in Western values and ideas promote behaviors stemming from competition and individualism, Numic people have traditionally em-

118 phasized cultural values of cooperation and community. These ideals thus appear to represent polarized rather than parallel values. At home, children may be taught to privilege the group above the individual, yet at school they are socialized to view the community as secondary to the individual. Children exposed to competing sets of values often experience a cognitive dissonance that is most easily resolved by selecting one set of values at the expense of another. From 1890–

1928, Indian education policies espoused a replacement theory of culture. Consequently, indigenous children were encouraged to embrace the cultural values of Euroamericans at the cost of indigenous knowledge, practices, and beliefs. Following the Merriam Report in 1928, policies gradually moved towards acknowledging certain aspects of indigenous cultures. Today, collective efforts to revitalize and honor indigenous cultures are having an effect on the way in which both indigenous and non-indigenous communities view the existence and value of indigenous knowledge.

What remains to be seen is what role indigenous knowledge will play in the classroom.

Vocational Skills

Former students at Stewart Indian School maintain that the vocational skills they learned while attending this non-reservation boarding school represent some of the most tangible benefits of their educations (Figure 6.4). The introduction of formal vocational programs followed recommendations from a member of the U.S. Board of Indian Commissioners in 1928. After visiting

Stewart Indian School, this representative recommended more vocational and academic instruction: “The commissioner also reported that students did too much menial labor and stated that more employees should be hired so that the students could be given more classroom instruction”

(Johnson 1977).

Following this visit, the curriculum was redesigned with a vocational bent. The industrial department offered classes in auto mechanics, carpentry, plumbing, heating, painting, electricity, masonry, plastering, and shoe repair, and the agricultural emphasis placed an emphasis on teaching students about the production of hay, beef, veal, hamburger, and milk. Many people who attended

Stewart experienced a sense of empowerment from the vocational skills they acquired while at-

tending school. Homer Hooper recalls that when he was at Stewart he was trained to “work in the laundry…[and] in the paint shop…. [Later he] took up a little bit in mechanics and welding…took up poultry—raising chickens—and farming, like planting vegetables and working in the dairy…. I was just back and forth, looking for different trades…. That’s when I took up all these different things that would help me out through the later years” (McCracken 1990b:8–9).

Figure 6.4. Woodshop at Stewart Indian School

The importance of vocational training is also indicated in the life of Shoshone elder Helen

Eben. Eben was born in Cottonwood and later lived in several places, including Warm Springs,

Carson City, and Duckwater. Like many of her peers, Eben moved to Stewart Boarding School to attend high school. Eben shared the experience of attending boarding school with her brother and sister; however, Helen viewed her stay from a somewhat different angle than some of her peers.

She recalls that her brother disliked the school because of all of the rules and strict discipline.

While Helen Eben did not particularly care for the way in which the institution was run, she was motivated to stay and graduate from Stewart so that she might successfully pursue her career goals. Eben attended school for four years. After graduating, she married Nebs Jackson from Reese

River. Thereafter, she obtained a job as a nurse.

Throughout the rest of her working life, Eben remained a nurse. Consequently, in her recollections of boarding school, Eben emphasizes the training she received at Stewart as well as the friends she made from Elko, Carson City, and


Social Memories

Throughout this chapter, we have talked directly as well as indirectly about people’s personal and social memories of attending Indian schools.

In this final section, we explore how the need to keep memories alive can be expressed in relationship to the places where the memories were originally created. The importance of particular places to social memory was made evident when Interior

Secretary James Watt and Governor Robert List made plans to transfer the Stewart Indian School back to the State of Nevada. In a series of articles published in 1982–1983, the Nevada State Journal reported that under this agreement, 50 central acres of the former school would be transferred back to the state for the purpose of establishing a prison. In response, petitioner Sferrazza wrote:

To permit the federal government and the state of Nevada to turn a historic monument with so much meaning to

Indians throughout the southwestern

United States into a prison constitutes a travesty of justice and an affront to Native Americans throughout the United


Some former pupils responded to these plans by creating a protest petition to prevent federal employees and the state of Nevada from turning

Stewart Indian School into a prison. A reporter for the Nevada State Journal indicated that more than 6,200 signatures were gathered in response to

List’s proposal (Nevada State Journal, April 25,


From the vantage of social memory, the

Stewart Indian Boarding School represents a critical landmark in the lives of many Paiutes, Shoshones, Washoes, and other indigenous groups.

Historically, representatives from these communities experienced some of their darkest and most traumatizing hours in Indian boarding schools. In this chapter, we explored how nineteenth century and early twentieth century educational policies placed indigenous people in increasingly risk– imbued situations involving the disruption of family and community social systems, the interruption of traditional methods of education, language, and religion, and the exposure of children to multiple disease epidemics. Through off-reservation boarding schools, indigenous youths from diverse lin-


guistic, tribal, and cultural backgrounds came to share the same living spaces for extended periods of time.

While living in these institutions, students were placed in regimens in which their behavior was strictly regulated through ongoing surveillance, behavioral modification programs, and the liberal use of corporal punishment. Students attending boarding school in the early years (1890-

1928) soon learned that the expression of traditional ideas and behaviors resulted in demerits and the loss of individual privileges and freedoms, whereas behaviors approximating the ideals of the dominant White culture were rewarded. In these contexts, students endeavored to mediate risks through rituals of resistance and displays of varying degrees of compliance. Over time, some of the children and faculty of the Stewart institution, particularly returning graduates, endeavored to transform Stewart Indian School from a place to be feared into a region of refuge.

The preservation of the Stewart Indian

School stands—in bittersweet irony—as a collective effort to honor the social memory of all those who personally underwent the experiences of ‘becoming educated’ according to Western standards of knowledge. Anderson (Reno Evening Gazette,

November 8, 1994) states that in 1981 the state advisory board nominated the Stewart Indian

School to the National Register of Historic Places, thereby halting any immediate measures to convert this site into a prison. In that article, Ellen

Moose Brock, “a Southern Paiute/Western Shoshone whose grandparents, Dave and Lillian

(Tootsie) Moose, attended Stewart in the early

1900s” affirmed this collective need when she said, “everyone has some kind of connection to this school.”



Social Cohesion and Political Integration


María Nieves Zedeño, Alex K. Carroll, and Richard W. Stoffle

n earlier chapters we discussed how the Paiutes and Shoshones of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California progressively altered their subsistence strategies in order to improve their chances of surviving in a world that was undergoing rapid physical, economic, and political alterations. The arrival of prospectors and ranchers throughout the mid and late nineteenth century challenged aboriginal organizing principles in other respects as well. In this chapter we first explore the important, yet understudied, issue of how Euroamerican encroachment upon aboriginal territories impacted social organization among Paiute and Shoshone communities at the household, band, and supraband level. Next, we discuss kinship and its role in maintaining band and supra-band social and economic networks. Last, we address leadership and the role of the high chief or supra-band leaders during the contact period. Interethnic relations are interwoven in each of the three sections, as they affected all levels of sociopolitical organization.

The information used to write this chapter derives from several sources. These include U.S. census figures, in particular those from Esmeralda and Nye counties, Nevada for the decades of 1900 and 1910 (see Chapter Three); oral history interviews conducted by Wheat (1959, 1966), by the

Intertribal Council of Nevada (1973–1974), by

McCracken (1990), and by the authors explicitly for this project; regional newspaper accounts; and published ethnographic and historical sources such as Powell and Ingalls (1874; Fowler and

Fowler 1971), Steward (1938), Stoffle and Evans

(1976), and Thomas et al. (1986), among others.

The Household: Early Ethnographic Descriptions

Some of the earliest ethnographic interpretations of Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute households are set forth in the writings of John

Wesley Powell (Fowler and Fowler 1971). Powell maintained that the indigenous people he encountered organized themselves in a manner that largely mirrored the kinship patterns that dominated anthropological theory at the end of the nineteenth century. Fowler and Fowler (1971:244–

245, 286) echo this sentiment, stating that Powell believed the groups that he described were landowners who were organized through social units

“directly comparable to the gens as defined by

Lewis Henry Morgan.” Accordingly, Powell maintained that the households of the Paiutes and Shoshone were organized in terms of patrilocal unilineal descent.

Locals writing in the late nineteenth century confirm that Shoshone and Paiute communities established well-defined territories and residences within a matrix of larger social relations. In an article entitled “Native Indians” (Inyo Index, March

18, 1891, 4(25):3), the households of Western

Shoshones and Paiutes are described as“…fixed homes, [within] boundaries…[that] were almost as plainly marked as the dividing lines between the several states are today.” Writing a decade earlier,

Doemsnech notes, “The Indians who inhabit [the

Great Basin] live solitarily, either in families, or in little societies” (in Steward 1938:9). Emphasis on community social organization is further confirmed by a member of the Walker party, Zenas

Leonard, (1904:78–79), who claims that the Shoshones and Paiutes, “travel in small groups of from four to five families.”

Julian Steward was the first ethnographer to dispute Powell and Ingall’s claims about the primary tenets of social organization among the

Western Shoshone and the Southern Paiute of the

Great Basin. Reinterpretation of the principal organizing social units occurred with the publication of Steward’s (1938) classic, Basin–Plateau Aboriginal

Sociopolitical Groups. Thomas et al. (1986) note that

Steward challenged the main tenets set forth in

Powell’s writings. At the ethnographic level, Steward aimed to refute Powell and Ingalls’ interpretations of kinship organization. At the theoretical level, Steward sought to confirm his ideas of social


evolution by providing a textbook example of an

American Indian tribe that would be characterized as quintessentially “primitive.” To substantiate this claim, Steward attended closely to information that appeared to confirm his social evolutionary biases. Based on this selective analysis, Steward determined that Basin–Plateau societies were less ecologically, socially, and ideologically complex than Powell and Ingalls maintained in the late nineteenth century.

Steward concluded that the acquisition of food was the primary and virtually exclusive impetus for the creation and maintenance of social institutions and practices among the Indians of the region, and that kinship networks established among geographically distant and even ethnically diverse families and bands channeled the drive for food. This ‘orientation’ was putatively the basic orientation of the entire Shoshonean culture

(Steward 1938). In accordance with this view, the traditional households were organized and reputedly constrained within a narrow framework in which basic survival needs overshadowed social, political, or epistemological concerns.

Although Steward made a noteworthy contribution to anthropology at the level of data collection (e.g., Thomas 1973), a careful examination of social organization at the level of the household during the first decade of the twentieth century demonstrates that Steward’s theory of gastric motivation is at best a description of one variable among many that contributed to social organization and social cohesion among Shoshone and

Paiute groups. A study of households and collective activities within the regions of Nye and Esmeralda counties in Nevada also suggests that the households Steward’s informants discussed, which referred to households of the 1880s, had already been significantly altered by Euroamerican encroachment. Furthermore, these data indicate that even over the course of a decade, the household social unit functioned as a fluid web of interpersonal relations that underwent multiple alterations in order to best accommodate the needs of people living in a historical context in which change was more certain than stasis. Given this information, it becomes even more critical to evaluate Steward’s ethnographic findings and theoretical claims through a lens that is sensitive to both context and diachronic variability.

Households as Social Units

According to Steward (1937:629), “Families usually belonged to small, local geographic districts within the general expanse of Western Shoshone territory and were frequently centered about a single valley or cluster of villages.” In addition to claiming that the Western Shoshone households were typically nuclear configurations situated within small villages, Steward maintained that the household served as the main unit of social organization among Western Shoshones and

Southern Paiutes. Below we test these claims against the data sets for Nye and Esmeralda counties.

The patterns that emerge from the 1900 and

1910 data may cause the reader to question the meaning and value of the phrase “traditional households.” The implications of this phrase are twofold. First, the phrase suggests that at some point in time, before the advent of Euroamerican settlement, there was a social unit that represented an average household among these groups. Second, the term implies that uniformity existed among households, and variations and continuous alterations within the household structure would have been considered aberrant. The second issue is particularly important to highlight when studying behavioral patterns of groups of people who incorporated movement, change, and flexibility into their methods of establishing and maintaining social organization. Among the Numa, flexible and dynamic orientations towards social organization are evidenced in the active participation of men, women, and even children in mixed economies, and the ongoing maintenance and reconfiguration of village communities and immediate households to meet changing needs.

Steward’s (1938) claim that most people in the 1880s lived in small nuclear households, which were by and large the pinnacle of social organization among Basin–Plateau Indians, must be situated in a historical, economic, and ecological context. For Steward, size and complexity were thought of as directly related. Steward frequently speaks in diminutive terms about household sizes, village sizes, and social, political, religious, or cultural complexity. According to these criteria, a small nuclear family living outside of the bounds of a village would constitute the lowest or simplest form of social organization and complexity.


Based on Steward’s theory of gastric motivation, one would anticipate that households would be the smallest and most fragmented during times of greatest resource competition or depletion. To illustrate our contention that Steward conflated size and complexity, we examine several regions in the study area where household sizes were known to fluctuate, and then examine the ethnographic record for indications of the presence or absence of collective activities.

Fish Lake Valley

In the case of Fish Lake Paiutes, there were reportedly 100 people living in the valley in the

1870s (see Chapter Three). By 1900 and 1910, federal census reports listed only 30 people in the same regions, indicating a decline of 70 percent in the population. Steward notes that Euroamerican miners opened a borax mine in 1865, and thereafter a number of Euroamerican-run ranches were developed. The average household size noted by

Steward for 1870 was 6.2 persons (Steward

1938:62), whereas by 1900 the average size had decreased to 1.88 persons; it then rose to 2.14 people by 1910.

Although the Fish Lake Valley population (as well as the average household size) progressively declined from the 1870s until ca. 1900, ethnographic data suggest that complex social engagements beyond the level of the household occurred throughout this period. One indication of social complexity in the midst of external stressors, including population declines, is the development and spread of the Ghost Dance. Hittman (1974) noted that the leader of the 1870s Ghost Dance,

Fish Lake Joe, was born in Fish Lake Valley. According to Steward’s data (1938:64), Fish Lake Joe

(Hittman 1973) instigated the Ghost Dance during the same period of time that gonorrhea outbreaks were known to be negatively impacting the valley population. The Territorial Enterprise (May 9, 1871) reported that in 1871 the entire Austin Shoshone band was affected by venereal diseases and some people were dying from them. Steward (1938:64) also noted that gonorrhea was prevalent among the people of Fish Lake Valley. Furthermore,

Steward maintained that Fish Lake families

“changed residence so often and traveled so widely that relatives were scattered over several valleys [and they were known to] cooperate with people from Deep Springs and Lida” (Steward

1938:62). If Steward’s claims about the mobility of people from Fish Lake Valley are accurate, this disease likely spread over a large region in a short period of time.

Ghost Dance activities were also known to occur at Pigeon Springs in the 1890s, thus providing evidence of yet another socially complex and communal response to risks posed to residents in the Fish Lake Valley (see Chapter Eight).


Using ethnographic data gathered by Steward

(1938), it is possible to conduct a diachronic analysis of populations and household units in

Lida and the surrounding vicinities, which are located southeast of the Fish Lake Valley and Deep

Springs communities. Steward noted (1938:68) that his data on Lida were incomplete. Taking the lowest population estimate for each camp, however, a minimum population of 35 people can be derived for the Lida region in 1870. The data for this illustrative estimate is provided in Table 7.1.

Table 7.1. Households in the Lida Region, 1870

Place Households Population

Lida 5

Tule Canyon At least 1

Stonewall 1

Clayton Valley At least 1

Old Camp At least 1

Montezuma 1

Goldfield At least 1

Total 11









According to the 1900 U.S. Census, the combined population for Lida and Tule was 27, indicating a drop of 23 percent in the population reported for the 1870s. Despite this population fall, it is probable that people in Lida and the surrounding vicinities were among those who participated in the 1890s Ghost Dances held at Pigeon

Springs, as well as the worker’s revolt instigated by

Jack Longstreet (Zanjani 1988). If this is the case, their participation in socially, politically, ceremonially, and economically complex activities is incon-


sistent with Steward’s theory, which directly correlates size and complexity.

Lida’s population, combined with Goldfield’s, rose to 48 people in 1910. These figures indicate a growth in population of 37 percent of the minimum population extant for 1870. However, this number may be somewhat deceptive. A distance of approximately 22 miles exists between

Lida and Goldfield. Considering that Goldfield boomed and busted between 1900 and 1910 (Zanjani 1992:94), it is possible that the indigenous inhabitants that were counted in the 1910 census represent a group of people who moved to Goldfield to acquire work, rather than a permanent addition. If this was the case, the rise in numbers may not represent a true growth in population.

At the level of the household, in the 1870s, the average household size was five people. By

1900, the number drops to 3.75, and by 1910, to

3.4. Between 1900 and 1910, Lida residents experienced major alterations. Whereas all lived in fixed or permanent dwellings that were owned during the 1900 census count, the 10 families of

1910 had reportedly shifted back to “movable” structures. Furthermore, the ratio between men and women in 1910 indicates a major imbalance between male and female adults, as well as a high death rate among children. At this time there were over three women to each man, and half of the children born were dying. Significantly, this is the second highest death rate recorded in Esmeralda

County, surpassed only by Walker Lake with a death rate of 53 percent.


A third sample of population totals can be derived through comparisons of census figures gathered by Powell and Ingalls in 1874 with U.S.

Census figures from 1900 and 1910. Powell and

Ingalls state that Kawits (Kawich) was the chief of

116 persons in Belmont and vicinity, and “Brigham” was reportedly the chief of 25 Indians in Big

Smoky Valley (see Chapter Three). By 1900, there were only 78 people listed in Belmont Precinct, suggesting a loss of 38 people or 32.75 percent in

26 years. In contrast, the population rose in

Smoky Valley from 25 to 39 residents. Despite declines in population, Chief Kawich and the Shoshone and Paiute populations in Belmont and the surrounding areas continued to orchestrate elaborate social events such as periodic fandangos attended by people within the district as well as

124 people from neighboring districts (see Table 7.1).

As noted in Chapter Eight, Kawich was known to collaborate with captains who served as leaders of the 1890s Ghost Dance, thus indicating that community organization, ranging from the level of the individual household to participation in a pan-

Indian response of over 30 indigenous groups

(Mooney 1896), remained of paramount importance to the Indian people.

In summary, by 1900 average household sizes in Esmeralda County ranged from 12 people in Tule and 7 people in Palmetto Precinct to 2.3 in

Sodaville and 2.4 in Berlin. In total, the county average covering 12 precincts was 4.4 people per household. During the same period there was an average of one less person per household in Nye

County, or 3.4 people. Furthermore, there was less variation from precinct to precinct within Nye

County, demonstrated by a high of 4.875 in Belmont Precinct and a low of 2.71 in Tybo Precinct.

By 1910, different trends occurred in each county.

Whereas the average household size increased by almost one person (4.4 to 5.33) in Esmeralda

County, in Nye County the average household diminished slightly from an average of 3.4 people in 1900 to 3.2 people in 1910. However, the number of people occupying each precinct dropped from an average of 44.9 people to only 23.14, or nearly half of its former size, suggesting rapid overall population declines. In addition, the type of housing being utilized indicates Euroamerican influence. Whereas approximately half of the population lived in traditional housing and half lived in Euroamerican style housing in 1900, by

1910 traditional housing had rapidly diminished below 50 percent.

The picture that emerges from these figures is one in which average household sizes may be said to roughly correspond to a nuclear family configuration; however, a cursory review of family names within each county and precinct reveals that there were multiple recordings of extended families.

Households and Housing

Data from Nye County in 1900 indicate that

Nevada Indians opted to live in two principal types of structures that were loosely categorized as

“moveable” and “fixed” structures by census recorders (see Tables 3.1–3.4). During 1900, 65 percent of the indigenous residents of central Nevada

lived in “fixed” dwellings that in some measure mirrored Euroamerican housing structures (Figure

7.1), and the remaining 35 percent lived in “moveable” or “traditional” forms of housing. By 1910, however, the apparent trend of increased assimilation reversed itself and only half of the population lived in each type of structure. The situation in

Esmeralda County appears to represent an alternate trend. In 1900, just over half or 54 percent of the indigenous population lived in “fixed” dwellings. In contrast to Nye County, whose number of

“moveable” households increased by 1910, in

Esmeralda County the number of people living in

“fixed” dwellings rose to 67 percent. economies, which required more mobility than

Euroamerican housing permitted.

In other cases, people used a combination of traditional and Western forms of subsistence, and still others moved to improve their circumstances.

Moveable housing, as a traditional practice, was thus well adapted to mixed economies that forced people to move seasonally from ranch to ranch, ranch to mine, or ranch to traditional range. Double residency, also a traditional practice that allowed people to maintain rights to resources seasonally exploited in geographically distant and ecologically diverse areas, was also adapted to the new living circumstances; families who wanted to be close to their boarding-school children would build tar paper shacks near the school but maintained their traditional homeland settlements (see

Figures 3.3, 3.5). Indian work camps, such as that built by Shoshone families near Scotty’s Castle in the 1920s, also represent instances of double residency (Figure 7.2).

Figure 7.2. Scotty’s Castle Indian work camp (from

Littlefield and Knack 1996:234)

Figure 7.1. Twin River Indian Camp, Smoky Valley

(Central Nevada Museum & Historical Society)

This information appears to confirm ethnographic findings that describe how Shoshones and

Paiutes increasingly altered their traditional lifestyles by participating in Euroamerican-run economies. In the boom–bust cycles that prevailed in the mining and ranching economies, patterns of settlement, work, and resource availability fluctuated with some frequency. Household data from both counties also suggest that the use of mixed economies, rather than full-scale assimilation, was the principle response of indigenous people living in central Nevada. Finally, changing trends in household structures suggest flexibility.

Rather than simply adopting Euroamerican concepts of residency, the aboriginal occupants of

Nye and Esmeralda continuously adopted forms of residency that were the most optimal within a given context. As a result, it appears that when the

Euroamerican economy slowed, some indigenous people turned back towards traditional subsistence

Attachments to the Land

Steward (1938) noted that people typically settled near water, or in close proximity to resources. Yet he explained the deep attachments that people developed to the land not as “land attachments” per se but as kinship networks. Furthermore, he did not take into consideration how

Euroamerican encroachment affected relations between indigenous people and the places they lived.


In Esmeralda County in 1900, the vast majority of household residences were owned, rather than rented; census figures indicate that 90 percent of residences were owned and only 10 percent were rented. By 1910, however, a significant change occurred. Almost half of the people are recorded as renting rather than owning their homes. In some cases this indicates that people were renting from Euroamericans, whereas in others it suggests the presence of extended families that lived on the same land within several different dwellings. This arrangement sometimes gave outsiders the impression that people lived in

“nuclear” families, yet frequently webs of social cohesion existed beyond the physical boundaries of each “household.” When parents lived with their adult children, it was a common practice to build an additional structure where they could get a degree of privacy while still participating in family events. Even when the possibility of extended families is considered, the sharp decline in household ownership indicates that many indigenous residents in Esmeralda were less well off than they were in 1900.

In Nye County, data about ownership is more ambiguous. At least 58 household residences were owned and 17 were rented in 1900. However, there were 31 residences for which proprietary rights were not specified. Excluding those data, it appears that 77 percent of residences were owned and 23 percent were rented in 1900. Ten years later, the number of households had dropped 43 percent, but of those that remained,

93 percent were owned. Once again, it appears that the general welfare of people living in Nye

County was poorer in 1910 than in 1900 (see Tables 3.1–3.4 for complete summaries of census data).

Household and Employment

In conjunction with Euroamerican settlement, changes in subsistence strategies contributed to dramatic alterations at the level of the household. A brief overview of employment patterns from Nye and Esmeralda counties from

1880 to 1910 illustrates that shifts towards mixed economies and away from traditional subsistence strategies affected household organization. According to Douglas (1870:95), only 10 percent of

Nevada Shoshones and 12 percent of western Nevada Paiutes were then working for White people; the remainder lived off the country as before.

Only ten years later, this situation had begun to undergo significant alterations. Employment patterns of indigenous people living in Nye and Esmeralda are summarized in detail in Appendix B.

The shifting population densities and changing employment patterns among the Western Shoshones and Paiutes of Central Nevada indicate that the volatile nature of the mining industry contributed to dynamic and frequently unanticipated consequences. In particular, indigenous wageworkers were vulnerable to the cycles of growth and recession that accompanied a market economy. This trend seems to have slowed down, after

1920, when modern ranching began to employ a much larger number of local Indian workers than in the previous century (see Chapters Two and

Five for detailed background information on these topics).

Kinship and Regional Networks

A contemporary reconstruction of kinship among Indian elders who were interviewed for this project illustrates the relationship between family ties and land attachment.

Emma Bobb

Emma Bobb, a Western Shoshone elder from the Yomba Shoshone Tribe, was born in the

Reese River Valley in 1911. Her parents, Sam

Dyer and Mattie Jack, were from the Reese River

Valley and from Monitor and Hot Creek valleys, respectively. After her marriage to Elmer “Rutabaga” Bobb, she developed post-marital networks in the Round Mountain/Belmont area, where she visited with some frequency. The Dyers eventually moved to Tonopah, and Emma remembers traveling to Tonopah frequently to visit her aunties

Jenny and Maggie Dyer. Jenny’s husband’s last name was Sam; the Sams are from Smoky Valley and from Hot Creek. Also a post-marital relation of Emma is the Hooper family, originally from

Monitor and Smoky valleys.

Curtis Littlebeaver

Curtis Pete, a Western Shoshone elder from

Tonopah, was born in Eden Creek in 1929. His mother Ida George and her family were “old

Kawich residents” and owned a stone cabin ranch in Eden Creek and a temporary tar paper house in


Warm Springs. His grandfather was known as

Reveille George—an indicator of geographical ties to that valley. His father, Young Pete, on the other hand, was a Shoshone from Ash Meadows. His family also had ties to Whiterock Spring, where they went in the fall–winter season for traditional festivals and other activities after the ranching season was over.

Daisy Pete Smith

Daisy Pete Smith, sister of Curtis Little Beaver, was born and raised in Eden Creek in 1926.

The family matriarch and Daisy’s great grandmother, Rosie Kawich George, was born in the

Kawich Range, around Breen Creek, in 1826. She was the wife of Reveille George and the daughter of Chief Kawich. Reveille George, who lived to be

110 years of age, thus saw all the changes brought about by colonization and settlement. Rosie had many brothers and sisters too. Daisy notes that all of the Kawich women were very strong women who kept a strict work ethic. When she was four years old her great grandparents contracted pneumonia, and Daisy was able to care for them until their death. Both passings were reported in the Times Bonanza on February 20, 1936.

Helen Eben

Helen Eben is a Western Shoshone from

Duckwater Shoshone Tribe. Eben was born in

Cottonwood in 1925. Her father, Cleveland

Charles, was from Warm Springs and worked at the Wilson’s ranch. Eben’s mother, Ida Keefe, was from Cottonwood; Ida’s father, Charlie Keefe, was born in Ely and her mother, Trudy Williams, was from Cottonwood and had relations as far as

Quinn River. Eben is the sister of Jerry Charles, a

Shoshone elder from the Ely Shoshone Tribe who we have interviewed on a number of occasions.

Helen’s first husband, Nebs Jackson, was from

Reese River. She later married a Northern Paiute from Fort Bidwell.

Alfred Stanton

Alfred Stanton is the chairman of the Ely

Shoshone Tribe, the son of Albert Stanton and

Margaret McQuinn Clachi. His father’s ancestors came from Wind River; his mothers’ paternal ancestors were originally from the White River Valley and their family history is complex; they all took the McQuinn surname. His maternal grandmother, on the other hand, was Shoshone or perhaps Goshute, from the Utah–Nevada border.

Pauline Esteves

Pauline Esteves is a Western Shoshone elder from the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, Death Valley.

Her father was from Northern Spain and her mother, whose last name is Bolen, from Saline

Valley. Her mother was born in Darwin, California, and her mother’s mother is buried there. They owned one spring in Darwin. The Bolen people were also related, through marriage, to families in the Beatty area (e.g., the Stuarts). Through her grandfather she is related to the Benns—a Southern Paiute family from Moapa and Las Vegas, and to the Jims—a Southern Paiute family from Pahrump.

Pauline Esteves notes that there were numerous geographic and social connections between the Shoshones from Death Valley, Lida, and Fish Lake Valley, and the Shoshones from

Kawich, Reveille, and Hot Creek. She remembers that Ed Shaw used to travel to Kawich frequently and knew a trail that connected Death Valley and

Kawich. She also knows songs that speak of the pinnacles in Hot Creek and the Reveille Mountains.

Grace Goad

Grace Goad is a Western Shoshone elder from the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, Death Valley.

Her mother, Sally Bolen, was Pauline’s mother’s elder sister, from Darwin. Grace’s sister, Annie

Cottonwood, is married to Phil Cottonwood from

Beatty. Members of the Chico family, from Saline

Valley, are her cousins. Her husband, Kenneth

Waterson, was the son of Frank Waterson from

Bishop, California and of Esther Shaw, a Northern Paiute from Shurz, Nevada. Esther is not related to the Lida Shaws. Her husband had numerous relatives in Big Pine as well.

John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a Western Shoshone elder from the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, Death Valley.

He was born in Death Valley but his family moved to Fish Lake Valley when he was a boy.

His father was Joe Kennedy, from Death Valley, and his mother, Annie Dock, from Lida. His rela-


tions include Hank Patterson, through marriage; his sister married a Thompson. Both surnames are from the Death Valley and Lida areas. Ed Fred was his paternal uncle. He notes that people from

Kawich and Schurtz came to Fish Lake Valley all the time, for rabbit hunts and other festivals. Fish

Lake Valley people also went there frequently.

They would go to Kawich during pine nut season.

Other pine nut places he remembers are in Oasis

Valley, Cave Springs, and Tonopah.

Bertha Moose

Bertha Moose was a Paiute elder from Big

Pine, California, daughter of George Collins and

Elsie Bowers. Her maternal grandfather was Joe

Bowers, a Paiute chief and army scout. The Bowers were from Fish Springs and the Collins from

Fish Springs and Mono Valley. Jerry Bowers’ wife,

Teenie Jim, was from Oasis Valley. Bertha said that the Owens Valley Paiutes were intermarried with Western Shoshones; for example one of the

Bakers, from Deep Springs, married one of her uncles. Bertha’s marital relations are from Mono


Betty Cornelius

Betty Cornelius is a Chemehuevi Paiute from

Parker, Arizona, and is an enrolled member of the

Colorado River Indian Tribes and the director of the tribal museum. Both of her parents, Pearl

Smith and Bill Eddy, Jr., are Chemehuevi Paiute.

Betty is one of 13 children. Her father was a rancher and stock raiser and had various domesticated animals. He was an organizer who organized many rodeos. People knew him as Tom Eddy. He was the oldest of five brothers. Betty’s mother was born in Havasu Landing, California. She remembers when the Parker Dam began filling with water and how the quail that were there became stranded on islands while attempting to fly over the rising water: “They flew so far and just fell into the water and drowned. Today, the Chemehuevis at Havasu Landing are extra kind to quail because of this.” Betty Cornelius married Clyde

Herman Cornelius, Sr., an Oneida Indian, and they have one son. Betty affirms that her parents, extended family, and “significant others” practiced their traditions and customs. “It was our way of life. It carries on today.”

These brief kinship histories illustrate the breadth of geographic and ethnic connections

128 within single families, and (interestingly) they correlate with traditional seasonal movement patterns reconstructed by Steward (see Table 5.3). Complex webs of interpersonal relations, compounded by interethnic adoption and changes in surnames and tribal affiliation, served as the backbone of social cohesion among the Shoshone and Paiute groups of Nevada and California. Typically these relations extended beyond individual households to include people of the local community, as well as people living at great distances from a given village. The seasonal movement and the prevalent practice of exogamous marriages contributed to this complexity. One means of shedding light on this matter would be to consult the oral histories in conjunction with ethnographic and archaeological findings. Case studies could reconstruct family genealogies extending from the nineteenth century through to the present day. The value of these genealogies extends beyond a mere confirmation of kinship relations: by examining kinship systems in relation to household development, it is also possible to gain a greater understanding of the intermarriages and movements of families and individuals whose actions influenced events occurring on a larger scale. We hope to expand our kinship information in the future.

Political Integration and Leadership

After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago in

1848, Numic territories became a part of the

United States, and we begin to find official references to the Numic high chiefs, whose leadership was synonymous with Numic political, socioeconomic, and even epistemological organization.

Beginning in the 1850s, regional male leaders of the Southern Paiutes were referred to as high chiefs by Euroamerican observers. The presence of Southern Paiute leaders was recorded by Mormon settlers, including Jacob Hamblin in 1854 and Andrew Jensen in 1855; federal government surveyors such as Wheeler in 1869 and J. Powell and G. W. Ingalls in 1873; regional historians, such as William R. Palmer in the 1880s; and ethnographers such as Julian Steward in the 1920s.

Little is known of the structure of leadership and political organization among the Shoshone and Paiute groups of the Basin–Plateau region before 1850, and only in 1872 was this social institution systematically examined by Powell and Ingalls (1874). In Nevada, some of the earliest de-

scriptions of leadership refer to the Northern Paiute chief Winnemucca, a powerful leader of a large population, who was known for his fierceness and warlike stance (e.g., Simpson 1876). Chief Winnemucca had much influence over other ethnic groups, including neighboring Western Shoshone,

Bannock, and Washoe communities, and was known for his ability to pull these groups together to wage war (Egan 1972:78).

Nineteenth Century Alliance Chiefs and

High Chiefs

Before historic disruption, regional inhabitants were politically organized through a network of relations that included possibly two or more major subdivisions or sub-tribes, a dozen or more districts, and numerous local groups— sometimes referred to as bands—within each district. Some of the evidence of hierarchical organization comes from Laird’s (1976) documentation of Chemehuevi institutions elicited from her Chemehuevi husband, George Laird.

In their Special Commissioner Report, originally written in 1874, Powell and Ingalls first described the organization of the Nevada Shoshone and Paiute groups:

The original political organization of the tribes under consideration had a territorial basis; that is, the country was divided into districts and each district was inhabited by a small tribe, which took the name of the land, and had one principal chief. These tribes, or “landnameds,” as they are called in the Indian idiom, were the only permanent organizations, but sometimes two or more of them would unite in a confederacy under some great chief [Fowler and

Fowler 1971:107].

Powell and Ingalls acknowledged, however, that the Western Shoshones were spread over a far larger territory than the Southern Paiutes, who in turn were concentrated in smaller areas but in larger groups. In their census, Powell and Ingalls recorded the number of bands under a certain

“chief of alliance” or regional chief (Fowler and

Fowler 1971:104–105; see Tables 3.4 –3.6). From north to south, Chief Tim-oak, Temoke, or Temoak commanded a dozen bands from Ruby Val-

129 ley to Railroad Valley and White River; Chief

Kai’wits or Kawich headed an alliance of five bands in Smoky Valley, Hot Creek–Kawich valleys, the Morey District, and Belmont. Chief Toto’a or To-to’i controlled the Austin and Reese

River bands. And finally, Chief Pie-a-rai-poo-na was the leader of six Shoshone bands around Battle Mountain (Fowler and Fowler 1971:105). In

1874 an Indian agent reported that the land “near the Overland farm in Ruby Valley is considered by the Indians their capital or center place” (Crum

1994:32). In addition, he noted that “their great

Chief [Temoke] resides there” (Crum 1994:32). In the 1930s Superintendent Bowler of the Carson

City Agency affirmed that a high chief system existed among the nineteenth century Shoshones.

She concluded that the Shoshones were “for the most part, members of a tribe commonly known as ‘Old Chief Temoak’s [Temoke] People” (Crum


The main camp of one Western Shoshone alliance chief was called Waungiakuda, which is a place at the foot of Pahute Mesa where Indian people continued to live until the twentieth century. In the late nineteenth century, the site was occupied on a full-time basis and served as a place that people from the region wanted to visit for various reasons. It was the home (perhaps one of the homes) of Wangagwana, who was known as the “chief of this general region” in the 1930s, years after his death (Steward 1938:95). The village site was the birth place and early residence of

Wangagwana’s son, who the non-Indians called

Panamint Joe and who the Indian people considered as “Chief of the Shoshone” during the rhyolite mining boom around 1906 (Steward 1938:95).

Waungiakuda was a place to visit for hunting, gathering, trade, and ceremony in the late nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, the family members dispersed for unknown reasons.

A similar form of sociopolitical organization was recorded among the Southern Paiutes. In Nevada there were several regional chiefs. To’-shoap had seven distinct bands in his alliance, all from the Moapa Valley and each having a local chief.

The Las Vegas, Indian Springs, Cottonwood Island, and Colville bands were under Chief Ku-nikai-vets, and each had its own local leader. Similarly, the bands around Pahrump, Ash Meadows,

Amargosa, Kinston Mountain, Potosi, Providence, and Ivanpah were under the Pahrump chief Toko’pur, who was known as a ritual leader for these

regional bands (Laird 1976:24). These seven local lineage bands roughly correspond to the boundary of what is called the Pahrump Paiute District (see discussion later in this chapter).

It is interesting to note that Powell and Ingalls recorded the presence of other alliance chiefs, heading combinations of local lineage bands, whose territory added up to a Southern

Paiute District. In addition, there were several independent bands without particular regional alliances in Nevada as well as in Arizona and Utah

(Fowler and Fowler 1971:105). In the latter two states, the Southern Paiute political organization typically consisted of small bands organized around a single and much larger band commanded by a powerful chief.

The territory of the local lineages under Tau’gu in northern Arizona and southern Utah was equivalent in size to that of the Yanawant subtribe. Some U.S. federal and Mormon Church officials called Tutseguvits, who lived on the Santa

Clara River in southern Utah, the head chief of the

Paiute people. He was called head chief for a decade, from 1859 (Forney 1859:73) until 1869 (Fenton 1859:203). In 1869, Wheeler (1871) named

Tercherum as the “principal chief” of the area.

Powell and Ingalls (1874) noted that a single tribal chief named Tagon exercised some authority over all Southern Paiutes. That perception may well have been accurate for the historic period, as individual leaders known for their oratorical and diplomatic skills (as well as their command of the

English language) became regional leaders and spokesmen for the entire ethnic group.

Some of the evidence of hierarchical organization is found in Laird’s (1976) documentation of

Chemehuevi institutions as recounted by her

Chemehuevi husband, George Laird. Leaders occupied a special status with special symbols very visible in pre-contact Southern Paiute society.

While male leaders have been referred to as high chiefs, they functioned as ritualists rather than as political officers (Laird 1976:24); at least, they did so in the late 1800s. Those who were called high chiefs could wear turquoise. The leaders spoke a special language known as ti-vitsi?ampagapi- (real speech) in addition to the Southern Paiute language spoken by all Southern Paiutes. High chiefs chanted it with a strong accent. Living members of these leadership groups preserved that special language into the final decade of the nineteenth century. Quail-beans (kakaramurih), or black-eyed

130 peas, became a special dietary item for the chiefly people (Laird 1976:24). Leaders employed a specialized corps of runners to transmit communications. These runners were probably young men who were specially selected for this task (Laird

1976:47), and George Laird was one of the last runners (cf. Nabokov 1981).

This institution appears to have disappeared when the last surviving high chief died late in the nineteenth century. In the 1870s, Powell and Ingalls perceived the functioning high chiefs as heads of what they called confederacies of local groups (Fowler and Fowler 1971:109; see Chapter

Three for information on tribes, localities, chiefs, and number of individuals per tribe).

Chief Kawich

Chief Kawich is one of the regional chiefs whose leadership strongly shaped Numic responses to encroachment during the nineteenth century. Chief Kawich was born in Smoky Valley or vicinity. No one really knows Kawich’s true ancestry; Alfred Stanton notes that some people think that he was more Paiute than Shoshone.

Kawich’s primary residence was in Breen Creek,

Kawich Valley (Figure 7.3), however, he established a second residence in Belmont after the town was settled. Tim Hooper, who was born in

1874, grew up in Belmont, and knew the chief personally, said:

Yeah, he was chief, you know. I couldn’t say nothing, What he says, you know, I never hear that, you know. We knows he’s the chief. He’s chief all over this country.... He can talk I don’t know how many languages. He talk all kind of languages. Five, six, or seven languages he can talk. He’s a funny man, that man, you know. He go to the people. He never hear the language. If they talk to him, he catch it that quick. And he can talk their language. He was that kind of man. He was a funny man…. Oh, I know him. I see him. He only died here

1903…. I don’t know, maybe a hundred years old, maybe more. I know Kawich was a pretty old man. He was the chief all the time. Big chief. Everybody knows it.

His son. He said he could not talk no languages, only one or two lan-

guages. He said he don’t like that. Can’t be the same as Kawich…. His son died in Round Mountain, here. I don’t know, a few years ago. Bill, Bill Kawich

[Wheat 1959].

The breadth of Kawich’s authority in central

Nevada is thus confirmed through oral history as well as from the writings of Powell and Ingalls and from newspaper reports. Furthermore, participants of the Wheeler Expedition encountered

Kawich, as well as many residents under Kawich’s leadership. The secretary to this expedition, Fred

W. Loring, described Kawich as “the big chief of the Shoshones” (cited in Cragen 1975:103). During his visit, he also came upon Kawich’s “heir apparent,” who was then approximately three years old.

According to the descriptions by Fred W.

Loring, who served as a member of the Wheeler

Expedition and as a journalist for Appleton’s Journal

(Cragen 1975:103), Kawich was courteous, yet wary of the Euroamericans who settled in the

Great Basin and claimed aboriginal lands as their own. Chief Kawich sought to maintain social cohesion and traditional knowledge among the

Western Shoshones rather than letting them be subsumed under the sociocultural order advanced by Euroamerican immigrants. Although a statement by Fred Loring suggests that Kawich desired to develop peaceful relationships with the Euroamericans with whom he had contact (Appleton’s

Journal, August 12, 1871), Kawich also repeatedly vocalized his unhappiness that Shoshone people had previously performed services for Euroamericans without just compensation. Kawich’s interpreter, Frank, was reported as saying:

Cowich says he is a good Indian…. He has never killed any white man….

Cowich likes the white men, and wants to be friends with them. The white man came to the Country and Cowich is glad, but the white man would give him no pay. No pay, no clothes, no grub.

Cowich [is a] good Indian friend to white man, but the country was his, and the white man took it away [Cragen


Kawich resisted federal government policies designed to assimilate Western Shoshones and

Southern Paiutes. When Powell and Ingalls tried to induce them to leave Nevada and relocate in southern Idaho, Chief Kawich declined their gifts and offers, saying, “acceptance of the articles would be equivalent to selling their birthright”(Territorial Enterprise,, January 13, 1874).

Kawich interpreted the commission’s initiative as a form of bribery, or an attempt to get the Shoshones to sell their land to the Americans (Crum

1994:34). At the same time, Kawich sought peaceful relations with his White neighbors in Belmont, as his people depended on the work provided by the settlers. After the Euroamerican settlements of

Austin, Hawthorne, and Belmont were established in the 1860s, Indian activities in their vicinity were more frequently recorded. Large numbers of Indians began to move to the outskirts of these towns in order to secure wage labor. Frequently these

Indians were hired to help haul and chop wood, assist in the mines, wash clothes, and keep house.

At the time the population of Indians was growing around Belmont, Steward records that

Kawich’s power among local Western Shoshones grew. It is quite probable that Kawich was already a powerful leader, but his power became more visible among the newly arrived miners with the settlement of Belmont. Steward’s informants note that in addition to Kawich’s leadership, Old Joe and Captain John led local festivals and rabbit drives. Kawich had taken over the office of chief when Timpanovo’tsu’gupu’ retired.

Figure 7.3. Breen Creek Ranch, Kawich Valley 1909

(Central Nevada Museum & Historical Society)

Information on the relationships between

Kawich and other Western Shoshone chieftaincies


comes from Alfred Stanton’s oral account.

Stanton notes that Ely, Nevada, was the boundary between the Shoshone bands under Chief Kawich and those under Chief Temoak. The boundary marker was the Shell Creek and Range. Kawich kept his boundary lines tight, and the northeastern bands were so concerned about him that they had to send runners with their faces painted in red to let him know they were coming in peace and to ask permission to enter his territory when they needed to move westward during hunts or pine nut season. The bands also had disputes over water rights. In addition, Tim Hooper noted that

Kawich was warlike about the Temoak bands and that on occasion he would go up there and start a dispute (Wheat 1959). Below we present additional information on Kawich’s relations with other ethnic groups.

Chief Totoi

Chief Totoi was the regional leader of the

Austin and Reese River bands. His home for many years was near Austin, in the high Toyaibe Range.

During the Bannock and Paiute wars of 1860, he kept his tribe at peace and was well known as a peacekeeper throughout his tenure. Chief Totoi was known for his fight against alcoholism among

Indians and occasionaly expressed his anger at the introduction of alcoholic beverages by the White settlers; he thought that this was the main cause for the end of the Indian world. He also protested publicly about the abuse of Indian men and women by ill-disposed White men (e.g., Goldfield

News, October 27, 1905). Chief Totoi died around


Leadership of the California Paiutes

Leadership among the Paiutes of Fish Lake

Valley, Deep Springs, and Owens Valley also appeared to have included local and regional chiefs, or at least individually renowned leaders, such as

Joe Bowers from Big Pine, California, who was

Bertha Moose’s maternal grandfather. In the late

1800s the principal occupants of Fish Lake Valley were Northern Paiute people. Fish Lake Valley was also located in a boundary area. To the east and south of this Northern Paiute territory resided

Western Shoshone people.

Steward’s informant, MH, confirmed the predominance of Northern Paiute leadership within Fish Lake Valley in her reconstruction of the chieftainship for this region from the 1870s until the death of her husband Captain Harry in

1919. In addition, MH indicated the typical methods by which leadership responsibilities were delegated to members of the Fish Lake community.

MH used the English names of leaders in her account (Steward 1938:66–67).

Need for centralized authority in this valley was slight compared with that in Owens Valley.

The rabbit drive and fall festival, or nuga su-

wuduwa’du (dance gathering), which were usually held at the same time, were the main activities requiring supervision. Palmetto Dick had been director of these. He was succeeded by Big Mouth

Tom, JA’s father, who lived at Oasis and Geroux’s

Ranch in Fish Lake Valley as well as in Deep

Springs Valley. Big Mouth’s qualifications were his ability to manage these activities, popularity, and oratorical ability. He would have been succeeded by his son or another male relative if any of them had been suitable. Instead he was succeeded by

Captain Harry, who was part Shoshone and bore no relationship to him. Captain Harry died in


There was no formal office of chief’s messenger, but when the chief had planned a dance he would send a man to the different villages to announce it. The same person served each year if he were available. Palmetto Dick and later Big Mouth

Tom were directors at Tu’ nava (Steward 1938:70).

Captain Harry was also a director there. Shoshone villages to the east near Lida went to Pigeon

Springs, and when they did so they submitted to the direction of Palmetto Dick, and later, Big

Mouth and Captain Harry.

Political leadership within Fish Lake Valley was also impacted by social relationships developed with members of a community to the west of Fish Lake Valley in an area called Deep Spring

Valley. At the latter location, Big Mouth Tom of

Fish Lake Valley directed the annual fall festivals at the mouth of Wyman Canyon or at Deep

Springs Lake. This leadership arrangement appeared to be rather unique, because each region seemed to comprise a separate district. Despite their separateness, people from Fish Lake Valley attended ceremonies conducted at Deep Spring

Valley, and people from both communities were known to intermarry. Big Mouth Tom performed leadership tasks in Deep Springs while also serving as the main director for the residents of Fish Lake

Valley. According to Steward’s (1938:60–61) experts, it was somewhat of an unusual situation for


Big Mouth Tom to assume leadership responsibilities for the Northern Paiutes living in both valleys.

Steward suggests that these circumstances may have been due to the Indian wars or due to population losses in Deep Springs. He states:

Joe Bowers was the main Deep Springs chief, but as he was away dealing with white men most of the time, especially during the Indian wars, Big Mouth Tom

(JA’s father) served in his place, organizing festivals and directing rabbit drives…. To what extent this linkage with Fish Lake Valley resulted from the reduction of the native population after the arrival of the white man is impossible to say [Steward 1938:60–61].

Further clarification of the circumstances surrounding this political appointment can be derived from accounts written by soldiers living at

Camp Sage Brush, which was a temporary military camp set up near Palmetto, Nevada during the

‘Indian Wars’ of the 1870s. These wars involved some Western Shoshone, then under the leadership of Chief Kawich, Northern Paiutes led by Joe

Bowers and Northern Paiutes led by Big Mouth

Tom, and certain members of the Euroamerican community seeking to augment their political, economic, and land–based power in central Nevada and southern California. Joe Bowers was more willing to assist Euroamericans than Kawich was, even though the latter also sought diplomacy as a survival tool. The friendly approach used, as well as advocated, by Joe Bowers was a matter of dispute among parties who viewed separation or even physical resistance as the most valid means to cope with the overriding disruption that accompanied Euroamerican use and settlement of western central Nevada. One soldier maintained that Joe Bower’s alliance with Euroamerican immigrants contributed to factionalism and warring among the Western Shoshones. He reported:

The red man is here in his primitive glory, and numerous enough to do mischief when they deem it necessary to take the war path in earnest. The Shoshones are the most powerful, yet that portion of the Piutes who desire to secede from Joe Bowers, because of his friendship for the whites, are roaming around here in large squads. These ‘Lo

Gentlemen’ are wilder in appearance than any I have seen before with the exception of the Apaches of Arizona [Inyo

Independent, January 13, 1871, cited in

Cragen 1975:91].

The onset of these conflicts can be traced to at least September of 1870; however, organized military interventions on the part of Euroamericans reportedly occurred shortly after January of

1871 (Cragen 1975:89, 91). In an effort to exert more control over the warring between and among Western Shoshones, Northern Paiutes, and

Euroamericans, a military camp known as Camp

Sage Brush was established near Palmetto, Nevada. A soldier from this camp explained:

There exists a quasi war between

Cowitch’s tribe and that of Jo Bowers.

It is believed that if the soldiers were withdrawn a relentless war would break out between the two great powers. Even now, warrior after warrior, especially of the Shoshones, disappear to the ‘happy hunting grounds’ with very little preparation for the journey. There is an old

Piute here known as Billy Rogers, who acknowledges to the whites that he has, within the last six months dispatched four of the opposition on an excursion to the other side of the Jordan with bare spots on the top of their cranium, because they stole his corn and pinyon nuts and burned his wigwam last autumn [Inyo Independent, January 13, 1871, cited in Cragen 1975:91].

At the heart of these disputes lay two related issues; first was the question of how Western Shoshone and Paiute people could and should respond to growing numbers of Euroamerican soldiers, miners, and ranchers throughout central

Nevada and portions of southern California. A second and related concern centered on how to meet the physical needs of indigenous communities under conditions wherein growing numbers of people were competing for limited resources that proved insufficient for meeting diverse and compounding interests.


Under the leadership of Joe Bowers, the

Northern Paiutes of Deep Springs responded to these concerns by adopting an official policy aimed at reconciliation and assimilation. In practice, this entailed giving up exclusive control of aboriginal territories and resources, refraining from physical violence as a means of problem resolution, and adapting to a Euroamerican-based economic paradigm (Chalfant 1933). Northern

Paiutes who disagreed with Bower’s approach strengthened their alliances with the Northern

Paiutes of Fish Lake Valley, who were more actively engaged in maintaining and fostering traditional ceremonial, political, and economic strategies. Under these circumstances, Big Mouth Tom of Fish Lake Valley was asked to assume the responsibilities as chief of Deep Springs (Steward


Disputes between and among Western Shoshones, Northern Paiutes, and Euroamericans were not limited to individual disagreements that arose haphazardly. Instead, these conflicts involved large numbers of people in the process of defining rights to resources, ways of life, and relations of physical and ideological power. Cragen notes that in September of 1870 signs of unrest between Western Shoshones, Northern Paiutes, and Euroamericans began to escalate.

The first indications of growing unrest were noted by Euroamericans, who commented upon the Indians’ “unruliness” as well as the arrival of

“strange Indians,” presumably from the San Joaquin Valley. These Indians reportedly had come for the purpose of inciting the Indians of the

Owens River Valley to fight once more against the

Whites. They began to destroy the crops first, then to steal from the ranches, and finally to stampede and kill cattle. Parties coming through the country from around Bakersfield brought information that the entire region along the foothills was gripped with fear of the Indians again, and that there were rumors of a powwow somewhere upon the Nevada Line, with as many as 700 Indians attending (Cragen 1975:89).

On one scouting trip from Camp Sage Brush, located in Palmetto, Nevada, a large party of Shoshones were observed traveling from Nevada towards Death Valley. Cragen (1975:92) noted that it was “not a war party, as there were women and children in the group,” but there were “twenty or thirty young warriors in the rear of the party, indicating their fighting desire in many ways such as yelling and waving their guns.”

The soldiers at Camp Sage Brush, as well as those living at Fort Independence, believed a full- scale war between the Western Shoshones and

Northern Paiutes would have occurred in the absence of the ‘peace keeping’ interventions of Euroamerican soldiers. While this cannot be known, what is clear is that the indigenous inhabitants of central Nevada and southern California were in the process of simultaneously developing two seemingly exclusive risk-management strategies.

The traditional boundary between the Western

Shoshones and Northern Paiutes came to represent both an ideological and a physical space within which advocates of each approach vied for dominance. The transference of the chieftanship from Joe Bowers to Big Mouth Tom demonstrates that these contests cannot be reduced to issues of ethnicity or race. Instead, the main disputes involved differing opinions about how communities could best manage risk under circumstances involving continuous loss of life through the vehicles of disease, malnutrition, starvation, and war.

Twentieth-Century High Chiefs

The deaths of many Numic people throughout the nineteenth century meant that traditional sociopolitical units previously reflective of the needs of dense aboriginal populations could no longer be maintained into the twentieth century.

However, despite the loss of people and the lessened need for national–level political, economic, and social power, some aspects of regional and local leadership persisted.

Chief Tecopa

In the early 1930s, Julian Steward (1938:185) wrote that a chief from the region of Pahrump and Ash Meadows named Takopa was a leader of

“all the Southern Paiutes.” The Indian people who

Steward (1938:185) interviewed in the 1930s stated:

The Paiutes of the Pahrump and Las

Vegas regions were never unified in a single band. AH named a succession of three Las Vegas chiefs (towin’dum): Patsadum, who died many years ago; then


Tasidu’dum, who also died many years ago; then A:udia’ who was recently killed. For the region of Ash Meadows and Pahrump he named Takopa (who was probably born in Las Vegas and died at Pahrump about 1895 [actually

1905]). Takopa’s main function was to direct the festival. ChB added that when

Mojave raided Las Vegas people, Takopa might assist them, perhaps even taking command.

It is interesting that the people Steward interviewed could list the names of three Las Vegas area chiefs, but only listed Tecopa as the chief of the Pahrump region. Perhaps this reflects the fact that Tecopa had been the chief of the Pahrump

Paiute region from the early 1870s until 1905, or for approximately two generations.

The name “Tekopa” derives from “Tekoopits,” meaning “Wildcat” or “Bobcat Eyes”

(Van Ronk 1993:37). A traditional leader relatively well-known to newcomers, Tecopa’s death was duly mourned. His body was interred in the Pahrump Band’s cemetery, and the state of Nevada erected a monument to Chief Tekopa in 1970.

The historical marker is inscribed as follows:

Chief Tecopa:

Peacemaker of the Paiutes

Chief Tecopa was a young man when the first white man came to Southern

Nevada. As the leader of the Southern

Paiute tribes, he fought with vigor to save their land and traditional way of life. He soon realized, however, that if his people were to survive and prosper, he would have to establish peace, and learn to live in harmony with the foreigners. During his life span, which covered almost the entire 19th century, his energy and time were devoted to the betterment of his people. Chief Tecopa is honored for the peaceful relations he maintained between the Southern Paiute

Indians and the white men who came to live among them.

In an interview with Cynthia Lynch of Pahrump, Ruth Van Ronk learned that Chief Tecopa had two sons named Charlie Tecopa and Johnnie

Tecopa. She also identifies descendants of Tecopa through the present day. “Johnnie Tecopa’s second son was William Tecopa Jones, grandson of the chief. William’s mother and stepfather raised him and his sister, Bell Bishop, at Ash Meadows.

William had no children…. Alice and Cynthia Jim

(Mrs. Lynch) were said to be the chief’s great grandnieces, but Mrs. Lynch is not certain of the blood relationship. Chief Tecopa was related to

Alice and Cynthia’s mother, and was called

“Grandpa” in the Indian tradition—not the blood-line grandfather, but a term for close family, an older relative who is revered as a spiritual grandfather” (Van Ronk 1993:35–36).

Chief Penance

After Tecopa’s death in 1905, another southern Nevada leader replaced the high chief. Steward suggests the new high chief was named Benjamin and was a veteran scout of the U.S. Army who had lived at Tule Springs near Las Vegas (Steward

1938:185). Local newspapers, however, named

Jack Penance as the new high chief.

The center of national authority shifted from

Pahrump to Las Vegas with the selection of Jack

Penance as high chief. This was the first time the high chief had not lived with the Pahrump Paiutes since at least 1874. This shift also means that the

Pahrump Paiutes began to be led by a district chief rather than a regional or ‘national’ chief.

Chief Skinner

When Chief Penance died in 1933, Chief

Harry Skinner replaced him. The newspaper account covering this important political event was entitled “Piutes (sic) Install New Chieftain at Tribe

Ceremonial.” This newspaper article documents the continuation of Paiute national-level leadership well into the second quarter of the twentieth century. The Tonopah Daily Times-Bonanza (October

4, 1933:4,1) recorded the inauguration of the

Southern Paiute chief as follows:

With a mournful chant pouring from

300 aboriginal throats...the Southern

Nevada Piute [sic] tribe, including Indians of Southern Utah, Southern Nevada and Northwestern Arizona, installed a new chief recently. Their old chief, Jack

Penance...was killed recently in a very

20th century automobile, loaded with blankets, his squaw and about eight


children (when it) blew a tire and overturned. One of his friends, known to white men as Baboon, served as head of the Nevada Indians a short time until a pow-wow could be set and distant Piutes] called into meeting. Over desert roads they came, many by foot, horseback and wagon, but the number who maneuvered themselves and families to the reservation in rattling, brass-bound flivvers was amazing to old time desert dwellers... Harry Skinner, a young government re-educated Piute from Arizona, was named Chief....

Because Harry Skinner was from northern

Arizona, it is possible that this election shifted the center of national leadership to the northern portions of the Southern Paiute nation. The election of a new national chief in 1933 clearly documents that the traditional office of high chief continued to have some functions and value to all Southern

Paiute people. This event illustrates that Southern

Paiute people and traditional society persisted into the twentieth century, as they struggled to retain their social and political structures while also maintaining their deep personal attachments to land and resources.

Ethnic Relationships

Ethnic relationships are made more complex by Euro-centric concepts of people from different cultures speaking different languages holding territory and keeping others out. Among the Numic people, territorial rights and use regulations unquestionably did exist. However, there may have been a time when holding and keeping boundaries was more important than during the last quarter of the nineteenth century; during this time, boundaries between the Northern Paiutes, Western Shoshones, and Southern Paiutes were very fluid. Today, the tribes in Owens Valley claim connections with all three ethnic groups. Northern Paiute connections dominate the upper valley communities, while southern communities view themselves as connected with the Southern Paiutes. Shoshone people are intermarried throughout the valley. Linguistically and culturally, all these Numic–speaking peoples were cousins. Differences included places of origin and some natural resource use-patterns, but these differences were overshadowed by similarities in life style, culture, and language.

Competing risk management responses have already been suggested as playing a significant role in the selection of Northern Paiute leaders for the

(mostly Western Shoshone) Deep Springs community. Population declines also contributed to the modification of interethnic relationships. Perhaps the most obvious impact would have been the reduction of the local populations. Under such conditions, individuals would be encouraged to marry persons from greater distances because fewer spouses would have been available at the local level. An even more basic problem entailed loss of skills and knowledge at the level of the community. This may have become so critical that local districts lacked qualified leaders and thus elected to place themselves under the authority of notable leaders from other districts. This apparently happened between Deep Springs Valley and

Fish Lake Valley. Both of these communities were linguistically and culturally Northern Paiute, so such an accommodation may not have been especially difficult. A more radical solution to a loss of leaders in a district would be having a Northern

Paiute district placed under the directorship of a

Shoshone leader. This did occur when Captain

Harry left his office as director of the Tu’nava area and assumed the chiefly office for all of Fish Lake

Valley. It was on his watch that the 1890 Ghost

Dance occurred (see Chapter Eight).

Steward noted that although Joe Bowers was the chief of Deep Springs, Big Mouth Tom of

Fish Lake later assumed the ceremonial duties that

Joe Bowers was neglecting or was no longer able to perform because “he was off dealing with white people all the time.” According to Steward’s informant (JS), Big Mouth Tom became “the second chief of Deep Springs” (1938:58). This information suggests that while Euroamericans increasingly treated Joe Bowers as the mouthpiece for the indigenous people of western central Nevada and eastern California, members of his own community progressively turned towards Big

Mouth Tom to fulfill the duties of chief in Deep

Springs. The struggle between Bowers’ and

Kawich’s approach towards Euroamericans, as well as the changes their presence ushered in, culminated in warfare and the Euroamerican occupation of Palmetto. It is possible that Palmetto marked a traditional boundary where struggles between Paiutes and Shoshones were most overt.


At an even deeper level, however, this boundary marked a philosophical divide as to how communities should cope with physical, territorial, ideological, and ultimately epistemological risks that demanded immediate, and ideally effective, risk management responses on the part of individual leaders and their communities.


To summarize, Steward’s interpretations of

Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute people have become the focus of a growing number of critiques. Most importantly, contemporary scholars have noted that Steward disregarded information demonstrating that Southern Paiutes and

Western Shoshone had elaborate worldviews and ceremonial practices and a well-organized high chief system (Stoffle and Zedeño 2001). Furthermore, the powerful leaders responsible for catalyzing and launching the first pan-Indian responses to Euroamerican encroachment were Numic

(Mooney 1896; Hittman 1973, 1990; Stoffle et al.

2000). Given its focus on elementary organization, it is not surprising that Steward characterized “the

Great Basin lifeway” as a “negative fact,” distinguished by “the absence of nearly all the more intensive cultural manifestations” (Thomas et al.

1986:275). For example, if Joe Bowers and Chief

Kawich were leaders of small groups of families lacking any significant degree of social organization, this “quasi-war” might be reduced to a mere footnote in the history of the Great Basin. However, this was far from the case. Chief Kawich was the high chief of the Western Shoshones of central Nevada, and Joe Bowers was an important figure among the Northern Paiutes of Deep

Springs who presided over ceremonial activities regularly attended by the people of the Deep

Springs community and the Paiutes living in Fish

Lake Valley.

Thus it appears that a small subset of elite leaders provided all of the Numic people with socioreligious, economic, and political leadership.

Evidence suggests that the Paiute people selected a principal chief or high chief to govern the nation by serving in a leadership capacity over local chiefs. There appears to have also been regional chiefs that were not considered high chiefs. The office of high chief appears to have played important political, economic, and cultural roles at the time of European contact. Ethnographic and newspaper reports indicate that the basic concept of the office of high chief survived until the middle of the twentieth century.

Less renowned, but equally skilled, were the numerous Paiute and Shoshone individuals who demonstrated in-depth ecological knowledge that has proven to be much more adaptive than dominant approaches instituted in conjunction with the

Euroamerican settlement of Numic aboriginal territories.



The Ghost Dance

Alex K. Carroll

Na’anuga or Father Dance is what we call the Ghost Dance. The dance was to bring these spirits back to their relatives who thought they went too soon and missed them. It is not about a spirit or ghost that has not gone to the afterlife.

Marlin Thompson, Cultural Specialist, Yerrington Paiute

The Ghost Dance may be mixed up with the Ute Circle Dance – Conavinokai – which could be translated as “God Dance” or “Wolf Dance...”

Omer Stewart, Cultural Anthropologist


he Ghost Dance of the 1890s is perhaps one of the most frequently examined historical events of the late nineteenth century. It is arguably one of the least understood. Studied first by James

Mooney of the Bureau of Ethnology (1896), and later by other eminent scholars including Bailey

(1957, 1970), Du Bois (1939); Hittman (1973,

1990); Kehoe (1968, 1989); and Spier (1935), it would seem that everything there is to say about the Ghost Dance has already been said. Ironically, the central issues of place and risk perception, upon which the Ghost Dance was founded, have received only cursory treatment within the mainstream ethnographic literature. In response, we attempt to resituate central Nevadan Ghost Dance activities within a framework that addresses both issues. We also explore how the political context within which the Ghost Dance occurred played a significant role in shaping the ways in which different communities collectively interpreted these ritual events.

The present chapter begins in western Nevada, where the 1890s Ghost Dance originated under the leadership of Northern Paiute prophet

Wovoka (Mooney 1896:765, 771). Next, the analysis shifts towards central Nevada where Western

Shoshone and Northern Paiute participation in the

Ghost Dance reflects the unique political relations that each group had established with neighboring ethnic groups, including Euroamericans living in their own communities.

Wovoka’s Message

The 1890s Ghost Dance Movement originated in Mason Valley, Nevada under the leadership of the Northern Paiute prophet Wovoka, who was also known by the Indian of name of

Quoitze Ow, and the Euroamerican name, Jack Wilson (Chapman 1891) (Figure 8.1). Mason Valley is located in western Nevada near the present day town of Yerrington, which is approximately 40 miles northwest of the Walker Lake Indian Reservation. In an interview with ethnographer James

Mooney in 1892, the leader of this Paiute-inspired pan-Indian movement recalled:

When the sun died I went up to heaven and saw God and all the people who had died a long time ago. God told me to come back and tell my people they must be good and love one another, and not fight, or steal or lie. He gave me this dance to give to my people [Mooney


Following his first major revelation, which occurred during an eclipse on January 1, 1889,

Wovoka began to instruct members of his community about the ways they should conduct their lives in order to restore balance and well-being to the earth and themselves (Mooney 1896:771).

Most importantly, Wovoka encouraged Northern

Paiutes to reconnect themselves to the land, the ancestors, and the powers entailed therein. Additionally, he urged indigenous people to respond to


the collective stresses that accompanied Euroamerican expansion through community solidarity. Such solidarity could be expressed through ongoing participation in a dance that some scholars have likened to the ancient Round Dance

(Steward 1938:237). edge of which the willow sticks were still standing, over which they spread their tenting for shelter during these ceremonies. The cleared ground must have been from 200 to 300 feet in diameter, and only about four places left open to enter the grounds.

Figure 8.1. Wovoka, the Prophet

Each dance typically lasted five days and was conducted at intervals of approximately three months (Chapman 1891). Special Ghost Dances were also held when indigenous delegates such as the Sioux or the Arapaho visited (Chapman 1891), as well as in response to extraordinary political events (e.g.,, opening up the reservation to Euroamerican mining claims) and adverse environmental conditions (e.g., ongoing drought) (Nevada

Historical Society, Reno 83–24/III/4:30/78).

Generally, participants gathered in a circle upon a cleared, flat ceremonial site (Figure 8.2). Of the three ceremonial grounds where Ghost Dancing took place under the leadership of Wovoka,

Chapman (1891) said:

They [the ceremonial sites] had been cleared of sagebrush and grass and made perfectly level, around the outer

Figure 8.2. The first Ghost Dance site (from Bailey


After the prophet had spoken, the participants would join hands and perform a series of side steps or shuffling movements while chanting five songs that were given to Wovoka in a visionary state. According to Mooney (1896:772), each of the five songs was used to alter the weather in some fundamental way:

From his uncle I learned that Wovoka has five songs for making rain, the first of which brings on a mist or cloud, the second snowfall, the third a shower, and the fourth a hard rain or storm; while he sings the fifth song the weather becomes clear.

Additional Ghost Dance songs were repetitive litanies calling for the healing of the earth and its people. The recurring themes of loss and hope are illustrated in the following Arapaho and Comanche songs (Thornton 1986:ix).

Father, have pity on me,

Father, have pity on me;

I am crying for thirst.

I am crying for thirst;

All is gone—I have nothing to eat,

All is gone—I have nothing to eat.


―Arapaho Ghost Dance Song

We shall live again,

We shall live again.

―Comanche Ghost Dance Song

An examination of the doctrine of the Ghost

Dance as recorded by Mooney reveals similar ideas of regeneration and well-being (Mooney

1896:777). He writes, “The great underlying principle of the Ghost Dance doctrine is that the time will come when the whole Indian race, living and dead, will be reunited upon a regenerated earth, to live a life of aboriginal happiness, forever free from death, disease, and misery.” In addition to suggesting that physical struggles beset many indigenous people at the end of the nineteenth century, this doctrine alludes to ongoing contests of power between Euroamerican and indigenous populations. Often such conflicts were exacerbated by differing conceptualizations of the natural world and the ways in which humans should engage its elements, as well as competing desires to assert control over both human and ecological domains. Within this context, the Ghost Dance must be understood to represent not only a collective response aimed at healing the natural environment and its indigenous people, but also a ritual of collectivization and resistance that intensified conflicts with Euroamericans even as it empowered its participants.

Wovoka’s message resonated with indigenous people living far beyond western Nevada

(Report to the Secretary of War 83–24/III/4:30, cited in Mooney 1896). Consequently his message spread rapidly, and a steady stream of representatives from indigenous groups (ranging from California to the Great Plains) regularly boarded the railroads to visit the newly acclaimed Indian Messiah of Mason Valley. Some Euroamericans feared this new evidence of collectivization and responded by petitioning the railroads to quit allowing Indians free passage upon the rails (Danberg


The question of how a local Paiute ritual grew into a pan-Indian event with support from such distance groups as the Sioux, Arapaho, and

Bannocks has been the focus of much scholarship.

The results of these inquiries affirm that the 1890s

Ghost Dance movement became a dominant re-

140 sponse to the strenuous and often life-threatening physical, economic, political, and social realities that accompanied the Euroamerican usurpation of traditional lands (e.g., Dobyns and Euler 1967;

Hittman 1973; Mooney 1896). Here we build on these analyses by contextualizing social, economic, and political conditions within a theoretical framework of risk analysis.

Federal Policies

During the late 1890s, American Indians throughout North America continued to be publicly identified as obstacles to the Jeffersonian vision of a nation of farmers and “productive” developers of the land. As a consequence, federal policies were created to “resolve” the “Indian

Problem” (Berkhofer 1978:169). Through an assimilation policy, Euroamericans aimed to eradicate differences, among which contested visions of nature and the relationship between people and resources were primary.

Compulsory education was one means towards this end. “By the end of the century nearly half of all native children attended school for some period of time” (Berkhofer 1978:170). In

Nevada, the Clear Creek Indian School, later renamed the Stewart Indian School, was established south of Carson City in 1890 (Elliott 1987:397).

In addition, a second federal policy aimed to place people on reservations where they would remain under close surveillance while freeing up lands for settlement and development (Berkhofer 1978:170)

(see Chapter Six).

Local Context

When growing numbers of Euroamericans began to converge upon the traditional lands of the Northern Paiutes and Western Shoshones of western and central Nevada in the middle to late

1800s, they brought along their material culture and their diseases, to which indigenous people had no immunity (Dobyns 1983; Stoffle et al. 1995).

Furthermore, Euroamericans brought visions of nature that were in many respects diametrically opposed to the understandings that Northern Paiutes and Western Shoshones had developed by living and learning from the land for centuries.

Euroamerican miners perceived western and central Nevada lands as banks whose wealth could be extracted through industry, cleverness, and luck. For ranchers, the open terrain, scarce vegeta-

tion, water, and fauna also promised to become useful with sufficient planning, labor, and development. It is challenging to depict the sense of crisis that the enactment of these visions must have created among the indigenous people of central Nevada. However, by examining the physical record and the collective responses of Numic speakers in the wake of these changes, the gravity of encroachment becomes more evident.

With the arrival of immigrants, the lands, traditional plants, animals, and sources of water that Northern Paiutes and Western Shoshones once depended upon for their survival became contested resources. Those who sought to wrest control of land and resources from its indigenous inhabitants perceived the latter as sources of danger and inconvenience, but rarely as humans equal to themselves. A collective sentiment of inequality underscored federal legislation, designed to resolve tensions between Euroamericans and indigenous groups through policies aimed at eradication, segregation, or assimilation. In Nevada, the policy of segregation was expressed by the establishment of reservations. By 1859, reservation boundaries had been drawn for Pyramid and

Walker Lake (Elliott 1987:396). Yet, despite the relatively early development of reservations in

Nevada, only 25 percent of Paiutes were living on reservations by 1890 (Logan 1980:281). Nevertheless, many Paiutes and Shoshones of Esmeralda

County lost control of their lands following the massive influxes of immigrants into central Nevada. As a result, many Indian people began to live on ranches established by Euroamericans or on the margins of mining towns. In both cases they performed menial labor in exchange for food or wages. However, work was frequently sporadic, and payment for labor was not always forthcoming (Zanjani 1994:38).

Along with the rapid appropriation of land and the depletion of resources necessary for subsistence, Nevada Indians experienced diminished autonomy and physical hardships that often culminated in death. These cumulative stresses led many indigenous people to believe that the world was no longer in balance. Under these circumstances, many Northern Paiutes and Western Shoshones sought to collectively mobilize for the purposes of healing the environment and themselves, while also reasserting their right to live in places that they and their ancestors had occupied for as long as anyone could remember.


Ghost Dancing: Risk Management

In response to deprivation resulting from gaps between their needs and the actualities of their changed circumstances (Aberele 1962), Nevadan Northern Paiutes and Western Shoshones alternately used two risk management strategies.

The dominant response entailed returning to that which had worked in the past. The Ghost Dance, which promised to relieve some of the stresses that accompanied encroachment, was first practiced in 1870 under the leadership of Northern

Paiute prophet Wodziwob, also known as Fish

Lake Joe (Hittman 1973).

The Ghost Dance shared similarities to the ancient Round Dance (Steward 1938:237), as well as to the northwestern Prophet Dance (Spier

1935:5). In addition, symbols and ideas were selectively drawn from Christianity. Euroamericans sometimes perceived the selective appropriation and inversion of Christian tenets as a display of ignorance on the part of Ghost Dance leaders and participants. It is more probable, however, that the selective appropriation of Christian themes, particularly the return of Jesus to the earth, represented a form of symbolic resistance. Syncretism served as a method of reasserting a place for indigenous people in a world that was increasingly dominated by people espousing Christian worldviews.

Northern Paiutes and Western Shoshones of

Esmeralda County employed a second strategy as well; this entailed enacting the Ghost Dance under the heavy surveillance of Euroamericans. Although federal and local governments did not expressly forbid the Ghost Dance, reservation agents, newspaper reporters, law enforcement, and inquisitive Euroamerican residents constantly monitored the collective actions of indigenous groups. As a consequence, indigenous people were compelled to represent their activities as benign and non-threatening to Euroamericans. At the same time they endeavored to convince other indigenous people that this movement would create the most radical changes that any living person had ever witnessed.

Situating the Ghost Dance in Place

During the 1890s, the Ghost Dance flourished among the Northern Paiutes of western Nevada as well as the Western Shoshones and

Northern Paiutes of central Nevada and Owens

Valley, California. It is probable that both Wodziwob’s and Wovoka’s messages first gained popular support among Northern Paiutes living in close proximity to Yerrington, Nevada, where both prophets lived at the time they began disseminating the Ghost Dance message. In the case of the

1870s Ghost Dance, however, it appears that the prophet Wobziwob, who was originally from Fish

Lake Valley, drew inspiration from the Cry, which is a mortuary ritual that was not practiced among the Northern Paiutes of Mason Valley (Wheat

1959). By 1869, Wodziwob was living in Mason

Valley, and he began sharing a message that included the resurrection of the dead, at a time when many Northern Paiutes were dying as a result of pervasive epidemics (Wheat 1959).

The 1870s Ghost Dance entailed the promulgation of a ritualized movement whose ideas are correlated with mortuary rituals from central Nevada. By contrast, during the 1890s, the Ghost

Dance message and songs appeared to have originated in Mason Valley, and were thereafter shared with representatives from the central regions of

Nevada. According to Shoshone elder Tim

Hooper (b. 1874), “They (people around Schurz) sent for three people to come and learn the songs

(from Wovoka). Three men went from Belmont”

(Wheat 1959). The interviewer adds parenthetically, “Tim said that Jack Wilson told the Paiutes to come back from Austin.” This comment indicates that Wovoka received the Shoshone delegates positively, and welcomed ongoing collaboration with these central Nevadan representatives.

In a separate interview, Hooper named the Shoshone delegates that went to see Wovoka in Mason Valley. He recalls:

T.H.: “…they all passed away. A long time ago. They was old fellows when they go on up.

I: “They were old fellows when they sent them, huh? What were their names?”

T.H: “One was Bishop (?), one was Jeff

(?), one was Johnny??. All dead”

I: “And did they bring the songs back, and did they have the dances down here?”


T.H.: “Yeah, that’s the songs back with them and make a fandango here.”

I: “Did they have three nights for that, too?”

T.H.: “Five nights” [Wheat 1959].

It is probable that when the three Shoshone elders went from Belmont to Mason Valley to learn about the Ghost Dance, the elder Chief

Kawich was the principal leader of the Western

Shoshones of central Nevada. In a separate interview, Hooper indicated that Bill Kawich’s father was a big chief with considerable influence who lived to be approximately 100 years old and died in 1903 (Wheat 1959). In part Kawich’s influence can be attributed to his capacity to speak seven or eight languages. Hooper noted that Kawich was called upon to resolve conflicts in places that included Ruby Valley and Battle Mountain.

Kawich’s willingness to send delegates to learn about a movement that was viewed by many

Euroamericans as a threat to westward expansion may reflect Kawich’s desire to maintain political and economic autonomy from Euroamerican communities. On January 13, 1874, a local newspaper reporter from the Territorial Enterprise stated that Kawich instructed Shoshones to reject gifts offered by Major N. W. Ingalls and Joe Woods.

The reporter wrote:

They held an extended pow-wow with the Shoshones and Cowitz; but that noble chieftain declined to allow the members of his band to accept any presents from a paternal government….

Cowitz thought that the acceptance of the articles would be equivalent to selling their birthright for a mess of iodide and potassium.

Following the return of the Shoshone delegates from western Nevada, the Ghost Dance gathered increasing momentum among the Western Shoshones and Northern Paiutes of central

Nevada. Like their Western counterparts, those of central Nevada emphasized Wovoka’s capacity to control the weather. Hooper reported: “He [Wovoka] can make it rain whenever he want. Snow too. He can make the wind blow too. Everybody

know that. One time he want to buy some hay from a man. That man not sell him any. That night that man [Wovoka] make that whole haystack blow away—every bit of it. All Indians know that, Paiute and Shoshone too” (Wheat 1959).

Hooper did not indicate where the Ghost Dances were performed in central Nevada; however, he did relay the name of one of the Shoshone Ghost

Dance singers, Tom Midas. Hooper maintained that Midas was well liked by the other participants and was considered to be a very skilled singer.

Newspapers of the time provide a good overview of dance places and delegation ethnicities (Appendix C). For example, a newspaper account from the Elko Independent, January 20, 1891, confirms the passage and planning of at least two

Ghost Dances involving representatives from central and northern Nevada:

In the course of two or three weeks the

Indians contemplate holding another dance some three miles south of Medicine Springs in Elko County. This gathering will chiefly comprise the Shoshones of Ruby Valley, Cherry Creek,

Austin, Eureka and neighboring localities; there will be perhaps some Goshootes and Utes, the total number will possibly not be over 125 to 150.

Although precise ceremonial locations are not given in Tim Hooper’s accounts, his recollections provide further substantiation of local newspaper accounts of Ghost Dances within central

Nevada. The key lies in the way in which Hooper referred to these ritual events. Rather than calling them Ghost Dances, he stated that the three delegates that went to see Wovoka came back and made “a fandango here” that lasted for “five nights,” which is the number of nights prescribed for the Ghost Dance by Wovoka (Wheat 1959).

Significantly, Chief Kawich is often mentioned in association with these events; Indian delegates from outside of the Shoshone community were present at several, and the reporters twice indicated that these ceremonial events were occurring with a greater frequency than in previous years.

However, when the dance alarmed the Hawthorne settlers enough to call in military reinforcements, and the Belmont settlers were aware of the coming threat of the dance, Captain Joe assured the Belmont settlers that his people were

143 only going to dance to “keep the snow from coming down,” and that Kawich had ordered that all the Shoshone must gather in Smoky Valley and attend the fandangos to be held in the fall, winter, and spring (Belmont Courier, November 15, 1890).

A few days later, Captain John reassured the townsfolk that the Shoshones would “only dance for fun” (Belmont Courier, December 27, 1890).

Soon thereafter, this newspaper published notices of Ghost Dances that had taken place in Battle

Mountain, Elko, and Duckwater, among other places, indicating that the Western Shoshone bands, after learning Wovoka’s songs, could retreat to the safety of their own territories to perform them near their own powerful places (e.g.,

Darrough’s Hot Springs in Smoky Valley).

In central Nevada, particular sites were selected for the performance of the Ghost Dance ceremony. A Western Shoshone cultural specialist and puhagant (shaman) noted that people always performed Ghost Dance ceremonies at places where their ancestors had performed ceremonies.

These places were known as places of power, or

puha. It was understood that the ceremonies would be effective if the people sang ceremonial songs for and about the special places, animals, plants, and all other living elements. These living forces grew stronger as a result of these songs and prayers; in turn, this power was used to help and heal the Ghost Dance participants, while also restoring balance and wellness to the earth.

According to Corbin Harney, Ghost Dances were regularly performed near a place known as

Darrough’s Hot Spring, which is located approximately twelve miles northwest of Round Mountain in Smoky Valley. Hot springs are places that

puhagants and other indigenous people have always returned to for the purpose of healing. Knowledge of the diverse healing properties of particular waters is transmitted from generation to generation, and people travel as much as 200 miles in order to elicit a cure. This site may have been used throughout the 1890s for the balancing ceremony of the Ghost Dance. Ghost Dances were also performed at other sites throughout central Nevada.

Once again, these sites were chosen because the

Ghost Dance participants’ ancestors had taught them to go to them for healing, and when the need arose for balancing ceremonies, these places were the most natural as well as the most effective choices available.

In a recent interview, Corbin Harney, tribal elder and medicine man of the Western Shoshones, indicated that Ghost Dancing activities occurred in such important ceremonial areas as (1)

Beowawe, which is located between Elko and Battle Mountain, Nevada; (2) in Dixie Valley, which lies between the Stillwater Range and the Clan

Alpine Mountains; (3) at the numerous springs located on Cortez Mountain, northwest of Crescent Valley; (4) in Spring Valley; (5) in the Crescent Valley area south of Beowawe; (6) near Austin; (7) at Tecopa Spring; and (8) at a site on the outskirts of Elko. At the latter location there are

14 burial sites and a large circle within a meadow where the dances occurred. In all, the area encompasses approximately 100 acres. When people went to Elko to participate in dances they would camp nearby. Today remnants of these camps remain. At another site, Cornucopia, balancing ceremonies were performed and white chalk was gathered from a local source during the summer.

Shoshone consultants indicate that many artifacts are present at this site. Other important ceremonial areas selected for the Ghost Dance are located in Ash Meadows and in Hiko. In addition, people danced together in the Hot Creek Range near

Moore’s Station. Today a large white circle can be seen where these dances occurred. During the late nineteenth century Ghost dances were also held at a significant ceremonial center in the Fish Lake


While each of these ceremonial sites is composed of unique components, there are also repeating physiographic features worthy of note.

Frequently, a source of water at a site has been described as a factor contributing to the power of a place. Historic data also indicate that dancers often chose broad, flat terrain that was suitable for gathering potentially large groups of people together at a single time (A. I. Chapman 1891). Furthermore, sites in proximity to indigenous settlements that could be used as support communities, or those that were of a large enough scale to provide sleeping and eating accommodations, were preferred. In the case of places located on Shoshone Mountain, there is a close association between the rituals of regeneration and the presence of pine nut stands that served as a staple food source for indigenous people. In addition to attending to physiographic features of power as well as practicality, Ghost Dance participants regularly returned to ceremonial sites used by ancestors, as

144 well as to places where ancestors had been laid to rest. Both practices suggest that cultural inscription practices as well as physiographic variables contributed to the value of a particular ceremonial dance site.

Having discussed the introduction of the

1890s Ghost Dance into central Nevada, as well as some of the places and physiographic features that were evidenced at these ceremonial sites, we now turn our attention to Ghost Dance activities in the

Fish Lake Valley. By examining particular demographic, political, social, and ecological issues that were in effect at the time of the 1890s Ghost

Dance within this region, it is possible to see how the Ghost Dance manifested itself in this portion of central Nevada.

Fish Lake Valley

In the winter of 1890 the Western Shoshone and Northern Paiute people of Fish Lake Valley, in Esmeralda County, Nevada, held a Ghost

Dance. It was one of the coldest winters in the history of Nevada; snow fell to great depths, closing roads and even railroads. Yet, the Indian people of Esmeralda County danced for weeks. They danced to regain control of their lands and to bring back ancestors and animals that had gone to the afterlife too soon. They danced to eliminate the White people and their adverse influences on the land, water, and animals of central Nevada.

They danced to bring the world back into balance.

To accomplish these goals, Ghost Dancers went to special places and performed a dance that was specified by the Prophet Wovoka’s vision.

This was a vision of hope in a time of unbelievable disruption, solar events, and what some today might call ontological insecurity; a time when the very existence of Indian culture, lands, and life were in question. Although the prophet’s vision defined the dance, its ingredients, and its timing, the dance itself was not unusual, being in many ways like the balancing dances Indian people always performed when the events of their world were out of balance. The Ghost Dance was like the Round Dance or Circle Dance, which is performed to correct with ceremony unnatural and unwanted events such as drought, sickness, social disruption, and unwanted changes in the fauna and flora.

The location of these dances was normal and understood, being places where Indian people had

gone for generations to dance and sing the world back into balance. Such places had come to be identified as places of puha (power). Some places are thought to be portals to other worlds, while all

puha places are thought to concentrate power. Indications of puha places may involve the presence of water, spectacular landforms, volcanic materials, and the evidence that previous generations of

Indian people have successfully performed ceremonies there.

There are two opinions as to where the Fish

Lake Valley Ghost Dance occurred, but the events that surrounded this Ghost Dance appear to be agreed upon by those who recorded the event in writing and via oral history accounts. One letter to a newspaper places the dance on the crest of the

White Mountains, which define the western boundary of Fish Lake Valley. Another oral history, with which we concur, places the dance at

Nu’nava at the southeastern boundary of Fish Lake

Valley. What is certain is that people from Fish

Lake Valley and the surrounding areas performed this dance.

This analysis raises a number of questions not only about the Ghost Dance of 1890 and how

Indian civil and religious authorities coordinated these ceremonies, but also about interethnic relationships between Indian people of all kinds, from the local to the national level. By turning our attention to this dance, this place, and the people who coordinated the dance, we are able to better understand the role of national events on local affairs and vice versa. This case further affords the opportunity to understand how local Indian people proactively addressed adverse changes in their physical and social environments.

Place and Dance

For the Indian people living in central and southern Nevada in 1890, the world had been out of balance for a long time. European diseases had assaulted the Western Shoshones and both

Northern and Southern Paiutes since the smallpox pandemic of 1780. The people of central and southern Nevada were probably assaulted again when the 49ers moved across these lands. The

1863 pandemic involved yet another massive spread of smallpox, and diseases of all kinds occurred concomitant to the influx of miners between 1865 and the middle 1890s.

Various procedures have been used to estimate the original (pre–1780) populations of these people and the impacts of disease episodes on the health, culture, social complexity, and knowledge of those who remained. What appears certain is that these were unprecedented events that not only killed people but also challenged their understanding of how to cure themselves of sicknesses.

When large portions of any population die suddenly, people who know how the world works and the proper way to behave in the world suddenly are gone, taking their knowledge with them. This is a real challenge for the living, who must then attempt to reconstruct traditional ways of life that were thousands (and perhaps tens of thousands) of years in the making.

Over a period of years, James Mooney, the earliest and foremost scholar of the Ghost Dance, came to understand the motivation of Indian

Ghost Dance people as a response to what he called paradise lost:

The lost paradise is the world’s dreamland of youth. What tribe or people has not had its golden age…. And when the race lies crushed and groaning beneath an alien yoke, how natural is the dream of a redeemer…who shall return from exile or awake from some long sleep to drive out the usurper and win back for his people what they have lost. The hope becomes a faith and the faith becomes the creed of priests and prophets…[of all millenary cults] are essentially the same, and have their origin in a hope and longing common to all humanity [Mooney 1896:657].

While this explanation for the rise of the

Ghost Dance has stood the test of time and new analysis, Mooney (1896) also found the seeds of the 1890 Ghost Dance in earlier religious movements, some of which pre-dated the arrival of Euroamericans, their diseases, and foreign animals.

Such a conclusion is important in our analysis, because whether or not the 1890 Ghost Dance derived strictly from the impacts of Euroamericans, this ceremonial solution and the places where balancing ceremonies were conducted appear to have been thousands of years old. The world always needs balancing—there is always a drought, animals continue to die, and sicknesses


continue to strike. In such times, leaders guide their people to certain places where they perform ceremonies to bring the world back into balance.

Such places are where the Ghost Dance ceremony was performed.

Revitalizing Connections to Place

Understanding that the land had given birth to them and previously provided them with all the resources necessary for their survival and wellbeing, Ghost Dance participants returned to such places to reestablish balance in the world. By analogue, people trained in Western paradigms are familiar with the concept of restoring balance to unhealthy bodies through interventions that rely upon in-depth knowledge of the human form. Just as doctors trained in both Western and Eastern medical techniques map vital centers of power within the body for the purpose of healing, many indigenous healers have mapped vital centers of power within the land for thousands of years.

Knowledge of such places has been transmitted from generation to generation, and members return to these sites to perform healing ceremonies or to further enhance their knowledge. Ghost

Dance participants regularly gathered at these places with the intention of healing themselves, revitalizing their connections to the earth, and restoring balance to the world. Participants often adorned themselves with red clay gathered from

Mount Grant (Mooney 1896:778), which is the

Northern Paiute place of origin (Mooney

1896:1051), and therefore a place of great power.

Indian people also understood that clay from places of power had physical healing properties and could help them enter states of consciousness that would allow them to communicate with their ancestors. Oral histories also indicate that Mt.

Grant is a place where deities and spiritual leaders performed acts of healing (Mooney 1896). By regularly performing Ghost Dances at places recognized for their innate power, participants sought to activate powers that promised to relieve them of the cumulative stresses accompanying Euroamerican encroachment.

Physical Encroachment in Fish Lake Valley

Euroamerican ranches were probably started in the Fish Lake Valley region about 1865. Ranchers immediately endeavored to capture the major sources of water, causing an instant displacement

146 of Indian communities. Under such circumstances, Indian communities sometimes became labor camps. At other times the indigenous residents were sent away by force of arms.

In addition to experiencing lost access to water with the onset of ranching, people of western

Nevada experienced the hardships of drought during the early 1890s (Zanjani 1988:54). In response,

Wovoka made promises to deliver water through rain dances that would “fall at regular intervals for the next two or three months” so that “Indians would have fat cattle and horses; [and] that the land would be covered with grass” (Mohave County

Miner, August 26, 1893). According to Zanjani

(1988:54), Wovoka’s promises were followed by rains, which lessened some environmental stresses while also reaffirming Wovoka’s power as the prophet of the Ghost Dance. In certain areas of western Nevada, residents faced yet another threat to their subsistence needs. According to Hittman

(1973:252), farmers in Mason and Smith valleys began poisoning rabbits, which were one of the main sources of food for many Paiutes.

The arrival of Euroamericans in central Nevada resulted in alterations of ecosystem/human relations at both a quantitative and qualitative level. Long before experiencing the arrival of immigrant ranchers and miners in Esmeralda County and the subsequent loss of water and other resources, Indian people had been removing minerals from the earth. They often had very old and large mines, especially at a good vein of a valued material like turquoise or hematite. Tudupihunupi

(tudupi, turquoise) on the western flank of the

Toyaibe Range south of Austin was such a mine

(Steward 1938:102). European mining technology, however, was qualitatively different from indigenous mining, involving (1) a great disturbance of the earth, (2) extensive use and pollution of water,

(3) the timbering of trees for charcoal production and for mine shaft support, and (4) the rapid rise and demise of functionally specific villages built around resource extraction. When mines were developed near Indian communities, the former

Indian village either became a satellite labor camp or was forced away from the new resource extraction village.

Hard rock mining began at Gold Mountain to the southeast of Fish Lake Valley in 1864 and near Columbus to the north in 1865 (Paher

1970:426). The mineral mines in Columbus soon gave way to the production of borax, and by 1873

four companies were shipping from the three mills eight months of the year. Columbus declined when after 1875 the Pacific Borax Company built a larger plant at Fish Lake 30 miles to the south.

Fish Lake would become known by the nickname of Borax City (Paher 1970:426).

So complete was the process of encroachment on Indian villages in this region that Steward’s record of Indian names for villages in the

1870s usually refers geographically to a European ranch. By contrast, when the village was near a mine, Steward did not tend to use the mine as a geographical reference. Perhaps to Steward, ranch encroachment was more “aboriginal” than mine encroachment.


In 1866 three prospectors found silver deposits in the southern portion of the Silver Creek

Range, which defines the eastern boundary of Fish

Lake Valley. These miners organized a mining district and named it, their camp, and the neighboring mountains, Palmetto. Over the next

40 years mines would come and go, outsiders would fill the small town of Palmetto and then leave it empty, but the Indian people of this area would remain.


Three years later, another mining district was formed to the south of Palmetto. This mining district became known as Sylvania. Like the Palmetto

Mining District, Sylvania gave its name to a small town, a mine, and the mountain where the silver deposits were found. And like Palmetto, Sylvania would soon boom and bust, leaving no continuous Euroamerican community in its wake. What remained after the mining boom had passed were some ruins, a mountain bearing the scars of mining, and the Indian residents who had been in this region before, during, and after the mining district briefly waxed and waned.

Pigeon Spring

Between Palmetto and Sylvania is a small spring that would support a stamp mill, saloon, store, and a roadhouse. The promised post office never materialized, and after little more than a decade, lasting from the late 1880s to 1900, the mill was abandoned due to the closing of local mines. This place, which was called Pigeon Spring by Euroamericans and Tu’nava by the Indian people, was never especially important to outsiders.

However, it was without question a place of central importance in Indian culture.

Tu’nava Around 1870

Julian Steward was fortunate to have found a person who remembered a great deal of information about Pigeon Spring (Tu’nava). This woman

(MH) had resided there for much of her life, and was never far removed after that. The information

Steward gathered about Tu’nava defines it as a central place.

Within the vicinity of Tu’nava MH identified

31 persons living in four settlements:

Tu’nava, at Pigeon Spring, several springs at 6,200 to 6,500 feet in the mountains at the eastern end of Fish

Lake Valley. This was advantageously located in the midst of pine-nut country.

In one [settlement lived] the chief, his wife from Palmetto, a son and a daughter, both of whom died before they were married, and a daughter whose husband came from Panwihumadu, Hot

Creek, in Long Valley to Tunava.

In the second, the chief’s sister, her husband from Tu’nava, their daughter, her husband from Panwihumadu [Hot

Creek in Long Valley] or Benton, and their three children who have subsequently married.

[At] the third [settlement lived], the chief’s older brother, his wife from Sohoduhatu [Oasis], their daughter, their son, and his Shoshoni wife from Lida

Valley to Tule Canyon.

[At] the fourth [settlement lived], the chief’s younger brother, his Shoshoni wife from Lida Valley, their oldest daughter and her Shoshone husband from Grapevine Spring Canyon, and their three children. A second daughter, her Shoshoni husband from Lida Valley, and their two children. And a third, unmarried daughter with her child

[Steward 1938:63].

Using Steward’s retrospective census from

MH, we are able to profile the community of

Tu’nava and compare it with other Indian communities in Fish Lake Valley (see Chapter Three for


detailed census figures). The 1880 U.S. census indicated an even lower population of 30 for Fish

Lake Valley. In 1900, U.S. census recorders indicated that 96 person were living in the Fish Lake

Valley, with 68 persons in Fish Lake Valley Precinct and 28 persons living in the Palmetto Precinct. These data indicate a total population that again approaches that of Steward’s 1872 estimates, with the Palmetto population beginning at about the same size.

There are a number of ways of speculating about these population figures, but if the latter figures are accurate, they indicate a movement of families out of the region or declining populations.

Such a movement would probably involve pull factors, such as whole families moving away to more distant mining camps in order to acquire work. Push factors would include the movement of Indian people out of labor camps associated with Euroamerican mines or ranches. A third factor entails declining populations resulting from an increased death rate, decreased birth rate, or a combination of the two. Declining populations due to diseases cannot be ruled out; according to

MH, the largest village in Fish Lake Valley (Soho-

duhatu or Oasis Ranch) experienced a great number of deaths due to gonorrhea (Steward 1938:64).

Considered collectively, these census figures indicate a decline in population within the Fish

Lake Valley region that ranged between 50 and 73 percent between the late 1870s and 1880. Although Steward (1938:62) noted that the people of

Fish Lake Valley had always been mobile, such large fluctuations in the population cannot be explained through the movements of people alone.

Census figures also indicate that birthrates remained low between 1870 and 1910. The ratio of adults to children ranged from between 2:1 and

4:1, indicating that disease, malnutrition, and/or social disruption contributed to long-term population declines. When considered in conjunction with studies conducted by Stoffle and others

(1995) of virgin soil epidemics, vast reductions in

Paiute and Shoshone populations through disease become quite tenable.

Ghost Dance Eventscape

Faced with death, disease, physical and ideological marginalization, and losses of resources, the Northern Paiutes and Western Shoshones of

Fish Lake Valley and neighboring communities attributed great value to the Ghost Dance as a method for eliciting change. Indian people regularly gathered to dance near Palmetto, which is on the southeast edge of the Fish Lake Valley near the Nevada–California border, approximately 90 miles southeast of Mason Valley, where the 1890s

Ghost Dance was first recorded. Palmetto was also the home of Fish Lake Joe (Wodziwob), whom Hittman (1973) convincingly argues was the leader of the 1870s Ghost Dance movement.

It is probable that Wodziwob moved to Mason

Valley during the 1870s and taught the Ghost

Dance to Northern Paiutes, who had not previously practiced extensive rituals around death.

Hittman also suggests that the Cry ceremonies enacted upon the death of Paiutes of Fish Lake

Valley may have served as an impetus for later

Ghost Dance developments.

During the 1890s, many Paiutes and Shoshones developed several collective responses to the ongoing disruptions that accompanied Euroamerican ranching and mining. Shoshone and

Paiute residents adapted to these cumulative stresses by regularly performing the Ghost Dance at places of power. Pigeon Springs was such a place. This small spring is located between Palmetto and Sylvania, approximately 29 miles west of Lida. Hershell Knapp, a prospector and miner who had lived in a cabin in this region, identified a

Ghost Dancing site on a low hill across from Pigeon Springs. Rock peckings near the ancient petroglyphs indicate that indigenous people visited

Pigeon Springs for ceremonial purposes in the late

1880s, as well as in 1912. Furthermore, older rock engravings demonstrate that this was a traditional site that was visited for healing or knowledge purposes long before the onset of the Ghost Dance.

Many Indian people also attempted to adapt to these changes by securing work in the mines or on the ranches of Euroamericans. However,

Lingenfelter (1986:103) indicates that mining activities in Palmetto and nearby regions were highly sporadic. A mill opened at Pigeon Springs in 1868 was abandoned in 1869, and the revival of dead camps in “Lida, Palmetto, Sylvania, Gold Mountain, Tule Canyon and Tecopa” between the 1880s and 1890 were equally short lived. As a consequence, Paiutes and Shoshones working at these operations were alternately denied regular employment or cash remuneration for their labor

(Zanjani 1994). Yet due to changes in their tradi-


tional resource bases, they were nonetheless dependent upon the Euroamerican economy.

It is probable that these cumulative stresses led ghost–dancing Indians under the instigation of

Jack Longstreet, a Euroamerican, to wage a worker’s revolt in January of 1891. Longstreet had extensive connections with Indian people, spoke the Paiute language fluently, and married a Paiute wife, Suzie. Following a Ghost Dance in the deep of winter, Longstreet reportedly encouraged Indian people to track down their employer and demand money for work they had performed but for which they had never received payment. Upon demanding remuneration, the mining superintendent, Robert Starrett, initially refused to pay them.

It was only after being physically tortured that he finally ceded to their demands (Zanjani 1994:39)

(Figure 8.3).

In the winter of 1890–1891 a large Ghost

Dance also took place near the town of Independence, California (Zanjani 1988:54). In response, local Euroamerican ranchers and miners allegedly increased their surveillance and prepared themselves for physical confrontations (Zanjani

1988:54–55). According to Zanjani (1988:57), this culminated in the worker’s revolt led by

Longstreet. While the chain of causality is not fully known, it is significant that Euroamericans responded to the Ghost Dancers’ social solidarity and increased organization with alarm, resulting in preparations for physical violence. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that news of the workers’ wage revolt was kept surprisingly quiet in comparison with the more heavily reported fact that just across the Nevada–California border, Ghost

Dances involving as many as 200-300 Indians were occurring. This uneven reporting suggests an effort on the part of Euroamericans to quiet a movement of Indian people that was beginning to employ a more directly confrontational approach to Euroamerican economic domination.

The Euroamerican presence influenced the

Ghost Dance in other ways as well. Most importantly, some of these interactions contributed to changes in the leadership of ceremonial activities within the Palmetto region. Joe Bowers from the neighboring community of Deep Valley originally performed this role; however, Chief Big Mouth

Tom later undertook these responsibilities. The reason given for this change in leadership was that

Joe Bowers “was away dealing with white men most of the time” (Steward 1938:61). This statement suggests that negotiations with Whites were insufficient in meeting the needs of Indian residents. Furthermore, as Big Mouth Tom was Shoshone, his leadership in an area of Paiutes and

Shoshones demonstrates the fluidity of interethnic boundaries at the time of the Ghost Dance (see

Chapter Seven).

Figure 8.3. Pigeon Spring, with the hill and dance area in the background

Paiute and Shoshone Ghost Dancers were compelled to continually negotiate their activities with the Euroamericans, who exercised virtually complete hegemony over their lands in other ways as well. Their responses to Euroamerican authority ranged from overt rejection of this authority to careful discourses that aimed to diminish the fears of the Whites. When asked about his understanding of the Ghost Dance shirts of the Sioux that were worn as immunity against White bullets,

Wovoka denied having any part in their introduction (Mooney 1896). By contrast, Ed Dyer, a

White man who wrote letters for Wovoka, re-


ported that Wovoka had adopted this idea from

Mormons, who wore sacred undergarments for protection (Bailey 1957). Although Wovoka’s message was one of peaceful coexistence with Euroamericans, Ghost Dancers were acutely aware of the dialectics of power underscoring the Ghost

Dance. While many Whites dismissed the “truth” of Wovoka’s message, their constant surveillance suggests that the collective mobilization of Indians from tribes throughout much of the United States was considered to be a threat of the highest order.

Wovoka thus avoided the agent at Walker Lake in fear of being arrested (Mooney 1896:767) and instructed tribal delegates to adopt a code of secrecy about Ghost Dance activities and the ultimate aims of this movement (Mooney 1896:780–781).

Contemporary elders from Owens Valley and central Nevada maintain that fear of Euroamerican responses to the Ghost Dance significantly affected the form as well as the content of Numic ceremonialism. For example, many Ghost Dance symbols, as well as the semiotics of the Ghost

Dance, were transferred and embedded into the

Sun Dance following the massacre of hundreds of

Sioux Ghost Dancers at Wounded Knee. Local experts indicate that their elders started to use the

Sun Dance in place of the Ghost Dance in order to keep certain knowledge alive that was prohibited or at least highly frowned upon by Euroamerican society.

Perspectives on the Ghost Dance of the


Although much Ghost Dancing knowledge has been kept alive to this day, the predominant view held by many Euroamericans is that the

Ghost Dance “failed” when the dead did not return to life and the destruction of the White race was not realized in the spring of 1891. Rather than entirely dying out, however, the Ghost Dance continued to be practiced indirectly through the

Sun Dance, or directly as the Ghost Dance, by indigenous people who were no longer under the high degree of surveillance that existed up until the Lakotan defeat at Wounded Knee.

A news article entitled “A Shoshone Nuisance” published in the Belmont Courier on Saturday

June 13, 1891 documented the continuation of the

Ghost Dance:

Thomas Warburton, of Belmont, has been informed by Hon. T. J. Bell of

Cloverdale, that the Shoshone Indians will soon hold a grand fandango at

Duckwater, Nye County. Mr. Bell says that a wily red skin has told his dusky brethren that they must keep on dancing in order to induce their dead relatives to pay them a visit on the Earth.

This same fellow has also told the Shoshones that the reasons why the dead

Indians have not come down from their happy hunting grounds is because the white people have been allowed to inhabit this part of the world. And it seems that a great number of the Indians believe what this red wizard has told them. These “prophets” have become a nuisance, and the authorities should spot them.

As late as 1906, Ghost Dancing was also reported among the Northern Paiute of Mason Valley, and Ghost Dances continued to be performed elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada during the twentieth century (Kehoe 1968:301). In a recent interview, one of the descendants of Black Elk maintained that the powers of the Ghost Dance song never died out, and continue to exert an influence in the present.

The 1890s Ghost Dance movement also stimulated risk management strategies whose effects echo into the present century. At the inception of the 1890s Ghost Dance, the social fabric of many indigenous groups had been torn asunder. Weakened by social disruptions that accompanied Indian diasporas and the curtailment of movement within and between aboriginal territories, many indigenous groups felt the need to fight for their very right to exist. Through participation in the Ghost Dance, however, old traditions, particularly reconnections to places of power, were revitalized and new social networks were developed.

The Ghost Dance also signified the beginnings of a pan-Indian movement (Stoffle et al.

2000:11). Ghost Dancers capitalized on the fluidity of fluctuating interethnic and tribal boundaries that had been forced upon them by federal policies and Euroamerican encroachment. Existing connections between tribes were once more utilized, traditional enemies sometimes found com-


mon ground, and ethnic boundaries were more readily crossed. These exchanges allowed Ghost

Dance participants to create vast information networks for relaying information about the

Ghost Dance, as well as about both federal and regional events that were affecting their lives.

Furthermore, the Ghost Dance fostered the development of leaders such as Wovoka and Big

Mouth Tom, who continued to work towards improving the lives of their people via the Ghost

Dance, as well as through their roles as cultural brokers. In the latter role, they endeavored to increase land allocations, ensure employment opportunities, and foster stability among Indian people who had experienced continuous waves of socioreligious, political, and economic disruption.

These developments suggest that while the Ghost

Dance may have failed to roll the clock—either backward or forward―to a place of balance, it nonetheless initiated adaptive changes that allowed indigenous groups to mobilize their knowledge, expand relations with other tribes, and reconnect to traditional places and practices of healing and renewal.

Parallels exist between the risk perceptions and risk management strategies utilized in the

Ghost Dance, and contemporary efforts to protect sacred sites. Conceptions of the nature and value of places, the relationships between people and places, and the complex dialects of power that arise in raising such questions, are all areas that require further analysis. Through such inquiries, which often require stepping outside of Western paradigms of thought, it may be possible to more fully attend to heterogeneous perceptions of risk and effective means for strategizing responses.



Telling Stories

Alex K. Carroll, compiler.


n Chapter One, we explored how official histories have often been written by those who have the power to speak and determine what is remembered and forgotten (Scott 1988). Today, there is a growing recognition of the value of stories told from the perspective of the people who lived through the events being studied, or experienced them vicariously through their families and communities. Although Indian perspectives were being voiced through the reprinting of autobiographies such as Sarah Winnemucca’s Life Among

the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (1883), Indian accounts of historical events remained secondary in historical and anthropological scholarship throughout the 1950s. Beginning in the 1960s, many Indian groups began organizing themselves for the purpose of increasing public awareness of, and responses to, issues of concern to Indian people. Greater power to be heard in the public domain is one tangible result stemming from this era of Indian activism. Today the “power to tell the story” is increasingly being placed in the hands of Indian people (e.g., Deloria 1969, 1970, 1974,

1994; Deloria and Lytle 1984). As those who have the power to “get their story to stick” become progressively more diverse, awareness is being raised that oral traditions represent unique narrative forms (Nabokov 2002; Vansina 1985), rather than loose approximations of written texts.

Indian History Goals

In keeping with the goal of creating an Indian history of Numic-speaking people that resonates with the participants in this Indian history project, we have collaborated with these participants on a number of fronts. This chapter reflects the collective efforts of many Southern Paiute and

Western Shoshone individuals who have generously agreed to contribute stories and essays that reflect issues that are of key importance to themselves and the communities that they represent.

We hope that this collection of life stories and experiential vignettes will enrich concepts of

Great Basin history that rely exclusively on written documents. We view oral narratives as fundamental and essential components of balanced historical constructions, rather than as secondary sources of information. By combining written and oral sources in this history we demonstrate that― while oral and written narratives represent discrete communicative forms—“orality and literacy are nevertheless intimately tied together [and should be] treated with equal skepticism and respect”

(Singer 1997:301). American Indians have always told stories. They are the thread that invisibly but elegantly weave together cherished people and places, the ordinary and the extraordinary, and moments of clarity, sorrow, and joy. Today oral traditions continue to infuse both everyday life and the writings of American Indians. Through the telling and performance of stories, patterns of experience are generated that Leslie Marmon Silko

(1977:2) describes as ceremonial acts in and of themselves:

I will tell you something about stories,

[he said]

They aren’t just entertainment,

Don’t be fooled.

They are all we have, you see, all we have to fight off illness and death.

You don’t have anything if you don’t have the stories.

Their evil is mighty but it can’t stand up to our stories.

So they tried to destroy the stories let the stories be confused or forgotten.

They would like that

They would be happy

Because we would be defenseless then.

He rubbed his belly.

I keep them here


[he said]

Here, put your hand on it

See it is moving.

There is life here for the people.

And in the belly of this story the rituals and the ceremonies are still growing.

Oral Narratives and Anthropology

As a discipline, anthropology has always expressed an interest in oral traditions. The father of modern American anthropology, Franz Boas, maintained that oral tradition constituted a kind of autobiography of a people, and Bronislaw Malinowski suggested that oral traditions served multiple functions within the societies from which they sprang (Dundes 1968:127). In keeping with the conviction that oral traditions served important cultural functions, anthropologists of the early twentieth century typically reported oral traditions as one dimension of their field data. Nevertheless, analyses of oral traditions as distinct vehicles of knowledge were not usually conducted in the twentieth century. In most cases, oral traditions were summarily lumped into the ambiguous category of “myths and legends.” Vecsey (1988:1) foregrounds the problem of this categorization in his statement, “Contemporary common parlance speaks of a ‘myth’ as a falsehood, a belief which does not accurately reflect reality…. To most of us, ‘myth’ is a matter of fallacious belief.”

Not surprisingly, the categorization of oral traditions as “myths” and “folklore” did little to advance social scientists’ understanding of what oral traditions were. However, the classifications did “perpetuate a false dichotomy that implies that oral traditions are less valid than scientifically based knowledge” (Anyon et al. 2000:64). Interest in oral traditions as representations of legitimate bodies of knowledge is a more recent phenomenon (Anyon et al. 1997:601). Increased awareness of oral traditions among cultural anthropologists and archaeologists appears to correlate with federal legislation that has emphasized the importance of stewarding the past.

Beginning with the passage of the National

Historic Preservation Act in 1966, a series of federal laws have been enacted that have the aim of recognizing, protecting, and preserving cultural resources of interest to archaeologists, American

Indians, and the general public. In conjunction with legislation enacted over the last 35 years, these constituencies have raised a series of new and old queries about the nature of their relationships to each other as well as to the physical and ideological terrain of the past. The Archaeological

Resource Protection Act of 1979, the Native

American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, and the recent amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, have served as significant catalysts in reintroducing these questions.

In part, this legislation signals the progressive reconfiguration of the role of American Indians in the stewardship of the past (Kelly 2000:97–101).

With the growth of American Indian participation in historic and cultural preservation, the ways in which American Indians conceptualize the prehistoric past have begun to attract the interest of a growing number of scholars (Anyon et al.

2000:61–66; Ferguson et al. 2000:45–60; Layton

1989:1–18; Vansina 1985:186–197). While more scholarly discussion has been generated about the ways in which American Indians express their ideas of the past through oral traditions, there is little consensus regarding the value of oral traditions in describing, interpreting, or making claims about the historical and archaeological record

(Deloria 1997:37–61; Goldstein 1996:452–453;

Simms 1995:3).

Types and Functions of Oral Narratives

Oral narratives can assume multiple forms.

In the realm of written texts, the stories of Indian people have been recorded as biographies, autobiographies, and ethnic histories. With the development of mass-communication technologies, particularly the internet, many Indian communities have found new and effective media for presenting information to large audiences. In order to preserve and revitalize cultural information, cultural preservation officers have also begun to record historical information on compact discs. This information typically includes oral histories and traditional songs.

Oral narratives can also be internally differentiated to indicate that distinct types of information are being provided through various storytelling mechanisms. Sekaquaptewa (personal communication 2000) observes that traditionally, many American Indians have not separated church and state interests. This lack of differentiation is frequently reflected in the oral traditions,


which may combine history, religion, facts, moral instructions, and fiction. Among the Hopis, collaboration with archaeologists has resulted in the articulation of different types of oral tradition.

“The Hopi distinguish between four types of narratives. These include Navoiti, or historical knowledge to which the speaker has a direct link, Tutavo and Wuknavoti which entail theology and prophesy, and Tuuwutisi which includes historical knowledge that is either learned from another person, or stories that non-Indians commonly label myths” (Dongoske et al.1993:28). Through the performance of an oral narrative, knowledge can be successfully transmitted intergenerationally.

Stoffle et al. (1990:22) write:

For thousands of years, Indian ethnic groups have orally transmitted their knowledge. Great Basin people, including the Shoshone and Paiutes, focused much of their attention on where to locate various natural resources and how to utilize them in ways that maximized the utility of the resource but did not violate the basic rights of the resource.

Both the narrator and the audience perform active roles in this process. Although it sometimes appears that the narrator is the only person doing something in an oral performance, Paiute and

Shoshone audiences actively participate in the narrative process. Social etiquette dictates that people listen to stories with care, and it is considered rude to forget information that has been relayed in this way. Consequently, people with a reputation for remembering information are likely to be given more, whereas those who easily forget information are considered to be less respectful of both knowledge exchanges and the knowledge itself. Members of the Intertribal Council of Nevada discuss the centrality of oral traditions among Great Basin people (1974:iv) in this way:

We Indian people kept no books or records of our historical accounts. The maintenance of tribal history depended primarily on oral tradition. We had our own historians; these were the wise and knowledgeable old people of our tribe, who would gather the children together to listen and commit to memory, sacred stories or tribal ceremonies, legends, and the traditions of great Indian leaders. If one child showed special interest, the storyteller made a great effort to perfect that child to his learning. To him, he would present certain stories never told before.

The use of oral traditions is based on communication methods that are distinct from Western modes of communication. When James

Mooney conducted ethnographic research among the Paiutes, he commented on the lengthy process of communication that occurred between Wovoka, the prophet of the Ghost Dance, and one of

Wovoka’s relatives. For Mooney, communication between Numic speakers sounded overly repetitious. Mooney observed that everything that one speaker said was then repeated word-for-word by the receiver of the information. Only after the receiver indicated his full understanding of the first speaker’s message would additional information be offered (Mooney 1896). What Mooney did not consider is that the use of repetitive speech acts assist the memory retention process in the receiver of the information. Stoffle et al. (1990:22) confirm that a high rate of memory retention appears among oral tradition participants:

Careful triangulation with original documents, archaeology research, and geology research has led professional cultural anthropologists and historians to the conclusion that Indian people (as well as other people who have strong oral traditions) are able to make accurate statements about things that were made or occurred long before the people were born.

Euler (1967) also found a remarkably high level of recall and reliability in one of his informants. Stoffle et al. (1990:22) report, “Euler demonstrated that one Paiute person provided fundamentally identical oral history responses (92 percent correlation) in two ethnographic interviews that were conducted 49 years apart.” In addition to serving as a modus operandi for knowledge, oral narratives provide a venue in which particular themes can be collectively reccounted and shared.

Oral narratives allow the narrator and audi-


ence to explore areas of knowledge that the storyteller considers important. In this chapter, some storytellers talk about the origins of Indians and their deep connections to a distant past. Others talk about the political, economic, and social conditions associated with Euroamerican encroachment. Elders also explore ethnic identity issues, as well as the meaning of personal historical contingencies. These stories are also about the profound joys of Indian people living their lives, celebrating the lives of those around them, and connecting with the earth, which is a constant source of strength and renewal for many of the people who shared their stories with us.

Just as oral narratives can assume particular forms, they can also create intended results among the various social groups that come into contact with them. First and foremost, the oral narrative serves as a communication device that brings people, ideas, places, and events together. Prior to the 1890s and the advent of boarding schools and literacy, oral narratives served as the primary vehicle for transmitting indigenous forms of knowledge from one generation to the next. Elders played a central role in transmitting knowledge to the younger members of a community by acting as the “repositories of cultural, philosophical [and ecological] knowledge” (Medicine 2001:71).

In addition to serving as a fluid mechanism for transferring knowledge, teaching morals, and fostering group identities, oral narratives have been used for political means, “creat[ing] histories, justify[ing] political action, and link[ing] political issues to the social context of the environment”

(Singer 1997:79). In these performances, members of the audience play the important role of being fully engaged as listeners and recipients of the spoken narrative.

Methodological Issues

Including oral narratives in this Indian history allows readers to examine Numic histories from the perspectives of individuals and communities whose ancestors were directly or indirectly affected by past events. Oral narratives also serve to create a balance between histories ‘writ large’ and the recollections of individuals, families, and small communities (Singer 1997:308). We include the oral histories of participants whose lives were most directly impacted by the historical events and processes that are delineated throughout this book, and in doing so are confident that a more complete and variegated history will emerge.

We present the following experiential vignettes and partial life histories in the autobiographical and biographical forms in which they were relayed to us. These stories were shared during three sessions of fieldwork conducted between

2001 and 2003. Ethnographers recorded the stories on tape and paper. After returning from the field, the stories presented in this chapter were partially transcribed. During the transcription process, ethnographers phoned elders to clarify issues about the original narratives. In each case, we made an effort to allow the storytellers to review both this chapter and their individual stories.

Ongoing collaboration with elders proved to be especially important. The review process helped to eliminate or minimize general semiotic or transcription errors. Active collaboration between storytellers and ethnographers also amplified the creativity of the production process. Our decision to ask for the storyteller’s participation in the later stages of story editing has led to unanticipated but welcome results. Through ongoing conversations, additional stories have emerged, along with more details involving previously told stories.

These outcomes demonstrate that a story is perhaps as much a process as a product.

Our primary goals in writing this chapter have been to keep the narratives intact and to add as few discursive filters to this process as possible.

In the cases of narratives told over the course of three fieldwork sessions, we were largely successful in relaying the narrative performances as they were relayed to us. More problematic and less solvable, however, is the fact that each of these narratives was told in a unique context that is not reflected in the final oral texts. As a result, the performative nature of the oral narrative, including the rich interactions between people and place, is only suggested n the following texts.

We have taken the liberty of including several oral narratives from other sources that have not been widely distributed. Our reasons for adding these narratives are (1) to provide the reader with oral narrative performances involving events that occurred during several historic periods in which issues of encroachment were being raised; and (2) to provide the reader with the opportunity to experience several powerful oral narrative performances that have not been widely read. The risk of adding these oral narratives lies in not knowing


how the collectors of these stories interacted with the oral narrative texts. In other words, it is not always clear how many discursive filters have already been placed upon the narratives before reaching their intended audience. In order to flag this for the reader, we have indicated the source of each story directly after the title of each narrative performance. When possible, we have also included biographical information about the narrator of each story, as well as pictures of the narrative performance.

The ramifications stemming from the use of oral traditions as a means of understanding or positing questions about particular aspects of the prehistoric and historic past have yet to be fully delineated or recognized. Nonetheless, efforts to establish parameters for analyzing oral texts are already well underway. Vansina (1985) has assessed the limitations as well as the unique properties of oral traditions. Vansina states that as sources, oral traditions provide valuable messages that are not necessarily reflected in historical texts or the archaeological record. Oral traditions are thus irreplaceable because, in their absence, certain information would otherwise be lost. In addition, oral traditions are “sources from the inside” that convey human interpretations of people, processes, and events. “By collecting oral traditions and studying them…interpretations [of the past] become more culturally specific, less anachronistic, and ethnocentric” (Vansina 1985:198).

Vansina (1985:187–190) provides essential guidelines for using oral histories. He observes that when oral traditions lack clear chronologies, comparisons with other lines of evidence are necessary. As an example, he notes the complexities inherent in establishing absolute dates for reports of astronomical phenomena or calamities, but claims that one cannot reject such links a priori and must evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. Information derived from linguistics may also be useful for evaluating such claims. Secondly, preservation of information in oral traditions is selective, and thus results in a loss of certain types of information. Information encoded in oral traditions is shaped by the people relaying the information (Vansina 1985:191–193). Finally, the degrees of limitation inherent in using oral traditions vary.

Different types of evidence and genres show different impacts. Consequently, one must distinguish between sources.

The Faces Behind the Stories

Southern Paiutes, Western Shoshones, and

Owens Valley Paiutes have shared the oral narratives relayed in this chapter. Each storyteller was selected to participate in the oral history dimension of this Indian History Project by a representative of the tribe (such as a Cultural Resource or

Heritage Preservation Officer). Preceding each story is a short biography that identifies the narrators, their tribal affiliation, and some activities in their communities.

The narrators of these stories play an important role in conveying aspects of an epistemological framework that reflects a holistic way of seeing the world. According to this holistic view, all of the elements of the contemporary world are functionally integrated; weather, soil, plants, animals, and people are bound together, so that a change in one component necessarily modifies other components. Just as the elements of the contemporary world are functionally integrated, so these elements are integrated with world components that existed in the past, before the existence of humans, back to the beginning of time. Indian people state that this timeless, worldwide integration was created by the supernatural (Stoffle et al.


Numic storytelling also fosters “mutually sustaining relationships that ensure the continuing well being of the world” (Cruishank 1998:xii).

Rather than explaining how this occurs, we have opted to show this relationship via the presentation of the narratives themselves. We also explore how oral narratives, unlike most written literature, have no true final acts or last curtain calls.

“How the Indian Man Arrived: An Old Indian

Story,” as Told by Tim Hooper

[Wheat 1959]

Tim Hooper was among the last fully fluent

Shoshone elders (Figure 9.1). He resided in central

Nevada, and was considered knowledgeable about many historical people, places, and events associated with the settlement of mining towns. In the following oral performance, Tim Hooper recites a story associated with a time preceding the Indian settlement of the Great Basin.


Figure 9.1. Tim Hooper at Stone Cabin Ranch (Central Nevada Museum & Historical Society)

There were two brothers. This brother was a gambler.

Then he got broke one evening. Then he come back to his brother, older brother, you know. He told him, you know,

“I want some money so’s I can go gambling again.” His brother don’t say much, you know. Then after a while, he said, “Well, I’ll give you some few dollars.” He give him a few dollars. Then he went over to gambling. Then he told him, “If you gamble, don’t drink any more.” He said,

“Keep all the money what you win.” So he went over there, you know, the gambling house. He went over there, you know, and he cleaned them people till morning. Had money piled up, silver and gold. They quit. Nobody can play no more. You know, they broke them all. Well, he come home. He had some kind of a bag, you know. Took his money in. And about halfway he get there, he thinking about, “Well, I’m going to put some away, you know.

Next time I’m broke I’m going to have that money to play on.” Well, he buried him five dollars gold under the ground. Well, he come pretty near close to the house, and he think, again. He thinks a while, bury five dollars of silver.

He had five dollars in silver buried. He come home to his brother. Morning. Well, his brother asked, his brother say,

“Well, let’s count the money.” Divide them up, you know.

His brother’s supposed to get half. Well, they count the gold. There’s five dollars missing. I don’t know how his brother knows. He said, “Where’s the five dollars?” he said, “What did you do with it?” “I didn’t do nothing with five dollars.” He said, “Yes, you do something with it.

“Well,” he said, “we’ll let it go.” So they count the silver.

He started in to count the silver again. He said, “That’s five dollars gone out of the silver.” He said, “What are you doing that for? Where’s the five dollars silver gone?” He


said, “Well, I think I’m going to kill you. You ain’t doing right.” He said, “I got to go to somebody else to find out first, you know. When I found out, I’ll come back and kill you.” Well, he went over to the other place, and he never showed up. It’s in the morning, you know. Well, he had a bird, some kind of a bird, talking. He asked him, you know. He said, “Is my brother right? Is he going to kill me?” He said, “Yes. He’s going to kill you on account of your buried that money.” That’s what the bird told him.

And the bird told him, “You know, you’d better go cross the water.” Ocean, you know. And he said, “I can’t cross the ocean. How I’m going to cross it?” He said, “You won’t go down,” he said, “You walk right on top of it.”

He went over to the end of the lake, you know, and he tried it. He went over there to walk over the water. He walk right over it. He never went down at all. He said, “You better take me, and we’ll go.” He said yes and took him.

Then they took that bird, they went across the ocean. They come over to this country. That the way it happened. That was an Indian old story, you know.

That story, the people who came here, that man who walked on the water, was he an Indian man, or was he a White man, Tim? [Question posed by the interviewer]:

He’s an Indian man. His brother was Indian, too, you see. They were over there first: Over across the ocean.

And then they come over here, you see. That’s what happened. That’s the Shoshone story. That’s where they started, you know. From way up, that’s where they started.

The money he put in the ground, you know. Well, that’s anyplace now, under the rock, in the rock, right in this country. That’s what his brother was going to kill him for.

He put it all over in the, on the earth. He put that money there, they go all over in the earth. The rock went under the water too, you know. They come right through here and they get like anything else. It goes out.

The Paiute got a different story, the Shoshone got a different story. You see, the first come here, this Paiute story. It said the woman was here, him and his mother, no man, no place. Well, that young woman, he wanted to get a husband someplace. He asked his mother if he know anyplace where he could find a man. His mother said, “One man, he is way up north someplace.” Well, the woman, the young woman, you know, he pack up everything, you know, and he went north. Finally, he run across him up there. He went to his camp. He got all kind of groceries. All kind what you can think of. That woman there, and that man told him, you know, he’d better cook supper if he was going to eat something. He said, “God get the water over there,” he said, “Ride over there and you go over under the tree,”

he said. He said, “There’s lot of tree leaves on the water,” he said, “Rake that off, you know, you can dip it.” He went over there, you know, and he couldn’t find it. Come back without water. Well, that man said, “I’ll show you.”

He went over there where he was, you know. Well, he raked up these damn leaves and everything, you know, there’s water, good water, clean spring water. The woman couldn’t find it. No. That’s what happened. Then they lived together for I don’t know how many years. Finally, you know, they had a girl and boy. Then that man, you know, he just makes lots of moccasins, he make lots of clothes for them. One morning he said, “Well, I got to go.”

He said, “I go look around, see what I can do.” He left.

He left, you know, and then he never showed up for I don’t know, for I don’t know how many years.

Anyway, several years, he never showed up. He left the camp that morning. You see, he never showed up for how many years. Them kids, girl that rode up. Well, that woman said, “Well, I go look for our father,” he said, “I don’t know what happened to him.” He said, “I got to go see him. I got to go over there.” He take his tracks. His tracks was fresh yet. You can see the tracks, you know, fresh. He tracked him. He tracked him. He tracked him.

He tracked him. Clear down there, he tracked him. He tracked him way up in the air. Then that woman never showed back. Never came back yet. He’s up there, with his man. Way up some place, somewhere, you know. You see, that’s what them Indians, you know, when Indians die they follow that track. That’s where they go all the time. When anything happens to Indians.

“People of the Land,” by Corbin Harney

[Harney 1995:65–73]

Corbin Harney is a spiritual leader of the

Western Shoshone (Figure 9.2). Corbin is known for his work as a medicine man as well as for his work protecting sacred sites and burial grounds.

Since 1957 he has worked with two medicine women from Battle Mountain, Nevada, Eunice

Silva and Florence Vega (Harney 1995:xix). Together, they have been active in running the Sundance Ceremony and sweat lodges, and doctoring sick people. Additionally, Harney has worked steadily to preserve sacred sites and burial grounds. He has also been a leader in efforts to stop nuclear testing on Shoshone land at the Nevada Test Site.

The Shoshone people, as we call them today, are Natives of the land. They come from wherever there is land.

They come from throughout the country, all the way from


what we call Colorado, clear across into Wyoming and

Montana, into Idaho, Nevada and California- that’s what the White man today calls Shoshone country.

Figure 9.2: Corbin Harney, Western Shoshone spiritual leader

Newe means “native,” and he’s all over. Sogobia

means “Mother Earth.” Wherever the people roamed, wherever they were at, that was Shoshone country. The

Shoshone were all over here at one time―we’re going back thousands and thousands of years―they roamed from one end of the country to the other. It’s something we can’t really understand―why they roamed so far―going into a country like Idaho to get their salmon, traveling back to Colorado to get their buffalo, and so on. The buffalo used to roam here in this part of the country, but the Newe wanted to go further to get a different kind of meat. It’s the same with all the animal life today―they go from one part of the country to a different part. They go south in the fall. In the spring of the year they go north. That’s the way of the Newe people roamed the country, from one end to the other, during all the seasons, because they had to rely on what’s out there.

Each season has a different kind of food that comes on. They traveled to the south for the little berries in that part of the country and the roots. When it became hot in the south, the berries would dry out, and so they would come north, and as they would come north, there would be a different kind of foot out there. That’s why they traveled from one end of the country to the other, at one time.

They knew the land. They understood the land, where the water is and where certain kinds of food are. That’s why they traveled in a band. They would have maybe a hundred or so in the band, and they’d travel together from one end of the country to the other. Wherever they’d dry their food, maybe they’d stay there for a few days, maybe

four, five days to dry the food or the roots that they gathered. They’d make them into powder, then at the next camp, they’d dry them over rocks, or whatever. They knew the country well.

They knew what was here, what kinds of food, what was best for them to survive on. They knew these things because they had traveled the country before for thousands of years. They knew where to go, just like the animal life today knows where it’s going. They knew where the good springs were, where the hot springs were, and so forth.

When they traveled from one end of the country to the other, they know where they’d be able to cook with hot water, and that’s where they’d go to take a bath in hot water and mud.

They understood that it’s very important for people to follow the rules and regulations of life. Those things were told to them by their ancestors―what they should be doing, and how they should be taking care of what they’ve got.

The Indian people would survive on the big red ants, what we call red and black ants. They gathered them in

March and then they gathered their eggs, and this is how they made their pudding―out of eggs. The same with the black part of the ant―they’d separate them over charcoal in order to make soup out of them, or gravy, whatever you want to call it, and that’s why they had to pray to the anthills.

There used to be quite a few anthills, but there are very few nowadays. You can’t hardly find them, because we haven’t been praying for them. Not only the ant hills, but there are a lot of things out there that we haven’t been praying for, and that’s why their roots are not out there any more. The food that the Newe used to survive on at one time is beginning to dry up and disappear.

They were told how to survive on the ant, what the ant will do for you, and what kind of strength he’ll give you. The same thing with the eggs in those anthills. When you get those ant eggs, you can make pudding out of them, or you can dry them up, like powdered milk today. You dry it up, then put water in, and it will turn white, the color of pudding. Those are some of the things the Newe knew. A lot of things have gone off the face of the Earth, like the natural sugar that used to be all over, but it isn’t there anymore.

There are a lot of things out here to eat. The sagebrush has tiny balls on it. That’s what they used to make soup out of, with something else mixed in, like deer, jerky, or whatever. The hotter it got, they’d continue farther north, and then farther north they’d travel to higher country where they had lots of food that they could survive on. They knew this because they’d been told all this from the beginning of their lives. Their people told them what to survive on, how to take care of it, and so forth. Now we’ve lost our ways, and we’re trying to pick them back up again.


We’ve got to pray for every living thing out there…in order for our food to come back on the face of the earth.

Like our chokecherry for one―it’s a very important food for me and you that’s supposed to take care of our blood, our heart, and all the bad stuff within. These are important main foods we had for a long time, but they are disappearing. We do see chokecherries in little spots here and there, but they don’t have any meat on them; they’re just nothing but shell in it.

The same with our pine nuts: they’re drying up; they don’t have any grease in them. The grease part is a very important part of the pine nut; that’s what keeps your health, keeps your system working. They’re not all over like they used to be because we have not been praying for them.

We took the White man’s road which was easy―all we had to do was go to Safeway and pick up what we want.

But we don’t realize how important it was for our health, for all living things out there.

The first Shoshone knew these things because their knowledge came from watching the animals. The animal goes out there and digs for its food. It’s nature’s way of life since the beginning of the Earth. How long has the Earth been here? How long has the human race been here? Right from the beginning, all the human race was taught by the animals. The animals are the ones who taught the people how to survive, what to do, and so forth. Animals are the ones who really are taking hold today; they have to survive on the food they find nowadays, and it’s getting pretty scarce. That’s how the Shoshone people lived. They had to rely on what was out there.

Today, we’re still doing the same thing that our ancestors did. That is, we are praying for everything that we get off the Earth, in order to bless the food, in order to bless the water. We have to ask anything that we get off the earth to be blessed in such a way that its kind can continue its life, so they can continue to feed us and give us nourishment.

“They Lived In Fear,” as Told by Norma Nelson

[UA History Project, March 16, 2001]

In the mid-nineteenth century, Euroamericans began to seize lands previously used and occupied by Numic people. In the process of colonizing aboriginal territories, individuals and families, as well as whole communities, sometimes found their lives dramatically and permanently altered by ethnic and resource conflicts. Norma is an Owens Valley Paiute from Bishop, California

(Figure 9.3). In the following narrative, Norma tells the story of how her maternal grandmother,

Minnie Grey, was conceived as a result of a rape instigated by a White cowboy from Fish Lake Valley. The personal memories of Norma Nelson lend a poignant realism to the process of nineteenth-century Euroamerican encroachment.

Figure 9.3. Norma Nelson sorting Pandora moth caterpillars (Bishop Tribal Council 2002)

Henry Chadovich met his wife, Minnie Grey Chadovich, in Fish Lake Valley. Minnie Grey’s mother was attacked by White cowboys, and that is how she [Minnie

Grey] was White. They [people from the Paiute community] took that baby and stuck it into sagebrush. My grandfather found the baby and raised it on pine nut milk.

This was Mini C. who was later Mini Grey. When the baby was born, Shoshonean ladies told the mother of

Minnie Grey to throw the baby away because it was too

White. The man who helped Mini C. was from my grandfather’s family. The man did it all by himself. So no one else did. This is the story of Mini Gray.

The story reminds people to be good and help someone else that is helpless because that baby could do nothing.

Coyotes would scare her. Long years ago the cowboys did that to the Indian women and went their own way. Some who have no kids will take them. The White men were selfish and greedy to do that to a woman—they only wanted themselves to be satisfied. Sometimes the White men would kill the women. They would rape them unless some Indian men came along to stop them. Rape occurred because there was nothing up there but Indian people and there is no one who would shoot the men so they could just do that. The only way to protect themselves was to look around and hurry up. So they lived in fear. The ones that are really gone are from Arizona but here we don’t try to do nothin’ so that is why we get hurt. Wait in the bushes.

The White man told us how to be. Taking a woman like that and dragging them around behind houses and leave them for coyotes to eat. They would take the guys by the neck and do that to them like that.

“Recollections” as Told by Neddeen Naylor,

Leslie Button, Irene Button, Richard Button, and Eugene Button

[UA History Project, January 26, 2003]

Neddeen Naylor, Leslie Button, Irene Button, Richard Button, and Eugene Button are

Owens Valley Paiutes who share deep attachments to Lone Pine, California and the surrounding region. Within Owens Valley are many powerful places that have contributed to their individual and cultural identities. In the following passages, we present portions of a storytelling session that occurred in January of 2003.

LB: I’m 80 years old. My family moved a lot. They went from Lone Pine to Beatty. I was there when I was about 12 years old. There was an earthquake in Lone Pine in 1872. It demolished the town and lake. The lake formed because of that. There were lots of Mexicans here.

They were killed and their adobe houses crumbled. They were all here around that time. We would go up to Jordan

Hot Springs and to Kennedy Meadows/Nine-Mile Canyon for pine nuts. They used to go to Coso Hot Springs for arthritis in the late 1930s and 40s. They traveled all the time. A trail goes from here to Hunter Mountain to Death

Valley. They traveled on horseback and they traveled for seasonal work. In Fish Lake Valley there were hay ranches, including Stewart Ranch and three or four others.

Hank Patterson had a ranch. An Indian guy ran it, but the guy who owned it wasn’t Indian. That’s how Indians got their names, from ranchers. Indians had names but they took on the ranchers’ last names. I worked on ranches irrigating alfalfa, cutting and bailing hay. I also owned stock.

There was seasonal work. The family lived outside each ranch in tents or abandoned houses. They moved on a lot.

We’d spend winter in Lone Pine. We lived around where the water was in tents. In 1939 they built houses and put roofs on. I went into the navy and came back here.

I used to walk around with my grandfather. I went everywhere with him. We would go hunting. Then there was this man, Skidoo George. He worked in Skidoo. It’s a ghost town now. Before he retired he worked at a mining camp. I would drive him around Beatty, and Fish Lake, and drive him to get his social security check. Skidoo

George was married to Mary or Maryanne. In Saline Valley lived Grandma’s brother, Johnny Hunter. He worked on a small ranch. The Indians didn’t own property. They always camped along creeks where there was water. Sarah

Hunter, the wife of Johnny, would come to Lone Pine from

Saline Valley all by herself on a mule to get supplies.

Women had to be strong back then. Bev Hunter was run-


ning cattle. Before the Whites came was probably Indian farming, but then the acres were taken away.

NN: My mother had land at Red Mountain. She had two brothers that talked her out of it. Mother had a picture of Andrew Glen and Bill Button at this place. The ranch belonged to Indians. There were 80 acres. It’s south of here. It was full of fruit trees and grapes. Andrew was real bad. He drank and got in fights. He beat up somebody. He finally joined the church. Before that, he was chased down. They shot him in the leg to slow him down.

They could’ve fixed his leg but they cut it off. Finally Andrew realized what he was doing. Before that, he drug someone down the road. He went into a bar, roped the guy, took off on his horse, and dragged the man through the streets. The guy died. Otherwise he was a nice guy. There were a lot of things like that in the old days.

I was born there, at Lubkin Ranch. I worked for that ranch, father was working there, and Ned Bellis was working there. He’s married to my aunt. I had a sister, but she died when she was young. She had TB. She was around

30 years old. Probably others got TB too.

Grandfather and grandma got rounded up in the valley. They took them to the lake. Some jumped in the lake to try and escape but they never made it to the other side.

They died. The cavalry took them to North Fork.

Grandma escaped to Lupkin Road and then went to

Bishop and Alabamas. Another woman escaped and worked her way to Los Angeles. When she died, she was over 100 years old. She got away. That’s why a lot of us are still here. On that side of lake there are remains of those who didn’t make it. A lot of people died. There was also dysentery. The old people weren’t used to eating the new foods. The Death March was in the 1800s. They took them to house at Fort Independence. They wanted to exterminate us like animals that aren’t civilized, and they almost succeeded. It was like The Trail of Tears. They did that a lot.

Then they established the reservation. The Whites told Indians bad things about the reservation. They tried to keep them from going. Lots of Indians said, “I don’t want to go.” Now the Whites are sorry they set up the reservation. In the lands up the valley so many acres were set aside.

There is land out there yet. It goes through the BIA. The

Whites said the Indians would get locked up at night. The

Indians were afraid they’d be killed. It scared some people.

One guy made a home off the reservation and stayed where he was. In 1939 they began to build houses on the reservation.

IB: In town where Grandma had a casino a doctor now has a home. We lived there behind the town; lived there for a long time ago. We used to go with Stanley

Howard and others to the dump. We’d eat cupcakes that


had been thrown away. We thought it was great! It was like a real party!

LB: They assigned the lands out. There were lots of

Indians here. We lived by the aqueduct at the time. Joe

Bellus did that [Bellus assigned the lands out. He was on the committee that set up the aqueduct]. He didn’t name all the Indians that lived here, so relatives in Los Angeles came and they got houses. Lots of Indians that were entitled didn’t get land. It started in 1937. There are stories about

Indians being afraid to go to the reservation and be fenced in. They kept roaming. They didn’t want to be fenced in.

NN: I was a nomad with mother. We were the poor relatives. We lived in Big Pine. I was born in Tinemaha.

When I was young we went to Big Pine and Bishop. We lived with relatives until we had to move on. We knew when we had to go [everyone laughs to indicate they know exactly what she’s talking about]. Then mother met step- father [He was the cousin of NN’s birth father]. They fell madly in love. They met at a stampede at Lone Pine. Then we went to Grapevine Canyon/Ridgecrest, about 80 miles south. We had an old adobe house. It’s still there, but it’s caved in. The second brother had a wife. They started arguing. We stayed with Sally, on land by the park. Then we moved over to Ballpark. We lived in makeshift buildings.

There were tents with board floors. Mother and I moved where the jobs were.

LB: There were Indian schools in Carson. They took us to school. We spoke English. Neddeen went to public school.

RB: They were discouraged from speaking English.

Kids get beat up for speaking Indian, but they speak it anyway. This was during the early years. Norma Nelson’s sister. Others lost the language.

LB: Mother told me they came around. They sent kids to Riverside and Carson. Grandma said, “No, you can’t take them. They won’t come back if you take them now. To heck with education because I’m gonna lose you!”

NN: That did happen. They didn’t come back. We moved around. We were gypsy Indians [all laugh]. We had horses. We’d get and go to town when Shoshone guys came into town [more laughter]. We all knew when they were coming. We’d get in the car and go out to the dry lakes.

We’d spin around. We even flipped them! You’re telling our secrets [laughter]. Those were the good old days.

LB: I had three boys: Richard (Itchy), Gene, and

Roger. Three boys and one girl. I lost my daughter two years ago. She had cancer. She was real pretty.

NN: I had all girls and one boy. A boy and then girls.

LB: In Alaska you need to have a boy first to provide for the family. If you have a girl first you kill her.

NN: Shoshones would kill one of their children if they were twins. A young girl was raped in Lupkin Canyon. The baby Virgillia Flancock (?) was found in the sagebrush. Back then women abandoned lots of babies.

IB: They did that. My mother was one of them [that was abandoned]. She didn’t have a father. [It was] rape or whatever. Grandfather and grandmother took her in. Same thing with Ida, [she was] raised by shepherds.

NN: My uncles are half-breeds. White men were raping women back then. They were ranchers. The law didn’t do anything. Things are changing. We never stayed in one place until lately. Indian blood is dropping. We don’t declare as much.

LB: There’s a meanness we didn’t see before. Now they are greedy. Before, everyone was welcome in another’s house.

NN: We’d go to each other’s house. Feed each other, sit down, we’ll eat; people would be offended if you don’t eat.

IB: We were welcomed at other people’s houses.

NN: They’d tell you, “I didn’t ask if you’re hungry.


IB: Jane and Dan lived at Red Hill. Their house had a dirt floor. We’d stay over at night. There was no electricity. There was a creek behind the house. They’d always feed us.

EB: The water is not the same. There are parasites in the water now. Diarrhea. Giardia.

RB: There’s algae on the banks now. It wasn’t there before.

EB: Indians used to live all over the valley. At

Moffitt Ranch along George’s Creek eight or more miles north, lots of Indians lived there.

RB: Big Ray had a house and family. He had a place there on the side of the hill. They only moved because of Water and Power. [Water and Power] diverted the power; then [took over the] place. The whole Shephard’s family was there.

NN: The cellar is still there and there is a burial up there.

EB: Now Water and Power owns the land.

RB: Grandma told us she got a nosebleed. She went to Moffitt Ranch. There’s a rock there. She went there, put another rock on it, and she had no more nosebleed. Indians doctored themselves. They’d put a stick up the nose, make it bleed and decrease the blood pressure.

IB: They used to cut the leg to decrease blood pressure.

NN: Men would take obsidian and scratch the chest.

LB: Grandma would use a stick up nose to decrease blood pressure.

EB: For a bee sting, wasp, or yellow jacket sting they’d take mud from the creek to draw out the poison.

NN: Pine pitch was used for infections; it draws it out. There is a special kind. It’s pink color and milky. It’s not clear pitch.

RB: For scratches, water would help heal it. We don’t use it now, because it is polluted and you can’t drink it. There is a branch with thick leaves and a white root that you take for flu/cold. It is called Yabamanza.

RB: Donny, Irene’s aunt, had cancer. The cancer is gone. She used Yabamanza. Grace Waterson told her how to cook it up. She still watches what she eats.

NN: An old White man smoked a pipe for cancer.

He used the root and it cleared it too.

LB: Grandma always had packages of medicine, three, four, or five of them. For headaches, and all kinds of illnesses. I didn’t pay attention to what plants she used but she’d use different plants off the earth.

NN: You start with prayer first.

EB: We use Devil’s Claw and Molly Button for baskets willows. There is less because the water table is dropping. Now you can only find it below Mary and Jerry

Goodman’s. The plants are not growing. There used to be one foot of water, now there are only three or four inches and other places are damp. Coso Hot Springs has changed too. There is nothing left since they put in the generators.

N.N. used to go when she was a little girl. She remembers the water being so many different colors: red/yellow/clear, blue green water.

LB: Grandma and Grandfather went there (They used Coso Hot Springs as a cleaning site) Indians used a different area. About a mile above is a 6x6 room with a tub. Clear water comes out of a pipe stream. After a steam bath you come out weak. One guy died in there. Grandma and Grandfather felt good.

NN: When I was bitten by a black widow, the old ladies stuck me in that water.

RB: If you have a cat scratch on your face you put mud from the hot springs on it, and it goes away. There was a protest about the drilling of wells and the power company’s use of the water.

EB: They changed the flow of the water for the Naval base or power plant. There is a problem with the pressure and it sounds like a jet is taking off.

LB: It’s way down deep. They are building up and up.

RB: They have been putting in big generators.

IB: Now there are all these hot spots that are “unsafe” that weren’t there before.

NN: Kios Hot Springs

LB: Mammoth

RB: Hot Creek


EB: The north end of Fish Lake Valley

RB: In the early 1900s there was a Ghost Dance.

Gram told them (her family) they (the White people) stopped them (the Ghost Dancers). She also talked about the Death March; about Owens Lake and the Indians that drowned and got away; The Whites tried to get rid of them.

NN: Relatives used to live by Tehatchapi/Indian

Wells; then Water and Power came in. The aqueduct was introduced in 1916/1917, but the Whites gathered land before that. The government sold us out to Water and

Power. The government identified Indian lands. Indian people came from outside of the valley. Miss Bowler was one of them. She was called a “friend to the Indians.” She worked for the BIA and sold us out.

EB: Today kids find arrowheads and grinding rocks all over.

IB: There is a burial above the river south of the dump. They covered it over with cement. Then came the water rights. Before, only Paiutes and Shoshones were here.

All along the creeks were Indians. We were put on reservations because we flourished. That is going on again.

Around Bishop they bulldozed the building down. Water and Power did this.

EB: In the 1950s when people move out, Water and

Power moved in and took over the land. Indians couldn’t defend themselves because they didn’t have education. In

Red Hill―Janey Andreas is still holding old Indian lands. There are still families that hold lands there. Old agreements were made by BIA/LV and the Water and

Power Company; there is no leader from here. There is one from Ely and one from Bakersfield.

AC: The first inhabitants were Paiute and Shoshone on all the rivers. How did they lose these water rights?

NN: The young ones are into money.

LB: There are Indian lands up and down the valley in forty to sixty acre allotments. They are run by women now. Before they were run by men [but they sold us out].

In the 1960s they started pumping a lot of water.

We used to use grasshoppers and worms for fish food. Even moths. When they started pumping a lot, the water table dropped. There used to be turtles, and two to three kinds of beetles, black and yellow; and butterflies. They are no more. Nadene used to hunt. In the 1970s, everything started dropping off. You should never take more than you can use. Irene’s grandfather hunted at Keeler. Ducks would block out the sun they were so thick. Geese don’t migrate here now. There used to be so many doves one bullet would bring five down. Not now. You don’t see ravens anymore.

Black birds used to cover the sky. In the winter sky, there were blue birds. And there was a snowbird, a little blue sparrow, like brown and white. It’s gone. The taboo is


gone. Old people used to have crows/magpies as pets.

They’d split their tongue to make them talk. The black and white mocking birds would sing. A family would split its tongue. We used to have a locust tree, Indian paintbrush, and desert flowers so sweet we could eat them.

“Land Claims and the Death March,” as

Told by Anita Barr

[UA History Project, January 27, 2003]

Anita Barr is an Owens Valley woman who lives in Bishop, California. Anita Barr is the daughter of Edith Dewy and Sampson. Their children include Andrey, Douglas, Clifford, Sidney,

Anita, and Wesley. Anita’s son’s name is Ronald

Barr. As a child Anita was taken around with her grandfather everywhere he went and told to remember the stories, the places, and the conversations that she heard while sitting at her grandfather’s feet. Often these stories were about the

Owens Valley Paiutes’ relationships to the land, land claims, and encroachment. The following story reveals the physical and cultural genocide that accompanied encroachment into the valley.

In the 1930s father spearheaded the land exchange issues. They were damaging Indian people on old lands.

The Indians went to court. They made an agreement to sue the city; a little mile land exchange. The city said they were not going to deal with anyone they didn’t damage. There are transcripts on this. The city said they agreed to give each

Indian two acres [for each member of the family]. My mother spoke up for the houses.

The old land was called Sun Land, which is south of here. There were 80 acres there, and it was exchanged for two acres apiece here. Father said some land was given to people in Big Pine and Lone Pine. They came under same agreements. [Barr says that, “bona fide land exchangers” constitute “a gracious part of people in valley.”] Some had land. Some said that they didn’t want to be treated like animals [to be placed on reservations]. I was a toddler.

Father said, “You listen. You listen because somebody is gonna try to take it away. Now we’re the oldest persons around [that witnessed] the exchange.” Lots of people come in and records disappear. Certain agreements [were made] with Los Angeles; [then] Johnny-Come-Lately. [Indians from outside Owens Valley came back into the valley and settled in.] They sell land; drink it up. Now they want our land. We don’t see the money coming from the government.

We gave up land for land here. They’re giving my land away. Dividing up the family lands. They change the rules

to fit selves. They control the water lines; land assignments, and they put relatives together.

There are Indian places all over. Tony Fred’s ranch is nearby on this side of Wilkerson’s ranch. Now it has been taken over. There are hot springs (Keoujh) Indians went there. They are kicked out now. The hot spring is a traditional place. It is volcanic. Captain Kell (?) got Indians drunk and took the title for it. [This happened in the] early 1900s before the land exchange. The cavalry came and DWP acquired lots of things. They checker-boarded the land. There were people that lived near the pool area:

Toms Esther and Stella Tom, Tony Fred and Ed Fred.

Indians used water because it’s mineral water. It’s therapeutic. Indians used it for overall health, for example, rheumatism. At Coso Hot Springs the minerals are more concentrated (in the mud). There is more mud. It is used for purification, e.g. arthritis―mud seemed to draw it out.

Women also liked it for face cleaning.

Between Bishop and Independence, White people started coming through on wagon trains. The Indians didn’t know what happened to the Whites. Only the wagons were there. The Indians look in the wagons. They found white stuff (flour) and played in it. This was the first time Indians saw flour. The Whites were rough on the Indians. See these Indians, they couldn’t take these Indians. They’d fight from the mountains. They (the Euroamerican soldiers) promised a big banquet in Independence. They had built a fort down there and got the Indians to go there. There were big trees. They made a big fence. They told the Indians they can only have peace and eat; told them to put their arms down. As soon as the Indians came into the fort, they locked the door. They took grandmas and kids on the

Death March. My grandma was there (she was a little girl). She got tired. There was nothing to eat or drink. She sat down on a great big rock. She seen soldier with their sabers drawn. Grandma told her to hide in a burnt-out log.

There was little food. Little water. “No matter what you see or hear,” her grandma told her, “make no noise.” She saw a soldier stab her grandmother and put a sword through her. She was a little girl. Later on there was a miner who had a water pond. At a pool where he’d get water, the miner seen footprints in the mud. He was watching. He came back and caught a little Indian boy who’d been orphaned. The little boy had no food but he’d come and get water for his baby brother who was in a basket.

Then he would go back and hide. The cavalry came looking for Indians. Some [White] people hid our people. The Indians worked for them. They slept in basements. These were hard places, but they keep us alive. The President gave the whole valley to Indians. It was full of rabbits and taboose

(wild onion), and good for hunting. They’d kill people (the private citizens would kill the Indians). It was genocide.


These were vigilante grounds. In the 1850s and 1860s, the

Whites were randomly killing Indians. The Indians stayed and hid. Christian people took care of them. The Indians worked for them. The women did housekeeping and the men would go hunting every day. The runners would take off. About World War II, men started working.

All men signed up for WWII. Some didn’t come back. The vacant homes opened up. They started telling younger people things that weren’t true. I was at the Indian meetings, under the table at Dad’s foot; his sons were in the service. There was a big acreage. They gave it to their favorites. It’s an ongoing issue. They’re trying to take all the lands. There are questions of eligibility. They are trying to starve us out.

The White man’s gifts were TB and smallpox. These were things Indians never heard of, people in the tribe.

There is a TB hospital north of Sacramento. They’d send families. Indians had herbs. I don’t know the names. Indians were quiet about the problems of rape and STDs caused by the White man. When I was small (around 14 years old) I met an Indian woman that said, “I killed a

White woman because they didn’t leave me alone.” The

Indian woman was an unclean spirit, and she needed to “be master over that.” Policeman Red Ryan used to pick up girls in the late 50s and 60s. He would rape them.

There is still some local prejudice. Indian boys used to get beat up. Some Indian boys were found hanging in a cell in Bishop and Independence. Maybe the police caused it.

This happened in the 1950s and 60s. My son grew up with ranchers and went to school with their children. He knew them, and had no problems with them. Other Paiutes around his age said they experience prejudice. My son was always athletic and seemed to fit in, so there was less contention. Now there is a growing population coming from

Los Angeles to retire. That I have seen. In one generation this prejudice is not evident. We had animals at the house.

My son made friends with the town kids and they were always together. The Whites were never taught against prejudice. The teachers were prejudiced. Some certain teachers tried to fight the Indian kids.

I went to Stewart boarding school in 1947. I felt like a baby. All the kids around me were big. I had big cousins.

They’d get E.D. (Extra Duty). When they got E.D. they’d come out and look for me. Mom was sick. She went to an Indian hospital in Shurtz. Me and Wesley (brother) went to school. We had to speak English at school. But

Navajos got to speak it (the Navajo language). I was not able to remember my native language because nobody was speaking it. They have a language program here. The language is from Yerrington. The woman who leads it speaks a little different than the people here. In Big Pine there is a different dialect. One time a guy brought bibles here that

were written in Indian. No one knew what he was saying because he was speaking a different Northern Paiute dialect.

There have been changes in Indian religion. The

Ghost Dance was not our belief. But the prejudice was so great that kids stuck together. They ate it up. It’s not our religion. The people from here (Bishop) believed in god.

They were quiet. It was individual. My grandfather said a long time ago Bob Wells was a missionary. The man that came and visited was Jesus. He spoke to the Indians like no other. He shined. He went to serve god.

The Indians here receive no help from the Bureaus.

One tribal council told people not to say anything because

Power and Water will put a contract out on the Indian’s lives. Those kind get voted into office. We need help. When

I was young we had cornfields, alfalfa fields, and wheat fields. Now it’s like garbage. People park trailers anywhere to claim the land. There is no planning. They could fix places for the homeless people. There’s an old story about a couple of animals that were fighting. The winner was the one that ran so many laps that his story would be the truth.

There are a lot of old stories.

“Jessie Tom Lee, Nevada,” as Told by June


[Centennial Oral Histories, December17, 1974]

From the mid to late nineteenth century,

Numic people faced a series of challenges to their traditional ways of living. In addition to losing their sovereignty over aboriginal lands and resources, the Paiute and Shoshone lost up to 80 percent of their people as a result of disease and starvation. In the following story, June Tom talks about how people used ceremony to restore balance to the earth. This oral narrative was recorded in 1974.

The dance or rain leader calls a dance and he provides the pine nut gravy by asking the women to grind the pine nuts and make it into gravy for the people to eat at the end of the dance which lasts about five (5) days to a week.

Early in the first morning the dance leader will pray to the

(ahbe) Father for the rains to fall and gradually the mountains will turn blue and a drizzling of rain starts very slowly and at the end of the dance the rain will come down faster. This rain or dance leader is a “doctor” and he was given this gift of bringing the rain by the Father through his dreams. At the end of the dance the leader will announce to the people where the next dance will be held and what season of the year. (Because of the serving of the pine nut gravy the dances were called qwee-nee).


Indian doctors are also given the gift of healing through his dreams by the Father and given songs to sing.

He is also given knowledge of the diseases of the human body.

The “talker” for the Indian doctor is also a doctor.

He is also given this gift through his dreams. This talker interprets the words of the Indian doctor as the doctor uses words used by his various powers such as magpie who looks for diseases, badger who brings the dead to life, and a great many more. A person who is sick goes to the talker first to make an “appointment” for the talker will tell the sick person what preparations to make before the actual doctoring begins. After the doctoring ends, the Indian doctor will tell the patient to take a bath before the sun rises as the sun’s rays will bring the disease back if the sick person doesn’t follow the doctor’s instructions.

Many years ago this part of the country had a severe drought. The wind blew and dried out the land. One old man in Austin became very concerned about the condition of the land and he called the people together for a rain dance. The Indians danced for (5) nights and the old man prayed for rain. At the end of the dance a few drops of rain fell and then continued falling to drench the land with much needed moisture. At the end of the dance the old man told the people that if the wanted their land never to dry up again that they must always hold a dance and pray for rain.

My grandfather and his friends went hunting (buffalo) towards Wyoming. They were riding horses and on the way the soldiers found them and encircled them ready to kill them. When my grandfather held up one hand and went to talk to the soldiers. The soldiers laughed and left them. My grandfather who had never heard or spoke the English language was given this power of understanding by the Father when they were in danger and whatever he said to them

(the soldiers) saved their lives.

In Grass Valley there is a big mountain named Bald

Mountain. There are deep depressions in the ground which the buffalo made when they sat and rolled on the ground when they roamed this part of the country a long time ago.

My grandfather explained it to me when I asked about the depressions.

An Indian man was up in the mountains when he heard the rattle of dried sunflowers and he looked to see what was causing the sunflowers to shake so violently. A huge snake was crawling towards him and he became frightened and ran away.

Many, many years ago a huge fish was seen at one of the lakes on top of the Ruby Mountains and one day the fish was seen in what is now the Ruby marshes. This was seen by a man who wondered if it was the same fish he had

seen at the lake. The huge snake and fish are a part of the mountain and is born of the earth.

The Father tried all sorts of people on the earth to live, but whatever he put on the earth turns evil after a while. One of these creatures was the zah-ah-be-gee. There were two kinds. One was called the “sand zah-ah-be-gee” because he only traveled through sandy ground. He carried a stick with a hook on the end. When an Indian came near him he would grab him with a hook, pull him towards him and eat him. He came to a dance and while he was there he grabbed the young men and was throwing the bodies onto his back, which had an opening where the body was consumed. What he didn’t know was that while he was dragging a body towards him the young men would grab a burning stick and while he was thrown over the creature’s shoulders he would throw the burning stick into the opening and jump off. Several times the creature grabbed the young men and all of a sudden he burst into flames and he was made of pine pitch. He was consumed by the fire and so he died and all that remained of the creature was a pile of coals.

The other zah-ah-be-gee walked all over the country.

A couple with a small boy was camped by water when the zah-ah-be-gee came and he sat down near them and told the parents to bring his “great-grandson” to him. The parents brought the boy to him as they were frightened of him. The creature took off his pitch cap, heated the cap and put it on the boy’s head. He then slowly slid it over the boy’s head and when he took it off the boy’s hair came off and his entire head was raw. This is how he killed the boy before eating him. The Indians all got together and decided how to get rid of these creatures for there were so many. They decided to build a fire around them and trap them inside the fire for the zah-ah-be-gee were afraid of fire being made of pitch. They did this but the creatures managed to escape, but the fire the Indians build kept on burning behind the creatures. They reached a tunnel in the mountains which was their home and they went into it. The fire kept burning and went into the tunnel and killed all the creatures. The

Indians rid themselves of the zah-ah-be-gee in this manner.

“Fandangos and Ice Floated Down the

River” as Told by Curtis Littlebeaver

[UA History Project, January 2003]

Curtis Littlebeaver currently lives in

Tonopah, Nevada, where he is renowned as an artist and local historian. In the following account,

Littlebeaver describes the role of certain ritual activities among the Numic people of central Nevada, as well as among Shoshones and neighboring groups in more distant regions, including Fort

Hall, Idaho. In his narrative, Littlebeaver recites a famous story about the Paiute prophet Wovoka

(Jack Wilson), of the 1890s Ghost Dance. The narrator begins his discussion of ritual performances in relation to his birthplace, Eden Creek. In placing Eden Creek at the center of the narrative, he indicates to his audience the importance of the places where he first formed many of his cultural attachments as a child. This foregrounding of Littlebeaver’s birthplace is consistent with cultural landscape theory, which suggests that place attachments become increasingly complex and robust over time (Zedeno 2000).

Eden Creek had no fandangos. It was just us out there. In Duckwater they did fandangos. Some people went from Eden Creek to Belmont for the fandangos. There were not enough people to have fandangos in Eden Creek. The fandangos are similar to the Jim Butler Days today. Same thing. We don’t have the Sun Dance here either. My father went to Bannock Creek near Fort Hall (Idaho) to do the

Sun Dance. He went up there. The Sun Dance is for healing. You don’t eat or drink for three days. It’s all faith.

The Lord will help you even though you are weak and hungry at the end. You pray at the end. The chief who controls the dance prays. He prays so people don’t get ill when they break their fasts and eat and drink. They have a barbeque. The ladies fix it. Today they still do the Sun

Dance in Fort Hall. They don’t have cameras or tape recorders. They want to keep it the way it was back then.

Non-Indians can watch. Ghost Dance and Sun Dances are different. They don’t let non-Indians participate.

They’re [the non-Indians are] curious. The Indians don’t want them to jinx or spoil it. In later years they haven’t done the Ghost Dance. My father went to them [Sun

Dances] at Fort Hall every summer around July 20th. I think they still do it; you’d have to ask the people there.

We don’t have it. There’s a faith dance that the Ghosute do near Utah. Shoshones are there too. They do the Cry

Dance too. It’s kind of like a memorial. They do it every year. Speakers talk about the person and remember them.

They dance in a circle and they cry. They have singers that beat on the drums. It’s like a memorial. Like war veterans who used horns and fire guns. They do it once a year, maybe in the fall. They still do it. To attend you gotta have interest. Like going to church. Like that. You mean it. It’s not for fun. Just like a memorial. There’s no Cry Dance in

Eden Creek. Just bury people. Over at Goshute at Ivanpah they have The Cry.

Jack Wilson was a prophet around Yerrington. The

Western Shoshone visited him. He was a medicine man and predictor. He worked on a ranch. One day he asked


the boss for a few days off. He said, “The spirit is speaking to me. I need to talk to people. There’s gonna be a flood.

There’s gonna be ice floating down the river in August,” he told his people. A few other people gathered at the river.

“You’ll see ice at ten o’clock,” he told them. They got together. They waited til nine o’clock. They started getting impatient. Tired of waiting. Getting mad. “If it don’t happen, we’ll throw you in the river,” they said. (Pete laughs)

At eleven o’clock, ice comes down the river. Nobody told

Jack who’s causing it. One guy on a horse, he sees where it was coming from. There was an ice plant. White people threw it into the river. Threw his old ice in the river. See it was man-made. They say, “ You should have told us it was from the ice plant!” Jack was raised by White people. They took him in, the Wilson family. Their descendants are in

Mason Valley today. They said he was a fake but he wasn’t. How did he predict it (ice in the river)?

That story went around. Even my grandfather was planning to go over to Mason Valley. He didn’t make it.

Not too far. He made a plan but had to take care of the garden because it was harvest time. Jack died up in the valley. I don’t know if the Lakotan Sioux came to see

Jack. It was too far away. Takes a long time. They didn’t travel far but that changed with horses, buckboards and wagons and railroads. Nowadays it’s different.

“On Being a Kawich Woman,” as told by

Daisy Pete Smith

[UA History Project, Summer 2005]

Daisy Pete Smith is Curtis Littlebeaver’s sister and a direct descendant of Chief Kawich. Like her nine siblings, she was born and raised at Eden

Creek in the Kawich Range. In this story, Daisy

Smith describes what it meant to belong in a family renowned for its political and spiritual leadership roles among the Indian communities living in central Nevada. Furthermore, she explains the hard-working and strong-willed ethics that her elders instilled in her and her siblings when they were growing up.

My great grandmother, Rosie Kawich George, was born around Breen Ranch in 1826. She was the wife of

Reveille George and the daughter of Chief Kawich. Rosie had many brothers and sisters too. All of the Kawich women were very strong women. Maybe after the White people came they got tired of being put down. My great grandmother and my grandmother were boss women. They were very strict. They raised us to be leaders.

I remember my great grandmother well. I was told

that my grandmother had lots of power; puha, they called


it. People around Tonopa and Smokey Valley were really afraid of her, but she was a lovely person to me. She had strong doctoring, and because of that some people were jealous. Reveille George was a spiritual man and an Indian doctor, too. Both of them would always help people in need.

My great grandmother was a hard-working lady. She was like a matriarch in our family. She was very strict. She was a no-nonsense person. She didn’t allow laziness; no idleness was allowed. Everybody always had to be working around the ranch. Even when my other brothers and sisters were very young, they all had to do chores about the home ranch. When springtime came and the hay was cut, my great grandfather cut it with (what was they called) a scythe, a long blade that he mowed the grass down with. They, my brothers and sisters, helped to load on the hay. It was a sled-like wagon. They’d slide it along where it was easy to put the hay onto. Then they would stack up the hay which was twice cuttings of alfalfa than they were to fit in. Afterwards, they would use the hay for horses and cows.

There are so many memories that I’d like to share.

My [great] grandparents took me into their home when I was first born. My living at Eden Creek on the Kawich

Mountains just cannot be described. I was the seventh child born to this family, and I was like the runt in the family, but everyone more or less had to lok after themselves, so I grew up very fast.... Today, we are scattered all over the country. We hardly saw each other after we all grew up and went all over the United States.

“Reminiscences,” as Told by Daisy Sackett


[Intertribal Council of Nevada, 1974:18]

When I was born I had an Indian name. I had it until I went to school, then I was given an English name. I lived along the Colorado River; the name of the place was

Colorado Mill, Nevada, and from there I came to Las

Vegas for one year. All the Indians from around here were scattered throughout this area. All the water holes had

Indian names. I went to Pahrump to Mance Ranch at

John Yant’s place. John Yant was an old White man. He was married to my father’s first cousin. He gave my people work so most of the Indians worked for him. I stayed there at the ranch for six months, then went on to Good Spring,

Nevada, where I stayed for about four months. Later I went to school at Fort Mojave City, Arizona. I also went to Albuquerque, New Mexico to go to school. I worked for two years for some White people. Then I came back to my home in the Las Vegas, Nevada Colony.

When I came back here to the Colony, I didn’t see very many Indians. Some of the Indians came from Moapa,

Nevada. The reason why Helen J. Stewart gave this Col-

ony to the Indians is that we wandered around here and there and didn’t have a place of our own, or a reservation.

So she willed this 10 acres of land to us Southern Paiutes.

When our chief Jack Panance was alive, he wouldn’t allow

Indians from other reservations to live here. He’d only let them stay for about a week and then they were supposed to move. But after he died they all started moving in, because we didn’t have a chief that took his place.

When my father, Sacket, died in 1908, I was only

2 years old. He died down at Vegas Wash and he is buried there. After my father died, my mother, Opputune, had to go to work to support us. She used to swim for logs along the Colorado River, and would sell them for six dollars a ton.

When she could no longer take care of us, she brought me here to Vegas to my grandmother. She worked for some

White people in Vegas for awhile to take care of my sisters.

My brother, one of my sisters, my grandmother, my father’s mother, and I went to Pahrump to Mance Ranch at John

Yant’s place. My mother was from a place down below

Searchlight. The name of the place was called Move-ha.

There she had her own vegetable garden to get by on. In

1912 she settled in Las Vegas.

When the mine was shut down along the Colorado

River, everybody left there; some went to Beaver Lake and

Needles, California and to Chemehuevi Valley. That’s how they became Chemeheuvi Indians. Some came here to

Las Vegas and Moapa. That’s why we are called Paiutes.

The people tell different stories about us Southern Paiute

Indians here in Nevada. My mother and father were always Paiute, and they didn’t have English names.

“I Belong Here,” as Told by Larry Eddy

[UA History Project, April 13, 2002]

Larry Eddy is a Chemehuevi leader (Figure

9.4). He was born in Parker, Arizona to Pearle

Smith, who was from Chemehuevi Valley, and

William Eddy Jr. from Beaver Lake, Nevada, and is one of 13 children. Larry is recognized as a traditional chief by the Chemewevi Paiutes. He is a

Salt Song Singer and a traditional storyteller. He is married to a Mohave, Angie Lou Sharp Eddy, and has four sons, plus seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. During the early 1960s, Larry spent approximately 20 years in the Indian Relocation Program in Oakland, California; when he returned to Parker, he worked and retired from the

Bureau of Indian Affairs. Larry continues to reside in Parker, Arizona.

Figure 9.4. Larry Eddy and UA ethnographer Hsain

Ilihiane in the field, January 1999

I was glad to see the desert. Something here tells me I belong here. I’d been told stories about this place by my grandfather. About the weeds and the trees. I belonged here.

Sometimes we take for granted what is here. Stories and songs all about you being right here. Stories about the mountains, took for granted. Trails. Talked about River

Side Mountain, mountain north of Blythe. Mesquite

Mountain. Old name, Screwbean Mountain. South of here just over Five-Mile Hill. It’s a Salt Song Place. Song of

Life. Stories about Whipple and Hualapai Mountain. My grandfather and his friend went deer hunting there. Deer


[Places talk]. If you meditate you hear little people pecking things inside of the mountain. Spirit of the mountain is still there, watching, waiting. The Spirit of the

Mountain helped and facilitated rainmaking.

Sometimes people would get a sign to go to a cave and meditate. Families or clans would have their own spirit rock or wishing rock. Go and say prayer at the medicine rock. Lean on rock. What you wanted. What you dreamt.

Asked the rock for assistance. Go to wish for assistance.

Pray. Leave Something. Spirit helping him. Feel they’d get wish. More apt to achieve. Say spirit did it. Medicine rock―older Indians called wishing rocks. This is in a sense what gave them power.

Sit in cave. Medicine man or shaman. There ‘til vision or hallucinates. Shows him the answer. Bat lives life in cave. Powers. Built-in radar. Shamans go to the cave because the cave has power; the power he is trying to achieve.

The only power he wanted. The bat and the dragonfly have powers unimaginable. Shamans were medicated in the cave.

The powers are there. They believe. They have fortitude to sit. They must be sincere; have good thoughts. The shaman wants to know and the answers are there, in the spirit in the mountain. It’s like the mountain grabs someone here, says, you’re going to know this, do that. The dragonfly gets power from air and water. Looks for signs. Everything means something. People dream about spirit in mountain or thing. Interpretation chosen. Go to cave and learn it or medicine rock assistance.


The shamans had helpers, mainly wild animals that are there year round. That animal came. The shaman would have to corner and catch it. If small, they are easier to control. The animals not willing. Helper bats. Helper all same. Depends on what the shaman could communicate with. Shaman sang songs to entice or hypnotize helper.

Some had 2–3 helpers. They became helpers for life.

The Ghost Dance did the same things. Like going to a wishing rock. He felt power within himself: The Great

Spirit. It brought hope in a time of despair. They were saved. It lifted them up, made them secure and more brave.

It was outlawed because of this. What was bothering Indians then and today was a loss of language. One strong spiritual tie holds them firm with the land and environment. The worst thing that can happen is forbidding language. In the boarding schools they were forbidden to speak their language. In a sense the Ghost Dance was a response to boarding school. Around here they took them to Fort

Mohave and Valentine in Peach Springs. Took ‘em to school. Kids rebelled. Escaped and walked back. A lot ran away―walked back. Don’t leave. Who didn’t get back ran away for nothing. Valentine. Sherman. Fort Mojave.

Phoenix. My father got rounded up. Sent ‘em to Fort

Mojave. He was too old. I teach my language. Language of love. Today overcome gap. Cruel treatment. Almost refused to teach their children. Who’s going to talk to them? Places talk in Indian. Won’t understand spirit. Language is critical. Most critical strength. Buffalo―overcome. The Ghost

Dance was to give younger generation courage to stand up and face life. [To provide] Invisible Confidence. Boarding schools forbid anything Indian. They outlawed the Ghost

Dance, which was a spiritual and elaborate form of the

Round Dance.

The performers and singers incorporated in their songs a lot of Indian spiritual songs. They aren’t really interpreted. They’re hiding stuff in the songs. In old days, all meant stuff. Today, there’s a break in the song and story.

Back then they would move from one area to another. The area was chosen to gather different tribes in one area without attracting attention. They would hide it. They tried to pick a secluded place. A place with water and food for about 10-5 days.

Places are important. They have puha. People wanted secluded sacred places where the local tribe could go. Places of power. Knowledge―respect all, know habits, what their habits are and why they do it to survive. It took a lot of talking to negotiate Ghost Dances. Maybe three months. A shaman picks the spiritual place, such as West Well. His word, that’s what will be. Then a runner goes out. He carried the knotted strings. Just a few knots. [He goes to places and tells them of the event] Usually the host would provide the white paint and the guest would bring something


to exchange. At Kaibab there is a white paint site and on the Bill Williams there is a Hualapai white paint cave.

They lost the cave later on. It wasn’t done intentionally.

They fenced it up. There aren’t white paint sources on this side. In Nevada there are talc mines, water and seclusion.

Hualapai and Chemehuevis are like brothers. Grass

Meadows is a place where everyone would go. The Hualapai and Shivits move back and forth. The Paiutes and

Chemehuevi are so close because they’re on the same path to the afterlife. They are very close allies. The Hualapai and

Havasupais close to Chemehuevi. Chemehuevi all spoke

Hualapai. Up there at Cottonwood Island close to the

Hualapai. We depended on the Hualapais for eagle feathers. The Chemehuevi were very musical people. They brought song and spirit. They were very superstitious. They believed in their stories 100 percent.

“The Meaning of Caves and the Birthing

Rock,” as Told by Philip Smith

[UA History Project, April 14, 2002]

Philip Smith is of Chemehuevi descent (Figure 9.5). He is the son of Julia Gonzales and Harry

Smith, and has three brothers and three sisters.

Smith comes from a line of Chemehuevi leaders.

At the time of this interview, his brother, Edward

“Tito” Smith, is the chairman of the Chemehuevi

Indian Tribe of California. Smith lives in Needles,

California and has three daughters and one son.

His story talks about the growth and blossoming of a deeply felt love and concern for his land and people.

We were making connections in the cave. We had gone to the cave to get answers. Not everyone can do it. It has to be coming from the heart. There you make contact with the creator, sometimes people, too. I met Richard Arnold there on the first trip. We found turtle shell, black ceilings, baskets, pottery, and shards. We also discovered that we were related. Irene Ben is Roger Ben’s brother.

Mabel Tobin is my cousin and Mike’s dad. Kate Fisher was the midwife for Richard Arnold’s mother and Betty

Cornelius might be related through a cousin on the Smith side. [It was because we were in the cave that that connection happened].

Figure 9.5. Philip Smith describing the importance of places, April 2002

I keep going back to these places. I took my ex-wife to the Birthing Rock in the Providence Mountains. We all went to the rock and prayed. She smelled something so she asked me if I smelled anything but I said no. Then she said she smelled mint. She asked her daughter if she smelled it, and the daughter said yes. But I think my ex-wife was the only one that really smelled it. Before we went out she had allergies. But afterwards they were gone. The herb would be in the area, but only for her. The Birthing Rock is a powerful place that teaches each person differently. At council rocks there is a hole in the ceiling. The birthing rock is the birth of spring. It fell from the mountain by a hole in the wall. It’s Mother Earth’s Womb. On the other side is the uterus. The whole area is smooth from being used a lot.

There are pottery shards there.

All these places, Avi kwa me and Spirit Mountain

Cave, these are places that we go to connect. In the Spirit

Mountain Cave is a pot of mesquite beans: offerings to the creator. At the Birthing Rock there are pottery shards that are offerings to the creator. There’s a spring at the Birthing

Rock. Ranchers use the water for cattle. There’s been a change in the weather patterns. In the old times families would travel to this spring. My dad sang about these places. He told Chemeheuvi stories about Whipple Mountain, the Providence Mountains, a lot of places I can’t remember.

In the 1950s it started dying out. They started testing above ground. Lot of people disappeared. It’s not talked about. Dad was a goat raiser and friend of John Wayne.

All the people in one of his movies died of cancer. The sheep died. The cattle died. [It happened in some valley in Idaho].

At 6:00 a.m. it was still dark. There was a big flash that lit up the sky. Twenty minutes later there was a big rumble. There was fall out and heavy north winds. Protestors tried to stop dumping low-level nuclear waste in Ward


Valley. They heard how dangerous it was. The Shoshone

Nation is the most bombed in the world. This came to be during the 1950s when DOE was testing the atomic bombs on the Nevada Test Site. Chemehuevis, Paiutes, and Shoshones all got herbs in that area, they all died out and we were locked out. My ex-wife experienced a vision of running spring water. She was experiencing a connection.

I go out in the desert alone a lot. There are special areas. Avi kwa me is a place of purification. I had a ranch there. Now Mojaves went there. On California side is the reservation and ranch. On the Snider’s side in Nevada kids went to school. Families moved to be near schools and jobs. Steamships for boats coming up. At Bill Williams it’s

Chemehuevi and Mexican mixed.

Larry’s mother, Pearl Smith Eddy, was from Chemehuevi Valley–Palo Verde. Blythe reservation no longer exists. There was a killing. There was an uprising of Chemehuevi men at Turtle Mountain. Their homes were destroyed. They starved and they took Blythe away. According to California law the reason the place was abandoned was military. They moved the reservation to Parker and gave out 10–acre allotments. At Piute Springs my dad had title to land. Built a house in 1914 before homestead closure.

“The Land Will Talk to You,” by Tribal Chairman Edward “Tito” Smith

[UA History Project, April 15, 2002]

We interviewed Edward “Tito” Smith at the time of his tenure as the tribal chairman of the

Chemehuevi Reservation (Figure 9.6). This is a special story about a Southern Paiute boy returning to the land and becoming a man. Whereas coming of age stories often require the hero to venture out into the world, in this story the hero ventures back to the ancient lands of his ancestors. In the process, he discovers both himself and a deep-seated commitment to his place of origin, his people, and the future welfare of the Chemehuevi people.

“I’m going to take you to my favorite place,”

Chairman Smith told us as we left the tribal offices. We all piled into the tribal Suburban and went to the landing. He talked along the way, sharing a memory with every landmark we passed.

Sometimes the landmark was a building, other times a special hill, a viewscape of the waterfront, or a small patch of earth. Earlier in the day Tito told us that when he was around eight years old his dad took all the kids in his family to Piute

Springs, the Providence Mountains, Ivanpah, Cot-

tonwood Island, all of the places in the area. With each new journey, each old place, their father told them, “This is where you are from. Remember these places and their names.” Then he told them,

“To trace your roots, look out the door.” Tito explained that with all of these places surrounding him, he never felt poor.

Figure 9.6. Chairman “Tito” Smith in front of the Chemehuevi corral (April 2002)

By the age of 16 Tito was attending a public school in Needles, California, about 37 miles from the Chemehuevi Reservation. It was a small school, where some kids played sports, some did class work, and some sat in the back rows drawing pictures or dreaming about what was on the other side of the window. Although Tito had been in the school system for some time, he did not know how to read and write. “I wasn’t stupid, they just put you in back of the room and told you to draw if you needed a little help.” One day Tito stood up, walked through the door, and never returned.

When he finally met up with his father, Tito informed him of his decision to leave school.

Upon hearing the news, Tito was told, “Well, if you’re not going to go to school then you have to take care of the cattle.” At that time there were

128 head and four calves that were being kept on the Chemehuevi Reservation. “We need someone to watch over them. Tag them. Feed them. Keep an eye on them.” After surveying the hilltop, the livestock, and the coral, Tito agreed. “But, where am I going to sleep?” he asked as his father prepared to leave. “Anywhere you want,” he replied, turning on the ignition and rambling back down to the valley.

When Tito arrived at the Chemehuevi Reser-

171 vation there were no buildings and the “anywhere” he chose for his sleeping spot happened to be a nondescript patch of dirt within eyeshot of the coral. Tito stomps the spot on the ground as he tells his story. “Right here. This is my place. My favorite place.” As he smiles the 16-year-old flits around his eyes and yesterday becomes a sliver of time deeply embedded in the present. “Right here?” we ask, circling the special spot. “Ya, right here. No tent. No house. Just me and this…” he says, turning a full circle to indicate the totality of the Chemehuevi lands.

Mr. Fisher, who helped Tito’s dad with the cattle, arrived shortly thereafter. “Where are you sleeping?” Fisher asked, taking in the hilltop where the only physical structure was a cattle coral. “Here” Tito answered, pointing to the same patch of dirt he’d shown us. Mr. Fisher took in the surroundings and told him that in a couple of weeks he’d bring by a tent that he wasn’t using.

The next day, he arrived with the tent, which Tito set up on his favorite spot.

About a week after returning to the reservation, Tito had another visitor. Tito’s father came driving back up the hill to the coral on the same dirt road he’d departed on just a week earlier. After checking the cattle and walking around with

Tito for a spell, his father announced that he’d come to take Tito back to the public school. Tito, however, had other plans. “I told him I was staying here. I had 18 cattle that still needed [to be] rounded up and tagged.” Gradually, the news of

Tito’s decision began to sink in. “Well, then, you need to get ahold of your uncle. The two of you will take care of the cattle.”

As the weeks passed on, Tito began to fully immerse himself in his new surroundings. He learned what it was like to live without running water, electricity, and heat. Tito was still sleeping in a tent, bathing once a week in a large icy body of water, and spending many of his waking hours in his own company. He was learning to listen to the land again. Rather than experiencing his situation as one of deprivation, Tito began to experience himself with a newly felt confidence. The places of power that his father had shown him as a child had become his teachers once more.

Soon another teacher began to make his rounds: Mr. Wheeler. Whenever he came to visit

Tito he brought old National Geographic magazines and Reader’s Digests. In school Tito had never learned how to read and write, but with in-

struction from Mr. Wheeler and hours of reading on his own, he was soon fully literate.

Tito remained in his spot throughout the winter. Each week he’d have a “Saturday Night

Bath” in the lake, in which “the trick was to be fast.” When his father found out that Tito was really planning to stay at the Chemehuevi Reservation, he came and helped him build a “simple shack.” In later years,Tito would build a permanent house across from the corral, where he raised his family.

In place of a quiet boy sitting in the last row of the classroom, there was emerging a leader with an immense respect for his people and the places that had shaped the Chemehuevis for thousands of years. About a year after Tito returned to the reservation, other people began moving back to the reservation. Soon the water’s edge filled with trailer parks, and much of the area around the coral where he’d been living began to be developed. Today Tito’s special spot has been set aside.

There is talk of putting a historical museum here to commemorate Chemehuevi culture and the land—Tito’s greatest teacher.

“The Future of Basket Making,” as Told by

Everett Don Pikyavit

[UA History Project, April 20, 2002 and Artistic Bibliography written by Everett Don Pikyavit]

Everett Pikyavit was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is enrolled in the Moapa Band of Paiutes and is currently living on the Moapa Reservation where he lives as a basket maker. In addition to participating in the revitalization of the art of Paiute basket-making (Figure 9.7), Everett has taught himself the art of flint-knapping. Today he has a notable collection of obsidian tools that have been created through the application of skills that were used by his ancestors for countless generations. In the following essay, Everett speaks about his art, his dreams, and recognition of the sacred in all life and all actions. This is his story.

Our religion is in everything we do every day. There is a lot of spirituality in it from how you collect materials, to making objects, and in how they use it. I was influenced and inspired by many Southern Paiute weavers of the past; however, it was my paternal grandmother, Lila Benson

Rogers, who inspired me the most. I am proud to be a part of a very long tradition in the southern portion of the Great

Basin. My work includes all traditional Southern Paiute


and Goshute basketry styles. Some forms I create are winnowers (open/closed twine), cone burden baskets

(open/closed twine), cradleboards (both Southern Paiute and Goshute style), as well as various sizes and styles of coiled baskets. Some of the materials I use are devils claw, yucca (roots, leaf, and fibers), juncus grass, sumac, desert willow tree, red willow, and bird feathers. These native fibers are and were used in our basketry of the past.

Figure 9.7. Don Pikyavit with two of his baskets,

April 2002

As the only Southern Paiute weaver north of the

Grand Canyon who is actively producing and selling, my name and creations are new on the marketplace. I have exhibited and demonstrated in southern Nevada as well as in southern California and Arizona. I was recently featured as one of five weavers at the Nevada Arts Council gathering in November of 2000.

I am a graduate of Sherman Indian High School in

Riverside, California. I recently graduated with an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degree from Riverside

Community College in Riverside, California. In the future,

I plan to continue my education in the field of natural sciences in the Las Vegas area.

As a board member of the newly created Great Basin

Native Basket Weavers Association and a member of the

Moapa Valley Art Guild, I also work in oils, acrylic, pastel, pen, and ink mediums. I recently started passing on my knowledge to other Southern Paiute individuals. I en-

courage them to follow traditional Southern Paiute basket designs, styles, materials, and thought in their individual basketry. By doing this, I hope to ensure that this ancient art form continues well into the twenty-first century.

“Singing Medicine,” as Told by Matt Leivas

[UA History Project, April 14, 2002]

Matthew Levias. Sr. is a Chemeheuvi leader who has served as an advocate for his community through social, cultural, and spiritual means (Figure 9.8). He has worked closely with Salt Song singers Willis Mayo and Larry Eddy, as well as respected elder Vivienne Caron-Jake. Their collective efforts are helping to preserve and revitalize knowledge and performances of the Salt Song.

Like the Salt Songs themselves, Levias’ stories and recollections are associated with special places that he, his family, his community, and his ancestors have shaped, and in turn been shaped by themselves. While visiting with Mr. Levias, he showed us some of these landscapes, and affirmed the close connections between storytelling, places of power, and the people who share and experience the act of the storytelling performance.

In 1992 when we were having all the turmoil up at

Chemehuevi, political turmoil that involved the tribal council, I called for a spiritual gathering at my house. I invited different tribes out to come and help us, to overcome what we were dealing with, and they came. We built a traditional shed out behind my house and served food for everybody that came. Some people were singing. That’s where I sang my first Salt Songs. The first three Salt Songs I learned I sang there in front of everybody. That’s also the first time I heard

Larry sing Salt Songs. We sang together and we’re still singing together. Today we’re singing more and more.

At this gathering, my mother asked me to speak. She was standing in front of the people and she was talking about how happy she was that we were moving forward and trying to learn the songs and culture. She explained that when she was growing up she was ashamed. She was ashamed to be an Indian and she felt bad about that, but she felt that way because that’s what she was taught to believe. She endured the experience of a BIA education and graduating from boarding school at Sherman. Being quite an athletic woman, she remembered some parts of her school experience very fondly. When talking about baseball, she jokes, “I invented the game.” She also learned the fierce lesson of trying to hide her culture to avoid pain, and that’s why she wouldn’t really push the language on us, or any of the traditions and customs. Late in the 1950s my mother


helped support cultural efforts including the reorganization of the Chemehuevi Tribe, which by the 1970s received formal recognition.

Figure 9.8. Matt Leivas reviews oral history notes,

April 2002

I was fortunate to have aunts and uncles that were traditionalists and spoke the language and used the traditional medicines and foods. Our uncles tilled the soil and fed us and helped preserve the traditions and old ways. My uncle went to school and learned English because he was a farmer and had to communicate in English. But whenever he was working down in the valley, he’d speak nothing by

Nuwu, Chemehuevi. He wouldn’t speak any English except when he’d come to town and do business over here at the Bob West John Deere shop. He was a smart fellow too.

When I was a child I used to stay with my friend Baldin over the weekends. We would stay at his grandmother

Pearle’s house. We’d get up early in the morning and she’d be sitting there, doing a puzzle, reading the Bible, or reading the newspaper. It wouldn’t matter what day of the newspaper it was, she’d still be reading it. I’d get up early in the morning with her, and sit and drink coffee, talk, and she’d speak Chemeheuvi to me, and she’d speak English too. Pearle went through the same things my mother went through, but my mother made that statement that she was made to be ashamed of her language and culture and she was happy we were doing what we were doing.

That was the spark for us to go forward with the traditions; to revive the traditions and customs. Before that time everything was a little bit obscure. There was not a clear picture of what it was we were to do. I believe the

Great Spirit came down and touched all of us. There were those consequences, too, for example, a death in the family that amplified things and gave us more of that reason and hope to go forward. It strengthened us in ways. It was al-

most like a personal sacrifice in the family to help every individual become what they’re going to be, but also to carry us on to the next plateau, where we’re going to go from here.

All that time that I lived there at Chemehuevi, and worked as a game warden from 1977-1988, I’d go out and visit sites and paid a lot of attention to different sites that had been desecrated along the river as well as in the desert, not only on the reservation but off the reservation as well. Being outspoken about environmental justice and cultural preservation and making those arguments are what helped Chemehuevis put a stop to some of these projects.

These included the coal-fire generating plant, the Ivanpah

Project, the Calcoal Project, and the Marcos Mining plans to create the largest open pit mine. There are other sources polluting the Colorado River―these include ammonium perchlorate coming from Henderson, Nevada and hexavalent chromium from the PG&E Plant in Topak, Arizona. It is important for people to know about the ways the

Colorado River, which is the lifeblood of the desert, is being affected and it is important to seek environmental justice.Through our research we showed the potential devastation that these projects held in store for the environment, especially the underground lake below Chemehuevi Valley, which is one of the paths the water takes on its way to the

Colorado River. The Chemehuevi Tribe opposed Fort Mojaves’ dealings with BFI Industries, who wanted to put toxic wastes in Ward Valley that could contaminate the river.

Because I was the game warden, the federal officer, I was able to make contacts and communicate and work with people. This work involved moving forward and stopping certain projects. I was a spokesperson. All the time that I was there at Chemehuevi, I’d go out and visit these different sites. I didn’t know what it was that was out there. I could see the petroglyphs, I could see the camp sites. I could feel things. But I didn’t recognize what it was that I was dealing with. What it was that was trying to communicate with me. It wasn’t until I started feeling compelled to learn more and more. The meeting in 1992, the spiritual gathering in

1992 was the catalyst to go forward.

The people that came to that meeting were important too. Most people were from the river tribes, Salt River and

Pima. It was a meeting focused on tribal government because we needed that help. There were a lot of spiritual things that were going on too. Medicine kept coming.

Things came to me. Why me? Who the hell am I? What am I going to do with this road man’s equipment? That’s not for me, you know? So we called people to help us make decisions. How can we go forward? How can you help us?

We came to a stark realization that it wasn’t a physical battle we were fighting with the tribal council, but a spiritual battle. That was reason for our gathering. Within a


month it was all over. So, the medicine helped. All the help came. The good spirits that came were the people that cleansed the valley. It’s back. It’s back. It’s taken on a new phase.

That was the catalyst for Larry and I to go forward with the Salt Songs. That’s the first time I heard Larry sing. Before that, Larry was away. When he first came back there were no singers, not like there used to be. We’ve been working together since then. Our friendship has really gotten strong. We share a lot. Some of the stories I heard from Betty and Lawanda were some of the stories Larry told me when we travel. The Salt Song is very important to us because it was dying out; the songs were dying out.

That’s why we felt the need to revive it. So that was the dual purpose of that gathering. To let people know what we were going to be doing, and to get blessings from everyone, and to go forward with Salt Song Project. So if we had not done that back then, the Salt Song would have never gotten off of the ground. The recording would have never taken place. We would have never been able to bring the 13 bands of Southern Paiutes and Chemehuevis together, but we did. And that was the brainchild of Vivienne Jake from Kaibab and myself. Realizing without these songs our spirit would have been broken, we have to keep that tie to the creator and spirits. That is part of why we are who we are today and why I am in Parker today.

My Grandfather was a recognized chief of the Chemehuevi, “Tawintum,” and a Salt Song singer. He died in

1954. I was two years old, but I still remember them taking his casket out. Henry Hanks was a spiritual leader and Salt Singer. He used to sing bird. He learned Salt

Songs. Whenever they had a ceremony or people, they’d have it at the house down at Hank’s village out in the valley. The same thing happened for the Eddy family.

Things would go on there. They’d have ceremony down there. There’s a lot of history there. There were always

Chemehuevis and other Indians coming to stay at Hank’s village. People would come. They’d need help or food, they’d come to stay, or whatever. Whenever I’d go to one of the old folk’s house, I’d experience part of the tradition first hand.

They’d go start preparing meal. I remember going with my

Aunt Nettie to Kate Fisher’s house and that was the first thing she did. She was happy I knew a little Chemehuevi too. But the same aunt that used to get after us and tease us, she was very proud that we knew the language. She was prodding us to be stronger.

“The Beginnings of the Yomba Shoshone

Reservation and Being a Ranch Hand,” as

Told by Homer Hooper

[McCracken 1990b]

Homer Hooper was born on November 14,

1924, in Owyhee, Nevada. Hooper is a descendant of Chief Kawich, and traces his lineage through his mother, Alice Kawich. This is a story about how the reservation got started and about the hardships and triumphs the Shoshones experienced during the Depression era.

Well, my mother and my folks talked about it, and then they wrote to the governor and so on, trying to get a reservation started here. But they chose this place. My mother was the one who started it. See the people got together—the grandpas and uncles and so on—and they wanted to know if they could find a place to settle, I guess.

They selected the valley here because the people knew it pretty well, and some of their relations were already in the valley, working for different ranches. And I guess that’s how it all come about. They were saying, “Why couldn’t we have a reservation, when the Paiute people over there’s got a reservation?” And [they were talking about] how to go about it. So they write to, as I said, the governor, and different things. I guess they looked into the country here to see if the ranchers would sell out, and they did. And that’s how they come to get in here, in this valley. In order to get the government to go along with it, my mother wrote letters. I could tell you better, but I don’t know where they are; they used to be up at the big house―the Bell Ranch.

She [Alice Kawich] wrote to different places and people…people who had more pull to look into the situation.

She must’ve worked on it for several years, I would say, 3 or 4 years or something before she came over here. Then they finally got in here. When we first moved in, we were down at Bowler Ranch, and the people who owned the ranches were still in the houses. My dad and the others worked for them after we moved in there. We moved into tents down there. You came past the Bowler Ranch when you came up from O’Tooles’. It’s the first ranch below

O’Tooles’. It has a brick house and stuff and the barns are in there. It’s just between O’Tooles’ and the Whooley

Ranch. Just a couple of miles north from Bartley O’Toole’s place is the Bowler Ranch. At that time the people there who owned it were named Bowler, John Bowler.

I guess the reason we had to live in tents [when we first moved there] is, when they [the White ranchers] said they would sell out, we moved in right away, instead of waiting until they had a chance to move the cattle out.…

This place was the Derringer Ranch.… But there were other Indians already living here who worked for different ranchers, and they had old willow and mud dwellings that they’d built to live in. When they moved, out, some of the people moved into the houses there that the people had owned. I think it was a year late that the government


started building those cinder block houses.…

What they used to do when they [the Shoshones] came in was to select a certain amount of repayment cows for them and give them a certain length of years to pay up the full amount that they were issued. That’s how they’d get started. Of course, there was a lot of water and so on then, so everybody had hay. Everybody cut hay, and then they’d help each other. They’d start from one end of the valley; they’d put their workhorses and mowing machines and rakes and things together and they’d come right down through the valley and finish off. That was a pretty good deal, because there was a lot of help putting up hay.…[It took about] 2 months―somewhere in there to put up the hay for all the reservation.…They [also] had alfalfa patches―I think each ranch had an alfalfa patch at that time.

The [White ranchers] must’ve stayed a year of two before they completely sold out. I think that’s why we had to stay in tents, waiting for them to get out. [We were there] a couple of years, I suppose. [And in this country it gets mighty cold in the wintertime]. Oh boy.... We had 10 x 16 ridgepole tents—put a wall up, and it would be just like a house. But you’ve got to stretch the canvas real tight so when it snows it won’t sag and tear it up. During the night, if it’s snowing heavily, you usually knock it off, and then the stove would dry it pretty fast―we had a cooking stove in there. The tent was airtight.… If you didn’t touch it, it was waterproof.… Boy, in those days it was tough going, all right.

I used to chop wood for Bowlers down there—fill up a big old wood box—and would get about 10 cents. And they had a dog that used to bite me on the heels every time I went over. I had to knock on the door to get the axe out of the house, and [chuckles] as soon as Bowler’s wife opened that door, the dog would jump out and nab you right…and it’d sting too—and draw blood sometimes.… [I used to] run a hag rig…and handle all the nasty horses [chuckles]

[for Bart O’Toole’s father]. Oh boy, he had some of the meanest horses you ever saw! Those horses…you’d catch them in the corral. You’d have to rope them and put them in a tight stall with a snubbing post to put a halter on them. The walls were about 4 feet high and about that thick. The horse would have just a back showing. You’d put a harness and everything on right there. They would kick your head off if you got behind them or touched them or anything—if you’d make noise, they’d start kicking.

And they’d strike, too.… So you’d have to snub it close to put a halter on them. You’d try to get the halter on and they’d jerk their head like that, and you had to watch them so they wouldn’t hit you on the face. Boy, they were wicked.

They’d jump up and strike; some of them would bite. You

had to watch them. You’d put the halter and bridle on, then the harness on, in the stalls, and lead them out.…

They were a little better with the bit in the mouth. But any noise…if you were leading them, they’d run away from you.

Those big horses, of course, I was small, but they were big, actually. You had to hold them real tight and step to one side, because they’d run you over.…They were spoiled from other people who couldn’t handle horses—other people who let them get away with certain things.… I guess it’s the way the workers handled those horses. Different people would come in there who couldn’t handle horses right. If they let them get away with it once, that’s it. Then they’re hard to handle.

[Homer and another guy used to have two deer camps here too]. It made a little bit of money during hunting season. You had to get a permit from the Forest Service to build a corral for the horses, to rent horses out to deer hunters. It wasn’t much, but it was a lot of fun renting horses out to deer hunters. You find all kinds of people there, too.

It would scare you half to death, because the horses weren’t used to too many people being around them. They were shy, and they were liable to kick at you and things like that.…We charged five dollars a day for renting a horse at the deer camp back in the ‘40s. We raised our own horses.

I started out with Worthington’s—he had a bunch of horses up here. We put our horses together, and I was with him, at first. He had a permit.… It was slow, but in those days, $5 was a lot of money. Everything was starting out

[after the Depression].

There were a lot of jobs, too, but they didn’t pay very much. Working on a ranch I’d say you’d make $1 a day,

$1-and-a-half-a day. [Sun up to sundown].The ranchers had milk cows and chickens and calves that had to be fed in different corrals. You’d feed them early in the morning— at daybreak—and then if you had to go out in the field you’d water and harness your horses and feed them and they’d be ready to go after you’d go and eat breakfast. Then you’d get back in the field and be out there all day, according to what you were doing; you were either mowing hay with the horses, or using the rake to rake up all the hay.

Then you’d bunch the hay—the alfalfa hay—and pitch it by hand, on a wagon. They had nets on the wagon. You’d fill the whole wagon up, one each side of the wagon and one on top of the wagon, and they had these Mormon derricks with a cable on it. They’d run the wagon under there and hook the net together like this―it had a ring on the end of it―and hoist the whole wagon load at one time and put it on a stack. They’d stack it and make the edge smooth like this on the corners—build it right on up. That’s a job, pitching hay. Dusty and dirty, you bet. The stacker’s the one. His face will be black at night from the hay dust and the stuff. When they smiled I used to laugh at them―the


teeth were all black from breathing through their mouth.

Just think of their lungs.

I worked down at the Hess place and for the Welches. Then they had their home ranch, too, down at this end- on Highway 50. I worked for them different times, and at Carter ranch. The Welches had that too. Then the next one is the O’Tooles’. Above the Welches’ ranch is the

Billy O’Toole ranch. I worked for them. Then the Bart

O’Tooles had the Schmalling ranch up here—I worked for that outfit. Then I worked for the Worthingtons—put up their hay. They were at Clear Creek—right up this way.

Then I worked for Derringers, putting hay up, before they left. Then stayed here a couple of years at the most, I think.

And then I did some mining, in between times, when there wasn’t much to do. When people gathered their cows and things, I’d go mining in places like Grantsville. This was some time in the 1940s.

“Sacred Sites and Growing Up with a Medicine Man,” as Told by Betty Cornelius and

Lawanda Lafoon

[UA History Project, April 14, 2002]

Betty currently lives on the Colorado River

Indian Tribes reservation in Parker, Arizona, where she is an enrolled member. She is the official representative for the Colorado River Indian

Tribes (CRIT) on cultural resource issues and was, at the time of the interview, the Museum Director of the Tribes.

Lawanda Laffoon, Betty Cornelius’ sister, currently lives on the Colorado River Indian

Tribes reservation in Parker, Arizona where she is an enrolled member and is married to Harry Laffoon Jr., a Mohave/Shasta Indian. They have three children and four grandchildren. She is a graduate of Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas.

She worked for several years with the federal service and has been for 12 years on the governing board for the CRIT. Currently Laffoon is working with the CRIT and is the official representative for

CRIT on issues regarding federal projects and cultural affiliation (Figure 9.9).

I’m glad that you got to visit some of the home sites involving Chemehuevis here at CRIT. It’s funny but where

Phillip Smith lives in Needles, California resembles both

Matt Leivas’s home site, Curtis Laird’s, and the Eddy’s.

The sites have held many sings, funerals, festive ceremonies, like celebrating a baby’s birth, gathering to share weekly happenings, men in one place and women in another, and visiting relatives from up north. It was never dull. I remem-

ber my childhood as being fun with lots of native humor involving bantering and discussing everything under the sun, with good strong adult family members making us feel secure in a way that can only be inherited by a family and lasting impressions of profound insights that seem to grow and mature into a basis for a solid foundation. The good thing was that other Chemehuevi families were similar in character, traditions, and lifestyles. So, from that came us.

What you see is our ancestor’s legacy. It’s a rich legacy, because there is none like us. I hope you see this in the light of pride and not boasting!

Figure 9.9. Lawanda Laffoon, Alex Carroll and Betty

Cornelius working on oral history

Our parents had thirteen children. We lived in one place on Eddy Road down in the valley for the longest time.

It was one of the last roads on the reservation. Over a 30year period, all of us grew up in the same place. The last four kids were close together. We lived with our grandfather and parents. Our father was the oldest of five sons. Our grandfather, Billy Eddy Sr., was a medicine man. Everyone was scared of him because he was a medicine man and had all these powers. But for us living with a medicine man was normal. It was all we knew. We’d have breakfast with him. He’d sing at night, and people would come to see him in the evening. It was the natural thing to do.

He had a special room where he stayed. His material needs were not extensive but it was enough for him. He was taken care of by one of our uncles. The room was simple.

There was my uncle’s bed, my grandfather’s bed, a water stand and basin, a place for hanging clothes, an indoor potty area, and a spittoon that I helped clean. In the winter months we would all gather there around his stove to keep warm. We’d sit on the floor, the five of us, and he’d talk.

He liked us to be near him, to be close to him.

All of the elders around us were excellent role models.

The women were workers. They always fed the men at so-


cial gatherings. They were strong character-type leaders.

About eight to ten families would come together each Saturday for social gatherings. The Eddys, the Leivases, and many other families would come. Some were from Moapa,

Las Vegas, Shivwits, and Twenty-Nine Palms. We’d go there too, to get salt and we were familiar with gathering in those places. For basket weaving we’d get Juncus from the mountains in Indio, California. Whenever the kids would come up to a group of adults they would say, “The big ears are here.” The adults would always watch how they talked because they had respect for the children. We were never spanked and we were always regarded with respect. The elders helped the flow of our lives and they were always positive. They were poor people but when it came to essential character building, they respected us. They always talked in Indian. Even the dogs knew Indian. If you said something to them, they’d know what you said.

The foundation has never wavered. All these years the ancestors have been watching out for us. We have a direct connection to their strength. We’ve always had humor too. We make fun of situations, like how a person handled something. If they fumbled, we’d laugh and they’d laugh too. These failures are beneficial and everyone learns from them. We’ve always laughed. Big belly laughs that come from deep down. In sharing we come to feel a sense of camaraderie. It’s knowing people and understanding. It is how we were raised. We are our past and our future. We see both ways. We still have gatherings. We had a traditional memorial for our mother recently. We don’t talk about her.

We just feel her. She is our mother and part of us. We all feel that way. You see sacred sites are carried with a person too. It’s important for the culture to be carried on.

Sacred sites are in places as well as people. Places have a lot of power and they concern many people. When people develop a place some essence of the place will be destroyed. The sacred site has a power of its own. When people develop a place the power may redirect its own power.

Everyone will suffer when something is unleashed. A lot of people are not familiar with that type of spirituality. They may pass it off as bizarre. But it is there. It too has a purpose and a plan. We need to treat it as an equal. There are ways to appease it. The Paiute Way is to talk to it and to perform a blessing. These actions have to be done by a knowledgeable person.

We’ve always believed in traditional plants and the importance of understanding native uses. They are there for this continent, this land. Native people speak to the plants and they bloom again. We understand that prayer empowers them. Not any Indian can do it. It must be a person who can see the need, to recognize it, and then pray. Among traditional people are people who know how to connect with places. People who deal with sacred sites often have to deal

with death. It’s really sensitive. Not anyone can go and burn sage, only the ones that have access.

The places we are from make us who we are. We are all from particular places. The people in my family are from the most southern portion of the traditional Southern Paiute lands. They are called “Ton-tu-vits.” They were from the Palo Verde and Blythe areas. My mother was one of the old speakers. She knew the old ways. She said my brothers and sisters talk baby talk. My grandfather was the same way.

The northern Chemehuevis are called “An-gonopon,” or the Red Foot People. Matt Levias’s family is from there, close to where the Salt Song Trail begins. Along the

Bill Williams River two rivers converge, the Santa Maria

River and the Big Sandy River. Paiutes understand that wherever two rivers converge, it is a place of power. The Salt

Song goes way east to the San Juan Paiutes and all the way to the west-southern tip to Twenty-Nine Palms, California.

The Salt Song is a connection for us. People used to wander back and forth. The Mojaves have songs that speak of the same things. It’s just like a braid. We’re intertwined.

At Lake Alamo, near where Matt Leivas’ family is from, you can hear the Salt Song. My grandfather would go on pilgrimages there. All of the mountain areas are very powerful. People say that’s where my grandfather got a lot of his songs. In the mountains are lots of caves. One is where the Salt Song starts. There is a big cave, called the

Eye of the Desert. It’s in the Providence Mountains and looks south. Inside the cave it is all crystals. That’s where the Chemehuevi went for shamanism. Chief Tecopa’s

“puan” (medicine cane) is still there. He was the last high chief of the desert. He was half Chemehuevi and half Paiute. Now he is buried in Pahrump and his picture was given by a federal agency to the Chemehuevi tribe.

The Mojave Desert is the home of Southern Paiutes and Chemehuevis. I don’t know if we were nomadic, but we have always been on the go to Las Vegas, Big Springs,

Moapa, Pahrump, all over. We still do that. We move around. Now we have better roads and Indian cars, but it’s the same thing. My brother goes to many places. He’s been to Shoshone Mountain, the cave at Indian Springs, to the top of Mt. Charleston, and other places. When we went to the creation spot, he said, look at that elevation sign. It’s the same number as my Indian health number! This is the creation spot where there is special white clay that we were made of. We are people of the desert. The Southern Paiutes, Chemehuevis, and Mojaves are all desert people. We feel a deep enthusiasm for the desert. We have always known where to go for water, exactly what spot will harvest first, where the rabbits will be. The animals know what we need too, and they are always providing for our needs. These are all aspects of our legacy and we are very grateful for our


heritage and proud of who we are!

“When The Bears Came to Siwavatts,” by

Vivienne-Caron Jake, Kaibab Paiute

[UA History Project, 2003]

Our visit was short—arriving on Saturday afternoon and leaving on Sunday morning—it was a good time. We were welcomed. We were fed. It was another one of those wholesome Southern Paiute gatherings where one received the sound of laughter as the sound of the goodness of life. It made one feel as good as when the old folks of yesterday gathered to enjoy the place of special activity. Sometimes those places were at someone’s home or at the woodpile.

There permeated a feeling of belonging, of being a part of the bigger family. During the course of visiting with other visitors and community members, I was asked if I was going to participate in the Women’s Sweat Lodge Ceremony.

Remembering that one doesn’t refuse food that is offered, I had eaten. Too late to backtrack, I thought, breaking a fast made it impossible to participate in the spiritual renewing of one’s soul and then my response was, “I’ve eaten, I won’t be able to participate in the sweat.” The tortillas were too good to pass up. Then there was the long wait in the wind and dust. People started arriving laden with their folding chairs, some carrying blankets. Children were everywhere, so many children of all sizes, so much energy, moving this-a-way and that-a-way, so rich are we to have so many little folks. Are these the children of the seventh generation we acknowledge from time to time? Are these the children who will carry on with the ceremonies, sing the songs, and perform the dances? Or have we forgotten them for all the troubles of the times?

An older relative from the San Juan Paiute sat waiting inside a building, watching people pass by. His wife presented a smiling face of happiness and recognition as she saw me approach them. A gift of pine nuts was given to them. The history of this elder tells of how he moved away from his people at San Juan as a young soldier in the U.S.

Army so very many years ago. He later was stationed at

Fort Huachuca where he had the opportunity to meet the young Quechan maiden to whom he was later married. He never left her side. Her homeland became his homeland.

Her people became his people. Just like in the days of yesteryear, when a young man left his family to go and be with his mate’s family and people to fend for them, to help them.

That was a good way. That was the way of the Paiute men, a way to enrich the tribe while familiarizing themselves with the new land, acknowledging and respecting it. To learn about its ecoscapes, trails, hunting places, storyscapes, songscapes, and so forth. Such was the way of our people

and it was good.

As we were settling in to await the ceremony, one of the leaders came forth to give us information about the ceremony and the protocol to be followed by us as visitors and participants. Prayers were offered. Offering to the four directions, to the Creator and to the Bears were given. The

Bears came forth in slow rhythmic motion. The wind became stilled for a little while. The air around the center fire glowed with an aura of spirituality everywhere, from the dance arena, the sweat lodge, the trees, the river, from the

Bears, from the assisting spiritual leaders, to the elders, to those watching.

The sight of the dancing Bears was awesome. The singers with their drumming awakened the soul to a level of humbleness and appreciation for the place, for the people, for the Bears, for self, and for such a special place called

Siwavatts. What is that I hear, a familiar song, a Bear

Dance song from the north, or is its origin from the west and it traveled northward? With this song, the bonding of the Paiute Nation continues. It never stopped, because it had continued to be sung throughout the Paiute homeland and landscape. Much healing was received as evidence by the physical condition of the Bears as they completed all the required cycles of dance and song. As people opened their hearts and minds to the ceremony, they received the gifts that the Bears came to deliver.

“What now?” you ask. The prayers will continue, as will the fasting and sweat lodge ceremonies. We are Nuwuvi, it is our way. It is a good way. Thank you so much for sharing all the goodness with us, your extended family to the north. We are a truly blessed nation, the Southern Paiute nation, a people of ceremony.

“Survival of the Self: The Boarding School

Experience,” by Vivienne-Carol Jake

[UA History Project, November 2002]

Walking the short distance to the village day school for the three years I attended it were filled with fun of learning and playing with the students who were also my village companions. The only fussing out of me during the school week was when I had to put up with having my hair braided by either my mother or grandmother. The hassle was that it took too much time and I was concerned that my playtime was being replaced by the one activity I wasn’t fond of. Being the little girls that we were, we preferred to wear our long hair loose and wild. The mothers and grandmothers said, “No way!” as they brushed, stretched, and pulled our hair so tight that it gave us a strange look.

While running to school, we loosened the braids to get our so called natural look, and at least, to get some comfort from the tight braids.


Teachers from the Midwest came to help us with reading, writing, and arithmetic. The teachers were a married couple with one little girl. Back in those early days, we were allowed to speak our tribal language and free to learn the ways of our culture. School meant we had to be serious about learning the English language and applying it conversationally. We had a lot of fun laughing at each other at our attempts to be expressive. There was no such thing as

“homework,” so it seemed the lessons were left at the schoolhouse at the end of the day. At home we had to change into play clothes, have a snack and get the chores done. It was like changing from our modern school clothes back into our

“my kind of clothes.” Somehow, it felt like while we were at school, we were play acting to be someone other than ourselves. Our family members (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles) were similar in their ways of living and teaching us.

Some of us were sneaky enough to get away to playing at some of our favorite sites, i.e., the village pond for swimming in the summer, skating and sledding during the winter; the sand hill for sledding; and the clay hills where we made clay figurines, i.e., animals, houses, teepees, etc. Some of us got into trouble because we failed to complete chores before going out to play. We played as though tomorrow would never arrive.

Recall that without fail some of us were reminded that we were in trouble when our mothers would announce,

“Edna, come gather your blankets,” which meant that if you’ve chosen to stay away, then at least take your blankets with you. That announcement made it difficult to face the reprimand of a parent and excuses were hard to come by.

Children were always expected to be in the home before the sun went down. Fussing, arguing, and loud crying were forbidden. We learned that night time was a time for rest, quiet, and listening to adult conversation about life in general, storytelling, and planning for future community activities.

Community planning for pine nut harvesting, deer hunting, wood gathering, planting, and gatherings, whether they were social or ceremonial, were made by all the families. Long distance travel was made mostly by adults while children were left in the care of extended family members

(i.e., aunts, uncles, etc.).

The bond between my tribal people was strong. There were no real divisions between any of us. We didn’t share a feeling that we were better or lesser than the next person.

Most everything in our environment was shared. Even our toys were borrowed from within our environment. Our toys were made by us out of clay. The dolls we made out of pieces of discarded material, sage and rabbitbrush. How ironic that today, in my adulthood, there are periods throughout the year that I experience allergic reactions to the smell of

sage and rabbitbrush. Other toys like sleds and wagons were made for us by our grandfathers who were very special to us. Grandmothers protected us from the wrath of an unhappy mother and gave us a lot of nurturing.

Elders were always treated with respect and given the care they needed. When memories go back to childhood experiences, it seems like the elders of that generation were either given special treatment or they lived to be very old.

Their aging was obvious. You could tell the difference between the hands of an elder and the ones of a younger adult.

Grandmother’s hands were soft and wrinkled. Grandfather’s were calloused and rough. Today, I am still taken by their beauty. As children we were reminded that we had to help them with their needs. We were not to tease the elders, but to listen to their instructions very carefully. One of our first lessons was to learn to be good listeners, “Don’t interrupt and don’t be argumentative.”

At my grandparents’ home, the elders came almost daily. They came with their cups they used for sipping soup or eating stew. Grandmother wouold always serve them first. We all sat on a well-swept dirt floor with a canvas tarp spread before us, and a tablecloth on top of it. In the middle of the tablecloth was bread, melon or fruit of the season, and coffee to drink. The soup or stew remained in a kettle on the stove. Grandmother served as second helpings were requested. Back in those days, families lived in oneroom houses. Later on, as families grew, room additions were made and these were mainly for food preparation.

My grandparents had a root cellar and a place they called the “grainery” where all of their storage was kept.

The flour, wheat, sugar, salt, seeds, venison jerky, dried fruits, beans, corn, etc. were always on hand. We were little helpers to the families, helping with the harvest, cleaning, and preparing food storage items. Such was the inclusion made of children in preparing the family’s sustenance. Older siblings were given more responsibility and their tasks were to help the fathers and grandfathers.

It was the year of 1945 when one of my male cousins burned down our school and all the other buildings that were associated with it; i.e., the barn, sheds, warehouse, the staff housing, the school house, etc. The only remaining building was the school clinic. He was a small boy caught playing with matches. I don’t believe he ever got over the damage he had caused. As a consequence, he had to go away to boarding school with the rest of us. In his adulthood, he maintained long absences from the community, living in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. His remains were sent home during the year of 1971 to be buried in our tribal cemetery. He was 31 years old, single with no children. One of the reasons for our removal to the boarding school must have been because there was no longer a day school in our village.


Now, it is time to bring you into the life of a small child entering the boarding school for the first time. Removal has been made from familiar surroundings and the larger extended family of the tribe. So many changes were made all with the intent of making things better for us, or so it was explained. But these changes never made us feel better. The questioning of the new ways lacked answers to help us better understand the changes. We went through that part of our lives assuming and trying to make sense of everything. One of the earliest lessons we learned was about oneself. Everywhere one looked, the same classification loomed before us and it was difficult to accept and relate to.

The textbooks, the teachers, dorm staff, kitchen staff, the people of the community where the schools were located, all made us feel unwelcome. The label “Indian” might as well have been a name tag attached to our clothing. Somehow, as “Indians,” we weren’t considered the same as other people. Racist attitudes prevailed back then as they do today. “Hello, Kemo Sabe,” is still uttered by white folks to make us feel their society is culturally superior to ours.

The history of the Native Americans is marred with stereotypical labeling as past historians have continued to repeat the “old story” of the savage, lazy, downtrodden, begging, superstitious, atheist Indian. Today, the journals that one finds in libraries still lack the variation in the ideas of what Anglo society thinks of the Native Americans. Nowhere have I read where my people were looked upon as being intelligent, generous, beautiful, or natural to this world.

As a child growing up, the history of my people which was taught to me didn’t bring pride nor interest. Rather, I decided I didn’t like history, particularly American history.

One of my first questions was, “How is this information going to benefit me?” It didn’t matter that my education started in a tribal setting of a small BIA school, then to public school and back to the BIA environment. My early education was a ping-pong effect of both the boarding schools and the shift to public schools. The teachers were following the dictates of the school authorities and repeating material that had been taught generations before mine.

American history was so boring, depressing, and informed us of the conquerors and how oppressed my people were.

And, of course, the conquered were always the “bad guys.” My people were relentless in their quest to survive the hardships facing them from one generation to another. In the beginning, the forced removal from familiar places, such as our villages, our people, was difficult. For a child of six years old, it is extremely hard to understand and accept.

Although you are told to be strong and that the experience will benefit you, the experience and acceptance of it never grows. One never gets beyond the feeling of trusting anyone.

Especially when you are punished into believing that the

white values and beliefs are more meaningful than the traditional teachings of Native American culture.

To accept the changing of your life’s direct connection to the traditional path is to submit to authority, to give in to another culture, but more profoundly to give up on your own identity and, certainly, your destiny. Such was the experience of Native American children throughout America. It happened to me. It happened to many children of my generation and generations before mine. Native youth are instructed in the ways of tradition when they go through rites of passage from one phase of development to another.

When they are removed from their people, these rites stop and acculturation sets in. Despite all this, our grandparents’ teachings still remain with us and are applied every single day of our lives.

We left our communities as children only to return as adults. Albeit as shattered adults. Adults who were now able to function in the Whiteman’s world. Skilled young

Native American adults ready for the life outside the boundaries of the reservation, transplanted in the metropolitan life of Phoenix, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Reno, Las

Vegas, Chicago, points eastward, northward, westward, etc.

Throughout this period of adjustment, the homesickness and loneliness never leaves. There is always the feeling that one of these days, I will return to the homeland and be as I was before the changes.

The older generation, great-grandparents now, tell us about the children who were removed and taken to the boarding schools and never returned to their families and home. Their families were told that their child had died as a result of sickness, and their remains were buried in the school cemetery. As most Native Americans go through the process of preparing the body for its journey into the spirit world, this process was totally ignored by the school authorities. No burial rites or funeral ceremony was conducted.

Family members had no means to travel to the school.

Therefore, in my thoughts, I can only say that the persecution of my people followed them into their graves. In Southern Paiute country, as in other tribal communities, the rite of passage from this life to the next life can’t be overemphasized. The flight of the spirit and the journey it takes continues to have a significant impact on the remaining tribal members and family.

One of my first encounters with the boarding school experience was during a time spent at the Phoenix Indian

School. My age was twelve going on thirteen. The morning after our arrival on the campus, I was rudely awakened by a loud alarm and instructed to follow others to a parade ground where we formed in military fashion. In our nightwear, through the unbearable heat of Phoenix, we waited for our names to be called. Finally, we returned into the dorm by single formation. The year was 1952-1953.


I had a friend who attended the PIS from the time she was six years old until she graduated in 1956 at eighteen years of age. Her mother had died and the father had no recourse but to enroll her at the school. She loved her father so much and waited for his visits. He made an occasional visit. He also had remarried and the stepmother syndrome prevented a strong father-daughter relationship.

The extent of her suffering can only be surmised for it became a subject we didn’t want to discuss. Her story and my story were similar; however, reliving the pain during that period of our youth wouldn’t have helped us survive.

Another incident remembered was when lights went out at bedtime at the little girls’ dormitory named the Casa

Saguaro. It was an old building, large with a second floor enclosed by screened walls all around it. In Phoenix the weather is at its hottest when we arrive to begin the fall semester, and generally meant we had to leave home during the month of August. The screened porch served as our sleeping and dressing areas. During the early evening just before bedtime, I was sharing some chocolate candy bars with my friend. The lights were flickered off and on by the dorm matron who was to serve as the watchman for the night. This signal meant that we were supposed to be in bed because she was coming to make sure that we were all present and accounted for. One candy bar down and two more to go.

She came closer and closer, I kept my head covered and my candy bars beside me where she wouldn’t see them.

Just as I was about to unwrap another bar, she came around again for the second time. She had become suspicious about something and lingered for a longer period.

Very carefully I unwrapped the candy bar and sneaked some bites into it. Several bites into the candy and the longawaited departure became lengthy and exhaustion overcame me and I fell into a deep sleep.

In the morning, I was awakened to screams of laughter as my friend tried to explain to everyone why I was looking so strange and bedraggled. The chocolate, chocolate, everywhere―in my hair, the linen, pillow and blankets! I was the laughingstock of the entire dorm. Alas, they all sneaked my linen into the laundry room, fetched some clean ones and remade my bed while I showered and got the chocolate washed off. I am also reminded of the many times we had to stand in the cold shower when we had a slow morning and the hot water had been used up

Our time spent at the boarding school was also spent as domestic help for the people of Phoenix, who hired us for housekeeping work. This activity was called “outings” by the students. We washed walls, scrubbed floors, did laundry, trimmed the hedge, mowed the lawn, and cleaned out the garage. The payoff was appreciated and we could go to a

McDonald’s for cheeseburger, fries, and a soda. This usu-

ally meant that I didn’t have to go and eat at the school cafeteria following my return from my weekend work.

Sometimes, we were pleasantly surprised by a care package from home or a visit from someone from home. At these times, we had opportunity to eat native foods like pine nuts, corn, and venison jerky.

I was a good student. My grades in science and music had my counselors recommending me for the school band, choir, and science courses. It was fun to be in musical programs. The science courses were easy. I never learned to sew or cook which was all right by me. Later, I was taught cooking and baking skills by my female relatives and cousins. By then, my family at home wondered what exactly had

I been taught at the boarding school. My father had a way of teasing the young females in the family by his comment of, “When it’s a’cookin’ it’s a’ smoking; when it’s black, it’s done.”

America with its white supremacist belief continues to fail in acculturating the Native American to the extent that we can no longer accept ourselves as native to this land.

They have tried to take away our language, our songs, our ceremonies, but they haven’t taken away our spirit for survival. To portray sophistication and elegance are strange ways to place oneself in the world of culture bound by tradition. We hear strange comments regarding our tribalism and beliefs, such statements as, “I will never understand why you Indians want to remain poverty stricken.” Why is it so difficult for non-traditional people to understand that materialism isn’t a value in our culture?

I appreciate the traditional people and elders. My contacts with them have all been good learning experiences.

The simplicity of their lives, their knowledge and teachings of the natural laws, healing, offerings of hope and prayer, are powerful. They continue to be generous with what little they have. My safety and well being is just as important to me as it is to them. Elders have told me that walking the traditional path is hard, and it has been, but I wouldn’t change it to walk any other way.

Today, as never before, I know that I am deep-rooted.

It has taken a lifetime of experiences to realize that my identity, my purpose, and my destiny lie in the ceremonial activities my mother and grandmother directed me through when I was still a little girl and impressionistic. Ceremonial participation focuses me on the more important things of life. I know that I am contributing to major changes in the spiritual realm for many of my people. I also know that as a natural product of this life and planet, the path is clear.

Inspiring oneself to overcome the degradation, shame, and prejudice is always motivating the spirit.

“Come and touch me,” said Mother Earth. So I removed my shoes and walked;

“Come and sing a song with me,” said the Bird and

I did so;

“Sit and rest awhile beside me,” said the Brook and

I sat and meditated beside it;

“Tell me, how is your day going?” asked the Tree. I leaned up against it and whispered how wonderfully good it was;

The Sun called out, “Did you miss me?” My reply was a quick and firm, “It has been a loonnng winter and I have waited for your shining warmth.”

You see, the naturals of this world will survive despite the destruction placed on them. Mother Earth told us so, and the prophecies of long ago are coming to full fruition.


In this chapter we have shared the stories of individuals who remain deeply immersed in oral traditions that have shaped the collective identities of Numic and Yuman people for thousands of years. We have endeavored to show that such traditions serve multiple purposes, including the invaluable function of holding communities together, or creating “mutually sustaining relationships that ensure the continuing well being of the world” (Cruishank 1998:xii).

We have also explored how oral traditions may take multiple forms, ranging from origin stories to childhood recollections. In drawing together older oral traditions, such as Tim Hooper’s account of how the Indians arrived to North

America, with newer accounts such as “Tito”

Smith’s memories of being the first Chemeheuvi to return to the reservation, we hope to impress upon the reader the truly fluid nature of oral traditions. Such narratives are designed to allow people to collectively express the most pressing issues of a given time. Simultaneously, oral traditions act as vehicles for relaying ancient forms of knowledge that constitute the backbone of collective ethnic and cultural identities.

Consequently, the stories presented in this chapter reflect a diversity of human experiences in different times and places. For example, Betty

Cornelius and Lawanda Laffoon discuss the experience of growing up with a medicine man, and

Matt Leivas talks about his entrance into a life of social activism and about activities associated with the cultural revival of the Salt Songs. At another level, the same stories reflect themes that transcend each particular story. For example, many of the stories in this chapter are organized around


the theme of special places, and the attachments individuals and whole communities develop to certain places. This phenomenon occurs in all of the stories recorded here, despite the fact that the research plan was carefully designed to encourage elders to discuss any topic that they deemed appropriate for this study. Walter Vorheer, a Walker

River Paiute, explains the recurrence of certain themes in the narration of oral traditions. He says:

Basically there has been very little change in the way of life of the Indian.

He still loves his people and his land.

He still walks in beauty. The streams, lakes, meadows, trees, mountains, and the desert are still beautiful to him. He hated the Whiteman when the Whiteman encroached upon his land. He still hates the “Developer” who bulldozes away the lands to build houses, only to bring more people onto the land. The

Indian has seen the problems created by the increase in population and the abuse to his land. The Indian dresses better, eats better, travels better, and lives better—but these things came about from his natural resources which are fast being depleted and are irreplaceable….

The Indians’ law laid down by the Creator is “Live with the Land” [Intertribal

Council of Nevada 1974:12].

While particular themes, especially the centrality of the land, may infuse all Numic and Yuman oral traditions, one never arrives at the “end of the story” in an oral narrative. In this respect, oral traditions are distinct from written stories that are structured with a clear beginning, middle, and end. The end of this chapter thus represents a pause in an ongoing tale that involves narrators from many times and places. The pause creates a place in which people can reflect upon the individual and shared meanings that these stories will hold for each reader.

In the future, oral histories promise to play an important role in scholarship as well as in tribal histories. Research that examines the epistemological bases of indigenous forms of knowledge is one area that is still in its infancy. Stilltoe

(1998:223) contends that a “new focus on indigenous knowledge augurs the next revolution in anthropological method.” This revolution will take

183 many forms. First, an inclusion of oral traditions as valid forms of evidence in the social sciences will contribute to the reconfiguration of the researcher/consultant (or informant, as was the case in Steward’s days) relationship. Moreover, an alteration in this relationship will push anthropological approaches toward active collaboration and consultation with relevant ethnic and cultural groups. Stilltoe has investigated the “political dimensions” of these alterations, which conflate theoretical and practical concerns such as the “crisis of representation,” defining “intellectual property rights,” and utilizing interdisciplinary research techniques. He concludes that while the effort to understand indigenous knowledge is “no easy or short-term task” (Stilltoe 1998:234), “the heretical idea is gaining currency that others may have something to teach us” (Stilltoe 1998:227).

Recent interest in oral traditions among social scientists and federal agents raises new issues.

Paramount among them is the need to develop techniques that are capable of analyzing oral traditions on their own terms. Thus work must be directed towards establishing parallels between oral histories and other lines of evidence. Furthermore, analysis must be directed at more clearly evaluating the internal structure and patterns within the oral histories themselves (U.S. Department of Interior 2000). Through this process, social science can begin to take a position in which, as Leone

(1988:15) puts it, no individual line of evidence will enjoy foundational security, but multiple independent lines of evidence can impose decisive empirical constraints on what we can reasonably consider as a plausible account of the past.



Richard W. Stoffle

This collection of essays was written with the goal of revisiting historical processes and events that affected the lives of American Indians. We endeavored to honor this goal by collaborating with Indian representatives about the topics to research and the people to interview. In addition, we built review mechanisms into this creative process so that Indians were empowered to participate individually and collectively at each stage of this book’s production. That participation included selecting topics to research, sharing stories, identifying people in the communities with whom to talk, writing stories, and sharing feedback about each essay. Although there is no true final product in the history of a living people, we have succeeded in presenting stories that are particular to the Numic people, in a manner suggested by the storytellers themselves.

Because of the support of two federal agencies that are committed to anthropological research, Indian people were able to tell their own stories about who they are, where they came from, and what is important in their lives. Until recently, publication processes in the United States have significantly affected what Indian stories have been published and the way such materials have been presented. When Indian stories have been published, it has often been only after having traveled a torturous path involving reviewers who decide what is accurate and editors who convert oral narratives into standard Western texts devoid of context while taking the liberty of converting phrasing to standard English. Publishers who define the printing-run volume and geographical distribution based on potential market, and citizen and library consumers who finally decide what they want for their personal and public collections, have also significantly affected how Indian stories have been recorded. Even when Indian stories have survived this gauntlet of reviewers, distributors, and consumers, they have often done so by becoming altered and sanitized. Thus the publishing arena has significantly changed the forms as well as some of the purposes inherent in the performance of oral narratives as told by Numic people. Furthermore, the quantity of Indian stories told has always greatly exceeded the number of texts that were written and recorded for current and future generations.

Indian motivations for telling their stories are easy to understand, but it is less obvious why two federal agencies would support such an effort.

Normally such agencies focus on American Indian studies, which are tied to potential agency actions such as ground disturbance, facility construction, repatriation decisions, and environmental restoration. Agency compliance with such actions has become well defined through the three decades of studies that have been conducted since passage of the National Environmental Protection Act, the

American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Native American Graves Repatriation and Protection

Act, and various amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act. Perhaps lost in these efforts to comply with federal regulation is the simple fact that land-holding federal agencies are managing places and things that were produced or at least managed by American Indian people for hundreds—sometimes thousands—of years. It stands to reason then that not only should Indian people have something to say about federal management of their traditional lands, but their thoughts also constitute unique knowledge-based understandings that can significantly contribute to the quality of land management.

Who’s to Know?

In the last 20 years there has been a resurgence of interest in indigenous epistemologies and the complex relationships obtaining between native practitioners of ecological knowledge, the physical environments in which they dwell, and the narratives used to discuss these in-depth relationships. Stilltoe (1998:223) suggests that “the new focus on indigenous knowledge augurs the


next revolution in anthropological method, informants becoming collaborators, and their communities participation-user groups.” Contemporary issues, ranging from representation, power, and knowledge to intellectual property rights and interdisciplinary collaboration, accompany this area of scholarship (Stilltoe (1998:223).

At the same time that scholarship on indigenous knowledge systems and activities has burgeoned within the academy, some Western scientists continue to question the notion that Indian people really know something about their traditional lands and even their own history and origins. Called “the Ancient One” by some Indian people who maintain that he is their ancestor, and known by many non-Indians as Kennewick Man, the human remains found in Kennewick, Washington are believed to be more than 9,000 years old. Interest in these remains has sparked a worldwide debate in which questions about what counts as knowledge have come to the forefront.

According to some scientists, Kennewick Man belonged to a race of human beings that lived in

North America before American Indians arrived.

If judged to be non-Indian, the remains are subject to scientific analysis, including destructive and intrusive techniques. As an object of scientific study Kennewick Man is simply data. If judged to be the ancestor of living Indian people, he is to be ceremonially returned to the ground like any other respected deceased human being. The debate has been ferocious both in and out of court—there are more than 30,000 web sites on this issue. Currently, the ruling favors Western science.

The debate between Western science and what is variously called folk knowledge, indigenous knowledge, and traditional knowledge has old roots that go back hundreds of years and exist today. In a review of a recent article involving the

1890 Ghost Dance ceremony as it occurred on the

Kaibab Paiute Indian reservation in northern Arizona (Stoffle et al. 2000), one reviewer suggested that the Paiute portion of the analysis was inappropriate because these Indian people could not remember that far back. Non-Indian scientists increasingly express such opinions when the event under discussion occurred far back in time (e.g., an origin story) or the event is increasingly remote from human observation (such as an observation about the weather).

Some have argued that the rise of science in

Europe occurred in such a way that it competed

185 with religion. Eventually, all knowledge that did not derive from the scientific method and the certified science community was defined as religious and thus superstitious. Through this process, traditional European knowledge was marginalized from mainstream social thought and policy. In contemporary society, Western science is regularly privileged over other ways of knowing, resulting in serious public debates about what is knowledge and what are the paths by which humans learn about themselves, their history, and their environment. Problems that emerged during the rise of science in Europe have multiplied, with great arrogance being displayed on both sides of the knowledge debate. According to Sheldrake


Like a dye that has seeped through the fabric of industrial life, the scientific paragon of a temporal, detached, objective knowledge has become associated with the very meaning of ‘truth’ and legitimate knowledge. As such it accentuates the division between everyday knowledge and science.

Adam (1998:43) observes that Newtonian science and assumptions now reign supreme; they have become naturalized as an unquestioned habit of mind, foreclosing potential options and choices for ‘trans/action’ more appropriate to contemporary conditions. She suggests that in order to solve the complex social and environmental problems facing society today, we must seek inspiration from temporally and spatially distant sources, such as pre-Enlightenment European thought, Eastern philosophy, or the traditions of American Indians and Australian Aborigines.

Contrasting Western science and Indian oral traditions, Vine Deloria, Jr. in Red Earth, White

Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact

(1997:33), notes:

Respect for non-Western traditions is exceedingly difficult to achieve. Not only did secular scientists rout the

Christian fundamentalists, they placed themselves in the posture of knowing more, on the basis of their own very short-term investigations, than the col-

lective remembrances of the rest of humankind.

Deloria’s book is a polemic designed to offset the scientific argument that Indian stories are myths until confirmed by Western science.

Deloria thus takes the position that everything that Indian people say about their traditional world is true and it is Western scientific myths that need to be confirmed by Indian knowledge.

The book’s attempt to shift back to Indian people the right to define what knowledge is concerning themselves, their environments, and their history ranks as an important step in the epistemology wars.

In Knowledge in a Social World, Alvin Goldman

(1999), one of the world’s foremost epistemologists, presents a general theory of societal knowledge that addresses how society influences both the production and definition of knowledge. In a chapter entitled “Science as convention or ‘form of life,” Goldman (1999:221) states:

No social practice should be enshrined as a privileged way of getting at truth.

Science is a highly elaborate set of social conventions which arose in a particular historical setting and captured the loyalty of our culture, but which has no intrinsic claim to epistemic superiority….

Science is no better than other practices despite the special reputation it enjoys.

Given the fact that Goldman’s book is the first comprehensive theory of societal knowledge, we clearly are to be confronted with more and deeper discussions of these questions.

Knowing Cases

A few examples may serve to illustrate the extent to which Western scientists have contested

Indian knowledge. These cases show both the process by which Indian roles have been attenuated in the lives of some scientists, and some of the reasons why scientists have imposed institutional measures that distance Indian people from the work of scientists. While these cases do serve the primary purpose of illustrating the reason why

Indian people should have the power to publish their own stories, it is important to understand in each of these instances (and throughout this period of strife between Indian people and Western scientists) that there have been some scientists who have consistently maintained an open and balanced debate, such as Dobyns and Euler

(1967), who argued for the rationality of the

Ghost Dance; Shipek (1991), who maintained that

Delfina Cuero was a true ethnobotanist; Stewart

(1987), who argued that peyote was a sacrament in a real religion and should be protected under the law; and Tedlock (1972), who saw history and real events in the poetry of the Zuni. Other scholars, like Vine Deloria, Jr., have centered Indian knowledge and forced Western science to argue its worth (Biolsi and Zimmerman1997; McGuire

1989, 1997). Many of these scholars have risked their careers (see Landsman 1997:171–172) by arguing for the centrality of Indian people’s views of their history and culture.

Knowing Rock Art

The issue of what the path to knowledge is and what knowledge consists of is illustrated by the study of rock art. Whitley (2002:10-13) notes that early North American rock art studies recognized the value of American Indian opinions about the production and meaning of certain pecking and paintings, especially those that appeared to be of recent origin. He mentions that

Henry Schoolcraft, in the mid-1800s, believed that much rock art was religious in nature and could be understood by talking with Indian people, and that

Garrick Mallery in 1893 agreed that religion was involved in the production of rock art, with a special shamanistic association. In the early twentieth century, Julian Steward concurred about the religious nature of some rock art, connecting it to various Indian rites of passage (Whitley 2002:12–

13). Eventually this theory was dropped by Steward in favor of a new view of Numic culture as being largely devoid of religious activities and thus essentially “gastric” in nature. Such an understanding of Numic culture would eventually become the foundation for the work of Robert Heizer and

Martin Baumhoff, who refined and made scientific dogma the hunting magic hypothesis. According to Whitley (2002:15):

The hunting magic hypothesis for rock art became widely accepted, primarily because many archaeologists shared the view that hunter-gatherer cultures were entirely or primarily oriented towards


subsistence. Subsequently, it was applied to rock art over much of North America and, with it, two of its corollary propositions: North American rock art is necessarily prehistoric in age; and historical and modern Native American know nothing about rock art, hence the ethnographic record cannot be used in its interpretation. Intended or not, this served to strip Native Americans of their patrimony.

After the publication of Prehistoric Rock Art of

Nevada and Eastern California (Heizer and Baumhoff 1962), Indian views about rock art were largely muted. Conversations with Indian people about rock art were reopened when federal agencies were mandated by Congress to talk with Native Americans about their traditional resources on federally-managed lands or on lands potentially impacted by federally-funded actions (Whitley

2002:19–22). Now both the traditional meaning and the contemporary cultural value of rock art images are informed by interviews with Indian people. Today, major rock art scholars insist on the value of incorporating into their studies the various peoples who are culturally affiliated with these sites. Layton (2002), for example, demonstrates that a native-based ethnography of rock art, involving those peoples who are culturally connected with it, produces rich and complex understandings and alternative interpretations that are otherwise inaccessible.

Knowing a Volcano

Geomorphic events should be less subject to dispute than rock art, which is by definition symbolic. Yet here, too, scientists and Indian people have disagreed over the possibility that people with an oral culture could retain, over hundreds of years, a memory of culturally important geomorphic events. Deloria (1997:161–186) devotes an entire chapter to such disputes. Here we present one of his examples, which is supplemented by our own American Indian studies and recent archaeological evidence.

Near the town of Flagstaff, Arizona there are about 600 volcanoes of varying size and age. Over the past few million years, volcanic eruptions have occurred in an eruption field that is centered on the San Francisco Peaks. A recent and spectacular eruption created Sunset Crater over a 130–year

187 period, from A.D. 1064 to about 1200. After the initial volcanic eruptions, there were major lava flows in 1090, 1150, and 1180 (Houk 1995:4-5).

Minor events like earthquakes occurred throughout the period.

Indian people lived in the area before the initial eruption in 1064. Some homes were even covered by the lava flows. Soon, two rather interesting settlements were constructed. Wupatki was constructed 12 miles to the north of Sunset Crater, and Walnut Canyon was built 15 miles to the south. Both settlements were primarily occupied during the active period of Sunset Crater. Afterwards, construction largely ceased in both settlements, but Indian people continued to live nearby and visit the area, suggesting that the primary attraction that caused the settlements to be formed was somehow tied to volcanic activity.

Interpretation of the two settlements involves a debate over whether or not the Hopi people, who lived in 1064 within sight of the volcano, could remember the event 900 years later.

Archaeologist Harold Colton (1932) wrote an early professional analysis of the reasons why the settlements were built and why the Hopi story of one eruption could not have been accurate. He rejected the idea that the sites were constructed for ceremonial reasons and was occupied by religious leaders, offering instead the theory that Indian farmers came to the area because the soils became more fertile and better able to hold water due to volcanic ash from Sunset Crater. His analysis rejected a Hopi story about one of the eruptions because it was described as occurring over a four-day period (Malotki and Lomatuwaly’ma


Colton argued that the number four, which is a sacred number to the Hopi, proved the story a myth. He further rejected the theory that the two settlements were being established as religious sites to observe and ceremonially interact with the active volcano, preferring instead his own soil enrichment hypothesis. Deloria’s analysis (1997:184) found no mythical components in the Hopi account of the eruption, but did question Colton’s use of numerology to reject the Hopi story.

Deloria suggests that the extension of such logic would have all Western scientific conclusions involving the number 3 rejected because that number is sacred in Western Christian culture.

Recently the National Park Service funded a research project to better understand American

Indian attachments to and interpretations of Sunset Crater, Wupatki, and Walnut Canyon national monuments. Ten Indian tribes, including the

Hopi, have shared their stories regarding the cultural centrality of this volcano and the meaning of these settlements. Not only has the Hopi story been reconfirmed by these interviews and by other recorded accounts identified by the study, but similar stories have persisted among the Havasupai, Southern Paiutes, and other tribes.

The hypothesis that the settlements were established because the volcanic ash made for better farming has been challenged by recent archaeological research involving a partnership with various Indian tribes, including the Hopi. In a recent article, Elson and others (2002) analyze “corn rocks,” or chunks of lava that have corn impressions. A number of these have been found at Wupatki. Building on Hopi interpretations of these rocks as having been produced in volcanic interactions, Elson went to Hawaii to place corn in various ways in front of flowing or spewing lava. He and his colleagues conclude that the corn rocks were produced in a very dangerous ceremony involving religious leaders who stood next to active fumaroles and placed corn on the rim just before the molten lava was thrown on the fumarole wall.

The hot, corn-impressed rock was then removed from the wall and taken back to the settlement before it became a permanent part of the building wall. The authors also conclude that the Wupatki residents conducted ceremonies designed to interact with the volcano.

Knowing Ourselves

American Indian ethnic identity is subject of much controversy. Here, as in other aspects of their lives, the federal government decides who is and who is not a tribe and thus by implication who can be Indian. Federal acknowledgment is the formal process of making Indian tribes legal in the United States. The process legally requires a technical debate that has to do with reading and contesting Indian history and identity. The process is congressionally mandated to be supervised by the Branch of Acknowledgment and Research in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Interior (BAR). The epistemological debate that is involved in federal acknowledgment has been joined by a number of Indian peoples and scholars

(Blu 1980, 1994; Landsman and Ciborski 1992).

Tribal status is critical to Indian people be-

188 cause it is a prerequisite for having an official tribal roll, federally reserved lands, and dependent sovereign nation status within the United States.

A wide range of federal resources become available to the people of the newly acknowledged tribe, including the potential of tax–free enterprises and casinos. But it is identity and recognition as being “real Indians” that are expressed as motivating most Indian groups to seek this status.

Because official tribal status brings about the allocation of resources, power, and prestige, the acknowledgment process is routinely contested by various interest groups and ‘devil’s advocates,’ including federally recognized tribes, the BAR staff who are legally required to contest petitions for tribal status, states where the potential tribe resides, and scholars of various disciplines. Some of these scholars have their academic reputations at stake because of having gone on record in the past as doubting the existence of the group seeking acknowledgment.

For some petitioners, like the San Juan Paiutes in northern Arizona, the battle was hotly fought for years with dozens of lawyers, whereas for others, like the Timbisha Shoshone of Death

Valley, the process was deceptively simple. The

San Juan Paiutes were an enclave minority within the Navajo Nation, and the Timbisha were enclaved in Death Valley National Park. Both experienced tremendous resistance to the acquisition of reserved lands after being acknowledged. Expert witnesses contributed opinions regarding whether or not the petitioners met the BAR requirements, even after they had been legally defined as aboriginal groups, or groups that were in possession of the land at the time the United

States assumed sovereignty. Both tribes now have reserved lands and formal government-togovernment relationships with the federal government. These tribes continue to battle for social, cultural, and physical space within the polities that enclaved and continued to dominate them.

For other tribes, like the Lumbee of North

Carolina, the Houma of Louisiana, and the Mowa

Choctaw of Alabama, recognition continues to be an unachieved goal (Blu 1980, 1994; Matte 1999).

The Mowas, for example, are an interesting case because they have received official recognition as an Indian tribe from the state of Alabama. They have a small land base, acquired through feesimple title, which constitutes their reservation, complete with headquarter offices and even fed-

eral programs. The Mowas have been rejected twice by BAR, on the basis of a single criterion— possession, or lack thereof, of continuous genealogical connections with a list of federally recognized names, in this case those from the Treaty of

Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830. Such a criterion is impossible to meet for the Mowa because they retained traditional Indian names that were not recorded systematically by federal agents; furthermore, after the Civil War they became invisible in a segregated society that only recognized people who could be classed as either black or white. This case is of interest not only because it was disputed by neighboring tribes and the federal government, but because publishing anything about their history and ethnicity became impossible, inasmuch as it was widely assumed by academics to be naive.

Eventually, a small book entitled They Say the Wind

Is Red, The Alabama Choctaw: Lost in their Own Land was written by Jacqueline Matte (1999) and published by a small, local press in Alabama. The initial publication run was soon sold out and so was a much larger run. Today the book has been reissued by a major press, giving it legitimacy and visibility. The new version of the book has a foreword by Vine Deloria, Jr., who tells the federal government to believe the Mowa Choctaw because they know who they are. The case is also enlightening because a small alternative press put their story into print and the public consumers of their story kept the book in print and thus kept the Mowa’s arguments of ethnic identity alive.

New Directions in Knowledge

Some scholars have moved beyond issues of exclusion and have found publication outlets that do not rely on dominant Western scientific opinion. Such scholars generally use an alternative press, which is willing to submit itself to external criticism from peers in order to present an alternative voice. Gregory Cajete, a professor of education and member of the Santa Clara Pueblo, has been especially successful in accomplishing this goal. His books, which typically are published by an alternative press, have been a hit with various readerships and, to some extent, with an academic audience that has begun to open itself to alternative views of reality. Cajete (1999) brings his own cultural observations to ecology, combining these with other essays to show that native and traditional peoples in North America both understood and properly used ecological knowledge to sustain their health and environments. In his book Native

Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence (2000), Cajete suggests what Deloria and others have maintained, that American Indian people successfully studied all aspects of their environment to the extent that they should be viewed as being scientists and having scientific knowledge. Such works contribute to a growing respect for native knowledge and an awareness that Indian people should be involved in the management of their traditional resources on federal lands because they really understand what ecosystemic features are involved and how to address issues of biodiversity and cultural preservation.

The Committee’s Commentaries

It is fitting that the Indian people who have guided this book for three years have the opportunity to share some final thoughts. Below are the commentaries of members of the Indian History

Committee and Writers Subgroup.

Richard Arnold

This effort represents the first time that tribal representatives came together to share their personal and tribal stories collectively and in a systematic manner, under the leadership of the Consolidated Group of Tribes and Organizations, and with the assistance of the American Indian Writers

Subgroup, the Indian History Committee, and the

University of Arizona’s Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology. Clearly, it was one of the most challenging efforts that we have ever undertaken, since we endeavored to collect and edit valuable information that we are not accustomed to sharing.

All too often, we see valuable information being lost as our elders pass on. Conversely, we have many of our people that still retain the culture and language and those important stories that give us the teachings that are necessary for leading a productive life. Throughout contemporary history, many anthropologists and archaeologists have been extremely critical of Numic people, especially the Southern Paiute, by minimizing our rich culture. As demonstrated in this document, we have finally achieved a different and refreshing perspective about whom and what we are!


Johnnie Bobb

Indian people are passing on, the young ones are given to drugs and alcohol, but it is not too late to let the tribes know what we are doing to preserve the life and culture; we need to let people know. In 1863 the Shoshone gave up land rights in the Treaty of Ruby Valley; we were then nations, not just small bands like some White people called us back then, like it is explained [in this book]. But the Yomba [Shoshone] people are now scattered in different states. It is important to keep gathering information, to keep letting young people know about themselves and the land. The old photographs, for example, they need to be explained so that people also know what the old life meant for the Indians.

Maurice Churchill-Frank

Since I was a child, I have been taught about the ways of the Shoshone from my grandmother.

She taught me everything in Shoshone and she didn’t speak much English. I remember us watching the first man land on the moon in July of

1969. We had an old black and white TV hooked up to an electric generator. When she saw it, she said, “That’s not real, you know. Man was not meant to go up to the moon.” She also told me not to count the stars because it brings hunger, and not to point at rainbows because your fingernail would fall off. She had lots of stories. I don’t know what they all mean, but they all had a reason. These are important stories, and it is good to remember our ways. In this book are some of the stories about who we are and where we have been.

I went to school at the Indian school of the

Yomba Reservation, and my foster sister Shirley taught me English when I was six years old and I taught her Shoshone. That was a good trade. In the sixth grade I had an interpreter. To this day whenever I get a serious question, I flip it from

English to Shoshone in my mind, and then I answer back in English.

Traditionally, young people would approach elders to learn about their realms of knowledge, but elders would not seek out people to teach.

The problem is that this isn’t happening as much today. When young people do ask about the old ways I think it is important to follow our way. My grandmother told me that when I was six years old. I always knew when I was supposed to listen.

She was small-framed and soft-spoken, but when

190 she looked me in the eye and began speaking deliberately I knew I needed to do what she said. I keep her lessons in mind and I want younger people to learn this too.

It’s important that Indians be involved in these projects so that their history and ideas are not lost. It’s also important for Indians to be credited for the work that they do and their willingness to share.

Jerry Charles

The book is real good. There’s lots of information but there is a lot of people out there that know a lot of stuff. Elders don’t want to talk much. If they see the book finished they should talk perhaps. Maybe in the future a book should be written in Indian and translated. This book should include information about the Treaty of

Ruby Valley. My sister, Helen [Eben] may have some old pictures that should be included too.

I grew up in a non-Indian way when my parents passed away I had no one to talk to in Indian and now I have to start over and go to class again.

I can understand, so it won’t…. The old people are no longer around; most are younger people today. The old ones are pretty hard to find.

Younger people should be interested in the work.

It will help them remember who you are and what you are and they already believe that now because

I tell them all the time. It will be helpful to put it in the library.

Betty Cornelius

The development of the land west of the

Continental Divide during the 1800s was devastating for the indigenous people of the Great Basin region, Mohave Desert, and the Colorado Plateau in that they lost their traditional lands and contact with their subsistence ecosystem for their survival.

The impacts from this unnatural phenomenon affected the Southern Paiutes, Northern Paiutes,

Western Shoshoni, Owens Valley Paiutes, and the

Mojave. Encroachment by the influx of Euroamericans seeking minerals and habitable lands for themselves just lambasted the native people so that they were forced to develop new strategies of ingenuity for survival. Their tenacity and perseverance allowed them to diligently pursue new skills and strategies of integration to match the strong outside influences that probably would have annihilated them. This new perspective enabled them

to help rebuild their homeland, if not helping to destroy it, through government agents placed there to protect the United States interests and other frontiersmen who were trying to establish a residence in this arid land of the West.

These early patrons recognized that teaching skills and other abilities to the natives could be used constructively through positive labor. In turn, the natives were interested in helping the newcomers because it gave them more influential power among their people and for that time and place they were seen as contributors to societal changes. Some worked in the mines and others worked as ranch hands. The native women were also put to work by doing labor such as cooking, laundering, and maid services. Even though their previous lifestyle was put on the back burner, forward movement was still there. So, all was not lost, though the land was raped and stripped of its surface soils and timber; the indigenous people surveyed what was left and adapted accordingly.

They suffered low wages, diseases, and a land no longer capable of sustaining their basic needs.

American interests swayed toward finding profitable resources and a place to practice Christian religion. The native people wondered amongst themselves how to make logic of this.

It must have been a confusing time! Through this hazing, the native people stood back astonished at what was happening, yet they chose not to falter. This was their homelands and they witnessed with heartbreak what had occurred, yet with the new opportunities that arose they realized that one door had closed and another opened.

Many had died from diseases for their immune systems were not yet built to combat these communicable diseases. Most of the booming mining towns fell due to lack of water, exhausted mineral caches, or to the greener-fields syndrome that drove the populations elsewhere.

The native people stayed, for this was the only land they ever knew. When this happened, and it happened frequently, the native people were hardly in the position to carry on with townships because they were not recognized as entrepreneurs and they didn’t quite have the knowledge to perpetuate standards needed to work at the same table with the White men. This desertion made conditions destitute for many Indians. Encroachment continued and something had to be done.

Many were placed on reservations; some ran into the hills, a few were invited to share traditional

191 lands from other cultures. Whatever the background, the native residents of this area of the

United States established themselves firmly by staying with the lands and thereby declaring to the

Euroamericans that they still claimed this residency as proclaimed to them by their Creator who put them there.

The Southern Paiutes, Northern Paiutes,

Western Shoshoni, Owens Valley Paiutes, and

Mohave weathered the brunt of the settling of the

West, as recorded from many documents written on this region. The Indian History Project, sponsored by the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Operations Office, and U.S.

Nellis Air Force Base and Nevada Test and Training Range, has offered a unique perspective concerning lands put under seclusion for national security’s sake back in the 1940s, by working with native people who have an inherent interest in revisiting and offering advice and preservation measures of archaeological sites and significant geographic landmarks located there. By returning to these lands, native people state that this inclusion gave them a voice of the ancient cultures from whom they descend, and tribal elders and the youth once again went to walk in the same areas that ancestors once treaded. What was found at these sites was evidence that homes of native people existed and that they had communities and they were co-existing with the land.

In reviewing the Indian History Project manuscript, I was struck by the amount of trees that were destroyed for economic benefit. The state had 12 percent of timber and most of it was utilized for economic benefit. I was amazed by the extent the minerals played in the development of the foundation of Nevada. I was saddened and made happy at the same time at the events that had taken place within a 200–year period, especially of the severity and long-lasting impacts of encroachment and the mandated need to educate

Indian children by rounding them up and placing them in boarding schools; military discipline was used against children, and when they went back to their families, their families couldn’t teach them the oral traditions because they didn’t understand the language anymore. Thankfully, today, tribal nations are making efforts to restore this dilemma by seeking ways to bring back the language once considered lost.

How am I affected by the traditional views given in the Indian History Project manuscript?

For one, they were given a chapter; two, they are the descendants of those who were encroached against; three, they carried their history into the twenty-first century; four, they continue to be the experts. Where do we go from here in other areas to be studied? To continue working toward conservation and preservation of cultural affairs as it pertains to today’s living Indian people.



Aberele, David F.

1962 Note on Relative Deprivation Theory as Applied to Millenarian and other Cult Movements. In Millennial

Dreams in Action, Sylvia L. Thrupp, ed., pp. 209-214. New York:

Schocken Books.

Adam, Barbara

1998 Timescapes and Modernity: The Environ-

mental and Invisible Hazards. New

York: Routledge.

Aguirre Beltran, Gonzalo

1973 Regiones de Refugio. Mexico, D.F.: Instituto Nacional Indigenista.

Alley, John R.

1982 Prelude to Dispossession: The Fur

Trade’s Significance for the Northern Utes and Southern Paiutes. Utah

Historical Quarterly 50(2).

Angel, Myron

1881 History of Nevada. Oakland, Calif.:

Thompson & West.

Anthony, David W.

1997 Prehistoric Migration as a Social

Process. In Migrations and Invasions in

Archaeological Explanation, J. Chapman and H. Hamerow, eds., pp. 21-

32. [BAR International Series 664.]

Oxford: Archaeopress.

Anyon R., T. J. Ferguson, L. Jackson, and L.


2000 Working Together: Native Americans and

Archaeologists. K.E. Dongoske, M.

Aldenderfer, and K. Doehner, eds., pp.61-66. Washington, D.C.: Society for American Archaeology.

Anyon, R., T. J. Ferguson, L. Jackson, L.

Lane, and P. Vincent

1997 Native American Oral Traditions and Archaeology: Issues of Structure, Relevance, and Respect. In


Native Americans and Archaeologists:

Stepping Stones to Common Ground. N.

Sidler, K.E. Dongoske, R. Anyon and A. S. Downer, eds., pp. 77-87.

Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira


Anyon, R. and T. J. Ferguson

1984 Settlement Patterns and Changing

Adaptations in the Zuni Region after A.D. 1000. Paper presented at the 1983 Symposium, San Juan Archaeological Center and Library,

Bloomfield, New Mexico.


1871 A Council of War. Appleton’s Journal

6:124 (August 12). New York: D.

Appleton and Company.

1965 Untitled. [Reprint of an excerpt originally published in the St. Louis

Republic on December 13, 1847.]

Missouri Historical Society Bulletin 21,

St. Louis.

Archuleta, Margaret L., Brenda J. Child, and

K. Tisanina Lomawaima

2000 Away from Home: American Indian

Boarding School Experiences 1879-

2000. Santa Fe: Museum of New

Mexico Press.

Arrington, Leonard J.

1958 Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic

History of the Latter-day Saints 1830-

1900. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard

University Press.

Bagley, J. M., W. D. Criddle, and R. K. Higginson

1959 Water Supplies and Their Uses in Iron,

Washington, and Kane Counties of Utah.

[Utah State University. Agricultural

Experiment Station Special Report

13]. Logan: Utah State University.


Bailey, Paul

1957 Wovoka: The Messiah Indian. Los Angeles: Westernlore Press.

1970 Ghost Dancing Messiah. Los Angeles:

Westernlore Press.

Ball, Sidney H.

1907 A Geologic Reconnaissance in

Southwestern Nevada and Eastern

California. U.S. Geological Survey

Bulletin 308. [Photographic reproduction by S. Paher, Nevada Publications, Las Vegas]

Bancroft, Hubert Howe

1890 The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft.

San Francisco: L. A. Bancroft.

Beck, Charlotte, ed.

1999 Models for the Millenium: Great Basin

Anthropology Today. Salt Lake City:

University of Utah Press.

Beck, Colleen, M. Nieves Zedeño, and Robert


2000 Time, Trust, and the Measure of

Success: The Nevada Test Site Cultural Resources Program. In Work-

ing Together: Native Americans and Ar-

chaeologists, K Dongoske, M.

Aldenderfer, and K. Doehner, eds., pp. 165–172. Washington, D.C.:

Society for American Archaeology.

Beck, Warren A. and Ynez D. Haase

1989 Historical Atlas of the American West.

Norman: University of Oklahoma


Belmont Courier

1888-1891 Selected issues.

Berg, Lucile Rae

1941 History of South-Central Nevada. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University of Nevada, Reno.

Berkhofer, Robert F., Jr.

1978 The White Man’s Indian. New York:

Vintage Books.


Billings, W. D.

1951 Vegetational Zonation in the Great

Basin of Western North America.

In Les bases écologiques de la régénération de la végétation des zones arides. International Union of Biological

Sciences, Series B, No. 9, pp.101-122.

Biolsi, Thomas, and Larry Zimmerman, eds.

1997 Indians and Anthropologists. Tucson:

University of Arizona Press.

Bishop Indian Tribal Council

2002 Owens Valley Paiute Calendar.

Bishop, California.

Blackbird, Andrew J.

1887 History of the Ottawa and Chippewa In-

dians of Michigan. Petoskey, Mich.:

Reprint by Little Traverse Regional

Historical Society Inc.

Bleak, James Godson

1928 Annals of the Southern Utah Mission,

Book A. [Typescript copy of original manuscript covering the years

1849-1869.] Provo, Utah: Brigham

Young University.

Blu, Karen I.

1980 The Lumbee Problem: The Making of an

American Indian People. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

1994 Reading Back To Find Community:

Lumbee Ethnohistory. In North

American Indian Anthropology: Essays

on Society and Culture. Raymond De-

Mallie and Alfonso Ortiz, eds., pp.

278-295. Norman: University of

Oklahoma Press.

Bolton, Herbert E.

1950 Pageant in the Wilderness: The

Story of the Escalante Expedition to the Interior Basin, 1776. Utah

Historical Quarterly 18, Salt Lake City.

Bowers, Martha, and Hans Muessig

1982 History of Central Nevada: An Overview

of the Battle Mountain District. [Cul-

tural Resource Series No. 4.] Reno:

Nevada Bureau of Land Management.

Braatz, Timothy

1998 The Question of Regional Bands and Subtribes among the Preconquest Pai (Hualapai and Havasupai) Indians of Northwestern

Arizona. American Indian Quarterly


Brewerton, G. D.

1848 Overland with Kit Carson, a Narrative of the Old Spanish Trail in ’48.

In Old Spanish Trail. Santa Fe to Los

Angeles, Hafen, L. & A. Hafen, eds.

With extracts from contemporary records and including diaries of Antonio Armijo and Orville Pratt. Lincoln and London: University of

Nebraska Press.

Brooks, G. R., ed.

1977 The Southwestern Expedition of Jedediah

Smith: His Personal Account of the Jour-

ney to California 1826-1827. Glendale,

Calif: Arthur A. Clark Co.

Brooks, Juanita

1942 Dudley Leavitt: Pioneer to Southern

Utah. Privately published. St.

George, Utah.: Collection of Washington County Library.

1949 The Arizona Strip. The Pacific Specta-

tor III(1):290-301.

1950a The Mountain Meadows Massacre. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University


1950b The Southern Indian Mission. In

Under Dixie Sun: A History of Washington County by Those Who Loved their

Forebears. St. George, Utah.: Washington County Chapter D.U.P.

1972 Journal of the Southern Indian Mission:

Diary of Thomas D. Brown. [Western

Text Society Number 4.] Logan,

Utah: Utah State University Press

Brown, John

1954 The Jefferson Hunt Wagon Train:

James S. Brown’s Account. In Jour-

nals of the Forty-Niners: Salt Lake to

Los Angeles. Hafen, LeRoy R. and

Ann W. Hafen, eds. Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company.

Bunte, Pamela, and Robert Franklin

1987 From the Sands to the Mountains:

Change and Persistence in a Southern

Paiute Community. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Burton, Sir Richard

1862 The Look of the West 1860. Lincoln:

University of Nebraska Press. Reprint.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

1936 Why the Indian Schools Failed. In-

dian Education 3(1).

Cajete, Gregory, ed.

1999 A People’s Ecology: Explorations in Sus-

tainable Living. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Clear Light Publishers.

Cajete, Gregory

2000 Native Science: Natural Laws of Interde-

pendence. Santa Fe, New Mexico:

Clear Light Publishers.

Carpenter, Jay Arnold

1953 The History of Fifty Years of Mining at Tonopah, 1900-1950. Bureau

of Mines and Geology Bulletins 47(1).

Reno, University of Nevada.

Casebier, Dennis G., and Chester King

1976 Background to Historic and Prehistoric

Resources of the East Mojave Desert Re-

gion. Riverside, Calif.: Bureau of

Land Management.


Centennial Oral Histories

1974 Jessie Tom Lee, Nevada as told by

June Tom, recorded December 17,

1974, 1:30-3:30 P.M. Ms. in Special

Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno.

Central Nevadan

November 20, 1890

Chapman, A. I.

1891 Report of the Secretary of War. Ms. in Special Collections Department,

University of Nevada Reno, 83-


Chalfant, W. A.

1933 The Story of Inyo. Bishop, California:

Community Printing and Publishing.

Chavez, Fray Angelico, and Ted J. Warner, translator and editor

1976 The Dominguez-Escalante Journal: Their

Expedition through Colorado, Utah,

Arizona, and New Mexico in 1776.

Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press.

Chloride Belt

December 17, 1890

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

1866 Journal of Discourses 11 (264). Liverpool: E. D. and S. E. Richards.

Cleland, Charles E.

1992 Rites of Conquest: The History and Cul-

ture of Michigan’s Native Americans.

Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of

Michigan Press.

Clemmer, Richard O.

1978 Pine Nuts, Cattle, and the Ely

Chain: Rip-off Resource Replacement vs. Homeostatic Equilibrium.

In Selected Papers from the 14



Basin Anthropological Conference, D. R.

Tuohy, ed., pp. 61-76. Socorro,

New Mexico: Ballena Press.

Colton, Harold S.

1932 A Possible Hopi Tradition of the

Eruption of Sunset Crater. Kiva:

Museum Notes 5(4).

Corbett, Pearson H.

1952 Jacob Hamblin, the Peacemaker. Salt

Lake City: Deseret Book Co.

Coville, Fredrick Vernon

1892 Panamint Indians of California.

American Anthropologist 5, October

(old series).

Cowichan Native Tradition

1999 Share Our Pride: A Video Guide to the

Native Heritage Center. Videotape.

Duncan, B.C.: Cowichan Nation of


Cragen, Dorthy Clora

1975 The Boys in the Sky-Blue Pants: The

Men and Events at Camp Independence and Forts of Eastern California, Nevada

and Utah- 1862-1877. Fresno, Calif.:

Pioneer Publishing Company.

Crampton, C. Gregory, and Steven K. Madsen

1994 In Search of the Spanish Trail: Santa Fe

to Los Angeles, 1829-1848. Salt Lake

City: Gibbs-Smith Publisher.

Cruikshank, Julie

1998 The Social Life of Stories: Narrative and

Knowledge in the Yukon Territory. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Crum, Steven J.

1994 The Road On Which We Came: A His-

tory of the Western Shoshone. Salt Lake

City: University of Utah Press.

Cutter, Donald C.

1977 Prelude to a Pageant in the Wilderness. Western Historical Quarterly 8(1):


D’Azevedo, Warren, ed.

1986 Handbook of North American Indians:

Vol 11: Great Basin. Washington,

D.C: Smithsonian Institution Press.


Danberg, Grace

1968 Wovoka. Nevada Historical Society

Quarterly 11(2).

Degroot, Henry

1860 [1962] Sketches of the Washoe Silver Mines. In First Directory of Nevada

Territory by J.Wells Kelly. Los Gatos,

Calif.: Talisman Press.

De Laguna, F.

1958 Geological Confirmation of Native

Traditions, Wakutut, Alaska. Ameri-

can Antiquity 23.

Dellenbaugh, Frederick S.

1908 A Canyon Voyage: The Narrative of the

Second Powell Expedition Down the

Green-Colorado River from Wyoming, and the Explorations on Land, in the

Years 1871 and 1872. New York:

Putnam & Sons.

1914 Fremont and '49: The Story of a Re-

markable Career and its Relation to the

Exploration and Development of our

Western Territory, Especially of Califor-

nia. New York: Putnam & Sons.

Deloria, Vine, Jr.

1969 Custer Died For Your Sins. New York:


1970 We Talk, You Listen: New Tribes, New

Turf. New York: The Macmillan


1974 Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties: An

Indian Declaration of Independence. Austin: University of Texas Press.

1994 God Is Red: A Native View of Religion.

Golden, Col.: Fulcrum Publishing.

1997 Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans

and the Myth of Scientific Fact. Golden,

Col.: Fulcrum Publishing.

Deloria, Vine, Jr. and Clifford Lytle

1984 The Nations Within: The Past and Fu-

ture of American Indian Sovereignty.

New York: Pantheon Books.

Densmore, Frances

1929 [1979] Chippewa Customs. [Reprint.]

St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Dobyns, Henry

1983 Their Numbers Become Thinned: Native

American Population Dynamics in East-

ern North America. Knoxville, Tenn.:

University of Tennessee Press.

Dobyns, Henry F. and Robert C. Euler

1967 The Ghost Dance of 1889 Among the

Pai Indians of Northwestern Arizona.

[Studies in Anthropology No. 1.]

Prescott, Ariz.: Prescott College


1970 Wauba Yuma's People : The Compara-

tive Socio-political Structure of the Pai In-

dians of Arizona. [Studies in Anthropology No. 3.] Prescott, Ariz.:

Prescott College Press.

1971 The Havasupai People. Phoenix: Indian Tribal Series.

1998 The Nine Lives of Cherum, the

Paiu Tokumhet. American Indian

Quarterly 22(3):363-385.

Dongoske, K., L. Jenkins, and T.J. Ferguson

1993 Understanding the Past Through

Hopi Oral Tradition. Native Peoples

Magazine 6(2): 24-31.

Douglas, H.

1870 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Af-

fairs, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S.

Government Printing Office.

Douglass, William and Robert A. Nylen, eds.

1992 Letters from the Nevada Frontier: Corre-

spondence of Tasker L. Oddie, 1898-

1902. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.


DuBarton, Anne and Harold Drollinger

1996 Results of a Class III Survey at Tub

Spring, Reitmann Seep, and Captain

Jack Spring, Nevada Test Site, Nye

County, Nevada. [Desert Research

Institute Technical Report No. 90.]

Las Vegas: DRI, University and

Community College System of Nevada.

Du Bois, Cora

1939 The 1870 Ghost Dance. University of

California Anthropological Records 3(1).

Berkeley: University of California


Dundes, Alan

1968 Oral Literature. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Dunlay, Thomas W.

2000 Kit Carson and the Indians. Lincoln:

University of Nebraska Press.

Earl, Phil I.

1986 Indian Mail Carriers. Sparks Tribune,

January 15, page 7A.

Eastman (Ohiyesa), Charles A.

1902 Indian Boyhood. New York: McClure,

Phillips, and Co.

1911 The Soul of the Indian. Boston:

Houghton Mifflin.

1915 The Indian Today: The Past and Future

of the First American. Garden City,

New York: Doubleday, Page, & Co.

1916 From the Deep Woods to Civilization:

Chapters in the Autobiography of an In-

dian. [Bison Edition, 1977]. Lincoln:

University of Nebraska Press.

1918 Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains.

Boston: Little, Brown.

Edwards, Elbert B.

1978 200 Years in Nevada. Salt Lake City:

Publishers Press.


Egan, Ferol

1972 Sand in a Whirlwind: The Paiute Indian

War of 1860. Garden City, New

York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

Elliott, Russell R.

1987 History of Nevada. [Second Edition,

Revised.] Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press.

1988 Nevada’s Twentieth-Century Mining Boom. Reno: University of Nevada Press.

Elko Independent

1890-91 Selected issues.

Elson, Mark D., Michael H. Ort, S. Jerome

Hesse, Wendell A. Duffield

2002 Lava, Corn, and Ritual in the

Northern Southwest. American An-

tiquity 67(1): 119-135.

Euler, Robert C.

1966 Southern Paiute Ethnohistory. An-

thropological Papers 78. Salt Lake City:

University of Utah Press.

1967 Ethnographic Methodology: A Tri-

Chronic Study in Culture Change,

Informant Reliability and Validity from the Southern Paiute. In Ameri-

can Historical Anthropology: Essays in

Honor of Leslie Spier. C. Riley and W.

Taylor, eds., pp.61-7. Carbondale:

Southern Illinois University Press.

1972 The Paiute People. Phoenix: Indian

Tribal Series.

Executive Memorandum

1994 Government-To-Government Consulta-

tion. Washington, D.C, April 29.

Executive Order 13007

1996 Sacred Sites. Washington, D.C., May


Fenton, R. N.

1859 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Af-

fairs for the Year 1859, Report No.

37, pp. 203–204. Washington, D.C.:

U.S. Government Printing Office.

Ferguson, T.J.

1995 Zuni and the Courts. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press.

Ferguson, T.J. and E. R. Hart

1985 A Zuni Atlas. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Ferguson, T.J., J. Dongoske, M. Yeatts, and l.


2000 Hopi Oral History and Archaeology. In Working Together: Native

Americans and Archaeologists, K. Dongoske, M. Aldenderfer, and K.

Doehner, eds., pp. 45-60. Washington, D.C.: Society for American Archaeology.

Forbes, Jack D.

1967 Nevada Indians Speak. Reno: University of Nevada Press.

1969 Native Americans of California and Ne-

vada. Healdsburg, Calif.: Naturegraph Publications.

Forney, J.

1859 May 11. Visit of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs to Southern Utah.

Deseret News 9(10):73.

Fowler, Don, ed.

1977 Models. In Great Basin Prehistory, A

Symposium. [Desert Research Institute Publications in Social Sciences

No. 12.] Reno: University of Nevada.

1986 History of Research. In Handbook of

North American Indians: Vol. 11:

Great Basin. W. L. D’Azevedo, ed., pp. 15-30. Washington, D.C.:

Smithsonian Institution Press.

Fowler D. and C. Fowler, eds.

1971 Anthropology of the Numa: John Wesley

Powell’s Manuscripts on the Numic Peo-

ples of Western North America, 1868-


1880. [Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology Number 14.]

Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Gheen, Levi

1872 Letters to U.S. Special Indian Agent in Salt Lake City, Utah, Major Geo.

Dodge. U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Western Shoshone Agency,

Farmer-In-Charge. Reno: University of Nevada Special Collections Department 97-43.

Gilmore, Melvin

1933 Some Chippewa Uses of Plants. Pa-

pers of the Michigan Academy of Science,

Arts, and Letters 19. Ann Arbor,

Mich.: University of Michigan Press.

Goldfield News

October 27, 1905

Goldman, Alvin I.

1999 Knowledge in a Social World. Oxford,

England: Clarendon Press.

Goldstein, L., Ed.

1996 Ethics in Archaeology: Society for

American Archaeology Principles of

Archaeological Ethics. American An-

tiquity 61:451-452.

Grayson, Donald K.

1993 The Desert’s Past: A Natural Prehistory

of the Great Basin. Washington, D.C:

Smithsonian Institution Press.

Gregory, Herbert E.

1945 Population in Southern Utah. Eco-

nomic Geography 21:29-57.

Gregory, Herbert E., and Raymond C. Moore

1931 The Kaiparowits Region: A Geographic and Geologic Reconnaissance of Parts of Utah and Arizona.

United States Geological Survey Profes-

sional Papers 164:1-161.

Hafen, LeRoy R. and Ann W. Hafen

1954a Journals of the Forty-Niners, Salt Lake

to Los Angeles. [The Far West and

Rockies Series, vol. II.] Glendale,

Calif.: The Arthur H. Clark Company.

1954b Old Spanish Trail: Santa Fé to Los An-

geles. Glendale, Calif.: The Arthur H.

Clark Company.

1993 Old Spanish Trail. Santa Fe to Los An-

geles. With Extracts from Contemporary

Records and including Diaries of Antonio

Armijo and Orville Pratt. Lincoln and

London: University of Nebraska


Halmo, David B.

1994 With One Voice: Collective Action in Cultural Impact Assessment.

Practicing Anthropology 16(3):14-16.

Hamblin, Jacob

1881 Jacob Hamblin. A Narrative of his Per-

sonal Experiences as Frontiersman, Mis-

sionary to the Indians and Explorer.

[The Faith-Promoting Series, No.

5.] Salt Lake City.

1969 Jacob Hamblin. James A. Little, ed.

Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, Inc.

Harney, Corbin

1995 The Way It Is: One Water–One Air–

One Mother Earth. Nevada City,

Calif.: Blue Dolphin Publishing.

Harper, Kimball T.

1986 Historic Environments. In Hand-

book of North American Indians: Vol.

11: Great Basin. Warren L.

D’Azevedo, ed., pp. 51-63. Washington: Smithsonian Institution.

Heizer, R. and M. Baumhoff

1962 Prehistoric Rock Art of Nevada and

Eastern California. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Herford, R.

1986 Modern Alluvial History of the Paria River Drainage Basin, Southern

Utah. Quaternary Research 25:293-


Hittman, Michael

1973 The 1870s Ghost Dance at the

Walker River Reservation: A Reconstruction. Ethnohistory 20(3).

1990 [1997] Wovoka and the Ghost Dance.

Yerington, Nevada: Yerington Paiute Tribe and Dangberg Foundation, 1990. [Expanded edition printed in 1997.] Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

1996 Corbett Mack: The Life of a Northern

Paiute As told by Michael Hittman.

Lincoln: University of Nebraska


Holmgren, N.

1972 Plant Geography in the Intermountain Region. In Intermountain Flora.

A. Cronquist, A. H. Holmgren, N.

H. Holmgren, and J. L. Reveal, eds.,

Vol. I, pp. 77-161. New York: Hafner Publishing Co.

Holt, Ronald L.

1992 Beneath These Red Cliffs: An Ethnohis-

tory of the Utah Paiutes. Albuquerque:

University of New Mexico Press.

Hopkins, Sarah Winnemucca

1883 Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs

and Claims. Boston: Cupples,

Upham & Co.

Horton, Gary A.

1997 A Historical Perspective of the State's So-

cioeconomic, Resource, Environmental,

and Casino Gaming Development. Nevada Division of Water Planning.



Houk, Rose

1995 Sunset Crater Volcano National Monu-

ment. Tucson, AZ: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association.

Huff, Delores J.

1997 To Live Heroically: Institutional Racism

and American Indian Education. SUNY

Series. Albany: State University of

New York Press.

Hulse, James W.

1971 Lincoln County, Nevada: 1864-1909;

History of a Mining Region. Nevada.

[Studies in History and Political Science No. 10.] Reno: University of

Nevada Press.

Hutchings, Selar S. and George Steward

1953 Increasing Forage Yields and Sheep Pro-

duction on Intermountain Winter Ranges.

[U.S. Department of Agriculture

Circular 925.] Washington, D.C.

Intertribal Council of Nevada

1974 Manuscript transcripts of interviews with Nevada and California elders for the state’s bicentennial. Reno:

Nevada Historical Society Manuscript Archives.

Inyo Independent

1871-91 Selected Issues.

Inyo Index

March 18, 1891

Ivins, Anthony W.

1924 Traveling Over Forgotten Trails: A

Mystery of the Grand Canyon

Solved. Improvement Era 27(2): 1017-


Jackson, Nicholas D.

1969 A History of the Stewart Indian School.

Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Reno:

University of Nevada.

Jarjo, Joy

2002 How We Became Human: New and Se-

lected Poems 1975-2001. New York;

London: W.W. Norton & Co.

Jenkins, J. Geraint

1992 Getting Yesterday Right: Interpreting the

Heritage of Wales. Cardiff, Wales,

England: University of Wales Press.

Jensen, Andrew

1926 History of the Las Vegas Mission.

Nevada State Historical Society Papers

No. 5, Reno.

John, Elizabeth A.H.

1975 Storms Brewed in Other Men’s Worlds:

The Confrontation of Indians, Spanish, and French in the Southwest, 1540-

1795. College Station: Texas A&M

University Press.

Johnson, Ed

1977 Native Language was Forbidden:

Discipline was Strict for Stewart

Students. Nevada Appeal Apple Tree,

February 13.

1977 Steward Indian School has Progressed. Nevada Appeal Apple Tree,

March 13.

Jordan, Terry G.

1993 North American Cattle-ranching Fron-

tiers: Origins, Diffusion, and Differentia-

tion. Albuquerque: University of

New Mexico Press

Kehoe, Alice Beck

1968 The Ghost Dance Religion in Saskatchewan, Canada. Plains Anthro-

pologist 13(1):296-304.

1989 The Ghost Dance: Ethnohistory and Re-

vitalization. New York: Holt,

Rinehart and Winston.

Kelley, William H.

1967 A Study of Southern Arizona School-

Age Indian Children 1966-1967. Bureau of Ethnic Research, Depart-


ment of Anthropology. Tucson:

University of Arizona.

Kelly, Isabel

1932 Ethnography of the Surprise Valley

Paiute. University of California Publica-

tions in American Archaeology and Eth-

nology 31(3) 67-210.

1934 Southern Paiute Bands. American

Anthropologist 36:548-560.

1939 Southern Paiute Shamanism. An-

thropological Records 2(4):51-167.

1971 Southern Paiute Ethnography. An-

thropological Papers 69. Salt Lake City:

University of Utah Press.

Kelly, Isabel T. and Catherine S. Fowler

1986 Southern Paiute. In Handbook of

North American Indians: Vol 11: Great

Basin. Warren L. D’Azevedo, ed.. pp. 368-397. Washington, D.C.:

Smithsonian Institution.

Kelly, R.

2000 Native Americans and Archaeology:

A Vital Partnership. In Working To-

gether: Native Americans and Archaeolo-

gists. K. Dongoske, M. Aldenderfer, and K. Doehner, eds., pp. 97-101,

Washington, D.C.: Society for

American Archaeology.

Klett, Mark et al.

1984 A Second View: The Rephotographic

Survey Project. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Knack, Martha

1978 Beyond a Differential: An Inquiry into Southern Paiute Indian Experience with Public Schools. Anthropol-

ogy and Education Quarterly 9:59-66.

2001 Boundaries Between: The Southern Pai-

utes, 1775-1995. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Kolodny, Annette

1975 The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Ex-

perience and History in American Life

and Letters. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

1984 The Land Before Her: Fantasy and Ex-

perience of the American Frontiers, 1630-

1860. Chapel Hill: University of

North Carolina Press.

Krech, Shepard

1980 The Participation of Maryland

Blacks in the Civil War: Perspectives From Oral History. Ethnohis-

tory 27(1):67-78.

Kroeber, Alfred

1925 Handbook of the Indians of California.

[Bureau of American Ethnology

Bulletin 78; Reprinted in 1970]

Washington, D.C.: Government

Printing Office.

Laird, Carobeth

1976 The Chemehuevis. Banning, Calif.:

Malki Museum, Inc.

Landsman, Gail

1997 Informant as Critic: Conducting

Research on a Dispute Between

Iroquoianist Scholars and Traditional Iroquois. In Indians and An-

thropologists. T. Biolsi and L. Zimmerman, eds., pp. 160-176. Tucson:

University of Arizona Press.

Landsman, Gail and Sara Ciborksi

1992 Representation and Politics: Contesting Histories of the Iroquois.

Cultural Anthropology 7(4): 425-447.

Larson, Andrew Karl

1961 I Was Called to Dixie: The Virgin

River Basin Unique Experiences. In

Mormon Pioneering. Privately published by Andrew Karl Larson.

State of Nevada, Laws

1887 Thirteen, Section Chapter XII. An

Act to establish and provide an In-


dian school. Approved January 25,


Lawton, Harry W., Philip J. Wilke, Mary

DeDecker, and William M. Mason

1993 Agriculture among the Paiute of

Owens Valley. In Before the Wilder-

ness: Environmental Management by Na-

tive Californians. T. C. Blackburn and

Kat Anderson, eds., pp. 329-378.

Menlo Park, California: Ballena


Layton, R.obert

1989 Who Needs the Past? Indigenous Values

and Archaeology. London: Unwin


2002 Ethnographic Study and Symbolic

Analysis. In Handbook of Rock Art

Research. D. Whitley, ed., pp. 311-

331. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Altamira


Lee, John D.

1852 Letter. Deseret News, April 3, p.3.

Leland, Joy H.

1976 Great Basin Indian Population Figures (1873-1970) and the Pitfalls

Therein. Desert Research Institute Pub-

lications in Social Sciences 11.

Leone, Mark

1988 The Recovery of Meaning: Historical Ar-

chaeology in the Eastern United States.

Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Leonard, Zenas

1904 Adventures of Zenas Leonard, Fur

Trader and Trapper, 1831-36. W.F.

Wagner, ed. Cleveland: Burrows

Brothers Co.

Lewis, Gerald

1974 Effects of Modern Society on Paiute Culture and History. Nevada

Bicentennial Oral History Project.

Reno: Nevada Historical Society manuscript archives.


Liljeblad, Sven and Catherine Fowler

1986 Owens Valley Paiute. In Handbook

of North American Indians: Vol. 11:

Great Basin. Warren D’Azevedo, ed., pp. 412-434. Washington, DC:

Smithsonian Institution.

Lincoln, Francis Church

1982 Mining Districts and Mineral Resources

of Nevada. Reno: Nevada Newsletter

Publishing Company.

Lingenfelter, Richard E.

1986 Death Valley and the Amargosa: A

Land of Illusion. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Little, James

1881 Jacob Hamblin. Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office. [reprinted in 1951 and 1969.]

1909 Jacob Hamblin: A Narrative of his Per-

sonal Experience…. Salt Lake City:

The Deseret News.

Littlefield, Alice and Martha Knack, eds.

1996 Native Americans and Wage Labor—

Ethnohistorical Perspectives. Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press.

Los Angeles Star

August 27, 1859. [Expedition to

Owen’s Lake.]

Logan, Brad

1980 The Ghost Dance Among The Paiute. Ethnohistory 27(3).

Lomawaima, Tsianina K.

1994 They Called it Prairie Light: The Story of

Chilocco Indian School. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Lovelock Review Monthly

February 27, 1920

Lovich, Jeff

2002 Great Basin. U.S. Geological Survey

Biological Resources Division, De-

partment of Biology, University of

California, Menlo Park.

[ s+t/SNT/noframe/gb151.htm


Lowie, Robert H.

1924 Notes on Shoshonean Ethnography. American Museum of Natural His-

tory Anthropological Papers 20 (3):183-

324. New York: American Museum


McCracken, Robert D.

1997 A History of Smoky Valley, Nevada.

Tonopah: Central Nevada Historical Society.

McCracken, Robert D., ed.

1990 Oral History Project, Nye and Esmer-

alda Counties, Nevada.

1990a An Interview with Andy Thompson. Nye

County Oral History Project, Nevada.

1990b An Interview with Homer Hooper: An

Oral History. Nye County Town History Project, Nye County, Nevada.

McGuire, Randall

1989 The Sanctity of the Grave: White

Concepts and American Indian

Burials. In Conflicts in the Archaeology

of Living Traditions. Robert Layton, ed. London: Unwin and Hyman.

1997 Why Have Archaeologists Thought the Real Indians Were Dead and

What Can We Do About It? In Indi-

ans and Anthropologists. T. Biolsi and

L. Zimmerman, eds., pp. 63-91.

Tucson: University of Arizona


Malotki, Ekkehart, with Michael Lomatuwaly’ma.

1987 Earth Fire: A Hopi Legend of the Sunset

Crater Eruption. Flagstaff, Ariz.:

Northland Press.

Manly, William L.

1929 Death Valley in ’49. Santa Barbara,

Calif.: W. Hebberd.

Margolin, Malcolm, ed.

1993 California Indian Stories, Songs and

Reminiscences. Berkeley: Heyday

Books/California Historical Society.

Marriott, Alice

1948 Maria: The Potter of San Ildefonso.

Norman: University of Oklahoma


Martin, Calvin.

1978 Keepers of the Game: Indian-animal Re-

lationships and the Fur Trade. Berkeley:

University of California Press.

Matthews, John J.

1961 The Osages: Children of the Middle Wa-

ters. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Matte, Jacqueline Anderson

1999 They Say The Wind is Red —The Ala-

bama Choctaw: Lost in their Own Land.

Red Level, AL: Greenberry Publishing Company.

Means, Russell (With Marvin J. Wolf)

1995 Where White Men Fear to Tread: The

Autobiography of Russell Means. New

York: St. Martin’s Press.

Medicine, Beatrice

2001 Learning to be an anthropologist and re-

maining "Native": selected writings. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Merriam, Lewis, et al.

1928 The Problem of Indian Administration.

Institute for Government Research,

Studies in Administration. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.

Mille Lacs Band Government

1994 The Woodlands, The Story of the Mille

Lacs Ojibwe. Videotape.


Mohave County Miner

August 26, 1893

Montell, W. Lynwood

1970 The Saga of Coe Ridge. Knoxville:

University of Tennessee Press.

Moon, William Least

1982 Blue Highways: A Journey in America.

Boston: Little, Brown.

Mooney, James

1896 The Ghost-Dance Religion and the Sioux

Outbreak of 1890. Fourteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of

American Ethnology, Part 2, 1892-

1893. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.

Mountain Champion

December 26, 1868

Nabokov, Peter

1981 Indian Running: Native American His-

tory and Tradition. Santa Fe, New

Mex.: Ancient City Press.

2002 A Forest of Time: Native American

Views of History. New York: Cambridge University Press.


September/October 1990

Nevada Historical Society–Reno n.d.a Photo Collection, Ethnic Folder. nd.b Folder 83-24/III/4:29:18.

Nevada State Journal

1883-85 Selected issues.

Nellis Air Force Base (NAFB)

1998 Cultural Resources Management

Plan, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Nye, William

1886 A Winter Among the Piutes. Over-

land Monthly (second series)


O’Brien, Colleen

1990 Stewart School Days: Graduates of

Stewart Indian School Recall the

Hardships, Friendships, and Lessons Learned. Nevada, September/October 1990.

O'Meara, Walter.

1968 Daughters of the Country: The Women of

the Fur Traders and Mountain Men.

New York: Harcourt, Brace &


Oddysey Productions, Inc.

1994 The Museum at Warm Springs. Videotape. Oregon.

Officer, James E.

1956 Indians in School: A Study of the Devel-

opment of Educational Facilities for Ari-

zona Indians. Bureau of Ethnic Research, Department of

Anthropology. Tucson: University of Arizona.

Opler, Morris K.

1940 The Southern Ute of Colorado. In

Acculturation in Seven American Indian

Tribes, R. Linton, ed., pp.119-206.

New York: Harper and Son.

Paher, Stanley

1970 Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining

Camps. Las Vegas: Nevada Publications.

Palmer, William R.

1928a Indian Names in Utah Geography.

Utah Historical Quarterly 1(1):5-26.

1928b Utah Indians Past and Present. Utah

Historical Quarterly 1(2): 4-52.

1929 Pahute Indian Government and

Laws. Utah Historical Quarterly 2(2).


1933 Pahute Indian Homelands. Utah

Historical Quarterly 6(1):88-102.

Paul, Rodman W.

1963 Mining Frontiers of the Far West,

1848–1880. New York: Holt,

Rinehart and Winston.

Peden, William, ed.

1995 Notes on the State of Virginia by Tho-

mas Jefferson. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Pendergast, David M. and Clement W.


1959 Folk Traditions as Historical Fact:

A Paiute Example. Journal of Ameri-

can Folklore LXXII.

Pikyavit, Everett Don n.d. Unpublished



Composed by Everett Don

Pioche Record

December 13, 1890


1981 The Numic Way. Yerington, Nevada:

Northern Paiute Tribe.

1983 Let Me Tell You a Story: Adopted Pai-

ute Tales. Yerington, Nevada:

Northern Paiute Tribe.

Poling-Kempes, Leslie

1997 Valley of Shining Stone: The Story of

Abiquiu. Tucson: The University of

Arizona Press.

Powell, John Wesley

1957 Exploration of the Colorado River. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Powell, J.W. and G.W. Ingalls

1874 Annual Report of the Commissioner of

the Interior for the Year 1873. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing


Presnall, C.C.

1936 Zion-Bryce. Nature Notes 7-8:1-20.

Prucha, Francis Paul, ed.

1990 Documents of U.S. Indian Policy. [Second Expanded Edition.] Lincoln:

University of Nebraska Press.

Quam, Alvina (Translator)

1972 The Zunis: Self-portrayals. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico


Ratcliff, James L.

1973 What Happened to the Kalapuya? A

Study of the Depletion of their

Economic Base. Indian Historian


Ray, Nellie n.d. History of Santa Clara, 1854-1933.

Works Project Administration,

Santa Fe.

Reese River Reveille

1864-1891 Selected issues.

Reno Evening Gazette

1881-1994 Selected issues.

Reno Weekly Gazette

April 17, 1884

Requa, M. L.

1933 Grubstake: A Story of Early Mining

Days in Nevada Time, 1874. New

York: C. Scribner's Sons.

Robinson, A.F.

1972 Romance of a Church Farmhouse, Kane

County, Utah. Salt Lake City: The

Utah Printing Company. [Reprinted In Historic Channel Change of

Kanab Creek: Southern Utah And

Northern Arizona. Grand Canyon

Natural History Association Monograph 9, 1991.

Robinson, Richard

1894 Letter. The Southern Indian Mission."

[Reprinted in Under Dixie Sun, Jua-


nita Brooks, ed., pp. 28-30. St.

Washington County Chapter, Utah:


Round Mountain Nugget

August 7, 1909

Rusco, Mary

1974 Fur Trappers in Snake Country. Paper presented at the Fourteenth

Great Basin Anthropological Conference, Carson City, Nevada.

Sanchez, Joseph P.

1997 Explorers, Traders, and Slavers: Forging

the Old Spanish Trail, 1678-1850. Salt

Lake City: University of Utah Press.

Scott, Joan Wallach

1988 Gender and the Politics of History. New

York: Columbia University Press.

Scrugham, J.G.

1935 History of Nevada, Vol.1. Carson

City, Nevada: State Printing Press.

Sekaquaptewa, E.

2000 Personal Communication.

Sheldrake, R.

1990 The Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of

Science and God. London: Century.

Shipek, Florence

1968 The Autobiography of Delfina Cuero, as

told to Florence Shipek (Rosalie Pinto

Robertson, Interpreter). Los Angeles: Dawson’s Book Shop.

1987 Pushed Into the Rocks: Southern Califor-

nia Indian Land Tenure 1769-1986.

Lincoln: University of Nebraska

Press [reprinted and published, undated, by the Viejas Band of the

Kumeyaay Indians, Alpine, California].

1991 Delfina Cuero: Her Autobiography, An

Account of Her Last Years and Her

Ethnobotanic Contributions. Menlo

Park, Calif.: Ballena Press.


Short, Shelton, H.

1965 A History of the Nevada Livestock In-

dustry Prior to 1900. Unpublished

Master’s Thesis, University of Nevada, Reno.

Silko, Leslie Marmon

1977 Ceremony. United States: Penguin


Silver State

1890-91 Selected issues.

Simms, S.

1995 Letter to the Editor. Society for

American Archaeology 13(4): 3.

Simpson, James H.

1876 Report of Explorations across the Great

Basin of the Territory of Utah for a Direct Wagon-route from Camp Floyd to

Genoa, in Carson Valley, in 1859. U.S..

Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.

Singer, Wendy.

1997 Creating Histories: Oral Narratives and

the Politics of History-making. Delhi:

Oxford University Press.

Smith, George A.

1861 History of the Settling of Southern

Utah. An extemporary address given in the L.D.S. Historian's Office in 1861 and transcribed by I. L.

Long. In the manuscript History of

Brigham Young, L.D.S. Church

Historian's Archives, document CR

100 102 # 14 c. 2 pp.452-57).

1990 Relationship of Large Floods and Rapid

Entrenchment of Kanab Creek, Southern

Utah. [M.S. Thesis]. Tucson: University of Arizona.

Spenser, Joseph Earl

1940 Development of Agricultural Villages in Southern Utah. Agricultural

History 14.

Spier, Leslie

1935 The Prophet Dance of the Northwest and

its derivatives: The Source of the Ghost

Dance. [General Series in Anthropology 1.] Menasha, Wisc.: George

Banta Publishing Company.

Spring, Joel H.

2001 Deculturalization and the Struggle for

Equality: A Brief History of the Education of Dominated Cultures in the United

States. Boston: McGraw Hill.

St. Louis Republic

December 13, 1874

Steward, Julian H.

1930 Irrigation without Agriculture.

Michigan Academy of Sciences, Arts, and

Letters Papers 12:149-156.

1933 Ethnography of the Owens Valley

Paiutes. University of California Publi-

cations in American Archaeology and

Ethnology 33:233-350.

1934 Two Paiute Autobiographies. Uni-

versity of California Publications in

American Archaeology and Ethnology


1937 Linguistic Distributions and Political Groups of the Great Basin Shoshoneans. American Anthropologist 39:


1938 Basin-Plateau Aboriginal Sociopolitical

Groups. Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 120. Washington: United States

Printing Office.

1941 Culture Element Distributions XIII:

Nevada Shoshoni. University of Cali-

fornia Anthropological Records 4(1):


1970 The Foundations of Basin-Plateau

Shoshonean Society. In Languages

and Cultures of Western North Amer-

ica. E. H. Swanson, ed., pp. 113-


151. Pocatello: Idaho State University Press.

Stewart, Omer

1978 The Western Shoshone of Nevada and the U.S. Government, 1863-

1950. In Selected Papers of the Four-

teenth Great Basin Anthropological Con-

ference. D. Tuohy, ed., pp. 77-114.

Socorro, New Mex.: Ballena Press.

1987 Peyote Religion: A History. Norman:

University of Oklahoma Press.

Stilltoe, P.

1998 The Development of Indigenous

Knowledge: A New Applied Anthropology. Current Anthropology

39(2): 223-252.

Stoffle, Richard W. and Richard W. Arnold

2003 Confronting the Angry Rock:

American Indian’s Situated Risks from Radioactivity. Ethnos 68(2):1-


Stoffle, Richard W., Diane E. Austin, David

B. Halmo, and Arthur M. Phillips, III

1998 Ethnographic Overview and Assessment:

Zion National Park, Utah and Pipe

Spring National Monument, Arizona.

Tucson: Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona.

Stoffle, Richard W. and Henry Dobyns

1982 Puaxant Tuvip: Utah Indians Comment

on the Intermountain Power Project, Utah

Section of Intermountain Adelanto Bipole

I Proposal. Kenosha: University of

Wisconsin-Parkside, Applied Urban

Field School.

1983 Nuvagantu: Nevada Indians Comment

on the Intermountain Power Project.

[Cultural Resources Series No. 7.]

Reno: Bureau of Land Management, Nevada State Office.

Stoffle, Richard W. and Michael J. Evans

1976 Resource Competition and Population Change: A Kaibab Paiute Ethnohistorical Case. Ethnohistory 23:


Stoffle, Richard W., Michael J. Evans, and

David B. Halmo

1989 Native American Plant Resources in the

Yucca Mountain Area, Nevada. Las

Vegas: Science Applications International Corporation.

Stoffle, R., D. Halmo, J. Olstead, M. Evans

1990 Native American Cultural Resource

Studies at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

Stoffle, Richard W., Kristine L. Jones, and

Henry F. Dobyns

1995 Direct European Transmission of

Old World Pathogens to Numic

Indians during the Nineteenth Century. American Indian Quarterly


Stoffle, R. L Loendorf, D. Austin, D. Halmo, and Angelita Bulletts

2000 Ghost Dancing the Grand Canyon:

Southern Paiute Rock Art, Ceremony, and Cultural Landscapes.

Current Anthropology 41:11-38.

Stoffle, Richard W., J. Olmsted, H. Dobyns, and D. Halmo

1991 Utah (Fields Where We Plant All the Time): Shivwits Southern Paiute

Water Use Along Tunakwint, the

Santa Clara River. [Manuscript.] Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Harbor.

Stoffle, Richard W., Rebecca Toupal, and M.

Nieves Zedeño

2002 East of Nellis Cultural Landscapes of the

Sheep and Pahranagat Mountain ranges:

An Ethnographic Assessment of American Indian Places and Resources in the

Desert National Wildlife Range and the

Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge of

Nevada. Tucson: Bureau of Applied


Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona.

Stoffle, Richard W. and M. Nieves Zedeno

2001 Historical Memory and Ethnographic Perspectives on the Southern Paiute Homeland. Journal of Cali-

fornia and Great Basin Anthropology


Stoffle, Richard, M. Nieves Zedeno, Jaime K.

Eyrich, and Patrick Barabe

2000 The Wellington Canyon Ethnographic

Study at Pintwater Range, Nellis Air

Force Base, Nevada. Tucson: Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona.

Tedlock, Dennis

1972 Finding the Center: Narrative Poetry of

the Zuni Indians. New York: Dial


Thomas, David H.

1971 Historic and Prehistoric Land-Use

Patterns at Reese River. Nevada His-

torical Society Quarterly 14(4):2-9.

1973 An Empirical Test for Steward’s

Model of Great Basin Settlement

Patterns. American Antiquity 38:155-


Thomas, D. H., L. S. Pendleton, and S. C.


1986 Western Shoshone. In Handbook of

North American Indians: Vol. 11:

Great Basin. W. D’Azevedo, ed., pp.

262-283. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Thorndale, William, and William Dollarhide

1987 Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses,

1790-1920. Baltimore: Genealogical

Publishing Company.

Thornton, Russell

1986 We Shall Live Again: The 1870 and

1890 Ghost Dance Movements as Demo-

graphic Revitalization. Cambridge and

New York: Cambridge University


Tingley, J.V., R. C. Horton, and F.C. Lincoln

1993 Outline of Nevada mining history. [Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology

Bulletin no. 15.] Reno: University of


Tonopah Daily Times-Bonanza

October 4, 1933:4,1.

February 20, 1936.

Trafcer, Clifford E., Luke Madrigal, Anthony


1983 Chemehuevi People of the Coachella Val-

ley. Coachella, Calif.: The Chemehuevi Press.

Truett, Velma S.

1950 On the Hoof in Nevada. Los Angeles:


Underhill, Ruth

1941 The Northern Paiute Indians of Califor-

nia and Nevada. Washington, D.C.:

Education Division, U.S. Office of

Indian Affairs.

University of Arizona [UA] Indian History

2001 Interviews (March 16, 2001),

Norma Nelson, “They Lived in


2002 Interviews (April 13, 2002), Larry

Eddy, “I Belong Here.”

2002 Interviews (April 14, 2002), Matt

Leivas, “Singing Medicine.”

2002 Interviews (April 14, 2002), Philip

Smith, “The Meaning of Caves and

The Birthing Rock.”

2002 Interviews (April 14, 2002), Betty

Cornelius and Lawanda Laffoon,

“Sacred Sites and Growing Up With a Medicine Man.”

2002 Interviews (April 15, 2002), Tribal

Chairman Edward “Tito” Smith,

“The Land Will Talk to You” [Reconstructed from oral interview]

2002 Interviews (April 20, 2002), Everett

Don Pikyavit, “The Future of Basket Making.”

2003 Interviews (January 2003), Curtis Littlebeaver, “Fandangos and Ice

Floated Down the River.”

2003 Interviews (January 27 2003), Anita

Barr, “Land Claims and the Death


2003 Interviews (January 2003), Neddeen

Naylor, Leslie Button, Irene Button,

Richard Button, and Eugene Button, “Recollections.”

Utah Geological Survey

2002 What is the Grand Staircase? Last accessed August 2002. [Available [email protected]




U.S. Census Office

1880-1910 Census Data for Nye and

Esmeralda Counties.

U.S. Census Office

1894 Report on Indians Taxed and Non-

Taxed. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.

U.S. Department of Energy Nevada Operations Office (U.S. DOE/NV)

1996 Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Nevada Test Site and

Off-Site Locations in the State of

Nevada (Appendix G, Attachment


U.S. Department of Interior

2000 Human Culture in the Southeastern

Columbia Plateau, 9500-9000 BP and Cultural Affiliation with Present

Day Tribes. Department of Interior:

Archaeology. [Available online @

211 wick/encl_3.htm


1998 Implementation Report. Executive

Order No. 13007. Indian Sacred

Sites. 8160:1-7. The Secretary of the

Interior, Washington.

U.S. Geological Survey

2002 Last accessed in August 2002.


Van Ronk, Ruth

1993 Chief Tecopa. In Burial Plots. R. Van

Ronk, ed., pp. 35-37. Pahrump,

Nev.: The Oasis Writers’ Guild.

Vansina, J.

1985 Oral Tradition as History. Madison:

University of Wisconsin Press.

Vecsey, Christopher

1988 Imagine Ourselves Richly: Mythic Narra-

tives of North American Indians. New

York: Crossroad.

Vinton, Stallo, ed.

1931 Overland with Kit Carlson, a Narrative

of the Old Spanish Trail in ’48, by

George Douglas Brewerton. New York:

Coward-McCann, Inc.

Von Schmidt, A.W.

1855 Survey Records. In: Lawton, Harry

W., Philip J. Wilke, Mary DeDecker, and William M. Mason, 1994: Agriculture among the Paiute of Owens

Valley. In Before the Wilderness: Envi-

ronmental Management by Native Cali-

fornians. Thomas C. Blackburn, and

Kat Anderson, eds., pp.329-378.

Menlo Park, Calif.: Ballena Press.

Wamble, Marvin

1982 Brave New World of Stewart Revisited. Nevada State JournaI, April 4.

Warren, William

1885 History of the Ojibway People. Minneapolis: Minnesota Historical Society.

Wassen, W.

1862 The Owens Valley River Indian

War. The Delta, Visalia, May 8, p. 2.

Webb, Robert H.

1987 Occurrence and Geomorphic Effects of Streamflow and Debris

Flow Floods in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. In Catastrophic

Flooding. L. Mayer and D. Nash, eds. Boston: Allen and Unwin.

Webb, Robert H., Spence S. Smith, and V.

Alexander S. McCord

1991 Historic Channel Change of Kanab

Creek, Southern Utah and Northern

Arizona.. [Monograph No. 9.] Arizona: Grand Canyon Natural History Association.

Weber, David J.

1970 The Taos Trappers: The Fur Trade in

the Southwest, 1540-1846. Norman:

University of Oklahoma.

Wheat, Margaret n.d.a Margaret Wheat Papers. Special

Collections Department, University of Nevada Reno Library 83-


Wheat, Margaret n.d.b Tonopah Oral History Project.

Reno: Special Collections Department, University of Nevada.

1959 Interview with Tim Hooper, University of Nevada, Reno Tape #40,

83-24/12:23; Tape #41, 83-

24/12:24; Tape # 42, 83-24/12:25; and Tape # 43, 83-24/12:26. Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Library.

1966 Interview with Andy Vidovich, University of Nevada, Reno Tape #74.

83-24/12:26 Special Collections

Department, University of Nevada,

Reno Library.


Wheeler, George M.

1871 Preliminary Report Concerning Explora-

tions and Surveys, principally in Nevada

and Arizona. U.S. Army Corps of

Engineers. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.

1889 Report Upon United States Geographical

Surveys West of the One Hundredth Me-

ridian. Vol. 1: Geographical Report.

Washington, D.C.: Government

Printing Office.

Wheeler, Ray

1990 The Colorado Plateau Region. In

Wilderness at the Edge: A Citizen Proposal to Protect Utah's Canyons and De-

serts. Utah Wilderness Coalition, Salt

Lake City, p. 97-104.

1990b Biota of the Colorado Plateau. In

An Introduction to the Land Use History

of the Colorado Plateau. Available online at http://www.cpluhna.nau. edu/Places/places.htm

White Pine News

1890-91 Selected issues.

White, Richard

1991 The Middle Ground. New York:

Cambridge University Press.

Whitley, David S.

2001 Rock art and Rock Art Research in

Worldwide Perspective: An Introduction. In Handbook of Rock Art Re-

search, D. Whitley, ed., pp. 7-51.

Walnut Creek, Calif: AltaMira Press.

Willis, Paul

1977 Learning to Labor: How Working Class

Kids Get Working Class Jobs. New

York: Columbia University Press.

Wilson, Raymond

1977 Introduction. In From the Deep

Woods to Civilization by Charles East-

man, pp. v-xv. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Wolf, Eric

1982 Europe and the People without History.

Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Woodbury, Angus M.

1944 History of Southern Utah and Its

National Parks. Utah State Historical

Quarterly 12:3-4, 11-223.

Zanjani, Sally

1988 Longstreet: Last of the Desert Frontiers-

men. Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press.

1992 Goldfield : the last gold rush on the west-

ern frontier. Athens, Ohio: Swallow

Press, Ohio University Press.

1994 The Ghost Dance Winter and other Tales

of the Frontier. Reno: Nevada Historical Society.

Zedeno, Maria Nieves

2000 Of What People Make of Places–A

Behavioral Cartography. In Social

Theory in Archaeology, M.B. Schiffer, ed., pp. 97-111. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.




Tybo Precinct

Captain Jack

Morey, Salley

Sambo, Sambo








Appendix A1. US Census for Nye County, Selected Districts, 1900

Rent or










In Household









O 1 1 0

O 0

O 0

O 0




O 0































Frank, Frank

Pat, Pat

Barney, Barney

Vaquero Johny









Gausick, Jenks X R 1 1 0 0 0 0

Biaukie, Dave

Bonnie, Bonnie







Pass, 1

Longstreet, Suzie

Brigham, Brigham

- -

Indian Johny X O 3











1 0 0 0 0

1 2 0 3 2

19 20 18 37 26

15 O 2.71


In 1900 the Federal Census Takers used the terms “aboriginal” and “civilized” to delineate between types of housing used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In 1910, these terms were replaced by the adjectives, “moveable” and “fixed”.


Appendix A, continued

Smoky Valley Precinct

Decker, Robert

Decker, James

Rogers, Nick

Fish, Borr

Borr, Samuel

Borr, Joseph

Borr, John

Wilson, James

Wilson, John

Graves, Moses

Peavine, James

Whiskey, Samuel












Rent or

















































O 1


















In Household

















In 1900 the Federal Census Takers used the terms “aboriginal” and “civilized” to delineate between types of housing used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In 1910, these terms were replaced by the adjectives, “moveable” and “fixed”.













Appendix A2: US Census, Esmeralda County, Selected Districts, 1900

Rent or





FishLake 1900

Old Paddy

Black Mag

Jackson, L. X









Blind Sallie X O 1

Mixandi X R












In Household














0 1 0 1 1

0 1 0 0 0

Gray Johnnie

Bacock, Nellie

Butcher Jake

Mexican Ed




Laundry Charles X





































1 1 1 1 1

Crazy John

Slim Jim

Old Nancy

Pretty Bob

I. Jack









































Piper, Jake



14 M 4 F


15 O

3 R



Average: 1.875

2 1 2 2 2

14 15 15

Almost 1:1:1 ration among adults m:f and children. ½ of the children are dying. Recount with all figures b/c there are 3 women Blind Sally, Mixandi, Betsy not accounted for.

Appendix A2 Continued


In 1900 the Federal Census Takers used the terms “aboriginal” and “civilized” to delineate between types of housing used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In 1910, these terms were replaced by the adjectives, “moveable” and “fixed”.


Lida Valley 1900

Rogers, Julia

Big Steve

Kinkhead, J.

Shakespeare, J.





Rent or









3 O





HH average=












In Household

























13:2 adults:children ratio; 6.5:1

Palmetto 1900

Piute Jack X

Pifer, Johnnie X

Deep Springs,


Harrell, Bob X

Adult:children ratio is nearly 1:1/ 13:15








HH average: 7











1 1 4 4 4

1 5 7 9 9

5 8 15 20 19


In 1900 the Federal Census Takers used the terms “aboriginal” and “civilized” to delineate between types of housing used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In 1910, these terms were replaced by the adjectives, “moveable” and “fixed”.


Appendix A2 Continued

Tule Canyon 1900

Bell, George X

Walker Lake 1900

Old Sam

Powell, J.



Dock, Johnnie X

Big Johnnie

Dutchman, C. J.


Abe/Wasson X

Samuels, G.

Conway, J.

Jones, P.



Thomas, W.

Thomas, R.


Winnamucca X

Bony/ William X

Buckland 1 Unstated

Henry, George

Ball, David X

Scott, R X

Lee, J.

Calvin, M.


















O or









In Household

O 12 3 6 3

3 6





5 4

















O 10





























2 2



































2 + 2 school































6 4





Appendix A2 Continued





X O 3

X O 7

Silk, O 3

Mackey, X R 2

D. R 3

C. O 2

McMaster, O 10

G. O 6

Silver Peak 1900






In Household





1 2 0 0 0

2 2 3 5 3

1 1 0 4 1

1 1 1

1 1 0 2 2

2 3 5 7 7

3 3 0 0 0

Nellie X R 1

Harry O 5

Fisherman O 2

X O 9

Sam O 7

Charlie O 6

Thompson, O 6

Kinkhead, O 1



X O 2

X O 3

1 R HH average= 4.2

0 1 0 - -

1 1 3 3 3

1 1 0 0 0

1 2 6 7 6

1 4 2 1 0

1 0 5 - -

2 1 3 4 3

1 0 0 - -

1 1 0 0 0

1 3 0 1 0

10 14 19 16 12


In 1900 the Federal Census Takers used the terms “aboriginal” and “civilized” to delineate between types of housing used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In 1910, these terms were replaced by the adjectives, “moveable” and “fixed”.


Appendix A2 Continued

Berlin Precinct (Ione Valley near Gabbs) 1900

Rent or


Blair, Jim

Ballard, John





McCann, Joe

Old Two Rabbits


1 R

Hawthorne 1900

Powell, Jack X

Williams, Bob X

John, David X

Hanover, L. X

Andrews, Jim X

Hawthorne, Jury X

Indian Tom


Creek, Jimmie


Crow, Jim

Syper, Billy


















HH average: 2.4



















In Household










4 5 2 2 2





















































In 1900 the Federal Census Takers used the terms “aboriginal” and “civilized” to delineate between types of housing used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In 1910, these terms were replaced by the adjectives, “moveable” and “fixed”.


Appendix A2 Continued


1900 continued


Johnson, Dick X

Captain Nobu? X

Stewart, Jake

Big Dick



Dock, Johnnie X

Old Sam

Johnson, Abe

Sypu, James

Indian George X

Dock, Old


Poker Bill X




Crow, Old


Johnson, Jim X

Johnson, Annie X

Ballard, Frank X

Fixed Rent or


















































In Household















































35 adult females










25 children 58 births 37 living

HH average:

5.38 males


In 1900 the Federal Census Takers useds the terms “aboriginal” and “civilized” to delineate between types of housing used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In 1910, these terms were replaced by the adjectives, “moveable” and “fixed”.


Appendix A2 Continued

Rent or


Aurora Precinct 1900 ( Near CA/NV border- (51)

Johnson, Tom

Smith, Old Jim

Indian Bob

Old Bill

Powell, Pete

Indian Alex

Indian Jimmie






























In Household








































7 8 5 7 7

HH average:


Sweetwater 1900

Happy Jack

Williams, J.

Swig, Sam

Indian Pete

Piute Sam

Indian Jim

























Indian Jim Jr. X

Old Jim Indian X









Keno X O 1

Keno, George X O 2 1 0



































In 1900 the Federal Census Takers used the terms “aboriginal” and “civilized” to delineate between types of housing used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In 1910, these terms were replaced by the adjectives, “moveable” and “fixed”.


Appendix A2 Continued

Sweetwater continued


Hawkins, Bob X

Doctor Charlie X

Fulstone, Ida

Hawkins, E.

Powell, Joe

Moose, John

Weber, Sam






Candelaria X








Rent or













O 1

McGee, Jack X

Queen Beraha X

Given, Bob X

Buchler, Sally X









HH average:



























In Household




















0 1 0 - -





















9 17 8 15 12


In 1900 the Federal Census Takers used the terms “aboriginal” and “civilized” to delineate between types of housing used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In 1910, these terms were replaced by the adjectives, “moveable” and “fixed”.


Appendix A2 Continued

Rent or


Sodaville Precinct 1900 ~4 miles fr: Tonopah Junction








Grasshopper X

Gildersleeve, C X

Alpin, Dick

Poker Bill

Charles, Bill




O 2



















Loanne, Charlie


Meyers, Sam X O 4


2 2

Allie, Joe X

Shoshone Geo X

Midas, John X

Belmont, Jack X

Henry, George X

Johnson, B X

Shaw, George X

Williams, D X

Bridgeport, J. X

Shoshone Tom X

Shaw, Jack X

Jack’s mother X

Fat Jack X


























































In Household












































Soda Springs J. X O 5 2 1 2 5 4


In 1900 the Federal Census Takers used the terms “aboriginal” and “civilized” to delineate between types of housing used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In 1910, these terms were replaced by the adjectives, “moveable” and “fixed”.
















Appendix A2 Continued

Sodaville, Cont Moveable

Robinson X

Old Mattie X

Fixed Rent or



Household Total

O 3

O 1



1 1 1





Children in








3 1


Minnie X O



0 1 0 6 4

X O 1

George X O

Bodie Jim X

Johnnie, Dick X

Williams, Tom X







1 1 0 0 0
















Pete, Susie

Blind Tom













Total 34 0 34 36






Appendix A3: US Census, Esmeralda County, Selected Districts, 1910

Pine Creek Jim

Kief, Dodie

Total 0




Own Household


Round Mountain Precinct


Mack X O


Andy X O

Decker, G.

Total 0 unstated

4 F, 1 un-

O 18

5 43 stated average HH: 8.6

Sharp Precinct





Children in






2 4 1 4 4

5 8 5 at least 15 15

O 1






7, average HH:












2 3 2 5 2

O 1 6 6 6


Appendix A3 Continued

Own Household






Children in






Springdale Precinct (N. of Beatty)

Stewart, Tom

Kennedy, Joe


Bolinas, George X

Roberts, George X

Kennedy, Frank X

Thompson, Bob X












































John X O 1

Bass, Johnnie X

Dock, Bill X

Bolinas, Tony



12 0








30, average HH:












1 0 0 0 0

10 9 11 12 11

Berlin Precinct (S. of Ione, approx. 3 miles)





Dick, Archie

Graham, Patsy







5 (2 in separate shelters)





2 1 1 3 3

1 1 1 1 1

3 3 3 9 9

R 4.3 or 2.17


Appendix A3 Continued

Own Household






Children in






Currant Precinct (SE of Duckwater)

Mormon Jim X


O 2


1 1



Troy, George X

Bassett, Mamie X

Total 4 0






9, average HH:















3 3 3 19 6

Duckwater Precinct


Pussy, Nathan

White Pine








O 11

O 8

Jenks X O

Hooper, Johnnie


X O 4


Collins, John



X O 8

1 3 7 12 10

1 3 4 5 4











19 19 19 40 32

R 5.5


Appendix A3 Continued

Tybo Precinct

Collins, John

(moves to DW)

Longstreet, Andrew servant servant


Appendix A4: Summary of Indian Census Figures, Nye and Esmeralda Counties, Nevada, 1900 and 1910

Population hold Size





Children in






Nye County 1900

Belmont Precinct 4 12 10 6 (U) 78 4.875 22 27 30

Currant 4 2 4 16 2.67 8 5 3

62 41

4 4


Smoky Valley



3 4 1 20

11 12 0 39









White Mountain 8 1 1 8(U) 25 2.77 9 10 4

Total 38 17 359 27.005 119 114 127

31 (U)

Averages 4.75 8.75

Nye County 1910

Berlin 2 4 4 2 13 4.3 3 3 3

Currant 4 0 4 0 9 2.25 3 3 3

Duckwater 0 10 5.5 19 19 19

Mountain 8.6 9 18 16





3 3 0 7

0 3 0 5

2.33 2

1.67 2





15 10





231 164

9 9

19 6

40 32

28 31

5 2

1 0

Total 22 40


Appendix A4 Continued

Esmeralda 1900







0 7 0 19

4 4 1 12 hold Size



2.71 7

2.4 4



Children in










7 7

2 2



0 5 3 1 15 3.75 3 10 2

Silver 7 3 9 1 42 4.2 10 14 19

17 9

4 0 3 1 28 7 5 8 15 20 19

16 12

Tule 1 0 1 0 12 12 3 6 3

Walker 43 26 60 14 384 5.12 128 125 106

8 (U)

5 4

339 180

50.25 31.25


1.33 15.83 78.66 4.44 22.33 24.67 19

I (U)

Appendix A4 Continued





Children in

Household Household

Total hold Size

Esmeralda 1910

Buena 0 5 5 0 19 3.8 5 6 8

Candelaria 0 2 1 1 3 1.5 1 2 0





17 14

1 1

Hawthorne 3 12 1.687 13 12 3

Lida 0

26 5

28 19

Lucky 2 2 1 3 7


Precinct 4 (Pt. Of

0 1 1 0 5

1.75 1

5 2

14 4.66





10 6

2 2

6 6




0 1 0 1 2 2 1 1 0

1 2 2 1 11 3.67 4 3 4

Walker 8 4 58 2.9 25 22 13


0 0

3 3

56 20

Total 24 31


3 (U) 2 (U)

19.09 5.33 7.36 7.18 5.55 16.36




Appendix B: Labor



Pine Grove 1 Gaming

3 Traditional

Mason Valley 18 Farmers

2 Fishermen

3 Physicians

2 Gaming

47 Traditional

Smith’s Valley 1 Gardener

1 Doctor

1 Gaming

Sweetwater 2 Traditional


113 Traditional and Non-Wage Workers


Aurora Precinct




10 Traditional

1 Medicine Man

1 Basket Maker

Fishlake 11 Traditional




6 Washer Women

6 General Labor

12 General Laborers

7 Farm Laborers

5 Washerwomen

8 Housekeeping

6 Washerwomen

12 Laborer

5 Farm Laborer

3 Farm Laborers

89 Wage Workers


7 Day Laborers

3 Ranch Laborers

4 Dishwashers

1 Borax Miner

7 Farm Laborers

Appendix B Continued






19 Traditional

Lida 1 Farmer


Silver Peak

10 Traditional

5 Traditional



38 Traditional

1 Doctor

23 Traditional

Tule Canyon

Walker Lake

2 Traditional

60 Ration Indians

42 Farmers


6 Basket Makers

2 Physicians


TOTAL 354 Traditional and Non-Wage Workers


37 Day Laborers

5 General Labor

3 Day Laborers

1 Farmer

1 Laundress

1 Cook

20 Day Laborers

2 Laundresses

17 Day Laborers

12 Borax Miners

2 Teamsters

19 Farm Laborers

2 House Servants

2 Day Laborers

2 Laundresses

1 Miner (Placer)

1 Servant

25 Farm Laborers

12 General Labor

5 Farm and General Labor

2 Spungers

1 Wood Chopper

247 Wage Workers



Appendix B Continued


Buena Vista


7 Traditional (5 F)

Candelaria 1 Traditional (F)

Fishlake 9 Traditional (F)

Goldfield 6 Traditional (5 F, 1 M)

Hawthorne 1 Captain (M)

4 Traditional (F)

Lida 20 Traditional (13 F, 7 M)

Lucky Boy


Silver Peak

1 Traditional (M)


1 Self Employed Prospector

Sodaville 4 Traditional

Walker Lake 36 Traditional

90 Traditional and Non-Wage Workers



3 Odd Jobs

1 General Labor

1 Laundress (F)

26 Farm Laborers (F/M)

2 Odd Jobs (M)

9 Laborers (M)

12 Servants (F)

5 Farm Laborers

3 Odd Jobs (2 F, 1 M)

1 Private Family (F)

3 Odd Jobs (1 F, 2 M)

2 Laundresses (F)


2 Odd Jobs

18 Wage

92 Wage Workers

Appendix B Continued

NYE 1880







Hot Creek

23 Adult Indians, Occupations Unspecified

Population ~125, Occupations Unspecified

No Indian Population is Listed

Reese River 20 Traditional


Tybo “Estimated Indian Population 125 head” pations Unspecified




5 Farm Hands

2 Field Hands



NYE 1900

20 Known Traditional Workers

Population of 273 –Types of Work Unspecified




1 Horse Owner


1 Trapper

1 Hunter

31 Traditional

Currant Precinct 5 Traditional

Duckwater 10 Traditional

Ione 2 Hunters

7 Traditional

42 Wage Workers


6 Day Laborers

4 Farm Hands

2 Servants

3 Wood Choppers

1 Bronco Rider


1 Stock Rider

6 Stock Riders

3 Day Laborers

1 Cowboy


1880 Census Note: “Shoshone Indians working for whites in and around Belmont”. The implication of this statement is that indigenous people who did not participate in the Euro-American economy were not counted in the Nye County



No other information is given upon the Indians living at Tybo.


Appendix B Continued

NYE 1900





1 Chief

2 Gardeners

42 Traditional


1 Cook

3 Day Laborers

2 Irrigators

Smoky 1 Chief

13 Traditional

Tybo 11 Traditional

White River 10 Traditional


Ratio: 139:111 or 1.25:1

139 Traditional and Non-Wage Workers




Belmont 11 Traditional

Berlin 3

Currant 1 Basket Maker

Duckwater 22 Traditional

2 Farm Laborers

8 Day Laborers

1 Farm Laborer

1 Cowboy

4 Stock Riders


2 Sheep Herder

11 Farm Laborers

5 Farm Laborers

1 Stock Rider


111 Wage Workers


3 Laundresses


1 House Servant


1 Dishwasher (F)

1 Ranch Laborer


14 Ranch Laborers

6 Farm Laborers


Appendix B Continued




Golden 3 Catch Wild Horses


1 Basket Weaver


Hot Creek 10 Traditional

Johnnie 12 Ranchers


Manhattan 1 Prospector


Rhyolite 2 Basket Makers

Round Mountain 25 Traditional


2 Traditional

Silver Bow 3 Basket Makers

Smoky Valley 37 Traditional

Springdale 2 Prospectors

13 Traditional

Tonopah 24 Traditional


Ratio:172:175 or 1:1.02

172 Traditional and Non-Wage Workers




7 Farm Laborers

17 Farm Laborers

6 Wood Chopper

2 Wood Cutters

4 Wood Cutter

4 Farm Laborers


1 General Labor

1 Ranch Laborer


26 Farm Laborers

2 General Laborers

2 Farm Laborers

2 Cowboy

4 General Laborers


4 Hauling Wood

4 Chopping Wood


175 Wage Workers

Appendix C Central Nevada and California Fandangos and Delegations

Report Date

March 24, 1888

March 31, 1888

April 7, 1888

Sept. 29, 1888

December 1, 1888

March 9, 1889

April 20, 1889

April 27, 1889

May 27, 1889

June 1, 1889

July 20, 1889

July 20, 1889

August 3, 1889

December 21, 1889

April 19, 1890

November 1, 1890

November 15, 1890

November 20, 1890

Location People


Flat south of the Monitor-Belmont



Whisky John

All Indians Invited

Cowich and New Fandango Captain

Piutes, Big Mouth Sam

Flat S.W. of Belmont

Flat N.W. of Belmont

Flat W. of Belmont

Flat S. of Belmont



Flat S.W. of Belmont

Shoshones, Chief Cowich, and Indians fr: other counties


Shoshone, and Indians fr: other districts

Shoshone, Piutes, Chief Cowich

Delegation: Ute, Navajo, and Arapahoe to see

Chief Cowich

Old Fandango Joe and Peavine Tom

Big Fandango

Monday April 7, 1888

Fandango April 7, 1888

Fandango, assuring Shoshones visiting Piutes are smallpox free

Fandango; next scheduled in Western

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Nye County

Fandango- “fond of dancing this fall”

Fandango March 4, 1889

Meeting Chief Cowich

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

“more fandangos this spring than ever”

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Another Fandango

Fandango and temperance lecture

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Ophir Canyon


Soda Springs

Shoshones and Piutes

Shoshones and Piutes


Large Powwow

Large Powwow

Grand Powwow


S. of Belmont



Fandango- “Not a success”

Fandango “Not a success”

Silver Creek Shoshone Indians Fall Fandango

Reese River Valley; also plans for

Fandangos in Smoky Valley

Battle Mountain

Blossum Field a mile from town

Piutes and Shoshones; Captain Joe; Kawich ordered Shoshones to attend; Captain Joe says fandangos are to keep the snow from coming

“On Warpath”

300 tents ptiched in Roycroft Canyon near Belmont; actually fandango

“What is a fandango” – 1 st

held in neighborhood;

Describes Ghost Dance

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Belmont Courier

Central Nevadan


Appendix C Continued

Report Date

November 22, 1890 Belmont

December 5, 1890

December 17, 1890

January 16, 1891

January 21, 1891

Location People Event

Owens Valley

140 miles south of Bellevill, and clo to Independence

Walker Lake, Emeralda County,

Inyo-Sylvania Mine

Esmeralda, S. of Rhodes

Natchez, Piute chief

Shoshones from eastern Nevada

Piutes and Shoshones to the number of not less than

300 bucks

Starret, Longstreet, Turner, Sanborn

Esmeralda Indians

Explains “troubles” related to Wovoka’s prophesy

Talk of a big ghost dance

Pow-wow at which ghost dancing is indulged in

Worker’s Revolt

Ghost Dancing

Belmont Courier

Inyo Independent

Vol.XXII, No. 25, p.3

Chloride Belt

Inyo Independent

Vol.XXII, No.31, P.3

Carson Appeal cited in

Belmont Courier

January 21, 1891 Elko Several hundred well armed bucks

January 24, 1891

January 24, 1891

February 7, 1891

February 28, 1891

March 20, 1891

March 21, 1891

March 26, 1891

April 11, 1891

May 9, 1891

June 13, 1891

Walker Lake

Central and Eastern Nevada

Nye County, Agate Mountains

Walker Lake


Pine Ridge


Monitor Valley

Smoky Valley

Duckwater, Nye Co.

Kiowa, Arapaho, Bannock and Sioux

Kiowas, Arapahos, Bannocks and


Captain Bill Hall

Sioux Indians

Indians/Captain Bob

Shoshone Indians

Shoshone Indians


Ghost Dancing

Visiting Wovoka

Indian Ghost Dances transferred from

Battle Mountain

ManyIndians encamped in vicinity

Delegation to visit Wovoka


Carson Appeal cited in

Belmont Courier

Reno Journal cited in

Belmont Courier

Central Nevadan

cited in White Pine


Belmont Courier

Reno Journal cited in

Chloride Belt

Reese River Reveille,

Vol.5, No.18

Belmont Courier

Outbreak may be attributed to small food rations

Fandango today, another in 8-10 days in

Battle Mountain, and then in Elko


Elko Independent

Belmont Courier


Spring Fandango Only 2 nights

June 6, 1891

Grand Fandango to be held soon;

Associated with bringing dead relatives back

Belmont Courier


Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF