Like a number of other California and Southwest Indians, the Northern Paiute have been known derogatorily as “Diggers” because some of the wild foods they collected required digging. They occupied east-central California, western Nevada, and eastern Oregon.
Where are the Paiute Indians from?
Today Southern Paiute communities are located at Las Vegas, Pahrump, and Moapa, in Nevada; Cedar City, Kanosh, Koosharem, Shivwits, and Indian Peaks, in Utah; at Kaibab and Willow Springs, in Arizona.
Name. Paiute (pronounced PIE-yoot). The name means “true Ute.” (The group was related to the Ute tribe.) The Spanish called both the Paiute and the Ute “Yutas,” which served as the origin for the name of the state of Utah.
The Southern Paiute language is one of the northern Numic branches of the large Uto-Aztecan language family. Most scholars agree that the Paiutes entered Utah about A.D. 1100-1200.
The Northern Paiute call themselves Numa (sometimes written Numu); the Southern Paiute call themselves Nuwuvi; both terms mean “the people”. The Northern Paiute are sometimes referred to as Paviotso. Early Spanish explorers called the Southern Paiute Payuchi (they did not make contact with the Northern Paiute).
The Paiutes suffered immensely under termination. Nearly one-half of all tribal members died during the period between 1954 and 1980, largely due to a lack of basic health resources.
The Ute and Southern Paiute Indians are descended from the same group of Numic-speaking hunter-gatherers that began migrating east from southern California around A.D. Historically, the two groups shared similar, but not identical, hunter-gatherer lifestyles.
The Paiute had a strong belief in the supernatural. This was evident in their practice of shamanism to assist in childbirth and other parts of life. These shamans functioned as a community healer and would be mentored by a more experienced shaman.
Since the 19th century, the dominant portrayal of the Paiute people has remained unchanged. Modern authors and historians use the same language as the early settlers, and call the Paiutes the “Snake Indians”, a derogatory term that is both insulting and unacceptable to the tribe.
Their tribal membership is currently around 800, although their numbers were in the thousands in the past. Prior to contact with Europeans, the Paiutes’ area included land from southern California, to Nevada, to Utah, and northern Arizona.
Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims is a book that was written by Sarah Winnemucca in 1883. It is both an autobiographic memoir and a history of the Paiute people during their first forty years of contact with European Americans.
Used the pinyon pine nut as an important food. Ate big and small animals, birds, reptiles, fish, and insects. Gathered and ate wild seeds, plants, roots. Caught fish and small animals.
Most Western Paiute Indians lived in wickiups. Wickiups are small round or cone-shaped houses made of a willow frame covered with brush. Eastern Paiute people preferred Plains-style tipis.
Thank you! Pesa Mu! Pe-sha muh! Thank all of you!
The Numu (Northern Paiute) language is a member of the Uto-Aztecan language family. It is most closely related to the language of the Owens Valley Paiute and to Mono, spoken directly on the other side of the Sierra Nevada.