The Paiute tribe of Native American Indians is made up of several bands throughout the western part of the United States, also known as the Great Basin region. The
Northern Paiute's territory covers parts of Oregon, California, Idaho and Nevada while the Southern Paiute's occupy parts of Arizona, Nevada, Utah as well as the
southeastern portion of California. The Owens Valley Paiute, who are sometimes considered Southern Paiute, are also found in California and Nevada. Although the
northern Paiute were more hostile than the southern Paiute, the tribe was known for possessing many good qualities like being moral and peaceful. In fact, what they
are known for is their non-violent ways.
Please read on for list of facts and information about the Paiute Tribe.
Paiute Indian Tribe General Facts and Information
Paiute women were highly skilled in the art of basket weaving. Baskets were used in everyday life as dishes and
containers but also for gathering food like fruits and nuts. Because the women often carried full baskets on
their shoulders, they wore basket hats to prevent injuries to their skin.
The Paiute people were a nomadic tribe in a constant search for food through the forests of the Rocky Mountains
to the desert areas to the west.
Hunting was not a skill that the Paiute men were able to master. Bows and arrows were the primary tool used for hunting. However their bows were not very effective. Since the amount of animals they were able to kill was minimal, tribe members wore very little hide clothing.
The Paiute were not rich in material items such as jewelry, clothes or art. Their nomadic lifestyle forced them to keep their possessions to a minimum. Because they had so few possessions, they were not often the target of attacks from other tribes.
Paiute Indian Tribal Rituals and Ceremony Facts
The Paiute people strongly believe in "Puha" or power, a traditional belief that everything in the universe has a life force. The Paiute practice meditation and
perform special rituals in an attempt to harness the puha. It is
believed that health, wartime victory, weather and fertility were attainable through puha.
The Ghost Dance, started by a Paiute man named Wodziwob, was one of their most celebrated traditions. It eventually became a universal Native American tradition.
It was believed that the dance would reunite the living with the dead and bring peace and prosperity to the people.
Pyramid Lake War Facts
Nevada is home to the Pyramid Lake War of 1860, a series of two battles between the Paiute and the white
settlers. The settlers came to the area in search of gold and silver and in their search, effectively destroyed
the Indians' valuable natural resources. This created a great deal of tension among the Paiute and Chief Numaga.
The Paiute reached their breaking point when two Paiute girls were kidnapped by white settlers. It sparked the
most intense battle in Nevada's history and the initial battle left several white traders dead and 75 members of
the militia dead.
In retaliation, the white militia attacked several weeks later and numerous Paiute Indians died as a result. A
treaty was signed to end the fighting a few months later.