TRIBES

Paiute
LOCATION: The Paiute were, and still are today, located in the Great Basin area. This includes the area of western and southern Nevada, eastern California, western Utah, north-western Arizona, south-eastern Oregon, and southern Idaho.
POPULATION: Estimated to have been 7,500 in the mid 19th Century.
LANGUAGE: Uto-Aztecan language family, related to the Shoshone dialect.
DESCRIPTION:

The Paiute consisted of two major subgroups, Northern and Southern Paiute. White intrusion to the area in the 1850s was said to be resented by the Paiute tribe. The arid conditions of the Great Basin area determined the thinly spread population of the Paiute tribe due to the lack of food supply which saw families unite together only for hunting purposes, such as autumn rabbit and antelope. The tribe would also travel to where food was available and so lived in temporary huts called a Wickiup, made of brush and reeds, which are commonly known as Wigwams.

The Paiute are associated with the Ghost Dance that originated in 1888. The Ghost Dance was enacted in order to rid the Paiute of the white man’s influence so that they could once again live in harmony. Members of the Paiute would also wear a Ghost Dance Shirt that they believed would protect against bullets fired from white soldiers.