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        When Europeans first visited the area they found three major tribes. The Py-utes (Paiutes) - northern and southern, the Sho-sho-ne, and  the Washoe. 
        Dr. Garland Hurt, an Indian agent, divided the Sho-sho-nes into Snakes, Bannacks, To-si-witches, Go-sha-utes, and Cum-um-pahs, though he later classed the last two divisions as hybrid races between the Sho-sho-nes and the Utes.
        The Paiute were divided into two groups, inhabiting both northern and southern Nevada. The Northern Paiute have inhabited Pyramid Lake, near Reno, for generations.  The Southern Paiute made its home in the Moapa Valley.  The Paiute belong to the great Shoshone stock and occupy most of Nevada.
        The Shoshone occupied much of northeastern Nevada. They belong to a large language group that extends into Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and the Great Plains.

        The Wa Sui or Washo occupied the area of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range that borders Nevada and California. According to some authorities the Washo, who are well known for their basketry, have lived in their homeland for 4,000 years.  Their dialect is quite different from that of any other Nevada Indians, and they have no affinity, so far as known, with any other Indians.

         The first recorded interaction between the white man and native Americans in Nevada dates from 1832.  In August of that year Milton Sublette had reached the head waters of the Humboldt River with a company of trappers.  Within a few days after they arrived in that area, Joe Meek shot and killed a Shoshone Indian.  When N.J. Wythe, a famous mountaineer asked why he had done this, he said, "To keep the Indians from stealing their traps."   Wythe further inquired into his reasoning by asking if the Indian had stolen any.   "No," Meek said, "but he looked as if he was going to."
        The following year Captain B.L.E. Bonneville led an expedition of 40 men to explore and trap from Salt Lake to the Pacific Ocean.   As they traveled along the Humboldt they began to encounter local natives.   Eventually fear overcame the whites and they shot into a group across the river, killing 25. 
        Washington Irving, wrote in his account of his expedition,  " . . . The trappers chased them in every direction, the poor wretches made no defense, but fled with terror; neither does it appear from the account of the boasted victors, that a weapon had been wielded or a weapon launched by the Indians throughout the affair.  We feel the poor savages had no hostile intentions, but merely gathered together through motives of curiousity."
       After the departure of Walker's party, there were no more slaughter of Indians for the following 17 years.

(The following was taken from a report of 1913)   
       "They occupy the mountain region of Nevada, around lake Washo and Tahoe, and the towns of Carson and Virginia City and Reno.  They once extended farther east and south, but were driven back by the Paiute, who conquered them, reducing them to complete subjection, forbidding them the use of horses, a prohibition which was rigidly enforced until within a few years ago.  Broken in spirit, they became mere hangers-on of the white settlements on the opening up of the mines.  They have been utterly neglected by the government and have never been included in any treaty." (End report).
        The Paiute and Shoshone dominated the Nevada territory and contributed ideas and people who have influenced Indian culture nationally. Sacajawea, who served as a guide and interpreter for Lewis and Clark, was Shoshone.  She was honored and remembered in the year 2000 with the gold "One Dollar" coin which was issued in the U. S. 
        Sacajawea was born about 1790 in what is now the state of Idaho. She was one of the "Snake People," otherwise known as the Shoshone. Her name in Hidatsa was Tsi-ki-ka-wi-as, "Bird Woman. In Shoshone, her name means "Boat Pusher.  Although she is not remembered for having contributed directly to Nevada's history, she is remembered for having served American history, and for having been a Shoshone, a native of the Nevada territory area.

Famous Native Americans
 of Nevada

Wovoka - "The Ghost Dance Prophet"

Wovoka, one of the most important Native American figures in Nevada history, the son of a Paiute prophet, was a Northern Paiute Indian born near Yerington, Nev. about 1856. He is better known in Nevada history as Jack Wilson because he took the name of the white family who had befriended him. His father, who had trained him in the ways of a medicine man or Shaman, died when the boy was 14 years of age. The orphaned boy lived and worked on the David Wilson land on the Walker River near Yerington.

Jack, a handsome Paiute, was a good worker. He became a fast friend and "blood brother" to the oldest Wilson son, Bill. Thus, Jack was welcomed at meals and family prayers. He became very interested with the Christian religion and tried to use its teachings in a new religion which he hoped would offer hope to the Indian people.

Wovoka wanted to give his people a feeling of faith in themselves. He urged them to follow the ways of peace. One of the ways he worked for this was by the Ghost Dance. Saying that the dance had come to him in his dream, he taught it to his people in the Nevada region. Wovoka's spiritual vision and leadership inspired the 1890 Ghost Dance in Nevada. In a short time this new Ghost Dance religion spread across the nation sparking a spiritual and cultural revival in many Native American Tribes.

In Wovoka and the Ghost Dance: A Sourcebook, biographer Dr. Michael Hittman, professor of anthropology at Long Island University writes, "He was a weather prophet, rainmaker and medicine man...Wovoka gained his greatest renown as the messiah or prophet of the 1890 Ghost Dance."  Drawing upon extensive sources, Hittman describes how Wovoka, from his home in Yerington, became the religious savior for literally thousands of Native Americans from the Pacific coast, across the Mountain States and the Dakotas and into Oklahoma.

The Dance religion began with Wovoka's Great Revelation. On New Year's Day 1889, Wovoka had a religious revelation wherein he "died" and went to heaven. God gave him a dance and a message of peace to share with all people. He was to stress brotherhood among all Indian people, and between the Indian and White. Wovoka proclaimed his stirring message and taught his people the Ghost Dance, a round dance that lasted for five nights. Men and women, their fingers intertwined, shuffled sideways around a fire, dancing to the songs that Wovoka led.

Wovoka's teachings spread like prairie fire first among the Bannocks, the Shoshones and then to the Great Plains Indians and many other tribes. By 1890 delegations from tribes of the Arapahoe and the Cheyenne on the east, and from as far as the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, were visiting him in Mason Valley, all seeking to learn about the new religion. The Ghost Dance was eagerly accepted by Indian tribes as a hope to bring back the old ways before they had been dispossessed of their lands and forced onto reservations. Right up to his death on Sept. 29, 1932 at his home in the Yerington Indian Colony, Wovoka received letters from Indians all around the country addressing him as "Father." Today, his legacy lives on with the Ghost Dance tradition still practiced by some native American tribes.

The Federal Government, alarmed at the popularity of his Ghost Dance, stamped out this new faith. As he grew older, Wovoka withdrew from both whites and his Indian friends. He felt his mission failed, and he became disillusioned.

At the time of his death, the newspapers failed to mention it. Thus, departed a great Indian leader of North America.

(The above was taken in part from: This Was Nevada,  Wovoka -  "The Ghost Dance Prophet" By Marta Gonzalez-Collins and Lee Brumbaugh - Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs Web page.)


Chief  Winnemucca

Accounts tell that Chief Winnemucca was born at the Sink of the Humboldt River. Accounts vary as to his age to the number of wives he had, and just what real relationship he bore to others of the Northern Paiute. Even disagreement exists concerning the meaning of his name. One source says it means "chief." Another says it means "charitable main" Another version says its translation says "one moccasin" and still another "man with a hole in his nose." The later comes from the fact that some pictures show him with a pierced nasal septum in which he wore a stick or a bone about four inches long.

Winnemucca, whose name is mentioned with the Battles of the Truckee and with the land around Pyramid Lake, had traits of leadership and made many efforts (often overruled by younger leaders) to prevent open conflict with the whites. He and his family were given passes for free rides on the Central Pacific Railroad (now the Southern Pacific), with the use of the coach. The railroad officials found him to be a help, rather than a hindrance, in construction work. In return for his cooperation, he was given gifts and respect. The latter included the name of Winnemucca (which had been called Frenchman's ford) in his honor. He was honored by soldiers of the United States Army by the presentation to him of a uniform. Pictures of him show him wearing this uniform with a feeling of pride, honor, and respect Other pictures of Winnemucca show him wearing a feather headdress. Study shows that it was a ceremonial piece associated with Indians of Central California. It is, therefore, presumed he obtained this piece of finery from across the Sierras.

The illness and death of Winnemucca, because of his prominence, rated notice in the "San Francisco Call" of October15 and October21, 1882. The story told that the end came to him at Coppersmith Station, with his death attributed to his being bewitched by his young wife. The story further tells that soon after his death his young wife and three-year old child were stoned to death as punishment for causing Winnemucca's death.


Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins

The northern Paiute name Thocmetony (Shell-Flower) was bestowed on this valiant daughter of Chief Winnemucca and whose mother was the daughter of Captain Truckee. She and her father saw that the only hope for the Indians survival was in cooperation and submission rather than war. Sarah sought understanding between her people and whites when the latter trekked across and settled on Indian homelands.  She saw, too, that an informed public could help the Indians' situation by bringing pressure upon the Department of Interior to appoint honest Indian agents.

Sarah's life is an interesting one and her book, (presumably the first in English by an Indian woman) "Life Among the Paiutes," gives some of the details of information. In it, she indicates that she was born in 1844, although in information she gave the Virginia City "Enterprise," she stated that her birth was 1848.

Further study of Sarah's life include the fact that she attended school in San Jose, California, as did two of her sisters (Mary and Emma). It is said she married at least three times, each time her husband being a white man. These, it is said, were a Mr. Snyder who died while enroute to Germany for a visit; Lt. Bartlett of the United States Army (with whom she lived only a short time); and a man named Hopkins whose name she still used when she had her book, Life Among the Paiutes, published in 1883.

The meaning of her name varies according to the different historians, but, in her book she gives it as Thocmetony or "shell flower."

Sometime in the late 1870's, Sarah began to give public lectures on Indian life and on the outrageous treatment of the Nevada Indians by the Federal Government She visited San Francisco several times for this purpose and had summaries of her talks printed in the 1880's in the newspapers of the day--the "Call," "Alta," and "Union." Gaining fame, she went to the East where she met with such literary figures as Mrs. Horace Mann who helped her get her book printed by a Boston Publisher.

It appears that Sarah, through her book, was able to stir up public opinion and interest. In 1878, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior asked her, her father (Old Winnemucca) and her brother (Natchez) to come to Washington at government expense for an interview. The Washington official, Secretary Schurz, told her to go home and tell her people they would be given canvas for tents and food. This she did, but, according to her book, the government did not fulfill its promise and her people continued in misery and suffering.

Her selfless motives, tremendous energy, and high purpose in behalf of her people made her a person admired in the history of the Far West. In history books, she is often pictured in her lecture costume. The description from the "San Francisco Call" of October 18, 1883, says "Her apparel was of dressed deerskin buff-colored and heavily fringed with beads, reaching a little below her knees and displaying her legs encased in red leather leggings and a pair of moccasins trimmed to match her dress. The pendant at her side was a handsomely embroidered pouch. Her black hair, which reached below her waist, was brushed smoothly back from her forehead."

The date and place of Sarah's death are not known (perhaps files of the Territorial Enterprise would make them available). One of the last pieces of information concerning her appeared in the Virginia City paper of January 14, 1879. In it, it told of a son of hers who was attending a school in Silver City.

Although she was commonly looked down on as "a low, dirty, common Indian," a Major (unknown) of the U.S. Army and Superintendent of Indian Affairs wrote this opinion of Sarah:  "Sarah Winnemucca is an educated woman of good sense and evinces what I believe to be an accurate appreciation of the condition of her people."
          Dated at Carson, Nevada, April 6, 1870 and September 20, 1870.

This exceptional Indian woman, a leader of her race, believed in the brotherhood of mankind. 

(The above was taken in part from the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs Web page.)


Captain Truckee

Captain Truckee is claimed to have been the father of Chief Winnemucca. Other sources disclaim this statement. At any rate, Captain Truckee was a famous guide. He first became known in Nevada history in October, 1844, at the site of the Humboldt Sink. Here he became attached to the Stevens-Townshend Murphy emigrant party. One of the party members gave him his name after a French-Canadian scout whom he knew. This name was also applied to the river they followed. Here again is a point of contradiction. Most authorities of history give the credit of the naming of the flyer to the famous scout, John C. Fremont. (Incidentally, the first name of the river was the Salmon Trout River.)

Truckee, who was a chief of the Northern Paiute (Paviotso) Tribe, with a parry of twelve men went with Fremont to California and took pan in the fighting against the Mexicans. It is further written that he and his brother joined emigrants and accompanied the California Battalion on its march from Monterey to Los Angeles. Later, he returned to the Nevada area where he lived in the Humboldt River region.

His death at Como, which occurred in October, 1860, was attributed to a tarantula bite. He was buried on a mountain ridge of this Lyon County region beneath a piñon tree. In his grave was placed a small Bible given to him by Fremont.


Other Indian Notables

Notice must be made of some other Indians mentioned in the history of Nevada. While information on their life's story is somewhat limited, these facts might prove of interest.

Numaga, better known as Young Winnemucca, was a great leader and attempted to keep peace with the whites. It is to be remembered that, despite the name, he was not son of the old chief.

Johnson Sides had been taken in by the Sides family, thus his name. He lived on their ranch and, in addition to his work, studied and learned to speak English and French. He also spoke several Indian dialects. He was employed by the United States Army as a peacemaker. As an adult he was frequently called upon to negotiate between Native American groups and the encroaching settlers. His skill in this endeavor is attested by the fact that he was held in high regard by both Native Americans and the U.S. government.   In his duties, he wore an army uniform and an army field hat. For his work, he was given a medal of which he was very proud.

Helen Joaquin who through an interpreter gave much needed information concerning the Paiutes of the Honey Lake Region.

Natchez was the brother of Sarah Winnemucca and like his sister he worked for a better life for his people.

Taken in part from an original source: Dunn, Helen. Indians of Nevada. Published by the Nevada Department of Education, 1973.  And in part from the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs Web Page.



Southern Nevada Paiutes
From Southern Nevada Times

        When white intruders first entered the area that is now southern Nevada, the region was the hunting  and gathering range of the Southern Paiute Indians.  For over six hundred years, Paiutes had utilized the animal and vegetable resources of the washes and river basins.  Among the principal vegetation resources for these people were agave, mesquite and screw beans, and, in the autumn, the extremely important [piñon] pine nuts of the Spring Mountain.  Jackrabbits were a main animal food, though mountain sheep and deer were occasionally hunted.  In the valley of the Muddy River, Southern Paiutes grew small crops of corn and squash.
        Throughout the area, but especially near the Muddy River, artifacts of a still earlier people are to be found.  These were the Basketmaker or Anasazi who inhabited the region for at least 1,500 years, from 300 B. C. to about A. D. 1200.  It was the Anasazi who built the Pueblo Grande de Nevada, a small replica of which can be seen at the Lost City Museum in Overton.  The Anasazi suddenly vanished from Nevada for reasons that are still debated today.



        Although only three tribes were found when white man first entered into Nevada, there have been other tribes to inhabit the area. Some time around 500-600 A.D. the Pueblos first entered from Arizona territory through the Boulder Dam area. They are believed to be the ancestors to the Hopi of Arizona. The Pueblos are said to have departed around 800-900 A.D.

        The Walapai lived near the mouth to the Grand Canyon, near the head of what is now Lake Mead.

        The Mohave lived down the Colorado river, some distance from Boulder Dam, but often made their way into the territory now covered by Lake Mead.

        South of the Paiutes lived the tribe of the Chemeheuvi. Although they spoke a different language than the Paiute, they lived similar, and had similar costumes, pottery and baskets as the Paiutes.

        Today, Paiute, Shoshone, Goshute, and Washo reservations are found in Nevada. There are approximately 21 Indian Reservations and Colonies in Nevada.

        In Carson City The Stewart Indian Cultural Center, once an Indian School, displays one of Nevada's most extensive collections of Indian artifacts.

        Churchill County Historical Museum, located in Fallon, offers visitors a collection of native American artifacts, as well as a gun collection, china, quilts, and other historical items.

        The Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada's oldest state park features one of many displays of ancient Indian petroglyphs.

        Red Rock Canyon, 16 miles west of Las Vegas, was once the home to the Paiutes more than 900 years ago. Evidence of their existence can be seen in the petroglyphs they left behind.

A Collection of Stories on
Native Americans In Nevada's History

America's Last Indian Battle

The last Indian battle fought in America was fought at Little High Rock Canyon, on Northwestern Washoe County Nevada, March 1st, 1911.
        Four white men of Washoe County, including a rich cattle man - Harry Cambron; a sheepherder - Dominic Bertrand "Bert" Indiano, and two wealthy French Basque sheepmen - Peter Erramouspe and John B. Laxague were murdered by a band of renegade Modoc Indians.  Harry Combron had been shot four times in the chest, hips, elbow and head.  Peter Erramouspe had been shot four times in the head, chest and left and right thigh.  His  upper lip/moustache had been slashed off.   He was survived by a wife and two children.  J.B. Laxague had been shot once through the chest and his eye was blackened.  He also was survived by a wife and two children.  Bert Indiano was shot three times in the shoulder, twice through the head, his left eye was gouged out, his upper lip and eyelids were gone, his cheek had been shot away and there was a gaping hole in the back of his head two inches long and one inch wide.  He was survived by a wife.
        The band of renegades included an old man of 65-70 (Indian Mike); four young bucks Catch-en and Charlie, a very fat Indian about 27; Eat-up-Jim, about 27 years old; and another about 25 years of age,  a boy of seven years,  two squaws, a girl of fifteen, two small children and a baby in a papoose.
        As described by a 15 year old squaw, a Snake, (Shoshone) after her capture (the only survivor, along with three children), she confessed that the band had murdered the four stockman, as well as a Chinaman, and had shot Frank Dopp, a 16 year old boy who was killed at Cow Creek, Elko County, a year prior.
        She described the brutal killing in grim detail.  She told that one of the stockmen had caught them stealing their cattle.  When the stockman joined the others to discuss the matter, the Indians crept up behind them and shot them.   Even after the four men were dead the shots continued.  One squaw crushed the face and head of the man who had discovered the theft, beating his features beyond recognition.  The four victims were then stripped of their clothing and the bodies dragged into some willows where they were found 23 days later.
        On the bodies of the dead Indians were found personal effects of the stockmen, including a watch, pistol, and checkbooks. Their clothes had been cut down to fit the Indian children.  Also found were three horses, a saddle and a bridle bit.
        While enroute from Eagleville, Surprise Valley, Modoc County, California to check on their stock-camps along the borders of the Black Rock desert, the four stockmen were slain by a band of Shoshone-Piute Indians near the entrance to Little High Rock Canyon.
        The following morning the posse picked up the trail again near they camp they had visited the night before and followed it over the mountains into Clover Valley, catching up with the Indians about seven hours later.
Before the posse caught up with Indian Mike Daggett, eight of his band of renegade Indians were killed and four were captured.  Mike fell fatally wounded early in the fight, shot at 150 yards by Ed Hogle, the only white victim of the bloody battle.  Ed ran up to Indian Mike shouting, "I've killed Mike!"  Within 30 feet of him however, Indian Mike raised on his elbow and shot Ed above the heart with a .44 caliber pistol.  The battle was unequaled as the posse was well armed with rifles and pistols while the band of renegades had only two rifles.    Two squaws and the children fought with bow and arrows and tomahawks.  After the Indians had fallen the posse rushed the  young squaw and three children, not wanting to kill them.  The remaining Indians stood their ground to the last, wounding another member of the posse with an arrow, and fighting with sticks and stones until they were overpowered.  The eight Indians who were killed in this battle were buried where they fell.
        The posse at the battle consisted of Captain Donnelly and Charles Stone of the state police, the Sheriff of Modoc County, CA, Joe Reeder, George Holmes, Henry Huges, Otto Van Orman, Williams Parsons, Warren Prutt, Matt West, Ben Cambron, Ed Hogle (killed), Frank Perry, Charles Byrne, Merrill Pressea, Jack Fergreson and Skinny Pascal, and another Indian tracker.
        Many stories surfaced after the massacre, but 57 years later Effie M. Mack researched for the truth and details surrounding the last Indian battle in this country. After many years of numerous interviews with members of the posse and those of authority offering official evidence, as well as information from relatives and friends of the slain men, she was able to put together all the information.
        Indians who knew Shoshone Mike and assisted in tracking him and his band, gave their versions of the story to Effie Mack. Her book The Indian Massacre of 1911, was published in 1968 as a limited addition of 1000 copies. Personal accounts and manuscripts were kept by some including Frank Perry, a member of a second posse. One of the cowboys, David Mortenses "Mort" West, in the first posse kept a written account from the beginning to end, including his part in the battle.
     Taken in part from Nevada - Official Bicentennial Book and History of NV, Vol. I

The Rise and Fall of Native Americans
in early Nevada History

James Shown

       More than 175 years ago the Great Basin was an unyielding opposition to the white men that dared to cross the forbidden territory. Even now, though modern technology makes the crossing seem insignificant by comparison, much of the land still remains unfit for habitation by man or beast.
        Yet within this unfriendly rugged waste, a generation prior to the white man’s invasion, some 10,000 Indians struggled with nature and in their own way prospered.
        They accomplished this without agriculture; without irrigation; without tools, other than the crude implements they fashioned out of sticks and stones. They did this without horses; without cattle; without even adequate clothing or shelter from the harsh cold of winter or the blazing heat of summer.
        Nowhere in the history of mankind can there be found a more impressive example of man’s adapting himself to an inhospitable environment than that provided by the tribes of the Great Basin.
        The aborigines living between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast, were in general the most primitive within the boundaries of the U. S. for that time period.
        Of all the tribes in the west, those of the Great Basin were most backward. The tribes in the region drained by the Columbia River had better sources of food and thereby reached a slightly higher level of living.
        In the Pacific coast region, between the Sierra Nevada-Cascade Range and the ocean, abundant natural resources and a gentler climate made living conditions more hospitable.
        The west is a land of great topographic diversity. A good example is found in the corner of the Great Basin which extends into Southern California, Mount Whitney and Death Valley, where the highest and lowest points in the U. S. are within sight of one another. The Native Americans of the far west were as diversified as the topography.
        Without the agriculture, irrigation or livestock, the Indians lived chiefly on nuts, wild seeds and roots. There were no buffalo to lead them far away on a hunt as the eastern tribes had. The rugged terrain restricted their movements.
        Nuts from the piñon pine were the most important food source for the Indians of the Great Basin. Abundance of this fall crop determined whether they would pass the winter comfortably or in semistarvation. The entire family participated in the gathering of pine nuts during a period ranging from 10 to 20 days. If the crop was plentiful, an adult could gather as much as 50 pounds a day.
        In the southern part of the Basin where the elevation was lower and the climate warmer, the mesquite bean and the agave or century plant were valuable foods. Seeds of many grasses, such as wild rye were also eaten.
        The mesquite beans were gathered in the summer. The seeds were taken from the pods and ground into a flour on crude stone mortars.
        The agave was prepared in the south by roasting in stone lined pits. When cooked, the stringy flesh of the plant is almost molasses sweet.
        Big game animals were relatively scarce and hard to obtain and therefore couldn’t be dependant upon as a food source.
        Great Basin Indians belong almost exclusively to one linguistic stock – the Shoshonean. The primary tribes being the northern Paiute of western Nevada and southeastern Oregon; the Shoshone of central and eastern Nevada and Utah; the southern Paiute of southern Nevada and neighboring Utah; and the Ute of eastern Utah and western Colorado.
        It wasn’t until about 1840 when the white immigration into the far west began. The caravans following the Oregon trail and the Mormon settlements around Great Salt Lake gave way to the peak of the white invasion with the California Gold Rush. The most direct routes took travelers through the heart of the Great Basin.
        Tens of thousands of gold seekers crossed the desert during the rush years, but their passing effected the Indians very little as the white travelers stuck to the main trails, their only concern was the gold which lay beyond the Sierras.
        However, all this changed a few years later with the discovery of rich mines in western Nevada. Then prospectors began to penetrate into every corner of the Basin, and behind them came the settlers who occupied the limited water sources.
        The settlers grazing livestock reduced the edible plants, and the white man began cutting down the piñon pines for fuel, thereby reducing one of the Indians most important food sources.
        With newly acquired horses and guns (brought to you by the white men) the Indians began to put up a strong resistance for a while. But with the completion of the transcontinental railroad across Utah and Nevada in 1869, the aboriginal way of life was doomed.


Indian Mike Tells Story of Capture
Puts a Different View on the Case.
White Men fired First Shot
(Reprinted in it's entirety from the
Carson City News January 22, 1912)

       The sensational story that went out regarding the capture of one Indian Mike and his son at Lovelock seems to have been considerably exaggerated.  The Indians side of the story throws a different light on the subject as published in the Lovelock Tribune.
        Mike with his family, moved from the locality where they lived, down in the vicinity of White Falls.  He moved down there to get work as a wood chopper and also in order that his daughter who was ill might get medical treatment.
        One day he had occasion to go to town to get some supplies and he took his deaf and dumb son along with him.  He was in a store purchasing some provisions while his son was outside.  A boy of the town about the same size as Mike's boy by the name of Roderick Macarthur, began teasing the Indian boy whose name was Wilson and bantering him to fight.  When Mike came out of the store it made him angry to see this and he pushed the young Macarthur aside roughly.  He then took his boy and they started for their wagon.  After they got in the rig, someone shot with a .22 rifle, but Mike declares that it was neither he nor his son, since neither had any firearms whatever.  they continued home unmolested.  Two days later they returned to their old stamping grounds in the northern part of the county.  As they were passing along the road they were suddenly held up by the deputy sheriff and another man.  The deaf and dumb boy had a gun in his hands, with which he was shooting rabbits with as they went along.  When the officers commanded them to halt all of the occupants put up their hands except the deaf boy, who did not see them.  As he turned around to investigate the cause of the sudden stop, the officers probably assumed he was turning around to shoot.  At any rate, they both opened fire and the deaf boy was shot through the nose, his daughter [Mike's] was fatally wounded and one of the horses was killed.  The deaf boy, wounded, angered and surprised at once opened fire and shot the deputy inflicting a wound from which the latter died the next day.  The Indian boy then ran, and was followed for miles by his father who tracked him by the blood that flowed from his wounded nose.  Thereafter, according to Mike, his flight from the locality where he lived, was solely because his son would not remain.  And the father followed the son, being unable to convince him that the better method was to surrender to the authorities.  The mute was afraid he would not get justice at the hands of the white men, who had shot him without provocation.  When Mike and the boy arrived at Lovelock valley they were in destitute circumstances, but managed to get enough to eat by selling their shot guns, and some quirts they had made.
        They did not present the sight of blood thirsty Indians, when interviewed at the jail.  The half-witted boy, deaf, dumb and nearly blind, presented an object of pity, rather than one of ferociousness.

   Questions or Comments?

A personal note from the Editor/Webmaster:
It is a sad thing to have to report about history which came about by way of the destruction and removal of another previous society.  This web site is not intended to glorify in any way what has taken place in Nevada's past or any other part of American history.  It is soley intended to be an informative and educational media tool.   I welcome any information from any Native American in Nevada that would help to glorify their proud heritage in this land. 
Thank you.

1833  - October 4th - First battle between whites and Indians in Nevada at Humboldt Sink,  many Indians killed. 

1834 June - Second battle fought at ToulonLake (Pershing) on Walker's return trip, trappers armed with rifles again defeated the Indians, probably Northern Paiutes.

1844  - Northern Paiute Indian Chief Truckee and Caleb Greenwood guided the Elisha Stephens wagon train of overland emigrants into California over Emigrant Gap. First wagons to cross Sierra Nevada mountains. Opened TruckeeRiver section of California Trail (road included much of present Interstate 80).

1851  - Summer - California sent a militia expedition to CarsonValley during second El Dorado County Indian War. Small garrison commanded by William Byrne wintered at Mormon Station.

August-September - Indian fights along Humboldt River; William Hickman led emigrant party in battles, reportedly killing 82 Indians.

November - Absalom Woodward and U. S. Mail party ambushed and killed by Indians on Humboldt River; mail lost.

1855  - Utah Superintendence established a number of farms or small reserves for the Shoshone Indians.

August 7 - Treaty of Friendship between U.S.and Western Shoshone Indians signed at Haws' Ranch on Humboldt River by Indian Agent Garland Hurt and ten principal men of the Western Shoshone tribes. The treaty was not ratified by Congress.

Treaty of Friendship between settlers of Carson Valley and the Northern Paiute tribe of Indians, represented by Chief Winnemucca. The terms of the treaty provided that Paiute tribal justice would punish Paiute Indians accused of killing or robbing whites, where the criminals could be identified, and likewise whites who killed or stole from Paiutes would be punished by the settler's government. The treaty expressly disapproved of indiscriminate revenge or reprisal; it was not ratified by Congress, but settled relations between the whites and Northern Paiutes until the Pyramid Lake War of 1860.

1857 - Petition for territorial status claimed 7-8,000 settlers and 100-125,000 Indians (later revised downward to 25,000).

September-October - War scares between Washo Indians and settlers at Genoa and Honey Lake.

1859 - December 8: Pyramid Lake and Walker Lake Reservations set aside by U. S. Government for Northern Paiute Indians; reservations formally established by executive order of President U. S. Grant on March 23, 1874.

William 'Uncle Billy' Rogers, Indian sub-agent, settled in Ruby Valley in Elko County.  He was the first rancher there and established a farm for the Shoshone Indians.

1860 - May 7-8 - Pyramid Lake Paiute War. Started when Indians killed several whites at Williams Station in Lyon County on big bend of Carson River.   

May 12 - Punitive force of whites led by Major William M. Ormsby and others were defeated by Northern Paiute Indians under Numaga ('Young Winnemucca') at first Battle of Pyramid Lake in Washoe County. Ormsby and many others were killed. Second Battle of Pyramid Lake June 2 resulted in defeat of Indians by California militia and U. S. Army troops.   

Fort Churchill established on Carson River near Bucklands Station to protect travelers on the overland routes and to watch the Northern Paiutes; abandoned March 1870.

1862 - May 23 - Meeting of Governor James W. Nye with the principal chiefs of the Northern Paiute Indians, including Winnemucca and Numaga, at the big bend of the Truckee River, near Wadsworth in Washoe County. As a sign of peace and friendship the Indians and whites exchanged presents. This meeting allied many of the Paiute chiefs to a peace policy.

1863 - January 29 - Battle of Bear River in Cache Valley, Idaho, between Shoshone Indians and California volunteer militia under General Patrick E. Connor.  Indian defeat broke Shoshone power in northern Nevada.

March 22 - Goshute Indians, led by Chief White Horse, attacked Eight Mile Station and the overland mail stagecoach, starting the Goshute War with white settlers of eastern Nevada.  

May 1-5 - Fighting on Duck Creek.

May 6 - Battle at Spring Valley resulted in defeat of Goshutes by Captain S. P. Smith's command of California volunteer cavalry.  

July - Indians attacked Canon Station.

August - Campaign by soldiers in Steptoe Valley.

October - Goshutes asked for peace. Seven stagecoach stations were attacked and burned during the war.

October 1 - Treaty between Governor James W. Nye and 12 principal men of the Shoshone Indians at Ruby Valley, later ratified by Congress.

October - Indian war scare at Como when Paiutes protested against woodcutters destroying the Indians' pine nut groves.

October-December - Carson Sink Indian war scare over the murder of Walker Lake Paiute Chief E-zed-wa October 25 near Fort Churchill.

1865 - March-July - Paradise Valley Indian War in Humboldt County. Fighting began with attacks along National Wagon Road.  

March 14 - Captain A. B. Wells attacked and destroyed Paiute camp near Mud Lake near Winnemucca.  

April 5 - Raids began in Paradise Valley on white settlers by Paiute, Bannock, and Shoshone Indians led by 'Black Rock Tom'. 

April 6 - Battle with Nevada volunteer troops.

April 15 - Battle with settlers near Kane Springs.

May - Settlers formed paramilitary colonies.

May 20 - The Battle of Table Mountain commences north of Paradise Valley.  Paiute leader Zelauwick and his supporters defeat Captain Almond Wells and a small cavalry from Fort McDermitt.

July 26 - Battle with Nevada volunteers.

Fighting continued with Quinn River Indian War;

'Black Rock Tom' surrendered himself and was shot August 11 in Spring Canyon, near Unionville in Pershing County.

August 7 - August-December: Quinn River Indian War in Humboldt County. Colonel Charles McDermit ambushed and killed at Quinn River by Indians.

September 12 - Soldiers killed 35 Indians in battle.

120 Indians of Black Rock Tom's Band killed November 17 by soldiers and Paiute Indians of Captain Soo's Band

Army established Fort McDermitt on Quinn River (became Indian reservation 1889).

1866 - January - Indians massacred company of Chinese travelers along Idaho Road in the Quinn River Valley in Humboldt County, 95 Chinese killed, five escaped.

January 12 - Soldiers of Captain C. D. Conrad's command killed 40 Indians in battle at Fish Creek in.

1871 - Congress made Camp McGarry an Indian reservation.

1872 - March 12 - President U. S. Grant established Moapa Indian Reservation by executive order.  The order was cancelled and re-established in another spot by another executive order February 12, 1874.  Original reservation included about 3,900 square miles but was reduced by Congress in 1875 to 1,000 acres then increased by executive orders in 1912. The  land was allocated to Indians 1914.

1875 - Establishment of Indian reservations by executive order.

September - Goshute Indian war scare in White Pine County.

1877 - April 16 - Executive order established U. S. Indian reservation at Duck Valley and Carlin Farms.  Carlin Farms Reservation discontinued 1879.

1878 - March 1 - Day school for Indians opened by Indian agent at Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation.  Enlarged to boarding school 1882.

May 30 - Suffering from severe famine and receiving no help from the US government, the Bannock Indians led by Chief Buffalo Horn and joined by the Northern Paiute Indians of Nevada (to whom the Bannocks were closely related) fled from the Fort Hall Reservation in southeastern Idaho in 1878.   War began between whites and the Bannock and Paiute Indians when the Indians raided white settlements in search of food.  Indians were defeated after several pitched battles.   US cavalry under General Oliver Otis Howard (1830-1909), sent to crush the Bannocks, won two battles against the Indians in southern Idaho.   After the massacre of about 140 Bannock men, women and children at Charles' Ford in present-day Wyoming, the remaining Indians gave up and returned to the reservation.  Buffalo Horn was killed by U. S. Army troops. Nevada militia participated in the warfare which took place in the northern part of the state and southern Idaho.

1882 - Indian agent at Walker Lake Paiute Reservation opened day school for Indians in Mineral County.

1883 - Nevada Indian Agency established Indian police force.

1886 - Three judge Court of Indian Offenses established for Nevada Indian Agency to adjudicate crimes committed by Indians.

1887 - February 8 - Dawes or Indian Allotment Act passed by Congress, provided for allotment of reservation lands to individual tribal members.  Was intended to encourage Indians to give up wandering and individually cultivate their own land instead. Of the approximate 138 million acres in Indian possession 1887, about 2/3 had passed to white ownership by 1934.

Legislature established Indian school.

1889 - Congress established a Paiute and Shoshone Indian Reservation at Fort McDermitt.  Dispersed in allotments to Indians 1892; re-allotted 1903; enlarged 1936, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1956; allotments given up 1959 and 1957.

Wovoka (Jack Wilson, 1856-1932, Northern Paiute) revived the 'Ghost Dance' movement at Walker Lake Paiute Reservation which spread through Midwest and frightened whites.  Wovoka's teachings influenced the Plains Indians and precipitated a battle between the U. S. Army and the Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Reservation in South Dakota on December 29, 1890. It was to be the last large, major Indian battle in U. S.  The movement died out after 1891.

1890 - Indian lands allotted at Stillwater in Churchill County.  Additional allocations were made in 1893-94 then cancelled on August 15, 1906.

1891 - Stewart Indian School opened outside Carson City.

1893 - Congress began giving land allotments in the Pine Nut Mountains in Douglas County to Washoe Indians; ended 1910.

1902 - Congress passed Interior Appropriation Bill with amendment providing for Walker Lake Paiute Indian Reservation to be allotted to individual Indians.   Allotment agreement concluded July 20, 1906 with huge Indian celebration at Walker Lake.  Reservation opened to settlement of whites after presidential proclamation October 29, 1906.

1906 - July 20 - Walker River Indian Reservation opened for allotments and broken up.

August 15 - Fallon Indian Reservation established by Congress.  Enlarged November 21, 1917 and again on March 14, 1958.

1909 - Walker River Indian Agency created.

1911 - Last Indian uprising in the U.S.   A band of renegade Indians led by 'Shoshone Mike' killed four stockmen in northern Washoe County in January. State police officers and a sheriff's posse broke up the band and killed 'Shoshone Mike' north of Golconda on February 26, 1911.

Helen J. Stewart started Las Vegas Indian Colony in conjunction with U. S. Government.

1914 - March 23 - Executive order of President Taft established Goshute Indian Reservation at Deep Creek in White Pine County.

1917 - President Woodrow Wilson established Battle Mountain Indian Colony by executive order.

Congress began purchasing land for Washoe Indians.  January-February, Carson Indian Colony acquired.

Bureau of Indian Affairs created Yerington Reservation for Paiute Indians in Lyon County.

Bureau of Indian Affairs established Reno-Sparks Indian Colony.   It was enlarged in 1926.

1918 - March 15 - Executive order of President Woodrow Wilson added 34,000 acres to Walker Lake Indian Agency.

President Woodrow Wilson established Elko Indian Colony by executive order; relocated 1931.

1924 - June 2 - Congress passed law making all native-born American Indians U. S. citizens.

1926 - Congress abolished the Bishop Indian Agency in California merging it with the Walker River Indian Agency and the Fallon Indian Colony and Reservations.

1928 - Congress added 69,000 acres of grazing land to Walker Lake Indian Agency.

1929 - Peyotism, a religion of some Native North Americans in which the hallucinogenic peyote  cactus is used, was introduced to Pyramid Lake Paiutes by an outside Indian Lee Okio.

1931 - Federal Government established Fly Indian Colony in White Pine County.

1932 - June 28 - Indians made subject by congressional act to local laws for major crimes.

1934 - June - Congress passed Wheeler-Howard or Indian Reorganization Act which provided for tribal self-government under congressionally-approved constitutions; it stopped allotment system and enabled tribes to purchase additional land.

Land in Wassuk Mountain Range set aside by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt for Walker River Indian Irrigation District.

1935 - Walker River Agency abolished the Carson Indian Agency consolidating it as a sub-agency within the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U. S. Department of Interior.

1936 - April 20 - Congress approved constitution and by-laws of Shoshone-Paiute tribes of Duck Valley Indian Reservation.

December 10 - Bureau of Indian Affairs authorized approval to purchase Campbell Ranch near Yerington as Paiute Indian Colony.  It was enlarged 1941.

Peyotism introduced to Washoe Indians by Ben Lancaster.

1937 - February 27 - Washoe Indians issued corporate charter and became formally organized.    Tribal Council organized 1966.

U. S. Government established Yomba or Reese River Indian Reservation in Lander County, expanded 1940, 1941.

1938 - Pyramid Lake Paiutes sued to remove squatters, get their share of Truckee River water and preserve the lake. Supreme Court in 1944 gave squatters 7 more years to vacate lands

1940 - November 13 - Department of Interior approved purchase of land for Duckwater Indian Reservation.

1944 - National Congress of American Indians established.

1947 - Nevada Legislature created the Indian Education Division of the State Department of Education.

1953 - Transfer of control of Indian affairs to the states.

1973 -  Legislature designated Indian Affairs Commission changed to Nevada Indians Commission, and the Nevada Indian Advisory Committee for Indian Education.

1980 - Stewart Indian School closed, reopened as Museum in 1982.


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(Know your Nevada Indians, a publication of the Nevada State Department of Education. Reprint 1972.)

(Dunn, Helen. Indians of Nevada. Published by the Nevada Department of Education, 1973.)

Battle Mountain Colony Shoshone Battle Mountain, NV      State
Duck Valley Reservation      Shoshone-Paiute Owyhee, NV Federal
Duckwater Reservation Shoshone Currant, NV State
Ely Indian Colony Shoshone Ely, NV State
Fallon Res. * Colony Paiute-Shoshone       Fallon, NV Federal
Fort McDermitt Res. Paiute-Shoshone McDermitt, NV State
Goshute Reservation Goshute Wendover, UT State
Las Vegas Colony Paiute Las Vegas, NV Federal
Lovelock Colony Paiute Lovelock, NV State
Moapa Reservation Paiute Las Vegas, NV Federal
Pyramid Lake Res. Paiute Pyramid Lake, NV Federal
Reno-Sparks Colony Paiute-Washoe Reno, NV State
Elko Colony Shoshone Elko, NV State
Walker River Res. Paiute Schurz, NV Federal
Carson Colony Washoe Carson City, NV State
Dresslerville Colony Washoe Dresslerville, NV State
Yerington Res. & Colony Paiute Yerington, NV Federal
Woodsford Community Washoe Alpine County, CA State
Winnemucca Colony Paiute Winnemucca, NV State
Yomba Reservation Shoshone Austin, NV State
Snow Mountain Paiute Las Vegas, NV Federal


(Know Your Nevada Indians. a publication of the Nevada State Department of Education,
Reprint 1973. Err-8)

1776 to 1910-1915 HISTORIC PERIOD. SOUTHERN PALUTE. Primarily gathering, hunting. Nomadic.
300 BC to 1150 AD ANASAZI (BASKETMAKER). Lost City, Nevada. Development from hunting and gathering to agriculture. Pithouses to surface villages. Development of pottery. Sedentary people.
2000 BC to 50 BC PINTO GYPSUM. Gypsum Cave, Stuart Rockshelter. Surface at Tule Springs. Primarily hunters, some gathering. Nomadic.
3550 to 2050 BC CORN CREEK DUNES. Corn Creek Ranger Station. Crude chopping tools, leaf-shaped projectile points. Hunting and gathering economy. Way station between mountains.

10,000 to 8000 BC TITLE SPRINGS. Hunting. Streamside.
12,000 to 10,000 BC TITLE SPRINGS. Possible bone tools. Hunting economy. Streamside.


Basketmaker II 300 BC to 500 AD Caves and rockshelters. Round, deep pithouses. Gathered seeds.
          Atlatl and dart.
          Coiled baskets.
Basketmaker III      500 AD to 700 AD Pithouse villages.
          Corn and squash culture.
Pueblo I and II 700 AD to 1100 AD Population maximum
          Pithouses and surface pueblos of adobe and stone.
          Mined salt & turquoise.


Early Pueblo 111       1100 to 1150 AD      Population dwindled.
          Villages abandoned.


GYPSUM CAVE 8,000 to 10,000 years ago man camped here. Bones of humans, camels, sloth, and primitive horses were uncovered here.
LEONARD ROCKSHELTER Near the Humboldt Sink, human bones were found here that dated 11,000 years old. Dart points date 7,000 years old, and hand-woven baskets, 5,700 years old.
LOVELOCK CAVE Once located near Lake Lahontan, many unusual artifacts have been found here, like rabbit nets (used in hunting), and woven bowls. Lovelock Cave people also created decoy ducks, and had knowledge of the dart.
TULE SPRINGS This was the largest interdisciplinary investigation of a site ever completed in the U.S.A.

Evidence of man in this area suggests it was inhabited more than 28,000 years ago.

Lower vertebrates: few scraps of frog.

Birds: Coots (1 extinct form(, owl, giant condor (extinct), large goose.

Mammal: ground sloth, jackrabbit, mouse kangaroo rat, coyote, puma, giant jaguar, Columbian mammoth, equus (horse), camels, deer, bison.

The remains at Tule Springs reflect a gradual change in environment.