Monday, December 10, 2012

Researching Your Paiute Indian Ancestor?

Nevada Native Americans
If your Native American ancestor was from western Nevada, be sure to include the Paiute (Pah-Ute) Indians in your search. Actually the Paiute Natives are often subdivided into Northern Paiute which included northwest Nevada, flowing into Oregon, Idaho, and California. The Southern Paiutes can be placed in southern Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and of course, California. There are over 30 bands of Paiute Indians (see listing at the page. 

Tips in Researching
  • Do not limit your research to reservation only, as many Paiute’s did not live on the reservation, but often worked on ranches of white families 
  • Keep in mind that many Paiute’s were considered nomadic in the earlier years, and stripped of land due to wars, railroads in the latter. So it is best to research and understand the migratory paths of the various bands. 
  • The Paiutes were originally a unique Native American tribe, but in later documents (see Census) researchers may see the reference Shoshoni-Paiute, especially on the various Nevada reservations. 
  • Paiute’s carry the nickname of Numa (“The People”). 
  • Today’s reservations in Nevada established between 1859-1891 include Moapa, Pyramid Lake, Walker River and the Shohone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley reservation.
        6 Great Places to Search?
  1. Tribal Records: Your research may include the Fallon Band, Sho-shone or Ft. McDermitt in Nevada (or U-tu Utu Gwaitu Paiute in California). A great first step is to determine when a reservation was established/ This may assist in tracing your ancestor to a reservation: (i.e. Duck Valley Reservation, established in 1877; Walker River Tribe, established in 1859, etc.)
  2. Federal Government: NARA: Be sure to search the National Archives (NARA) - Pacific Regional Archives in San Francisco for records of the Nevada Agency available for 1895-1975.
  3. Nevada State Archives located in Carson City, holds an impressive collection on the Paiute Indians. However, we have uncovered data and information in newspapers, at historical societies, and museums throughout Nevada to include the Clarke County Museum and at the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas. 
  4. indexed the Walker River Valley, Nevada Paiute Indian Records, 1902-1906, located south of Lake Tahoe. Although not complete, this database covers 2000 of the reservation residents from 1902 to 1906.  The best part of these records is they provide the Native American name which may further your family research.
     Indian Census Collection has also indexed the US Indian Census Rolls, 1885 - 1940. There are over 1500 names listed in the census for the Paiute Indians listed in Nevada (some may include Shoshoni’s). (NARA microfilm of Federal Indian Census Rolls, DC - M595).
  5. Special Collections. The California State Military Museum houses some accounts of the Paiute War (1860):. However, newspapers and other collections held at local and state museums will help the researcher on this quest. A good example is the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitor Center
  6. School Records. As with much research school records/documentations, may help in uncovering Paiute ancestors.  In Nevada, the Stewart Institute boarding school was opened  from 1890  - 1980. Be sure to check records of faraway schools also. Recently our search at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS proved fruitful for our Paiute ancestral search.  For school records search research should be conducted at the NARA- San Francisco. Reference Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Records Group (RG) 75.20.4 Records of the Carson/Stewart Indian School, NV
Of course if you need to combine research with pleasure, remember the Tudinu, Las Vegas Paiute Tribe

For further information:

Stewart Indian Museum, Carson City, NV 

Kathleen Brandt

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