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The Numu Past

The Sheriff, Claude Keema


For a while during my 1964 fieldwork, a white  youth, Gary Keema, was  mistakenly listed in my census as a member of an eminent Paiute family on the Ranch. In fact, he was the sheriff's son, who spent all his spare time on the Ranch.


The Mason Valley News,  "The Only Newspaper In The World That Gives A Damn About Yerington" began publication in 1909, but Yerington has been served by a series of papers, starting in 1874. In July of that year, the Indians are described as "peaceable and industrious" by two senators, William Stewart and John Jones, who asked that they be placed on small farms rather than reservations. However, in the same month, a local restaurateur, Mrs. Kendall, is commended for hiring "white women" in her restaurant.

Where's the beef?  (In anthropology, this means "Where's the ethnography?" (although some postmodernists would disagree).  Trickster contains ethnographic material, but it's not ethnography. (Click here for my best guess as to what it is.)

The purpose of my 1964 fieldwork among the Paiutes was to learn how to do fieldwork, and to write an ethnographic account of my specific topic, which focused on what religion(s) the Paiutes of Yerington, Nevada, took up after the death of the "Indian Messiah," Jack Wilson or Wovoka.

The "Acknowledgments"  and "References" sections of Trickster: an anthropological memoir contain important references to the history and ethnography of the Numu/Paiutes, as does my 1964 National Science Foundation final report, the one I worried about for almost three months during my training. That report is on this website.

This site will contain excerpts from various works and additional references shortly.



A good source of information on the past history of the Numu in Yerington is The Yerington Paiute Tribe: A Numu History, by Michael Hittman (1984). More references will be posted here shortly.




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