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The Paiutes call themselves Numu, meaning "People." Pre-contact Paiutes used a huge desert area extending from central Oregon southward through Las Vegas Valley to land along the Colorado River in Arizona and Southern California, and east to southwestern Idaho. According to Catherine Fowler in Native America in the Twentieth Century, the numerous Paiutes bands are often recognized in three main groups: (1) the Northern Paiutes of northwestern Nevada, northeastern California, southeastern Oregon, and southwestern Idaho (which includes the Yerington Paiutes); (2) the Owens Valley Paiutes, who traditionally inhabited the Owens River watershed of southeastern California;  and (3) the Southern Paiutes of southeastern California, southern Nevada, northwestern Arizona, and western Utah.

 

Today, and during my research in 1964, there were two reservations in Yerington, Nevada: the Ranch, about eight miles out of town, and the Colony, within the town. The tribe consists of about 500 members, speakers of a Numic language which you can hear by clicking here 

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWUhx02ifis]

Originally, they were subsistence hunters and gatherers, with the pine nut as their staple; after white contact, they became ranch hands, miners, laborers, factory workers, and domestics.

 

Here  are several excellent sites for the Paiute/Numu people, including the Yerington Paiute/Numu:

 

 

http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Le-Pa/Paiutes.html  (However, this site, accessed July 7, 2010, mistakenly identifies Wovoka as a Southern Paiute.)

 

http://www.fourdir.com/northern paiute.htm

 

http://www4.hmc.edu:8001/humanities/basin/gb-intro.htm

 

For the Yerington Numu, specifically, see the tribal site, under construction:

 

http://www.ypt-nsn.gov/

 

 

 

 

 

Ethnographic Readings

 

d'Azevedo, Warren L. "Introduction" in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 11. Ed. William C. Sturtevant ; Volume editor Warren L. d'Azevedo. Washington DC: The Smithsonian Institution (1986).

 

Dixon, E. James. Quest for the Origins of the First Americans (University of New Mexico Press, 1993)

 

Fowler, Catherine S. And Sven Liljeblad. "Northern Paiute" in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 11. Ed. William C. Sturtevant ; Volume editor Warren L. d'Azevedo. Washington DC: The Smithsonian Institution (1986).

 

Fowler, Don D., and Catherine S. Fowler. 1971. Anthropology of the Numa: John Wesley Powell's Manuscripts on the Numic Peoples of Western North America, 1868-1880. Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology No. 14. Washington, D.C. (Northern Paiute myths, pp. 218-229, 242, 246-248.)

 

 

Hittman, Michael. 1984.  The Yerington Paiute Tribe: A Numu history. Yerington NV: the Yerington Paiute Tribe.

 

_____. 1996. Corbett Mack: The Life of a Northern Paiute As Told By Michael Hittman. Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press

 

_____. 1997 (ed. Don Lynch). Wovoka and the Ghost Dance (Expanded Edition). Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press.

 

Hultkrantz, Ake. "Mythology and Religious Concepts" in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 11. Ed. William C. Sturtevant ; Volume editor Warren L. d'Azevedo. Washington DC: The Smithsonian Institution (1986).

 

Jennings, Jesse D. "Prehistory: Introduction" in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 11. Ed. William C. Sturtevant ; Volume editor Warren L. d'Azevedo. Washington DC: The Smithsonian Institution (1986).

Johnson, Edward C., c. 1975. (Project director Melvin D. Thom; interviewer  Stannard Frank. ) Walker River Paiutes: a tribal history. Walker River Paiute Tribe.

 

Kelly, Isabel T. 1938. "Northern Paiute Tales". Journal of American Folklore 51:363-438.

 

Liljeblad, Sven. "Oral Tradition: Content and Style of Verbal Arts" in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 11. Ed. William C. Sturtevant ; Volume editor Warren L. d'Azevedo. Washington DC: The Smithsonian Institution (1986).

 

Miller, Wick R. "Numic Languages" in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 11. Ed. William C. Sturtevant ; Volume editor Warren L. d'Azevedo. Washington DC: The Smithsonian Institution (1986).

 

Olson, James S. and Raymond Wilson. Native Americans in the Twentieth Century (University of Illinois Press, 1984)

 

Parman, Donald L. Indians and the American West in the Twentieth Century (Indiana University Press, 1994)

 

Prucha, Francis Paul. The Churches and the Indian Schools 1888-1912 (University of Nebraska Press, 1979)

 

Strong, Emory. Stone Age in the Great Basin (Portland, OR: Binford and Mort Publishing, 1969)

 

Sturtevant, William C. (General Editor); Warren L. d'Azevedo (Volume Editor). Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 11 (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1986)

 

Underhill, Ruth. The Northern Paiute Indians of California and Nevada (Washington, DC: U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, 1941)

 

Wheat, Margaret M. Survival Arts of the Primitive Paiutes (University of Nevada Press, 1967)