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(wä`shō), Native North Americans occupying the region around Washo and Tahoe lakes in W Nevada and E California in the mid-19th cent. The Paiute were their inveterate enemies; before the coming of white settlers the Paiute defeated and drove back the Washo, and again in the period of 1860–62 they conquered the Washo. In 1990 there were close to 1,500 Washo in the United States, mainly living on reservations in California and Nevada. Their language belongs to the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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See J. F. Downs, The Two Worlds of the Washo (1966); E. M. Dangberg, comp., Washo Tales (tr. 1968).

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Of the Native nations we do know in an area from the Northern California border down to the Golden Gate Bridge in the west and Yosemite National Park in the east, an area of 250 miles by 200 miles, there were Tolowa, Yurok, Chilula, Karok, Shasta, Wiyot, Whilkut, Yana, Waintu, Maidu, Washo, Konkow, Patwin, Wappo, Pomo, Paiute, Ohlone, and many, many others (Stannard, 1992:21).
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