Paiute

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Related to Northern Paiute: Digger Indians

Paiute

(pīo͞ot`), two distinct groups of Native North Americans speaking languages belonging to the Shoshonean group of the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan 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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). The Northern Paiute ranged over central and E California, W Nevada, and E Oregon. The Southern Paiute occupied NW Arizona, SE California, S Nevada, and S Utah. The Northern Paiute were more warlike than their southern relatives; they fought the miners and the settlers during the 1860s, and a considerable part of them joined the Bannock in the war of 1878. The Southern Paiute are often called the Diggers because they subsisted on root digging. In general the Paiute of the Great Basin area subsisted by hunting, fishing, and digging for roots. They lived in small round huts (wickiups) that were covered with tule rushes. It was among the Paiute that the Ghost DanceGhost Dance,
central ritual of the messianic religion instituted in the late 19th cent. by a Paiute named Wovoka. The religion prophesied the peaceful end of the westward expansion of whites and a return of the land to the Native Americans.
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 religion, which was to be of much significance on the frontier in the 1890s, first appeared (c.1870). The Native American prophet WovokaWovoka
, c.1858–1932, Paiute, prophet of a messianic religion sometimes called the Ghost Dance religion. Also known as Jack Wilson, he was influenced by his father (a mystic) as well as by the Christian family for whom he worked and the Shaker religion.
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 was a Paiute. In 1990 there were over 11,000 Paiute in the United States, many of them living on tribal lands in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. The name is also spelled Piute.

Bibliography

See J. H. Steward, Ethnography of the Owens Valley Paiute (1933); O. C. Stewart, Northern Paiute Bands (1939); M. M. Wheat, Survival Arts of the Primitive Paiutes (1967).

References in periodicals archive ?
Behind the wheel of the Chevy is Northern Paiute elder Marlin Thompson.
Thompson has traveled from his hometown of Yerington, Nevada, on his monthly rounds as a manager of the USDA's Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, delivering food to poor and elderly members of the Northern Paiute and Shoshone tribes in the Owens Valley and the remote Fish Lake Valley, on the eastern slope of the White Mountains.
Northern Paiute, he says, survived in remote valleys and canyons just like this one.
In a secluded grove on the backside of the mountain is "Methuselah," a tree that emerged from the rocky soil more than 4,000 years ago--a sapling when the precursor of Northern Paiute, a proto-Uto-Aztecan language, was spoken across the Great Basin.
It is a tongue forged over millennia as the Northern Paiute people negotiated the arid basin and range landscapes of eastern California and Nevada.
It's not only the place he was born, but where, more than a century and a half ago, the erasure of Northern Paiute culture began in earnest.
He lived with his grandmother in a household where the old ways of hunting, gathering, and cooking were practiced--and where Northern Paiute was spoken exclusively.
During his 20-plus years at the museum, Burns was promoted to the position of "storyteller" (though "building maintenance" is still part of his job title), compiling thousands of Northern Paiute words in the Pyramid Lake dialect along with hundreds of stories--ones he has recited to diverse audiences, from local schoolchildren to elected officials in Washington, DC.

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