Paiute

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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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
LeAnne Howe, in her essay "The Story of America: A Tribalography" writes that tribalography theoretically captures an epistemology that "comes from the native propensity for bringing things together, for making consensus, and for symbiotically connecting one thing to another." (15) Winnemucca's Life among the Piutes could be considered the very first tribalographic depiction of gender as symbiotically combined.
The text itself acts as a translator that "seeks to alter the politics of cross-cultural communication itself." (33) Life among the Piutes intervenes with and refutes sentimental politics, "which assumes that feeling and experience are ultimately communicable" and vulnerable to colonization.
In 1883, she published Life among the Piutes, often referred to as the first autobiography written by an American Indian woman.
The story that Winnemucca tells in Life among the Piutes was the same story she told to countless white Americans who came to her public speaking engagements, which were really performance pieces, reenacting through the dramatic art of storytelling the events and travesties that the Paiute were enduring under the pressures of westward expansion.
For example, through quotations of his words in letters to General Howard and the Commisioner of Indian Affairs, Zanjani creates a portrait of Agent Rinehart that is even more vile than the one limned in Life Among the Piutes. She leads her readers to the conclusion that Rinehart's antipathy toward Winnemucca followed her long after their first encounters, "damaging both Sarah's credibility and the Paiute cause" (208).
(22.) See Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, Life among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (Las Vegas: University of Nevada Press, 1994 [1883]).
As she herself declares in Life Among the Piutes, "I am sorry to say these Indian interpreters, who are often half-breeds, easily get corrupted, and can be hired by the agents to do or say anything" (91).
Bataille and Kathleen Mullen Sands extend a similar critique to Life Among the Piutes, faulting the narrative for its "acculturated and Christianized" bias: it is, in other words, too "white" (21).
(8.) Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, Life among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (1883; reprint, Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1994).
(34.) See, for example, Jackson's Ramona, Winnemucca's Life among the Piutes, or even Zitkala-Sa's well-known "Why I Am a Pagan," Atlantic Monthly (December 1902): 801-3.
In Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (1883), Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins recalls the Paiutes' initial contact with Whites, when her Grandfather Truckee introduced the tribe to written language, his "rag-friend." To Grandfather Truckee, the "rag-friend"--a letter of commendation signed by General John Fremont documenting Chief Truckee's service in the war against Mexico--is the means to achieve his dream of community and cooperation with Whites.
The last off-road section of the day is also the most spectacular: A 30-mile traverse of the Piute Mountains, which takes us from the sere scrub of Jawbone Canyon to the lush, cool meadows of Kelso Valley and then up 5,000 feet to the Sequoia-lined ridge road over the mountains.