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Great Basin Indians

An Encyclopedic History

Michael Hittman

Publication Year: 2013

The Native American inhabitants of North America’s Great Basin have a long, eventful history and rich cultures. Great Basin Indians: An Encyclopedic History covers all aspects of their world. The book is organized in an encyclopedic format to allow full discussion of many diverse topics, including geography, religion, significant individuals, the impact of Euro-American settlement, wars, tribes and intertribal relations, reservations, federal policies regarding Native Americans, scholarly theories regarding their prehistory, and others.

Published by: University of Nevada Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-8


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

This book is an encyclopedic history of the Indians of the Great Basin, incorporating the fruits of several generations of scholarship as well as recent discoveries made possible by new areas of scientific inquiry. There have been many important discoveries in anthropology and other fields relative to Native American history ...

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Introduction: A Hand’s-Eye View of the Great Basin

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pp. 1-42

Before going headfirst into the individual entries, it would seem wise to offer an overview of the Great Basin, and what better way to start than with the elegant metaphor suggested by the American poet Edward Dorn: ...

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pp. 43-59

Acorn Complex. Forests of Quercus, Latin for the genus oak, are found in the western, southern, and eastern mountains of the Great Basin, but the acorn, the seed of this conifer, was a staple food only for the Washoe. According to their tribal history (Nevers 1976, 12–13), the Washoe obtained mah lung, “acorn,” on the ground in the Sierra Nevada in the fall. ...

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pp. 60-83

Bannock. The Bannock, according to Brigham Madsen (1958), Liljeblad (1972), and Murphy and Murphy (1980, 1986), were a Northern Paiute subgrouping whose territory was south of the Salmon River in southern Idaho. Whereas Major Powell in 1873 was the first to recognize the similarity between speakers of languages called Bannock and Northern Paiute, ...

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pp. 84-108

Cap, Paddy (Northern Paiute, ca. 1840–1890). Paddy Cap was eventually imprisoned at the Yakima Reservation in the state of Washington along with other Northern Paiute for participation in two early important Great Basin Indian wars: the Snake War of 1866–68 in his homeland of Harney and Malheur Lakes in Oregon ...

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pp. 109-118

Dadokoyi (Washoe, ca. 1820–ca. 1904). Dadokoyi—Big Heels—was among the first early postcontact Washoe leaders (see Gumalanga; Jim, Captain). Born in the northern part of their territory (see Washoe), he reportedly represented 375 fellow (northern division) Washoe (Downs 1966, 91). ...

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pp. 119-122

El Gran Teguayo. “El Gran Teguayo” was believed by Spanish conquistadores to be the land of fabulous wealth (Cline 1963). Thought to exist north of Mexico in the United States, this fantasy no doubt was fueled by the fantastic amount of gold recovered (and then mostly lost) after Cortez’s sack of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán (Mexico City). ...

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pp. 123-129

Fort Rock Cave. Luther Sheeleigh Cressman’s excavation of rock shelters in southwestern Oregon between 1935 and 1938 revolutionized our thinking about the earliest history of Native Americans not only in the Great Basin, but on the whole of the North American continent as well. ...

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pp. 130-141

Gatecliff Shelter. Excavated by David Thomas, Gatecliff Shelter, in the Toquima Mountains of central Nevada, is a deeply stratified archaeological site found at the elevation of 2,139 meters within the pinyon-juniper range just east of Austin in Monitor Valley. This important site is said to contain “five discrete Middle Holocene archaeological ‘sites’ ...

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pp. 142-149

Harnar, Nellie Shaw (Northern Paiute, 1905–85). Nellie Shaw Harnar was born in Wadsworth, Nevada, a Central Pacific Railroad stop that became alienated land from the Pyramid Lake Reservation. One of nine children born to James and Margie Shaw, she attended this Northern Paiute reservation’s day school ...

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pp. 150-151

Ignacio (Ute, 1844–1913). Ignacio, a.k.a. John Lyon, was among a handful of Ute “chiefs” who rose to prominence when Spain’s hegemony over Great Basin Indians shifted to (independent) Mexico in 1821, and then the United States in 1848 (see Charlie, Buckskin). His very name reveals the Spanish heritage in the southern part of this culture area in postcontact Native American history: ...

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pp. 152-155

Jake, Clifford (Southern Paiute, 1919–2009). Clifford Jake joined the Native American Church on the Uintah-Ouray Reservation in Utah in 1946 (see Peyote Religion). Nearly a quarter century after having served as a road chief, the World War II veteran, whose peyote ministry was in Cedar City, Utah, ...

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pp. 156-163

Kanosh (Ute/Southern Paiute, 1828?–84). Kanosh was born to a Ute father (Kashe Bats) and native California woman (Wah-Goots) (H. Lewis 2003, 333–34). Formally educated in a Spanish Catholic mission in Southern California, Kanosh spoke at least three languages, including English. The death of his father prompted him to move to Utah, ...

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pp. 164-173

Laird, George (Southern Paiute, 1871–1940). George Laird was the son of an indigenous Chemehuevi (see Southern Paiute) woman and part-Cherokee father from Tennessee. Following the death of his parents, Laird in turn lived with a Mexican Indian family in Martinez, California, and then a Canadian couple; the latter taught him to read and write. ...

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pp. 174-187

Malotte, Jack Richard (Washoe/Shoshone, 1953–). Jack Richard Malotte grew up on the Walker River Reservation in Nevada. After attending the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland from 1971 to 1974, where he earned a fine arts degree, Malotte became a US Forest Service firefighter. As a graphic artist and illustrator, he takes as his theme contemporary Indian politics. ...

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pp. 188-204

NAGPRA. NAGPRA is the acronym for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Enacted on November 16, 1990, by Congress (hr 5237, pl 101-601, 43 CFR 10.9), and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush, NAGPRA requires consent from Native Americans before any type of scientific examination of human remains discovered on federal lands can take place. ...

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pp. 205-223

Old Spanish Trail. Gloria Cline writes that the Old Spanish Trail was “the first chartered track across the Great Basin” (1963, 166). Named by John Charles Frémont, this important twelve-hundred-mile Great Basin roadway began as Indian trails. In time, the Old Spanish Trail became the southwest extension of the Santa Fe Trail, ...

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pp. 224-244

Paleo-Indians (13,000–9000 BP). Consistent with the exciting fact that archaeologists continue to push back the date of the earliest human beings in the New World—the oldest known occupation in the Americas being from the Monte Verde site in Chile, radiocarbon dated at 11,800–12,800 CE, or 14,500 year ago (Dillehy 1989)—the Great Basin continues to yield nearly comparably old dates. ...

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pp. 245-273

Red Cap (Northern Ute, 1870?–1950?). Red Cap was also known as Andrew Frankand Captain Perank. He led the protest of between 345 and 600 fellow Northern Ute off the Uintah-Ouray Reservation in 1906 against the privatization of their land (see Allotments). The pressure to accept this federal policy can be indicated by a statement made by Inspector James McLaughlin at the time: ...

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pp. 274-305

Sacajawea (Shoshone, 1788–1812?/1884?). Sacajawea, or Sok-a-jaw-a, means “Someone Who Pushes the Boat Away from the Land” in Shoshone. But in Hidatsa, the unrelated Plains Indian language she also spoke, the name of this famous Native American women who participated in the epic journey of Lewis and Clark (1804–6) is translated as Bird Woman. ...

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pp. 306-353

Temoke Kin Clique. Historically speaking, the first known Western Shoshone named Temoke—“the Rope”—was described as a “friend of the Dog-faced people,” that is, whites. He, along with “Buck,” Po-ongo-sah, as well as other early postcontact Shoshone leaders (see Tutuwa), signed the infamous treaty in 1863 that remains controversial to this very day ...

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pp. 354-364

Ute. If, according to Alan Reed, the “question of Ute origins remains unresolved” (1994, 189), the earliest historical mention of any Great Basin Indian group referencing these Southern Numic speakers called Nutc (see Uto-Aztecan) was in 1598, the year Juan de Onate traveled north from Mexico to their territory, ...

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pp. 365-397

Wakara (Tumpanawach Ute, 1815?–55). Wakara (Waccara) in Southern Numic (see Uto-Aztecan) is translated as “yellow,” a name believed to derive from his pecuniary interests in the white man’s gold. But he was also called by another name in English derived from Euro-American hegemony in the Great Basin: Walker—after Joseph Reddeford Walker, ...

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pp. 398-402

Yellow Hand (Comanche, ca. 1760–1837?). Yellow Hand (Ohamagwaya) is believed to have introduced among Great Basin Indians what arguably is the most famous of all North American Indian religions (see Sun Dance). Afflicted with smallpox during the pandemic in 1781 that annihilated fellow Buffalo-Eater band members (see Shoshone), ...


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pp. 403-458


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pp. 459-494

E-ISBN-13: 9780874179101
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874179095

Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 11 maps
Publication Year: 2013

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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- Great Basin -- History -- Encyclopedias.
  • Indians of North America -- Great Basin -- Social life and customs -- Encyclopedias.
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