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Southern Paiute Indians

Southern Paiute. Also called:

Southern Paiute Connections. The Southern Paiute belonged to the Ute-Chemehuevi group of the Shoshonean branch of the Ute-Aztecan stock.

Southern Paiute Location. In western Utah, northwestern Arizona, southeastern Nevada, and parts of southeastern California.

Southern Paiute Subdivisions

Powell and Ingalls give the following “tribes” which, as Steward (1933) suggests, were more likely villages or restricted local groups:

Kelly (1932) reduces the number of “tribes” or “bands” to 14, some of which agree with those given by Powell, while others seem to contain the remnants of a number of his “tribes.” She also gives two not appearing in his list, viz: the Kaiparowits and a band at Gunlock.

Southern Paiute History. The Southern Paiute came in contact with the Spaniards in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but were little disturbed by them. The first attempt to describe them systematically seems to have been made by Father Esealante, who traversed their territory in 1776. After the annexation of California and New Mexico to the United States, their country was slowly but steadily encroached upon, and they were in part removed to reservations though by far the greater number remained scattered through the country. There has been comparatively little friction between these Indians and the Whites.

Southern Paiute Population. Mooney (1928) gives the population of the Southern Paiute and Northern Paiute together as 7,500 in 1845. In 1906 there were reported to be 129 Indians at Moapa Reservation, 267 at Duck Valley, and those not under an agent in Nevada were estimated 6 years before to number 3,700, but this includes the Northern Paiute; in Utah there were 76 Kaibab, 154 Shivwits, and 370 not under an agency; and in Arizona there were 350 Paiute under the Western Nevada School Superintendent, altogether slightly more than 5,000. Even allowing for the Northern Paiute, this figure must be too high or the enumerators of 1910 missed a great many Indians, for the census of that date reports only 780 Paiute altogether. The Indian Office Report for 1923 gives 226 in Nevada and southwestern Utah, but others in Utah are enumerated with the Ute. The census of 1930 enumerates 294 exclusive of the Chemehuevi. According to the Report of the United States Indian Office for 1937, there seem to have been 439 in that year.

Connections in which the Southern Paiute have become noted. The name Paiute has become identified with the name “Diggers.” Both have been used in a contemptuous sense. A county of south-central Utah is named Paiute.