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Profiles in Mojave Desert History -
Before the white man the Pauite Indians did well in the areas surrounding Las Vegas by trading and sharing the harsh lands surrounding the valley. Chief Tecopa was the leader of the Ash Meadows, Pahrump, and Shoshone/Tecopa area band of Southern Paiute.
"Tecopa," is a Paiute word meaning "wildcat." Certainly he lived up to the name in the three day battle with the expedition of John C. Fremont and Kit Carson at Resting Springs in the 1844.
He fought to save the land of his people and its traditions, but, as time went on his people struggled in the desert.
He learned that it would be easier to live along the white man and tried to maintain peaceful relationships with them. The white man brought clothing, food, staples the Paiute people could make use of. He became known as a peacemaker.
Tecopa usually wore a bright red band suit with gold braid and a silktop hat. The story goes that local white miners out of gratitude for Tecopa's help and diplomacy, would replace his duds when they wore out.
by W. Feller