Mojave Desert Indians -
Historic Desert Indian Territories Map:
Owens Valley Paiute
The Owens Valley Paiute belong to an extensive group known generically as the Northern Paiute (in western Nevada
as the Paviotso), which extends through eastern California and western Nevada into eastern Oregon. (For types,
see Steward, 1933, plates, 1, 5, 8). The Northern Paiute are subdivided into local groups of several hundred
individuals each. Each group or tribe owns and controls definitely demarked sections of territory and varies
slightly in dialect from the others.
Within these tribal territories were a number of villages. In winter the people lived in Owens Valley or at
the edge of the timber in the Inyo mountains where pinenuts were stored. Spring and summer brought considerable
wandering within tribal territory in search of wild seeds and game. In the fall there was a communal hunt,
dances, and pinenut harvest.
There was a good deal of intercourse with the tribes west of the Sierra during the summer, many trips being
made for the purpose of trade. Inter-marriage with these tribes was not in frequent. Thus, there was an
exchange of ideas which tended to level down the effect of environment. A general description of the Owens
Valley Paiute will be found in Steward, 1933.