Paiute Indian Culture

Cultural Resources Contact Information:
Paiute Tribe Cultural Resources
440 North Paiute Drive
Cedar City, UT 84721

Phone: (435)-586-1112 x107
Fax: (435)-586-7388

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AMERICAN INDIAN MYTHS AND FACTS

Common Myth Fact
Do all Indians live on reservations in tipis? Many American Indians live on or near their homelands. Reservations and reserves were established by the government of the United States to compensate American Indians for giving up all or portions of their traditional homelands. For some tribes like the Cherokee, the government took away all their land and the people were forced to live on land far away from their homelands. Today there are approximately 300 reservations in the United States and 564 federally recognized tribes. Not all American Indians live on reservations. American Indians are free to choose where they would like to live and work. “Most American Indians live in contemporary homes, apartments, condos, and co-ops, just like every other citizen of the 21st century. Some Native people who live in modern homes do erect and use tipis in the summer for ceremonies and other community events. But most Indians in the Americas, even those who live in their community’s traditional dwellings, have never used tipis at all.” (Smithsonian 2007: 78)
All American Indians are one nation with the same language and the same traditions. Within the USA there are approximately 175 American Indian languages. According to the 2000 census study, 72% of American Indian and Alaska Natives spoke English only at home. Only 18% spoke another language other than English at home. These numbers reflect a growing concern among American Indian populations about native language loss. Language is the heart of culture and traditions. Therefore, a great diversity in language and culture exists and has always existed in American Indian cultures.
All American Indians participate in Powwows Powwows are important tribal and intertribal gatherings and celebrations that include numerous tribal members. Powwows are not always traditional ceremonies. They can be celebrations and a place for all tribal groups to gather and share their identities. They originated with war dances on the Great Plains and still have ceremonial importance for these tribes.
All American Indians have casinos, do not pay taxes, and receive government checks. Many American Indians live in poverty in the United States. Some tribal governments have off set their economy buy building casinos. By law, the profits from the casinos must support tribal community infrastructure and charitable causes. These include the development and maintenance of health clinics, schools, hospitals, early childhood education programs, college scholarships, elder centers, and sewage and water systems. Individual American Indians do not receive government checks (unless they work for the federal government or are receiving a government land lease or settlement payments) and they do pay federal taxes. If American Indians are living and working on reservations, they do not pay state taxes.

More Interesting Facts:
  • There are numerous prescription drug formulas based on plant extracts and their uses in traditional American Indian medicine. One example is quinine, which was an important drug used to treat malaria that can be obtained from certain tree bark.
  • American Indians (including indigenous people in North, South, and Meso-America) gave the world about 75% of the variety of foods consumed today including corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, turkey, and chocolate.

(Sources: http://www.shadowwolf.org/misconceptions.html, www.unr.edu/nnap/NT/i-8_9.htm, & Do All Indians Live In Tipis: Questions & Answers from the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution 2007)