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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SOUTHERN PAIUTE MOUNTAIN SHEEP DANCE
The Shivwits have been dancing the Mountain Sheep dance since the 1940’s. Many members of the Shivwits band used to go to Gallup, New Mexico to perform this dance in the 1940-50’s at commercial ceremonies held there each summer. They won quite a reputation at these places with their Mountain Sheep Dance which placed first in the competition for several years. Pictures of the dancers even appeared on post cards.

Paiute Mountain Sheep Dancers
Paiute Mountain Sheep Dancers

Today the youth are continuing this dance; it had died out for a time and was last performed in the 1960’s by the Shivwits. This dance is to honor the Mountain Sheep and to thank him for sacrificing his life. Even though the Mt Sheep dies in the dance, the kids are taught that hunting is not a sport but a way of life and with every life taken, thanks is given to the Mountain Sheep for sacrificing his life for the Paiutes to live. When he arises at the end, this means there will always be another Mountain Sheep to take his place as long as there are Paiute people.

The people were taught to always use what was given to them by the Creator and if they stop then it will die out and no longer be there. This is seen today as all the surrounding Paiute homelands have become smaller and smaller and their foods they used to survive on have becoming less and less.