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 | Personal Appearance | Paiute Archeology | General Attitude | Dancing and the Arts | Eating and Diet | Economy and Commerce | Education | Family | Gestures | Government | Greetings | Health | History | Holidays | Land and Climate | Language | Dating and Marriage | Plants and Animals | Population | Recreation | Religion | Shinny | Paiute Terminology | Transportation and Communications | Events and Trends | Visiting | Source: Southern Paiute Cultural History Curriculum Guide


American Indians – American Indians are groups of people and communities who were present in the Western Hemisphere prior to the arrival of European explorers. These indigenous groups are also known as American Indians or First Nations in Canada.

ancestral puebloan - This is a term given to people living in the Four Corners region of the Southwest from approximately A.D. 1 - 1400.

anthropology - This is the holistic study of human cultures, their behavior, and their technology. This study applies to both living cultures and those who are no longer around.

archeological context - This is an important concept in archeology as it refers to the physical area where archaeological resources are found.

archeological research methods - There are many research methods involved in the study of archeology. These include examining written research records, conducting interviews, surveying, excavating, washing and cataloging artifacts, analyzing or re-analyzing artifacts, and preserving archaeological resources.

archeology - This is the study of past human cultures, their behavior and technology through analysis of the physical remains they left behind. This includes artifacts, features, and structures.

artifact - This refers to any object made or used by humans.

band - A band is a small group of people living in a particular region. Historically, bands consisted of extended families. Bands often relied on hunting and gathering as their primary form of subsistence.

ceramic styles - This is a term that refers to recognizable patterns on prehistoric pottery or ceramics. These patterns can be assigned to periods of time when they were more common or popular.

community - A community is defined as a group of people living in the same area and interacting socially with one another.

culture - Culture is a shared knowledge of beliefs, customs, technology, and behavior of a group of people.

curate - This term refers to the care of biological, geological, or human materials at institutions such as museums.

ethnohistory - way to find out about the past by interviewing elders to produce oral histories or by reading historic documents.

excavation - This term refers to the systematic, careful digging of archaeological resources for the purposes of research or gaining information about the people responsible for its deposition.

feature - This is an archeology term that refers to non-portable physical resource that typically refers to fire hearths, soil stains, and garbage pits. Non-portable means that the remains cannot be excavated and transferred somewhere without destroying the remains themselves.

habitat – This term refers to the soil, water, plant and animal life found in nature. Each living organism is connected and shares a unique habitat.

history – This term refers to a time period for which there are written documents explaining or recording past events. In the southwestern United States this period is approximately A.D. 1500 to A.D. 1950.

interpretation – This term means the explanation of something in one’s own words.

lithic – This term means of or pertaining to stone.

looting or pothunting – This term refers to the act of stealing ancient property belonging to someone else.

mano - This term refers to a groundstone object held in the hand(s) that is used to grind corn or other seeds from plant materials.

material remains - This phrase refers to artifacts, features, or structures found at archaeological sites.

metate - This is a term used for the groundstone upon which plant materials and corn is ground.

National Monument – an area of land managed by the government established by the President of the United States under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to be protected as landmarks, structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest.

paleontology - The scientific study of plant and animal fossils from the geologic past.

pithouse - This is a prehistoric structure whose foundation was built into the ground. Small tree trunks, branches, and clay/mud slurry reinforced the walls and roof. Entry into pithouses was either through a hole in the roof or through a long, narrow entry ramp.

prehistory - This term refers to a time period for before written documents are available to explain or record past events. In the southwestern United States this period is approximately 12,500 B.C. to A.D. 1500.

pueblo - This is a term given to a masonry structure or group of structures. It is a Spanish term meaning town or village. When capitalized, the term refers to a specific culture or site.

site - This refers to a place where archaeological or historic resources are found. There are numerous types of sites including, but not limited to, habitation, ceremonial, agricultural, kill, camp, and quarry.

Southern Paiute - Traditionally the Southern Paiute lived in 15 bands or groups spread out across northern Arizona, southeastern Nevada, southwestern Utah, and southwestern California along the Colorado River (refer to Traditional Southern Paiute Bands map). Today, Southern Paiute are divided into 5 federally recognized tribes and still live in these areas. The tribes include: Paiute Indian Tribes of Utah, Kaibab Band of Paiutes, Moapa Band of Paiutes, Las Vegas Band of Paiutes, and San Juan Southern Paiutes. Their lifestyle historically involved hunting, gathering, and farming according to seasons.

structure - This is a term describing an archaeological or historical resource that cannot be removed from its context, such as walls to a pueblo, a pithouse, or building.

survey - This is a technique used in archaeological research in which the ground is systematically observed for the purpose of locating artifacts, features, and structures. Once located, these are mapped, dated, interpreted, and fit into a larger context of regional cultural history.

tribe – A tribe is a group of people organized through kinship or family relationships.