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

Traditionally, every Southern Paiute band had runners who traveled on special trails while other people would travel on foot to get to certain locations. This network of trails, now referred to as Spanish trails, connected each village, band, or tribe. The runners carried news and urgent messages to one another using knotted strings to estimate the number of days needed for their journey. A runner could easily run a distance of a hundred miles in one day and in most cases further. They also had relay runners who could pass on messages. The system worked so well that a message could travel four hundred miles within a twenty-four hour period! Later, Southern Paiute traveled on horses. The Spaniards introduced the horse in the Americas in the sixteenth century.

The people traveled to trade or to attend major celebrations held throughout the different seasons. Trail signs were used to let a person know how the trail was up ahead or to indicate which way the people in front went. Trail signs were made by piling one to four rocks on top of each other. Today, cars and trucks are used for transportation, along with road signs and maps for directions.

Communication took two forms: oral and written. Legends are stories told only in winter months. Stories are a way people shared important information with one another. Historical events could be told at any time of year. Written communication was done mainly through rock writing. The people would document their stories, history, and all events they felt worthy of mentioning in symbols on rocks. Sign language was yet another form of communication and was taught to individuals of all ages.