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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Traditionally the Southern Paiute lived in 15 bands or groups spread out across northern Arizona, southeastern Nevada, southwestern Utah, and southeastern California along the Colorado River (refer to Traditional Southern Paiute Bands map). Today, the 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. The Pahrump Band of Paiutes lives in the area and has submitted claims to be federally recognized. Federal recognition is an acknowledgment by the U.S. government that the tribe met extensive criteria and is able to form its own government. Other Paiute groups live in other traditional areas and chose not to be relocated to reservations.

The first Southern Paiute reservation was established in 1872 for the Moapa Band. The San Juan Southern Paiute reservation was established in 1907 as part of the Navajo reservation. It was in 1990 that they received federal recognition. The Navajo people gave them 5100 acres of land near Tuba City, AZ and another 300 acres near Lake Powell in Utah. The Kaibab Paiute Reservation was created by executive order in 1913 and expanded in 1917. The Las Vegas Paiute were given 10 acres of land by a ranch owner in 1911. In 1970, the federal government recognized the Las Vegas Paiute tribe as a sovereign nation. In 1983, Congress expanded their land by 3,800 acres.

There were 5 bands of Southern Paiutes living in southwestern Utah: Koosharem, Shivwits, Indian Peaks, Kanosh, and Cedar City. In 1957, Congress withdrew federal support to these bands. This left people without health care, services, assistance, federal aid, or land. On April 3, 1980 by an Act of Congress, (via "The Paiute Restoration Act. P.L. 96-227") federal recognition was restored to the five Southern Paiute Bands in Utah. The bands are now known collectively as the Paiute Indian Tribes of Utah. Four years later Congress passed "The Paiute Reservation Plan" in order to recover lands lost due to termination. A new reservation land base was added in 1984 with the return of 4,800 acres of BLM land (out of 15,000 acres lost). By 1986, the majority of tribal members had access to adequate housing and health care, although chronic health problems including diabetes, hypertension, and the long-term effect of radiation exposure are still present. The P.I.T.U. (Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah) Annual Restoration Gathering and Celebration in Cedar City Utah is a time for the Southern Paiute people to celebrate the restoration of federal status to the tribe.

Paiute Pow Wow