Photo courtesy: Las Vegas Review Journal. Children at Snow Mountain Pow Wow in 2015
In Nevada, there are 20 federally recognized tribes, made up of 27 separate reservations, bands, colonies and community councils. 97% of these tribal nations are rural.
- As of 2019, over “50,000 people who self-identify as Native American live in Clark County,” with less than 1,000 living “on reservations for the county’s two federally recognized tribes, the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe and the Moapa Band of Paiutes."
- In 2016, the Moapa Band of Paiutes saw about 300,000 acres of “their ancestral land northeast of Las Vegas designated as the Gold Butte National Monument."
- Governor Brian Sandoval proclaimed August 9th as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Nevada, beginning in 2017.
- Currently, the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe operates a cannabis dispensary, a minimart, and the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. The Moapa Band of Paiutes have established the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project to provide electricity to approximately 111,000 homes with the creation of a 250-megawatt solar array on 2,000 acres of their ancestral land (as noted on the map). This is the first large-scale solar project of its kind to receive construction approval on tribal land in North America.
- In the 1970s, the Las Vegas Paiutes adopted a written constitution and established a tribal council. Additionally, the 1970s saw the establishment of businesses on reservation that brought money into the area. This allowed the Las Vegas Paiutes to request more land at the foot of Mount Charleston in 1983.
- In the 1960s, the Las Vegas Paiutes joined with other Southern Paiutes across the American Southwest to successfully sue the federal government for “illegal seizure and sale of tribal land to non-Indians without either treaty or due process of law.” They were provided a settlement of $8.25 million dollars in 1968, which the Southern Paiutes chose to distribute in even, per-capita payments.
- During the Great Depression, the construction of the Hoover Dam resulted in an influx of laborers coming in from across the country, further economically displacing the Paiute peoples who relied on these labor opportunities.
- Historically, the Paiutes have engaged in early forms of collectivist social organization: “Without fixed rules of residence or rigid group membership, they found intergroup reciprocity and social openness to insure greater security than private ownership of property would have provided. They traveled lightly, avoiding personal possessions and distinctions of rank based on wealth. Individuals, male and female, were valued for the skills they had to share, whether to hunt, cure, mediate a dispute, or tell a good story on a winter evening.”