Moapa Band of Paiute

Mailing Address



Cultural History

The Moapa Band of Paiute has preserved their heritage well. Their culture is filled with legends, songs and various dances which all have specific importance in their ancestral lives. Because of the cultural disruption which happened in the past two centuries, the traditional lives of the Moapa people were put at stake. In the early eighteenth century, the Moapa people were culturally well adapted. The tribe has mastered the art of combining farming into hunting and gathering berries. Their land was highly blessed with resources which they all took advantage of. The ancestors of the tribe thrived to designing basketry which also included water jars, winnowing and parching trays, cradle boards, cooking baskets and even seed beaters. They were unusually gifted with the artistic capabilities which are all still very well envisioned today. The tribesmen were also known to have the artistic skills in which they incorporate the use of animal skins and the plants. It was also said that the knowledge of the tribe when it comes to nutritional and medicinal plants were widespread.

It was only when the Moapa people became exposed to the Whites when their lives were in predicament. The opening of the Old Spanish Trail spelled tragedy as the Whites took over the governing of the land and water properties as well as the houses of the natives. They soon found their homes frequently raided by slavers who were after pure manpower. When the Mormon settlers, New Mexicans and the other tribes began inhabiting the land, the problems only became worse.

The great number of the tribe was soon diminished because of the epidemics that the White settlers brought with them. Several tribesmen died, leaving the tribe with only few members surviving. Measles, tuberculosis and smallpox were the primary killers during that time. Despite being armed with bow and arrows, the defiance of the tribe did not hinder the intrusion of the Whites. Soon enough, the tribesmen found themselves being forcefully removed from their land and moving to the desert instead. The government dedicated 39,000 square miles of lands for the tribe in the year 1873. Two years later, in 1875, the area of the reservation was decreased to only 1,000 acres. The decrease in land area added to the predicament when it was also followed by sixty years of neglect and corruption by the agents coming from the Whites. A Business Council was established to take care of the welfare of the tribe. The Constitution and the bylaws were created in the year 1941. The tribe, despite their efforts to restore their old farming days was hit by failure caused by water problems, lack of equipment and lack of money. The tribe turned their farmlands into a dairy company instead. Their lands, up to now are still dedicated for the use of the tribe only and so they are still adamant in refusing to allow non-members of the tribe to be granted lease rights.

The tribe is currently engaged in business a venture which is centered in the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza. The Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza includes a casino, convenience store, café, gas station and fireworks store. They are currently one of the top manufacturers of fireworks in the country.

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