Burns Paiute Tribe

Mailing Address

100 Pasigo Street
Burns, OR 97720

Contact Information





Cultural History

The tribe's history can be traced back almost nine thousand years ago. The tribe started in the Great Basin which, in those times was a series of huge lakes. Today, the Great Basin is a desert. During the older times, the Burns Paiute Tribe's ancestors first thrived in caves and lived with the horses, camels, mammoths, elk and deer. These animals were also their primary source of food aside from Salmon, plants and berries. They had natural artistic characteristics that allowed them to make use of the fibers of tule plant, willow, Indian hemp and even the sagebrush bark. The fibers that they gathered from these plants were used in early basket weaving. Coiled fibers were also used to make their own sandals and rope. Aside from weaving, their ancestors were also smart enough to have thought of making duck decoys, fish nets and animal traps. Even before fur became a fashion must-have, the Burns Paiute Tribe's ancestors have already made history by using the furs of the rabbits as a material for their blankets while sagebrush fibers were turned to children’s sandals. Evidences of these 10,000 years old crafts were discovered in caves along with several clothing pieces from the deer's skin. 

When the climate became slightly warmer in the centuries that came, the lakes they were blooming in dried up and they found themselves losing their sources for food. The extinction of their domestic animals also became a problem and it was then they started harvesting nearby resources such as berries, fruits and vegetables around them.

When they started separating for harvest, it was also the time when they came to meet other tribesmen. Their year-round food hunting became more systematic that in summer, they gathered berries, while they fed on roots during spring time. Their lifestyle was also modernized when they started building houses near the springs instead of living in caves.

According to folklores, their people were the first settlers in the area having been there even before the Cascade Mountains were formed. Pottery industry slowly flourished as the people learned more and more ways to find living. Their language is relatively a question to the researchers buy the anthropologists are sure in the fact that the Burns Paiute Tribe has been around for thousands and thousands of years back then. 

The present day Burns Paiute Tribe are the next generation of the Wadatika band, having been named such because of their collection of the wada seeds near the shores of Malheur Lake. Their former territory includes 52,500 square miles in the middle of the Cascade Mountains, in the Central region of Oregon, in the Payette Valley found in the North of Boise, in the southern parts of the Blue Mountains and to the desert of the south of Steens Mountain. Their businesses today include the Old Camp Casino. They also have their own Tribal Council which spearheads their needs.

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