Reno-Tahoe Native Cultures
The Reno, Sparks & Lake Tahoe area is home to four contemporary Native American tribes: the Washoe, Northern Paiute, Southern Paiute and Western Shoshone. The museums and events listed below offer a unique opportunity to experience these indigenous cultures.
There is nothing more magical than the drive to Pyramid Lake. As you travel through the desert mountains, you will reach the final summit where a spectacular experience awaits you: Pyramid Lake, a vast sapphire jewel nestled in the desert mountains. Pyramid Lake is a component of the National Scenic Byways Program and is the only byway in the nation entirely within a tribal reservation. This route takes the visitor 37 miles along the shore of one of the largest lakes in the world and provides a unique opportunity to interact with the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe.
The 300-foot-deep lake sustains a vast number of plants and animal life including the famous Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, which draws anglers from around the world. Anaho Island, a National Wildlife Refuge, is the breeding ground for the largest colony of American White Pelicans and a resting spot for other migratory waterfowl. The surrounding mountains are home to deer, antelope and bighorn sheep. A recreational paradise awaits you at Pyramid Lake. You'll find boating, water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, swimming, hiking - not to mention sublime vistas - and only 30 minutes from Reno.
The Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway Visitors Cultural Center features exhibits on the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe's history and culture. Visitors can purchase camping, boating and fishing permits at the Center. Hours of Operation are 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday and during the summer, from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM on Saturdays.
Pyramid Lake Museum & Visitor Center
P.O. Box 256
Nixon, Nevada 89424
During your visit to Pyramid Lake, stop by The Pyramid Lake Fisheries where you can take a tour and learn more about fish husbandry. Both hatcheries help to ensure high environmental standards for the lake's natural resources. Call first, to arrange a tour.
Pyramid Lake Fisheries
Sutcliffe, Nevada 89510
Dunn Hatchery 775.476.0510
Numana Hatchery 775.574.0290
Each Labor Day weekend, Reno-Sparks is home to the nationally acclaimed Numaga Indian Days Powwow. The Pow wow is named after Chief Numaga, the famous Paiute Peace Chief. This family event, a great addition to your Labor Day travel itinerary, will afford you the opportunity to experience some of the best Native American dancers, singers and drummers in the country. Besides the memorable entertainment that the Powwow provides, you'll find over 25 vendors selling wonderful native foods and splendid handmade silverwork, beadwork, baskets and other Native American arts. The Numaga Powwow is located in Hungry Valley in the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. From Reno, take the Pyramid Highway north and turn left on Eagle Canyon Drive; 7 miles ahead is the Powwow.
Chief Numaga, the great 19th century Northern Paiute leader had the courage and the vision to counsel against war. Facing severe threats to his people by invading white forces, Numaga repeatedly chose peace. Even in battle, Numaga earned the reputation as a great war chief, but it was his successful peace negotiations which helped to set a precedent to win Pyramid Lake. Because of his peaceful methodology, today, the Northern Paiute at Pyramid Lake successfully retained the lake and the surrounding land.
For more information on the Numaga Indian Days Powwow call the reno-Sparks Indian Colony at 775-329-2936.
Each Father’s Day Weekend, The Stewart Indian School hosts the Stewart Father’s Day Powwow. The school campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and visitors are able to experience first hand the history of the school by joining hundreds of alumni, American Indians and the general public who come to the powwow each year for the competitive dancing, arts and crafts, traditional food vendors and alumni reunion activities.
June, 2002 marked the opening of The Nevada State Museum's newest addition, Under One Sky. This must-see exhibit was created and produced collaboratively by Nevada's Native American community and the Nevada State Museum. The result of this partnership is a culturally sensitive and educational approach to Nevada's Native American heritage. This exhibit uniquely explores and celebrates Native American origins by the use of traditional stories along with archaeological discoveries. Incorporated into the exhibit are two theaters where tribal members tell their history and explain their culture through video display monitors and audio stations. The Under One Sky Discovery Room provides young visitors with a variety of activities related to the exhibition. In addition to the exhibit, you will find contemporary Native American traditional and non-traditional works of art in the Changing Art Gallery. Many of the artists' works are available for purchase through the Museum Store.
Nevada State Museum
600 North Carson Street
Carson City, Nevada 89701