The Paiute people called themselves Numu, or “The People.” Deeply grounded in their environment, the Paiutes believed that power (pooha) could reside in any natural object including animals, plants, stones, water and geographical features. They also believed that it resided in natural phenomena such as the sun, moon, thunder, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitor Center Photo 2clouds and wind.

Today, there are many different Paiute groups living in areas that include Lovelock, McDermitt, Mason Valley, Smith Valley, Pyramid Lake, Reno-Sparks, Stillwater, Fallon, Summit Lake and Walker River.The different reservations and colonies continue to share a common heritage.Working together as a people, the Paiute Tribes focus on solutions for a changing world. Continuing involvement in social and political issues has resulted in a stronger voice and influence within Nevada. The tribe looks to courts, schools, industry and agriculture to provide a better life for their children, preserve their traditions, regain their land and realize their hopes for the future.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is governed by 10 Tribal Council members who are elected bi-annually in December and on staggered two year terms. The tribe operates under the Indian Reorganization Act Constitution and By-Laws approved on January 26, 1936 by the Department of Interior.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has a Government to Government Relationship with the Federal Government. Therefore, the Tribe contracts with or receives grants directly from Federal Agencies or the State of Nevada, to provide services to the Tribal members and residents of the Reservation. The revenue generated by the Tribe is used to support local Tribal government activities and to supplement the programs that provide direct services to the Tribal members or residents.Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitor Center Photo 2

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribes’ Reservation is located thirty five miles northeast of Reno, Nevada in a remote desert area located in the counties of Washoe, Lyon, and Storey. The area of the reservation contains 475,000 acres or 742.2 square miles. Out of this acreage approximately 112,000 acres cover the surface of a terminal desert lake, Pyramid Lake. Pyramid Lake is one of the most valuable assets of the Tribe and is entirely enclosed within the boundaries of the Reservation. Pyramid Lake is approximately 15 miles long and 11 miles wide. Pyramid Lake measures 350 feet at it’s deepest point.

According to the 2000 Census 1,388 Tribal Members lived on the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation. 65.7% of Tribal Members were employed either on or off the reservation while 34.3% of Tribal Members were unemployed. Common employment occupations were; service, management, professional, sales and office, farming, fishing, forestry, construction, maintenance, transportation, agriculture, government and ranching. 5.3% of Tribal Members worked at home and only 3.6% were self employed or owned their own business. The average commute time to work from Tribal Members was 25.5 minutes. The average per-capita income for each Tribal Member is $11,837.

Much of the economy on the Pyramid Lake Reservation is centered around fishing and recreational activities atPyramid Lake. In addition to permit fees for fishing, day use and overnight camping, the Tribe also receives lease revenue, and tax revenue. Several Tribal members belong to the Pyramid Lake Cattleman’s Cooperative Association and the Association utilizes the reservation desert open range to operate and manage the individual cattle herds.

Responsibility of Cultural Resources
and Proper Etiquette


  • Prehistoric and Historic sites are viewed as the homes of our ancestors.
  • Be as respectful as you would be when visiting anyone’s home
  • Do use designated trails
  • Do not remove artifacts
  • Do view structures from distance
  • Do not reveal site locations or give out GPS coordinates, irresponsible articles, books, websites and blogs that will result in sites being over-visited, damaged or even looted
  • Do take all trash & waste with you
  • Do leave only footprints

Responsible Petroglyph/Rock Art Etiquette


  • Do not mark on or add graffiti or deface the images on the Rock Art
  • Do not walk or climb across the Petroglyphs
  • Do not trace or make rubbings of the Rock Art
  • Do no use chalk or other materials to outline the Rock Art
  • Do educate yourself about the respect of the cultural site
  • Let’s ensure that future generations have the same access to the same quality experiences of traditional
    culture resources and environment setting as we do today.

“Be honored to witness these resources today. Long ago, our ancestors saw the same resources.
They preserved them for us, we must preserve them for the generations to come.”

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