July 13, 2012

Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation


The Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe is a federally recognized tribe of Northern Paiute and Western Shoshone peoples, located in McDermitt, Nevada and Oregon. 

Official Tribal Name:  Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation

Address:  P.O. Box 457, McDermitt, Nevada 89421
Phone: (702) 532-8259
Fax: (702) 532-8263

Official Website:

Recognition Status:  Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning

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Region:  Great Basin

State(s) Today:  Nevada and Oregon

Traditional Territory:

Confederacy: Paiute, Shoshone


Reservation: Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation

Four miles southeast of McDermitt, Humboldt County, Nevada. A major portion of the reservation is located in Malheur County, Oregon.

The Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation, near the town of McDermitt on the Nevada-Oregon border and along a section of the Quinn River, is among the state’s oldest government-sanctioned sites of Native American relocation.

Originally established as a military outpost and adjacent Paiute and Shoshone camp in 1865, the tract became an official reservation in 1889. The outpost was frequented by Sarah and Chief Winnemucca and others from their family in the late 1800s; Sarah even lived there on several occasions.

Every June, the reservation and nearby town of McDermitt host the annual Indian Rodeo.

Land Area: 
17 January, 1936 – By act of Congress (49 Stat. 1094) 20, 414.46 acres were set aside by Authority of the Indian Reorganization Act (48 Stat. 984)

16 November, 1936 – 1,554.35 acres

09 November, 1940 – 3,542.40

18 July, 1941 – 1,240 acres

24 February, 1943 – 3,919.37 acres

16 June, 1944 – 449.92 acres

03 February, 1956 – 160 acres Tribal fee purchase

20 April, 1949 – relinquished allotments approved

09 May, 1957 – relinquished allotments approved

16 May, 1957 – 3,900.10 acres of relinquished allotments added to Tribal land

04 April, 1960 – added 160 acres

16 November, 1973 – 2.63 acres were added

16,354.52 acres of Tribal Land – Nevada

145 acres of allotted land – Nevada

160 acres of Tribal fee land – Nevada

18,828.79 acres of Tribal land – Oregon

Tribal Headquarters:  McDermitt, Nevada
Time Zone:  Pacific

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Enrollment  Requirements of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of the Fort  McDermitt Indian Reservation

Genealogy Resources:


Charter:  Organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 18 June 1934 (48 Stat. 984) as amended. Constitution and By-Laws of the Fort McDermitt Paiute & Shoshone Tribe approved 02 July, 1936.
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B.I.A. Agency:

Western Nevada Agency
Carson City, Nevada 89706
Phone:(702) 887-3500

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Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

Death Valley Timbisha Shoshone |
Duck Valley Paiute
| Pyramid Lake Paiute | Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe | Fort Independence Paiute | Goshute Confederated Tribes | Kaibab Band of Paiute | Las Vegas Paiute Tribe | Lovelock Paiute Tribe | Moapa River Reservation | Reno/Sparks Indian Colony | Summit Lake Paiute Tribe | Winnemucca Colony | Walker River Paiute Tribe | Yerington Paiute Tribe

Ely Shoshone Tribe | Duckwater ShoshoneYomba Shoshone Tribe | Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians (comprised of the Battle Mountain Band, Elko Band, South Fork Band, and Wells Band)

Ely Shoshone Tribe | Duckwater Shoshone | Yomba Shoshone Tribe | Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians (comprised of the Battle Mountain Band, Elko Band, South Fork Band, and Wells Band)

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The Shoshone and Paiute were hunter-gatherers who hunted small game like rabbits and squirrels, and some larger game such as deer and antelope. They gathered seeds, roots, and berries from nearly 100 plant species. Approximately 70% of their food supply came from plants. The most important of these was the Pine Nut harvest.

Economy Today:

The median income for Humboldt County is nearly ten percent higher than the national average, but the average in the McDermitt area sits at an abysmal fifty percent of the national average.  The Fort McDermitt area is dominated by mining, ranching, and farming, although these industries have provided only sporadic employment to tribal members. The area’s population has been in decline due to lack of employment opportunities. However, the discovery of a rare mineral used to make semiconductors, gallium, may prove profitable in the future.

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

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Wedding Customs


Shoshone People of Note

Paiute People of Note

Sarah Winnemucca – A Northern Paiute activist, worked as interpreter, scout and hospital matron at Fort McDermit from 1868 to 1873.

Chief Winnemucca, also known as Old Winnemucca – Sarah’s father and a war leader.

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Further Reading:

US Tribes E to G
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