Native American Village

The Carson City Rendezvous wouldn't be historically accurate without the participation of area American Indians.

Sage Spirit, a youth group of Paiute-Shoshone dancers from Fallon, will perform this weekend in Carson City.

Maxine Nietz, Rendezvous coordinator, outlined what to expect.

"There will be flutes and dreamcatchers, walking sticks, jewelry, prayer pots, drums and medicine bags amongst all our crafts; then we will have the dancers and they will explain their regalia and what the dances mean," Nietz said.

Francine Tohannie, dance coordinator for Sage Spirit works with the New Frontier Treatment Center where she does counseling for substance abuse victims.

"The main goal is to share our culture teaching our youth our dances and songs," Tohannie said.

"There is the jingle dress dance, the grass dance by the young men, and the hand drums singer, which is an lost art form, who sings traditional Shoshone songs and that is native to Nevada tribes."

The Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, also known as the Toi Ticutta (cattail eaters) is located in the Lahontan Basin in the shadow of the Fox Peak Mountain, sacred to the tribe.

At the foot of Fox Peak, the Carson River comes to an end.

For centuries this watershed flowed into the area now called the Carson sink and the Paiute people enjoyed the wealth of a huge marshland with an abundance of waterfowl, fish and marsh plants until moved to a reservation by the government.

Disputes between the two nations remain in the headlines.

The Bureau of Land Management has confiscated Western Shoshone horse herds in land disputes, most prominently from the Dann sisters, traditional Western Shoshone elders in their early 80s. They have refused to pay federal grazing fees for nearly three decades for the use of land they maintain still belongs to the Western Shoshone people.

According to the Web site, if the "we were here first" argument means anything, the eldest elder would be the Spirit Cave Man, the partially mummified remains found near Fallon in 1940 and kept in Carson City for 60 years in a box in the museum, later determined to be the oldest mummy in North America -- 10,630 years old and counting.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 requires federal agencies to inventory Native American human remains removed from public lands and housed in museums to determine if they are culturally affiliated with a contemporary Indian tribe.

In 1994, testing revealed that the Spirit Cave mummy was about 9,400 carbon-14 years old making Spirit Cave Man the oldest mummified remains and the third-oldest set of remains ever found in North America.

Subsequent examination showed the mummy's skull does not resemble the skulls of American Indians.

The closest match to the skull is found among the Ainu, the original inhabitants of Japan and other parts of Asia.

The Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, which is claiming the remains under a 1990 federal law, is in conflict with the BLM on that issue as well.


What: Native American Village

Where: Mills Park

When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 14; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 15


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