This is our name. The word in Northern Paiute (our language) means Human Being. Most Native Peoples, Eskimo, Navaho, Apache, refer to themselves as “Human Beings” in their own languages. They may receive names from other groups and over the years, these names will sometimes stick.

History has treated the Numu to a wide variety of names. In the past, we have mistakenly been called “Shoshones,” “Snakes”, “Digger Snakes”, “Bannocks,” “Pah-Utes,” “Piutes,” “Northern Paiutes,” and “Paviotso,” by Indian agents, anthropologists, and even other Native Americans. “Paiute” is most common. The usual explanation combines our word for water, pa-a, with a directional stem, -ute. In one version, Utah Indians (Utes) indicated a Nevada tribe who lived closer to the Pacific Ocean, i.e. Pa-Utes. Smith and Mason Valleys, in Northwestern Nevada have been the home of the Numu since around 1000 A.D. It is generally accepted that we arrived here from the desert country of southern California around that time.
Taboose-ddukaka and Padutse-ddukaka were widely recognized as the Native name of our people. Taboose, the Nut Grass, or grass bulb that grows along the Walker River and was harvested as food by early Numu, along with Padutse, another plant found wherever water was abundant along creek beds mainly were also taken as food.


Taboose (Wild Hyacinth)