Nevada History

  1. 1. This is an essay of imagination. Imagine you are a person living on the land that we now call Nevada. You are living here many centuries ago, before contact with Europeans and Americans.

You are perhaps an Ancestral Puebloan (living here before the year 1200 A.D.), or a member of one of the groups who lived here after the Ancestral Puebloans, such as the Southern Piute, Northern Piute, Western Shoshoni, Washo, or Mohave.

Talk about yourself. Who are you? Where do you live? How do you live your life from day to day in this desert environment? In writing this essay of imagination, you may refer to the readings, to your notes on the PowerPoint, and to the film The Earth is our Home about the Northern Piute people.

Give specific details about your life and the lives of your fellow people on the land that we now call Nevada.

2. In Uncovering Nevada’s Past, “Contacts and Conflicts: The Adventures of Zenas Leonard, Fur Trader,” you see an encounter between a group of American fur trappers and some Native people in the Great Basin (what is now Nevada) in 1833. In your own words, how does Zenas Leonard describe the meeting between local Indians and the fur trappers?

What are their reactions to each other? What are some of the words (you can quote these from your reading of Zenas’s journal) that Zenas uses to describe the Shoshone and Paiute people in the Great Basin?

What do his words tell you about how American explorers in the West reacted to Indians? Based on what you have read in the journal and what we know about early contact between whites and Native Americans in the West, how do you believe that the reaction of Zenas and his companions to the Shoshone and Paiute people they met in 1833 will define the future relationship between whites and Indians in Nevada?

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