%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
People & Life Ways
Riches, Ranching & Railroads
(1850-1900)

Living Conditions of Native Americans

The historic era ushered in new lifeways that included working for ranchers, farmers, miners, and townspeople.  Labor was in short supply and appreciated.

Rather than collecting plants or hunting, many Indians depended upon jobs to earn money, which they used to purchase food in stores.  The group in the picture above are at Griswold's Store, on the Pyramid Lake Northern Paiute Reservation in the early 1900s.  The woman is shopping at the Enterprise Store in Lovelock, Nevada, in 1896.

Other aspects of Native Americans's lives changed.  Many Native Americans began to combine modern materials with traditional construction styles for homes and shelter.  Others adopted non-traditional Euro-American house styles.  The photograph on the left is a traditional Northern Paiute home, constructed about 1900.  On the right, the style is traditional, but a stovepipe indicates that there is a stove inside.  This was important, because the canvas often used, rather than the traditional material of brush and animal skins, did not insulate very well.
 

Native Americans also changed their style of dress.  Many Native American men dressed up in Euro-American style suits for formal occasions, such as these young Shoshone men did to have their picture taken.  Women used Euro-American fabrics and styles for their clothing, but changed them to suit their own style. Be-sul, a noted Washoe basket weaver, is wearing a long dress, an apron, a head scarf, and a heavy fringed shawl for warmth.
 

Photo Credits:
Nevada Historical Society