Viewing page 1 of 33

Shoshonean [underlined]

Current Tribal Names that are Ambiguous [underlined]

Considerable confusion and obscurity exists in regard to the proper nomenclature of many Shoshonean tribes owing to the use of the same terms for different tribes and both for individual tribes and larger groups. The difficulty is caused by the fact that the great majority of tribes have no name for themselves but call themselves simply people. Over the greater part of the territory of this widespread family the word nüm, or some variant such as the Ute novinch, is thus used. In Southern California another stem appears with the same meaning but has the same use. Such tribal names as Ute, Paiute, Monachi, Chemehuevi, and most others, are not used by the people whom they designate but only by other tribes in referring to them. Such other tribes, especially if of a different linguistic stock, were frequently not discriminating in the use of such a term but extended it to more distant and to them less known members of the Shoshonean family. This happened the more frequently because the political organization of the Shoshoneans was on the whole quite loose and indefinite. White explorers, traders, and travellers entering Shoshonean territory often extended the name of the first group with whom they came in contact, such as Shoshoni, Ute, or Paiute, to all the Indians of the family of whom they had knowledge.
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.