The term "colony", a type of Indian trust territory, began during the nineteenth century and is apparently unique to Nevada. Pushed out of the areas they lived on aboriginally, denied access to most sources of water, facing starvation, the native peoples of Nevada had to develop adaptive strategies to survive.
One important strategy was to attach themselves to ranches which were developing where many of them had lived.
The transition to colonies represented another adaptive strategy. Many Indians moved to the outskirts of towns and cities which were developed in nineteenth-century Nevada. These settlements developed into colonies. Only in the twentieth century did the "camps" of Indians sometimes actually become trust territory. Apparently in some cases the camps were on what had become regarded as public domain by whites, although no doubt many Indians still regarded the land as belonging to them; in other cases, the Indians were allowed to live on lands owned privately. The latter was the case for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony.