Profile of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony People
The Numa, Washeshu, Newe
The people that inhabited the Great Basin prior to the European invasion were the Numu, the Newe, and the Washeshu. In each language these names meant “the People.” The People recognized and continue to acknowledge their very special place on Earth and within the life cycles.
They lived a “well planned, time proven way in their environment…”, there could be no wasted time, no aimless wandering, no guessing. That they “roamed” in small bands was not aimless organization; in fact, it was a well thought out means of survival. Each group evolved in such a manner to provide an efficient social and economic unit that could comfortably inhabit the Land unto which they had been placed.
They lived in cycles with the season of the land. The Washeshu gathered annually at Lake Tahoe, dispersing several hundred miles radius throughout the remainder of the year. The Numu, taking their band names from their main food staples or geographic spot, occupied the land strip known as Western Nevada, Eastern Nevada, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Idaho. The Newe were to be found in what is today Eastern Nevada, Utah, and Southern California. The Newe inhabited the Colorado River Basin where they farmed corn, squash, wheat, and beans.
To each group, the animals of the Great Basin had given insight onto creation and the wisdom how to live. Though each group spoke a different language, Washo, a Hokoan derivative; the others, dialects of Uto-Aztecan origin, they understood and respected the lifestyles of the other immediate groups and other tribes with whom they came in contact. In fact, much trade and commerce occurred among the original inhabitants of the North American continent. War occurred when economic necessities forced a group to raid or confiscate the resources of another group.