The Walker River Paiute Tribe Powwow was held in Schurz over the weekend, celebration and honoring the culture and customs of the tribe while giving a blessing for the simple pinenut from the Pinyon Pine trees which dot the mountains throughout Nevada.
The pinenut has been a staple to the diet of the people of the Great Basin dating back over 12,000 years. Though the lands of the Great Basin offered many seeds and roots from the plants that grew, the pinenut taken from the single-needle pinyon pine or the double-needle pinyon pine were by far one of the greatest seeds for the Great Basin people.
From this simple seed, the Great Basin people could eat the nut raw, roasted over hot coals stored for the winter months or ground to make pinenut flour.
The annual Pinenut Festival allows the Walker River Paiute Tribe to host the event where individuals are able to reconnect, sing and dance and bless the pinenut.
This year, Miss Indian World 2018 Taylor Susan, who is a member of the White Mountain Apache and Walker River tribes, graciously gave her time to help judge the Miss Walker River pageant where she helped to crown this year’s royalty. Susan also honored the youth of the Walker River Paiute Tribe with a “fruit scramble” – done in honor of the upcoming generation who will carry on the traditions of her people.
The 325,000 acre reservation is mostly used for grazing and ranching. The area was a traditional wintering ground for the Walker River tribe due to the area’s mild winter climate. Besides a diet of pinenuts, the diet of the people consisted of trout, bass, mud hen ducks, wild jack rabbits, deer and antelope. Other sources of food were seeds from waigrass, buck berries and thorn berries.
The traditional blessing of the pinenut was done Saturday night in the traditional language of the Paiute people. Each year, the Paiute go into the mountains of Mineral, Lyon or Churchill County to gather pinenuts, like their people have done for centuries.