Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada Records

Identifier: NC16

Scope and Contents

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe records are divided into 14 series which reflect the various interests, concerns, and aspects of the Tribal Council. The majority of the papers span the years 1934-1969, though there are some included from the early 1930s and some into the 1970s.

Of particular interest in this collection are the minutes of the Tribal Council. Minutes cover years 1934-1979. Also included in Series 1 are board elections; bonds; bylaws; charter; and constitution.

Series 5 includes a large amount of information on what was called the "attorney controversy" which took place from 1951-1955. This controversy revolved around a dispute between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe where the Bureau failed to approve the Tribe's contract with attorney James Curry. Also of interest in this series are a collection of bills presented to Congress by Senator McCarran as well as other miscellaneous bills all in regards to Native Americans.

Contained within the largest series included in the collection, Series 12, are papers and information on daily life in the tribe and includes birth certificates; death certificates; welfare; tribal roll and enrollment; housing and housing assignments; taxes; law enforcement; health and household records; education; recreation; rations; and religion (nontraditional). Many members of the tribe appear throughout this series, which makes it possible to trace one person in the tribe over a number of years.

The other series included in this collection, although smaller, are rich in resources as well. They cover various aspects of tribal relations with government agencies as well as tribal land management and use.


  • 1930-1979


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Some materials may be restricted due to the presence of personal identifiable information found within the contents of the collection. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish must be obtained from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Council.

Administrative History

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is governed by 10 Tribal Council members who are elected bi-annually in December and on staggered two year terms. The tribe operates under the Indian Reorganization Act constitution and bylaws approved on January 26, 1936 by the Department of Interior.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has a government to government relationship with the Federal Government. Therefore, the Tribe contracts with or receives grants directly from Federal Agencies or the State of Nevada to provide services to the Tribal members and residents of the Reservation. The revenue generated by the Tribe is used to support local Tribal government activities and to supplement the programs that provide direct services to the Tribal members or residents.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribes' Reservation is located thirty-five miles northeast of Reno, Nevada in a remote desert area located in the counties of Washoe, Lyon, and Storey. The area of the reservation contains 475,000 acres or 742.2 square miles. Out of this acreage approximately 112,000 acres cover the surface of a terminal desert lake, Pyramid Lake. Pyramid Lake is one of the most valuable assets of the Tribe and is entirely enclosed within the boundaries of the Reservation. Pyramid Lake is approximately 15 miles long and 11 miles wide, and measures 350 feet at its deepest point.

Much of the economy on the Pyramid Lake Reservation is centered around fishing and recreational activities at Pyramid Lake. In addition to permit fees for fishing, day use, and overnight camping, the Tribe also receives lease revenue and tax revenue. Several Tribal members belong to the Pyramid Lake Cattleman's Cooperative Association and the Association utilizes the reservation desert open range to operate and manage the individual cattle herds.

Information on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and the Tribal Council comes directly from the Tribal website at:


10 Linear Feet (10 boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is governed by 10 Tribal Council members who are elected bi-annually in December and on staggered two year terms. The Collection contains correspondence; minutes; constitution; corporate charter; leases and permits relating to tribal economic matters, mining, fishing, boating, agriculture, and livestock; tribal roll; welfare and health records; material on the development of tribal lands, both recreational and residential; and papers reflecting the tribal interest in and activities concerned with water projects. Much of the correspondence deals with administrative matters and legislation, both Nevada and national, and with tribal activities connected with this legislation (1930-1979).


Arranged into the following series: 1) Tribal Council; 2) Carson Indian Agency; 3) Nevada State Legislation and Court Cases; 4) U. S. Bureau of Indian Affairs; 5) Federal Legislation and Correspondence; 6) Inter-tribal Indian Organizations; 7) Tribal Budget; 8) Agriculture and Livestock; 9) Mining; 10) Fishing and Boating; 11) Miscellaneous Permits and Leases; 12) Tribal Society and Daily Life; 13) Miscellaneous; 14) Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the Pyramid Lake Tribal Council in 1964. A small addition was donated between 1979 and the late 1980s by Robert Leland.

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to the Special Collections Photo Archives as collection number UNRS-P1997-63.

Guide to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada records
Robert Armstrong
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)