Summary of Native American Tribes – P

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Paviotso Paiute making petroglyphs. 1924. Edward S. Curtis. Click for prints, downloads and products.

Paiute – Closely related to the Shoshone and Ute tribes, the two Paiute bands, the Walpapi and the Yahooskin, were known as the Snake Indians. Their  name means “the Water Ute.” As a people the Paiute were initially described as peaceable, moral, and industrious, and were highly commended for their good qualities. However, this changed during the 1848 gold rush, when large numbers of whites crossed through their lands. In 1858, they allied with the Coeur d’Alene in a two year war against the whites. After two years they were defeated and Fort Churchill was erected to guard the California Trail. During the Civil War, they raided white outposts extensively. At the end of the Snake War of 1866-1867, the Snakes were forced onto a reservation in Oregon. In 1888, a prophet arose named Wavoka, who proclaimed the Ghost Dance, would return their lands. The Ghost Dance ritual quickly spread among other tribes and became so fervent that it was outlawed by the federal government. It eventually died out after culminating in the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. Once scattered throughout the west, they now live mostly on reservations in CaliforniaNevada, and Idaho.  More … 

Palouse/Palus – Living along the Palouse River in what is now eastern Washington, northeast Oregon, and north central Idaho, the Palouse, were culturally related to the Nez Perce. When Lewis and Clark encountered them in October 1805, they called them “Pallotepellows” and estimated their number at around 1,600. The Palouse people were semi-sedentary hunter/gatherers. Acquiring horses early, they were expert horsemen, breeders, and horse traders. The Appaloosa horse, with its distinctive spotted coat, speed, and stamina, takes its name from the tribe. Like other tribes on the Columbia Plateau, they also depended heavily on fishing in the many rivers of the region.

Though they initially traded with white fur traders and settlers, they soon came into conflict with them as the Palouse people suffered from diseases. In 1847, after a measles epidemic, they fought with the Cayuse in the Cayuse War. In 1855, they were recognized in the Treaty with the Yakama, but the treaty was never recognized by the tribe and they refused to lead the reservation life. However, when that treaty was immediately broken, they joined forces with the Yakama and other tribes in the Yakima War in 1855 and the Coeur d’Alene War of 1858. Some individuals eventually joined reservations. Their descendants today are called “Palouse” by the Yakama Nation and “Palus” by the Colville Confederated Tribes.

Papago – Originally located in the desert regions of the northern Senoran Desert, the Papago are thought to be descendants of the prehistoric Hohokan Culture. These peoples were a semi-nomadic tribe that sometimes relied on farming but did not use irrigation systems. The Papago are today primarily located in three reservations in southern Arizona and continue to farm but have turned more to raising cattle as the major source of income. Over the years, the Papago tribe has had little involvement with with white settlers, a tradition that continues today, allow them to preserve many of their aboriginal traits.

Pascagoula – A small tribe of Indians formerly living on the Pascagoula River in south Mississippi, in intimate connection with the Biloxi, but now extinct as a separate division. Their name was derived from the Choctaw who called them the “bread people”. They were first documented by Canadian naval officer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville who along with his older brother explored the Mississippi River Valley in 1699. At that time they were living near the Pascagoula River, but later moved to the Gulf Coast. In 1764 they and the Biloxi left the Gulf coast area and in 1784 they were reported living on the east side of the Mississippi River about 10 miles above the Tunica River. Sometime before 1791 they moved up the Red River into Louisiana and by 1795 had settled near the Biloxi River. Their numbers declined over the years and those who were left probably joined with the after they moved Biloxi and Choctaw tribes.

Passamaquoddy – The Passamaquoddy nation was a member of the Wabanaki Confederacy that controlled much of New England and the Canadian Maritimes. The Passamaquoddys are original natives of the area between Maine and New Brunswick. They lived on both sides of the border before the two nations became countries.  Passamaquoddy refers to a traditional way of catching pollock (a kind of fish) by using a spear. Fishing is still important to Passamaquoddy culture today. Now, most Passamaquoddy people live on the US side of the border, in Maine; however, one band lives in Canada.

Pawnee – The Pawnee were a North American Plains Indian tribe who lived on the Platte River, Nebraska, from before the 16th century to the latter part of the 19th century. In the 1800’s, the Pawnee tribe was composed of relatively independent bands; the Kitkehahki, Chaui, Pitahauerat, and the Skidi. Each of these were divided into villages, the basic social unit of the Pawnee people. The name, “Pawnee” comes from the native word ‘pariki; meaning ‘a horn’; referring to their scalp-lock. The Pawnee lived in large, dome shaped, earth-covering lodges. Skin teepees were used for buffalo hunts. Generally allied with the whites, they were fierce enemies with the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, and Comanche. Often holding positions as scouts for the U.S. Army, a battalion of Pawnee were in active service from 1865 to 1885. This earned them the nickname of “Wolves” by the other tribes. They gradually lost their Nebraska lands, and were resettled in Oklahoma in 1876. The influx of white missionaries contributed to the gradual abandonment of their ancient customs and religious ceremonies. In 1970, the number of Pawnee was just under 2,000 with most of them located in Pawnee> County, OklahomaMore …

Pecos Pueblo Mission

Pecos Pueblo Mission, Pecos National Park, NM. Click for prints, downloads and products.

Pecos – Formerly the largest and most populous of the pueblos of New Mexico in historic times, it was occupied by a people speaking the same language of the Tanoan family, with dialectic variations, as that of Jemez; situated on an upper branch of Pecos River, about 30 miles southeast of Santa Fe. In prehistoric times the Pecos people occupied numerous pueblos containing from 200 to 300 rooms each, and many compactly built single-story house groups of from 10 to 50 rooms each. These were scattered along the valley from the north end of Cañon de Pecos land grant to Anton Chico, a distance of 40 miles. At the time of the arrival of the first Spaniards under Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, in 1540, the tribe had become concentrated in the great communal structure known as Pecos Pueblo. According to Adolph Bandelier, an American archaeologist, the Pecos declared that they came into their valley from the southeast, but that they originated in the north and shifted across the Rio Grande, occupying successively several pueblos, including the San José de los Jemez, previous to locating at their final settlement. The principal pueblo of the tribe was Tshiquité, or Tziquité (the pueblo of Pecos), which was also called Cicuye. At the time of Coronado’s visit, the Pecos Pueblo contained 2,000 to 2,500 inhabitants. It consisted of two great communal dwellings, built on the terrace plan, each four stories high, and containing 585 and 517 rooms respectively in its ground plan. Two Franciscan friars remained there after Coronado’s departure in 1542, but both were probably killed before the close of the year.

Pecos was visited also by Spanish explorers Antonio de Espejo in 1583, Gaspar Castaño de Sosa in 1590-91, and Juan de Oñate in 1598, the last calling it Santiago. During the governorship of Oñate the first permanent missionaries were assigned to the Pecos, and the great church, which later became a landmark on the Santa Fe Trail, was erected about 1617. The pueblo suffered severely first at the hands of the Querecho, or Apache of the plains, and after 1700, through raids by the Comanche. In the revolts of 1680-96 against Spanish authority Pecos played an important part, and its actual decline may be said to have begun at this time. In 1760, the pueblo was said to have contained 599 inhabitants. In 1782, however, the Pecos mission was abandoned, its people being ministered by a priest from Santa Fé. Its population had dwindled to 152 in 1790-93, probably on account of a Comanche raid in which nearly every man in the tribe was killed. Epidemics, brought about apparently by the proximity of the cemetery to the source of water supply, also hastened the diminution of the Pecos people. In 1805 they had become reduced to 104, and in 1838 the pueblo was finally abandoned, the 17 survivors moving to Jemez, where their descendants continue to live today. See More HERE.

Penobscot – The Penobscot nation was a member of the Wabanaki Confederacy that controlled much of New England and the Canadian Maritimes. The Penobscots themselves are original natives of Maine. They still live there today, on a reservation at Indian Island.

Medicine Wheel Poster

Medicine Wheel Poster. From our 11×17″ poster selection at Legends’ General Store.

Peoria – An Algonquian people, whose ancestors came from what is now Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio, their history goes back as far as once part of the Cahokia culture of Mound builders. The name “Peoria” come from their name for themselves in the Illinois language, Peewaareewa, meaning “Comes carrying a pack on his back. Their  ancestral lands were in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Missouri, but most began to migrate into Missouri Territory by the mid 1700’s.  In 1818, the Treaty of Edwardsville forced them to cede their lands in Illinois and the Treaty of Lewisville, in 1832, ceded their Missouri lands in exchange for land in Kansas, near the Osage River.

Disease and war drastically reduced the tribe’s numbers, so the members of the Kaskaskia, Peoria, Piankeshaw, and Wea tribes formed a confederacy under the Peoria name in 1854. After the Civil War, most of the confederated tribe signed the 1867 Omnibus Treaty, which purchased land from the Quapaw tribe and relocated the majority of the tribe from Kansas to Indian Territory. Today, the federally-recognized tribe is based in Miami, Oklahoma and has more than 2800 tribal members.

Pequot – An Algonquian tribe of Connecticut, their name means “destroyers,” and before European settlers arrived, they had earned the title, as they were the most dreaded of the southern New England tribes. However, this same ferocity almost to their annihilation when their enemies joined with the English to defeat them during the Pequot War. By 1910, they numbered only 66 people. However, today there are two small independent Pequot tribal nations in Connecticut – the Mashantucket Pequot and the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation.

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