Moapa Indian Reservation

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The Moapa Indian Reservation is located about 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada near Moapa. 

It is home to Chemehuevi, Kaibab, Pawipits, Southern Paiutes, and Shivwits Indians, known collectively as the Moapa Band of Paiutes of the Moapa Indian Reservation, which consists of approximately 287 members, of which 180 presently reside on the Moapa River Indian Reservation in Nevada.  

They were in the past called the Moapat and the Nuwuvi. Their name for themselves is Newe, meaning the people.

The reservation is crossed from northeast to southwest by the I-15 highway. In the southeast, it is adjacent to Valley of Fire State Park at Exit 75 of the highway. The local road leading to the west park entrance (formerly Nevada 169), belongs to the reservation.

History:

The Moapa Band of Paiutes or Nuwuvi are part of the Southern Paiute Nation whose traditional lands covered an area which is known as Southern Nevada.

Historically, the Moapa people were a culturally well adapted people who combined irrigated farming with hunting and gathering and used the resources of the land with great ingenUity.

Wetland and riparian vegetation had significant cultural importance. Willows, cottonwoods, sedges and rushes were used in the construction of sweat lodges as well as in the creation of intricately designed basketry, including water jars, winnowing and parching trays, cradle boards, cooking baskets and seed beaters.

Knowledge of the nutritional and medicinal uses of plants was extensive. 

The Moapa traded with the Spanish in the later 18th and early 19th centuries who arrived here from California and Arizona, yet no missions were built in the area.

In 1869 the United States relocated the Southern Paiute to the Moapa area by force. Originally the entire Moapa River watershed and lands along the Colorado River (some of which area is now under Lake Mead) was assigned to the Moapa; however, in 1875 their reservation was reduced to 1,000 acres (400 ha).

They later suffered from decimation by disease in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1941, they organized with a formal constitution. In 1980 the Moapa River reservation was expanded, with about 75,000 acres (30,000 ha) added. 

Establishment:

12 March, 1873 – approx. 2 million acres by Executive Order 
12 February, 1874 – 1,000 acres added by Executive Order 
03 March, 1875 – by the Authority of the Act of 03 March, 1875 (18 Stat. 445) reduced acreage to 1,000 acres 
02 December, 1980 – By Legistlation 70,565.46 acres added P.L. 96-491 

Location:

Approximately 8 miles West of Glendale, Nevada, junction of State Route 168 and Interstate 15 – approximately 55 miles Northeast of Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada.

Acreage:

The 71,954 acres of Reservation land lies in Moapa Valley which is the prehistoric floodplain of the Muddy River. Dry washes and rounded hills characterize Moapa Valley. 

Approximately 616 acres were allotted to Indian residents; in 1941 all allotted lands were restored to tribal status by relinquishment by the owners. 

Government:

Organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 18 June 1934 (48 Stat. 984) as amended. Constitution and By-Laws of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians approved 17 April, 1942

Population:

As of the census of 2013, the population was 287.

B.I.A. Agency:
Southern Paiute Field Station
Cedar City, Utah 84727
Phone:(801) 586-1121

Jurisdiction:

Federal

Economy:

A lawsuit filed in 2013 by the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians over contaminants from the coal-fired Reid Gardner Power Generation Station near Las Vegas was settled for $4.3 million. About $1.5 million of the funds went toward a wellness center on the Moapa Indian Reservation.

The reservation includes a 250 MW solar power generation facility which generates enough energy to power 111,000 homes, displacing around 341,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. The tribe also owns a travel plaza.

The primary economy on the Moapa Indian Reservation is based on agriculture.

People on the reservation continue to suffer high rates of unemployment, obesity, alcoholism and diabetes, resulting in some of the Moapa migrating to other parts of the country to find work.

Annual Events:

Every October, a galaxy of 10,000 lanterns filled with hopes, dreams, and messages to lost loved ones fill the skies as part of the RiSE Festival. Its an amazing and beautiful experience of shared humanity.

Contact Info:

P.O. Box 340 
Moapa, Nevada 89025
Telephone: (702) 865-2787 
Fax:(702) 865-2875