Reno-Sparks Indian Colony


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Who is the Reno Sparks Indian Colony?

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony is a federally recognized Indian tribe located near Reno and Sparks, Nevada. The tribal membership consists of over 900 members from three Great Basin Tribes – the Paiute, the Shoshone, and the Washoe. They make up the majority of people who live within the reservation land base.

Official Tribal Name: Reno-Sparks Indian Colony

Address: 98 Colony Road, Reno, Nevada 89502
Phone: (702) 329-2936
Fax: (702) 329-8710

Official Website:

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Numu , Washeshu, and the Newe
The people that inhabited the Great Basin prior to the European invasion were the Numu , Washeshu, the Newe, and the Nuwuvi. In each language these names meant “the People”

Common Name:

Reno-Sparks Colony

Meaning of Common Name:

The term “colony”, a type of Indian trust territory, began during the nineteenth century and is apparently unique to Nevada. Pushed out of the areas they lived on aboriginally, denied access to most sources of water, facing starvation, the native peoples of Nevada had to develop adaptive strategies to survive. One important strategy was to attach themselves to ranches which were developing where many of them had lived.

The transition to colonies represented another adaptive strategy. Many Indians moved to the outskirts of towns and cities which were developed in nineteenth-century Nevada. These settlements developed into colonies.

Only in the twentieth century did the “camps” of Indians sometimes actually become trust territory. Apparently in some cases the camps were on what had become regarded as public domain by whites, although no doubt many Indians still regarded the land as belonging to them; in other cases, the Indians were allowed to live on lands owned privately.

The latter was the case for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony.

Alternate names / Alternate spellings:

Paiute, Washoe, Shoshone

Name in other languages:

Region: Great Basin

State(s) Today: Nevada

Traditional Territory:

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 Nuwuvi inhabited the Colorado River Basin where they farmed corn, squash, wheat, and beans.

Confederacy: Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe


Reservation: Reno-Sparks Indian Colony

Established:13 April, 1917 – purchase of 20 acres by the Authority of the Act of 18 May, 1916 (39 Stat. 123-145)
23 July, 1926 – purchase of 8.38 acres by Authority of the Act of 10 May, 1926 (44 Stat. 496)
23 August, 1986 – acquisition of 1,949.39 acres by Authority of the Act of 23 August, 1986 (100 Stat. 828)

Location: At East Second street adjacent to the city limits of Reno, Nevada, Washoe County, Nevada, and 10 miles North of Sparks, Washoe County, Nevada at Hungry Valley. The reservation lands consist of the original twenty-eight acre residential Colony located in downtown Reno and the 1,960 acre Hungry Valley reservation located nineteen miles north of the downtown Colony, in a more rural setting.
Land Area: 1978.26 acres
Tribal Headquarters:
Time Zone:

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today: Approximately 900 members.

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


Charter: Organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 18 June 1934 (48 Stat. 984) as amended. Constitution and By-Laws of the Reno/Sparks Indian Colony approved 15 January, 1936. Amended 08 January, 1971.
Name of Governing Body: Tribal Council
Number of Council members: 8
Dates of Constitutional amendments:
Number of Executive Officers: Elected Chairman


B.I.A. Agency:

Western Nevada Agency
Carson City, Nevada 89706
Phone:(702) 887-3500

Language Classification:

Each group spoke a different language: Washo, a Hokoan derivative; the others, dialects of Uto-Aztecan origin.

Language Dialects:

Number of fluent Speakers:



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

Duck Valley Paiute | Pyramid Lake Paiute | Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe | Fort Independence Paiute | Ft. McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe | Goshute Confederated Tribes | Kaibab Band of Paiute | Las Vegas Paiute Tribe | Lovelock Paiute Tribe | Moapa River Reservation | Summit Lake Paiute Tribe | Winnemucca Colony | Walker River Paiute Tribe | Yerington Paiute Tribe

Death Valley Timbisha Shoshone | Ely Shoshone Tribe | Duckwater Shoshone | Yomba Shoshone Tribe |Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians (comprised of the Battle Mountain Band, Elko Band, South Fork Band, and Wells Band)

Washoe Tribe of Nevada/California (comprised of the Carson Community Council, Dresslerville Community Council, Stewart Community Council, and Woodfords Community Council)

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Numaga Indian Days Powwow at the Hungry Valley Community over Labor Day Weekend
Thanksgiving Craft Market
Christmas Craft Market
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony New Year’s Eve Powwow

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts:





Economy Today:

The Reno-Sparks Colony manages four business development sites, is landlord to 20 commercial tenants and operates Five Indian Smoke Shops.

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs


Paiute People of Note:

Shoshone People of Note:

Washoe People of Note:

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

In the News:

Further Reading: