Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Trust Lands


Last Updated: 6 years

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony began as privately held land and eventually became trust land held as a sort of Indian reservation for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in and near Reno, Nevada. It is home to Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe Indians.

The term “colony” refers to a type of Indian trust territory, began during the nineteenth century that is 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.


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) 


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 colony (reservation) lands consist of the original 28-acre Colony located in central west Reno and another 1,949 acres in Hungry Valley, which is 19 miles north of the Colony and west of Spanish Springs, Nevada, nestled in scenic Eagle Canyon. Today, the Reno-Sparks Indian Community has expanded its original land base to about  15,500 acres.


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.

Its tribal government includes an elected chairman and an eight-member council. 

B.I.A. Agency:
Western Nevada Agency
Carson City, Nevada 89706 
Phone:(702) 887-3500


Located in Reno, Nev., the RSIC consists of 1,134 members from three Great Basin Tribes – the Paiute, the Shoshone and the Washoe

Historical Territory:

The people that inhabited the Great Basin prior to the European invasion were the Numa or Numu (Northern Paiute), the Washeshu (Washoe), the Newe (Shoshone), and the Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute).

In each of these groups’ language, these names meant “The People.” Within these groups were bands of Indians who were often referred to with words that reflected where they lived or what they ate.

For example, the Agai Ticutta referred to the trout eaters near the Walker River or the Toi Ticutta referred to the tulle eaters near the Stillwater Marshes.

Traditionally, The People lived a well-planned, harmonious life which was predicated on their immediate surroundings and nature.  Time could not be wasted. Knowing what the land would offer was a matter of survival, thus The People’s migration patterns were strategic and well-thought-out. 

The People followed the food and over thousands of years, each band evolved as an efficient, social and economic unit that could comfortably inhabit the land on which the People had been placed since time immemorial.

Living in cycles with the seasons, the Numu occupied the strip known as Western Nevada, Eastern Nevada, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Idaho.  The Washeshu gathered annually at Lake Tahoe and dispersed for several hundred miles throughout the remainder of the year.

The Newe were found in what is today called Eastern Nevada, Utah, and Southern California.

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

To each group, the animals of the Great Basin gave insight to creation and wise guidance on how to live. 

Conflicts occurred only when economic necessities forced a group to raid or confiscate the resources of another group.


Though each group spoke a different language; Washoe, a Hokoan derivative; the other dialects of the Uto-Aztecan origin; they understood and respected the lifestyles of the other immediate groups and other tribes with whom they came in contact. 



Contact Info:

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