The Walker River Paiute Reservation is located within three counties in rural Midwestern Nevada about 100 miles southeast of Reno, Nevada with the population of over 1200 residing within the boundaries of the Walker River Paiute Tribe. The land base consists of about 325,000 acres in a river valley, mostly used for grazing and some ranching. The present Reservation encompasses a high desert land base and is surrounded by mountains, desert lakes, and marshland/wetlands. The current Reservation was a traditional wintering grounds for the Walker River Paiute Numu (people) due to the mild winters. The Numu (people) then migrated back to the Sierras for summer camps. The riparian areas of the Reservation have mostly been converted to farm land with alfalfa being the major crop. The only town on the Reservation is Schurz, Nevada where the intersection of U.S. Highway 95 and 95-A (major routes running north and south) meet. Fallon, Nevada is 39 miles North, Yerington, Nevada is 25 miles West and Hawthorne, Nevada is 33 miles to the South.
Pine Nut Festival Every third weekend of September, several hundred American Indians and visitors gather at the Walker River Paiute Tribe Reservation in Schurz to participate in a spiritual ceremony that celebrates life and the harvest. The festival’s many events include a powwow, hand games and a pine nut blessing and dance. During the pine nut dance, dancers move on sacred ground in a circle around a staff with eagle feathers and tobacco offerings for what is called the pine nut blessing. The spiritual ceremony dates back more than one hundred years to a time when the pine nut was winter subsistence for Great Basin Indians. Today, the dance is a way to honor the tribe’s ancestors, preserve native traditions and revive spiritual practices. For more information, visit wrpt.org.