go back to Index!
This is a page intended to help shed a small amount of
light on who the Moapas are and who they were
historically to those who are interested.
No attempt is being made to be a complete resource for this information. This is merely a starting point for most readers. Hopefully you will be interested in knowing more and will contact your library or THE LAS VEGAS INDIAN CENTER on Bonanza to find out more
information. This article is about 2 � pages long and has a few links to other articles as well as pictures.
First of all the Moa-pah or Moah-pitz (as they have been called in early letters and records) are
several bands and family clans of Native Americans belonging to the group known to most
ethnographers today as "Uto-Aztecan" stock. They are part of the Southern Paiute nation and for
the purposes of this research project, it is pertinent to point out that they are linguistically and
culturally related to the Agua-Caliente bands of Cahuilla around Palm Springs California.
The Moapa Paiutes have called what we now refer to as Southern Nevada "home" for at least
700 years and there is good reason to believe that their ancestors or ancient ones lived in the
immediate area of Moapa far longer than that. Possibly one thousand, two thousand, three
thousand or even 10,000 years previously.
The Lost City civilization along the muddy river which began near present day Warm
Springsarea west of Moapa all the way past Overton to what would have been the confluence of
the Colorado River and up the Virgin River toward Utah's Virgin Canyon and northward
possibly to Caliente Nevada were all areas where the Moapas once freely called home. See
picture of area click here The Lost City ruins it should be noted are one of the longest
continually civilized places in the present day United States. Another similar place is Old
Oraibi pueblo in Hopi land. Artifacts in the Lost City have indicated that the present day
Moapas may have descended from the Lost City people themselves. At least it is known that
they were contemporary with part of that civilization and either trading with them or actively
sharing their culture and even living with them. This author believes that most civilizations
don't just disappear (as has been postulated by some) but rather they "evolve" like anything else
and many hundreds of years later looking back we presume that the "old ones" somehow
"disappeared" simply because the artifacts and culture changed. Cultures and ideologies change
and along with them...the people who give birth to such ideas. This is evident in all cultures in
the modern days just as it has been evident in the historical records of Native Americans since
the 19th century.
Currently Moapa band Americans live on a small reservation south and west of Moapa Nevada
about 70 miles or so north of Las Vegas east of I-15. Of those who have stayed with the
reservations, another group lives in North Las Vegas itself. Perhaps only a handful of elders
remember the things which have come to be part of the Palm documents which referred to this
page. Many of the unaccompanied and very long tribal history songs and some of the very old
customs and culture of the Moapa bands are possibly lost along with some key words or parts of
the unique local Moapa-bands language in the late 1800's when some young Moapas were
apparently taken to "camps" in Utah,(according to army records in the late 1860's) and placed for
nearly 20 years with bands of Northern Paiute, Goshiute, Ute, and Shoshone Americans.
Native children were often discouraged from learning the old Moapa Paiute (which was
apparently different in the old days from other Paiute languages) and were discouraged (by
whites whenever possible,) from learning their heritage. Many of them came back to their
homeland (according to some records such as "Euler") with none of the amazing skills which
filled the reports of the early Spanish and cavalry men who happened through the area. Many
subsequently became dependent upon the employment of the "white squatters" (as the old ones
referred to them) and many families suffered culturally and materially as well as economically
for years. Some of this may have been due to the simple loss of necessary desert survival skills
they had cultivated and understood for so many aeons.
It is common when reading the old letters and diaries written by the early whites, to find a
predominance of condescending remarks made about the Moapas. A lot of the early whites
thought very little of them. Fortunately not everyone shared this type of narrow and unfortunate
view, but even the "good intentions" of the best people were often very damaging (in the long
run) to the original Americans culture and especially the preservation of the memories of such
Much of the oral history of the Moapas may be lost. But some elders remember things that have
never been written down pertaining to the palms at warm springs. Their statements show what
at least four of them remember about the Palms near Moapa Warm Springs and how their
grandparents used the Palms. These statements are more weighty than all the years of cursory
theories by some which attempted to say whites were responsible for bringing the Desert Fan
Palm to Southern Nevada.
This has been a very brief introduction to the Moapas and how their culture is so important to
the existence and survival of the Desert Fan Palm in Southern Nevada. For other references
please see the Cahuilla page noted on the main page, then go to the Washingtonia filifera
document as it unfolds on the World Wide Web. Thank you for staying tuned!
Please allow these documents to fully load before
attempting to use the footnotes hyperlinks...otherwise they
will not work.
FOR THE FULL MOAPA PALMS REPORTS
CLICK LINKS BELOW:
[ The FULL MOAPA PALM REPORTS 100 pages & footnotes in 6 parts ]
[ THE Condensed Moapa Palms Report (10 pages) |
Petroglyphs & Palms |
[ Plants & Climate in Oases ]
[ Pictures for the Moapa Palms reports: ]
& NATIVE AMERICAN LINKS:
[ The Moapa People |
Moapa Indian Memories of Palms |
[ Moapa Tribal Information ]
[ The Cahuilla of Palm Springs ]
REBUTTALS TO CURRENT RESEARCH:
[ Desert Fan Palms -Evidence supports Relict Status ]
Global Warming NOT responsible for W. filifera spreading ! ]
[ Back to Main Moapa index & Intro ]