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Life Among The Piutes: Their Wrongs And Claims
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Life Among The Piutes: Their Wrongs And Claims

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  136 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
This autobiographical work was written by one of the country's most well-known Native American women, Sarah Winnemucca. She was a Paiute princess and a major figure in the history of Nevada; her tribe still resides primarily in the state. Life Among the Piutes deals with Winnemucca's life and the plight of the Paiute Indians. Life Among the Piutes is Winnemucca's powerful ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 1st 1994 by University of Nevada Press (first published 1883)
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Apr 01, 2016 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting account of the life and experiences of a tribe of Piute Indians during the 1800s, beginning in western Nevada under the leadership of Chief Winnemucca. The story is told by his granddaughter, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins. The Piutes were a peaceful tribe who got caught up in wars with other Indians and who were horribly mistreated by the United States government who made promises and broke them, leaving the poor Indians defenseless against the violence of humanity and Moth ...more
Nov 13, 2008 Rae rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: see above.
This book, the first one written by a Native American woman, tells the story of white people coming to northern Nevada and fucking it up. Native Piute folks were extremely welcoming and, basically, got fucked for it. However, a shinning star named Sarah Winnemucca (granddaughter of Chief Winnemucca, for whom my current town is named) worked tirelessly for her people and got smashed quite a few times. The book chronicles her struggles to help her people get the rights and supplies they deserve (i ...more
Aug 11, 2015 Lorena rated it it was amazing
What are the odds of finding a book, written in English, by an indigenous woman born in 1844? I think zero. Perhaps I am feeling more fortunate that the average person who has discovered this book because I am researching my own book that leans heavily on the Paiute history of this very period. But more than a history, Sarah Winexpresses everything through the lens of a wise, educated, sensitive woman, an adventuress with nerves of steel, and a passionate advocate for her people. When she was a ...more
Mar 18, 2008 Gordon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in American Indian literature
Shelves: topshelf
In addition to being the first known autobiography written in English by an American Indian woman, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins' Life Among the Piutes provides a vivid image of the Piute Indians' (or Paiutes) first encounters with white settlers, their subsequent battle for their rights, and their peaceful and ethical responses to their mistreatment. Winnemucca's polemic call to action in aid of American Indian people is a long-lasting force parallel to her lecture tour across the U.S. in the late 1 ...more
David Radspinner
I read this book in a AIS 394 course on Native American Philosophy. I actually ended up choosing this book as my final paper in the course because i was able to really connect myself with the author. Once you understand that the author is NOT a writer, but rather a person who lived through an important time period, recognized this, and knew she had to record her experiences. Although my classmates joked it was a book that involved a lot of her crying, it has a lot of heart and does a wonderful j ...more
This was an interesting although very sad book. Sarah Winnemucca was a Piute woman. Her tribe first made contact with the English when Sarah was a small child. When she was a younger teenager, her father sent her to a boarding school where she learned to read, write and speak English. This stood her in good stead as an adult, when she became an interpreter for her people. Sarah tried to advocate for decent treatment for her people, but for the most part, her people were treated miserably by the ...more
Aug 28, 2014 Nathan rated it liked it
We read an abridged version of Life Among The Piutes for my American Lit class, and it was an interesting memoir. It was a bit stiff at times, but it provided me with a new perspective on Native American life.
Jul 21, 2008 Kurt rated it liked it
Auto-biography on the life of a Paiute Tribe in northern Nevada during the late 1800s. Recounts interactions with white settlers/army and associated impacts on the tribe.

Pros: Represents one of few books written by a Native American that discusses Native American attitude towards white settlers and army.

Cons: Opinions by Winnemucca may not be representative of most Native Americans during her time, as she appeared to be of a privileged class. Not enough insight on how other Native Americans may
Jun 20, 2015 Jennifer marked it as to-read
For Book Riot 2015 Read Harder #9.
Feb 27, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
One of the texts for a course on "Women Writing the West," this book offers valuable insight into the limitations female authors (of every color) faced during this historical period. Once I understood more about what kinds of writing were acceptable vs. what modes were effective (or affective, as the case may be in sentimental lit), I was able to appreciate this text and the survivance it represents to many Native Americans...who did not, and still have not "vanished."
Chantal LeGendre
Nov 11, 2012 Chantal LeGendre rated it it was amazing
I read this when I was twenty-one and a short resident of Reno, Nevada. What a life this woman had, in a time when a woman's role was hardly one of excitement and travel! The heart break of the treatment of her people is real and cannot be ignored. However, I come away with the idea: A life well lived is never forgotten, it is cherished in the human experience. I purchased and re-read this again with the idea that it should be adapted into a screenplay.
Elizabeth Huff
Jun 01, 2012 Elizabeth Huff rated it liked it
This book really gives you an idea of the complicated relationship between white and native people in the late 1800s. There is questioning and acceptance, truth and lies. The author, learns English and is able to communicate for her people as well as navigate some aspects of the white world. She becomes a voice for her people and spends a lot of her time trying to advocate for them, unfortunately to no avail.
Feb 11, 2013 Casey rated it liked it
Overall a decent read, kinda hard to follow because at times the English is shaky which is understandable not being her first language. Also she doesn't follow a set timeline, however it is pretty powerful story telling. I now feel even more like I am such a guilty american. Sarah Winnemucca I apologize for my great great great grandparents and their peoples' treatment of your people.
Aug 02, 2007 Dagny rated it really liked it
The first part of this book is great -- her accounts of life as a Piute (before disrupted by white settlers). just amazing to read what that life was like first hand. Her voice is great. Important read for anyone who lives in Northern Nevada. I'm to where she recounts a lot of sad situations that happened to her tribe -- not inspiring but also important tho the writing is kind of monotonous.
Jul 18, 2007 Dan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in american history, people interested in native american history
This was an enjoyable and fairly interesting autobiographical story about a woman growing up and living among the Piutes, a Native American tribe indigenous to Utah.

The book provides very interesting first hand account of Native Americans life and how they interacted with whites as they moved into their area.

I had to read this book for school, but I liked it.
Mar 26, 2013 Helen rated it it was amazing
I read this some time ago, but it sticks in my mind as one of the more amazing true stories I've ever read. I often think of her when we drive to Pyramid Lake and see the Paiute reservation. The landscape is the same. It really wasn't all that long ago that events changed the course of so many lives. Sarah Winnemucca was quite a woman, walking in two worlds.
Dec 22, 2009 emily added it
Awesome that this 19th century autobiography exists. The first part relates details of daily life and ceremonies of the northern Paiute. The flower ceremony! Interesting! The account largely focuses on her adult life as a translator between the Natives and the government, in battle and on the reservations.
Oct 11, 2011 Teshamae rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This is another book that all citizens of the United States should read lest we gloss over this terrible part of our history. Sarah Winnemucca replicates her oral history in this book that is not an autobiography, but rather a history of what happened to her people when the white man came to Nevada.
Feb 17, 2009 Ashley rated it liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of American Indian Lit/History (no one else should read it)
Three stars for its historical value alone. Maybe two stars, if I'm being generous, for the actual content. It's rather poorly written, and generally fails as an autobiography because Winnemucca fails to make herself relatable. I find her voice grating and overly-dramatic (in the bad way).
Aubrey Caudill
Apr 03, 2015 Aubrey Caudill rated it it was amazing
must read for any American. easy to read, straightforward. highly recommend.
Mar 10, 2008 Kayla rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites from my Native American Lit class. This is one I think even my Dad would really enjoy. If you're a history buff you'll eat it up and it mentions a lot of area right around where we grew up. Non-fiction, personal account of girl living with her Piute family.
Feb 11, 2014 Joshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly sad account that has challenged my understanding of the struggles of native peoples in the western United States.
Sep 21, 2009 wolf rated it it was amazing
i loved this book because it lets the reader explore the life and culture of the paiute people
Nov 01, 2012 Carissa rated it liked it
It was for school.
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