Great Basin Indian Collection


Located in the Special Collections Department of the University of Nevada, Reno Libraries, the Great Basin Indian Collection contains an extensive group of materials dealing with the anthropology, archeology and ethnohistory of the Great Basin region.

In support of Great Basin Indian research on both a regional and national level, a continuing, comprehensive effort is made to acquire all materials relating to Indian groups in and adjacent to the Great Basin. Materials collected include books, periodicals, manuscripts, maps, photographs, audiotapes, films, and selected government publications and reports.

A particular strength of the Collection is its linguistic material. This includes contemporary grammars, dictionaries, texts, scholarly studies and rare 19th century items printed in Great Basin Indian languages. The collection also holds the papers of ethnologist and linguist Sven Liljeblad, including his 300,000 entry lexicon of Northern Paiute and Shoshone languages. His papers have not yet been fully processed, but a guide to photographs from the collection has been compiled.

Several manuscript collections in Special Collections deal with Great Basin Indians. These notebooks, correspondence, legal documents, field notes, and unpublished reports are rich sources of information. Also available to researchers are audio interviews with Indian people, many transcribed, as well as over 5000 photographs of Great Basin Indians and their activities. A guide to the extensive Margaret Wheat research collection is available.

Although the Great Basin Indian Collection contains some government publications, such as US Bureau of Land Management cultural resource reports for Nevada, it is greatly complemented in this area by extensive holdings of federal and Nevada state publications in the library's Business and Government Information Center. Resources in this department include publications of the Smithsonian's Bureau of American Ethnology, records of the Indian Claims Commission, and Indian census rolls of the western agencies.

The Great Basin Indian Collection is open to all individuals wishing to use its resources for serious scholarly research. Copy and photoreproduction services are available. More detailed information about the collection is available upon request to the Special Collections Department.


The collection has been enhanced greatly by donations of materials. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to consider donating papers, field notes, photographs and tapes to the collection where they will be preserved and made available to researchers.


The following list of tribes included in the Great Basin Indian Collection was developed in 1977 with the assistance of the Great Basin Indian Collection Advisory Board. Materials on primary Great Basin Tribes such as the Paiute and Shoshone are collected comprehensively, with secondary emphasis on tribes bordering the region. For some tribes only linguistic materials are collected, these being indicated with an asterisk. It should be noted that both scientific and popular names are included here, hence the repetition of groups such as Pit River, Achumawi, and Atsugewi.

Tribes in the Great Basin Indian Collection
Achumawi Mayo* Shoshoni Snake
Apache Miwok Southern Maidu
Atsugewi Modoc Southern Paiute
Bannock Mohave Tarahumara*
Cahuilla Molala Tenino
Cayuse Monachi Tepehuan*
Chemhuevi Mono Tepeman*
Coeur d'Alene Nahuatl* Tubatulabal
Cora* Navajo Umatilla
Cupeno Nez Perce Ute
Diegueno Nishinam* Walapai
Flathead Northern Paiute Walla Walla
Gosiute Paiute Washo
Halchidhoma Panamint Yahi
Havasupai Papago* Yana
Hopi* Paviotso Yaqui
Huichol* Pima* Yavapai
Kamia Pit River Yokuts
Kawiisu Serrano  
Klamath Sheepeater