Ft. McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe
  • Ft. McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe
    P.O. Box 457 McDermitt, NV 89421
  • Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm
    Saturday & Sunday Closed


The Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation spans the distance of the Nevada–Oregon border, in Humboldt County, Nevada and Malheur County, Oregon, near the Quinn River, which runs east to west through the Tribe’s Nevada lands. Just to the east is southwestern Idaho. The Fort McDermitt Military Reservation was established 14 August 1865 at the former site of Quinn River Camp No. 33 and a stagecoach stop, Quinn River Station, in what was a traditional seasonal homeland of the Paiute, Shoshone and Bannock peoples.

Originally the fort was established to protect the stagecoach route from Virginia City through Winnemucca, Nevada to Silver City, Idaho Territory, in the southwestern part of the area. It was named after Lt. Col. Charles McDermitt, commander of the Military District of Nevada, who was killed in a skirmish in the area in 1865. The Paiute had traditional territory ranging from the Southwest up into Nevada, Oregon and southwestern Idaho.

The Paiute in this area became known as the “Northern Paiute.” They are related culturally and linguistically to the Shoshone, Bannock and other tribes of the region. When the military outpost was closed in 1889, the Military Reservation was adapted as the Fort McDermitt Indian Agency. Northern Paiute and Shoshone were settled here. In 1936 the federal government established an Indian reservation to support the tribe’s organizing as the Paiute and Shoshone Tribe under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. They had to give up their traditional, hereditary chiefs as leaders in favor of an elected, representative form of government.

Language & Culture

The tribe speaks the Northern Paiute language, also known as Numu Yadooana, which is a Western Numic language. Fort McDermitt has the greatest concentration of Northern Paiute speakers among the various locations where they live. 20–30% of the tribe’s children can speak the language. The native language name for the Northern Paiute peoples is Numu, which roughly translates to “The People”. Our Northern Paiute Band was known as Atsakudokwa Tuviwa ga yu (ITCN 1976a), or People of the Red Mountain. Tribal Members are also Shoshone, who are known as the Newe in the native language.