Hidden Human Story
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Sara Winnemucca (Pauite) Testimony



Sarah Winnemucca – daughter of Chief Winnemucca


Among the traditions of our people is one of a small tribe of barbarians who used to live along the Humboldt River.  It was many hundred years ago.  They used to waylay my people and kill and eat them.  They would dig large holes in our trails at night, and if any of our people travelled at night, which they did, for they were afraid of these barbarous people, they would oftentimes fall into these holes.  That tribe would even eat their own dead-yes, they would even come and dig up our dead after they were buried, and would carry them off and eat them.  Now and then they would come and make war on my people.  They would fight, and as fast as they killed one another on either side, the women would carry off those who were killed.  My people say they were very brave.  When they were fighting they would jump up in the air after the arrows that went over their heads, and shoot the same arrows back again.  My people took some of them into their families, but they could not make them like themselves.  So at last they made war on them.  This war lasted a long time.  Their number was about twenty-six hundred (2600).  The war lasted some three years.  My people killed them in great numbers, and what few were left went into the thick bush.  My people set the bush on fire.  this was right above Humboldt Lake.  Then they went to work and made tuly or bulrush boats, and went into Humboldt Lake.  They could not live there very long without fire.  They were nearly starving.  My people were watching them all round the lake, and would kill them as fast as they would come on land…

This tribe was called people-eaters and after my people had killed them all, the people round us called us Say-do-carah.  It means conqueror; its the name of Piutes.  It is not an Indian word, I think it is misinterpreted.

My people say that the tribe we exterminated had reddish hair.  I have some of their hair, which has been handed down from father to son.  I have a dress which has been in our family a great many years, trimmed with this reddish hair.

Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, Life Among the Piutes, Pages 73-75


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