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J. Richard Haefer

Native Americans of the Great Basin area of Nevada, southern Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and eastern California. They comprise many small bands or groups, each of which has political autonomy and its own informal social organization, and all of which share a common language, culture, and territory. Many groups, such as the Bannock, Snake, Piavosoto, and Kaibab, are known by their band names, although all are Paiute.

The most important Paiute instrument is the split-stick clapper, used to accompany most social and ceremonial songs; the most unusual instrument is the shaman’s rattle, made from a cocoon filled with rattling pieces and suspended from a forked stick. The flute, bone whistle, small double-headed drum, and bullroarer are also used. The musical bow, once prominent among many Paiute bands, was made from a piece of elderberry or maple wood 1.2 to 1.5 meters long; it was plucked with the finger, using the mouth as a resonating chamber....