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Life Among the Piutes by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins Summary
Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (1883) by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins. An autobiographical account, by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, of the Piute people (also spelled Paiute) during their first forty years of interaction with Euro-American settlers.The author was the daughter of the Piute Chief Winnemucca and was raised in the area that is now western Nevada. Born about 1841 into a tribe that - at that time - had only limited contact with settlers, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins would go on to spend the majority of her adult life apart from the Piutes. Mrs. Hopkins came to the East from the Pacific coast with the courageous purpose of telling in detail to the mass of our people, "extenuating nothing and setting down naught in malice," the story of her people's trials. Finding that in extemporaneous speech she could only speak at one time of a few points, she determined to write out the most important part of what she wished to say. In fighting with her literary deficiencies she loses some of the fervid eloquence which her extraordinary colloquial command of the English language enables her to utter, but I am confident that no one would desire that her own original words should be altered. It is the first outbreak of the American Indian in human literature. Sarah Winnemucca (1844–1891) was a prominent female Paiute activist and educator; she helped gain release of her people from the Yakima Reservation following the Bannock War of 1878, lectured widely in the East in 1883 on injustices against Native Americans in the West, established a private school for Indian students in Nevada, and was an influential figure in development of United States' 19th-century Indian policies.