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To the Southern Paiutes, the Spring Mountains are the center of Creation. They believe that they, as a people, were created in these mountains at the beginning of time. Southern Paiutes believe that the Spring Mountains constitute a living being that has a zoomorphic shape. This being has a head which is found at the northern end of the range at Mount Sterling, a tail located at Mount Potosi, and in the center at Mount Charleston, a womb which created life. Mount Charleston is the geographic and cultural center of the Spring Mountains. The Spring Mountains are located within the traditional Pahrump and Las Vegas districts of the Southern Paiute Nation. The mountains, today, serve as a boundary between the cities of Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. In 2003, the United States Forest Service (USFS) funded an applied ethnographic study that focused on a cultural landscape assessment of the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The project examined the traditional, religious, and cultural values of Southern Paiute people inherent in the Spring Mountains of southern Nevada.

In addition to the ethnographic reports produced for this collection, the following articles and book chapters were produced:

Stoffle, R., R. Arnold, K. Van Vlack, L. Eddy, and B. Cornelius
2009 Nuvagantu, ‘Where Snow Sits’: Origin Mountains of the Southern Paiutes. In Landscapes of Origin, Edited by Jessica Christie. Pp. 32-44. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.


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