Pyramid Lake War of 1860

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One of the biggest conflicts between the settlers and Indians in Nevada was the Pyramid Lake Indian war of 1860. The war and deaths that followed was a result of tension, ignorance, anti-Indian attitude and misunderstanding. The war was preceded by violent incidents against both the whites and Indians and consisted of two larger battles. The Washoe and Paiute tribe’s lives changed with the influx of settlers that came with the Comstock mining rush. Nevada being a desert had limited resources and the settlers came in and started using them without care. The whites cut down pine trees that were a food source to the tribes, they dug big holes while mining for minerals, and they hunted the game of the area. The use of these limited resources caused tension between the whites and the Indians and settlers. Several murders of whites, including two men McMullen and McWilliams, were widely blamed on Paiutes. The lack of effective government in the area meant that there was no formal judicial response to these incidents, leading to private retribution and a general atmosphere of fear and distrust. In the case of McMullen and McWilliams the Washoe Indians were framed for murder. McMullen was headed to California to gather supplies, when he and McWilliams were murdered by their campfire. Both men had been shot and arrows had been inserted into their wounds. Everyone blamed the Indians for the murder of the two men. When asked how they knew it was the Indians they said, “We know,

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