Great Basin Forager Culture
1.   Nomadic foragers
.  Wandered in small family groups
.  Depended on hardwood digging sticks
.  Spring survival was difficult
2.   Practiced the Bear Dance
3.   Generally peaceful except for Northern Paiute
4.   Communal
5.   Excellent basketweavers ... no pottery
6.   Lived in poor leantos
7.   Not extensive traders

Great Basin Forager Culture languages and tribes:

Phylum / Stock / Family / Language Tribe
Aztec-Tanoan / Uto-Aztecan / Numic / Central Numic Koso
Western Shoshone
Aztec-Tanoan / Uto-Aztecan / Numic / Southern Numic Southern Paiute
Aztec-Tanoan / Uto-Aztecan / Numic / Western Numic Lohim
Northern Paiute
Great Basin Forager Culture Ethnobotany
Common Name Scientific Name Use  
American Agave Agave americana L. Food Used as one of the most important foods.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot Balsamorhiza sagittata (Pursh) Nutt. Drink Juice from the stems sucked when thirsty.
    Food Roasted, ground seeds made into flour and used to make mush, ground seed meal and juniper berries used to make a pudding, root pitch chewed as gum, blooming stems peeled and eaten, roasted, ground seeds made into flour and stored for winter use.
Balsamroot Balsamorhiza ×terebinthacea (Hook.) Nutt. (pro sp.) [deltoidea × hookeri] Food Fresh roots roasted, ground and pounded or eaten raw, dried roots eaten raw.
Bearded Cupgrass Eriochloa aristata Vasey Food Seeds parched, ground and the flour eaten dry.
Big Sagebrush Artemisia tridentata Nutt. Ceremony Sagebrush used by dancers to pat themselves to be made spiritually clean, curing ceremonies.
    Cordage Bark used to make cordage.
    Food Seeds roasted, ground into flour and eaten with water, gum chewed as gum.
    Clothing Bark used to make cloth and sandals, bark frayed and stuffed into moccasins for added warmth.
    Misc. Wood used for drills, hearths and tinder in the creation of fire by friction, blossoms and leaves used as personal decorations in a spring dance, wood used for tinder in the creation of fire by friction, bark wound about a stick and used as a torch.
Black Hawthorn Crataegus douglasii Lindl. Food Fruit eaten raw or boiled, berries formerly dried and eaten.
Broadstemmed Onion Allium platycaule S. Wats. Food Bulbs roasted and used for food, seeded heads placed in hot ashes for a few minutes, seeds extracted and eaten, green leaves eaten as a relish.
Buckbrush Ceanothus cuneatus (Hook.) Nutt. Tools Wood used to make digging sticks.
California Buckthorn Frangula californica ssp. californica Food Fruit eaten fresh, fruit sun dried, stored in buckskin bags and hung up for winter use.
California Hazelnut Corylus cornuta var. californica (A. DC.) Sharp Food Nut meat eaten raw, nut meat stored for future use.
Chufa Flatsedge Cyperus esculentus L. Food Roots dried, ground and mixed with other foods, roots eaten raw.
Common Devilsclaw Proboscidea louisianica (P. Mill.) Thellung Basketry Used as black decorations for baskets.
Common Spikerush Eleocharis palustris (L.) Roemer & J.A. Schultes Food Bulbs used for food, sap eaten.
Conjested Snakelily Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum Food Fresh roots eaten raw, roots roasted and ground into flour, roots dried and stored.
Cottontop Cactus Echinocactus polycephalus Engelm. & Bigelow Tools Thorns formerly used as awls in basket making.
Creosotebush Larrea tridentata var. tridentata Tools Lac used to make awl handles.
Cusick's Serviceberry Amelanchier alnifolia var. cusickii (Fern.) C.L. Hitchc. Food Berries eaten fresh, bashed berries formed into cakes, sun dried and eaten as candy, berries eaten dried, mashed berries formed into cakes, sun dried for winter use, boiled and eaten.
Datura or Jimson Weed or Sacred Thornapple Datura wrightii Regel Narcotic Roots used to make a narcotic tea. (Deadly poisonous)
Field Horsetail Equisetum arvense L. Music Plant used for whistles.
Fremont'sa Goosefoot Chenopodium fremontii S. Wats. Food Seeds ground into a meal and eaten.
Fremont's Goosefoot Chenopodium fremontii S. Wats. Food Seeds ground into a meal and eaten.
Giant Wildrye Leymus condensatus (J. Presl) A. Löve Famine Food Seeds stored for times of famine.
Great Basin Springbeauty Claytonia umbellata S. Wats. Food Roots roasted in the sand and eaten.
Green Rabbitbush Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus (Hook.) Nutt. Food Roots used as chewing gum.
    Tools Peeled stems used for piercing ears in preparation for wearing earrings.
Golden Chinkapin Chrysolepis chrysophylla var. chrysophylla Drink Leaves used to make tea.
Greenleaf Manzanita Arctostaphylos patula Greene Smoking Fire dried, pulverized leaves smoked with other plants or alone.
Herb Sophia Descurainia sophia (L.) Webb ex Prantl Food Seeds parched, ground and eaten as meal, seeds mixed with snow and eaten as ice cream, seeds stored for winter use.
    Drink Roasted, ground seeds mixed with water and used as a cooling beverage for hot weather.
Indianhemp Apocynum cannabinum L. Cordage Stem fibers twisted and plied into cordage and nets, used as twined weft rows for mats, stem fibers twisted and plied into cordage and nets.
Indian Tea or Mormon Tea Ephedra viridis Coville Drink Leafless needles boiled into a drink, parched, ground seeds used for coffee.
    Medicine Numerous uses.
Incense Cedar Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin Basketry Bark made into baskets used for picking huckleberries.
Joshua Tree Yucca brevifolia Engelm. Basketry Red-brown inner roots used for basket designs.
Kinnikinnick Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. Smoking Roasted, dried leaves mixed with tobacco and smoked.
Largeflower Hawksbeard Crepis occidentalis Nutt. Food Leaves eaten raw.
Mexican Whorled Milkweed Asclepias fascicularis Dcne. Food Species used for food.
Miner's Lettuce Claytonia perfoliata ssp. perfoliata Food Leaves eaten raw.
Mountain Tastymustardseed Descurainia incana ssp. incana Food Seeds roasted, cooled, ground, mixed with cold water and eaten, seeds stored for winter use.
    Drink Seeds dried, cooked, ground, water added, kneaded, water added to make a fine batter and drunk.
Narrowleaf Gromwell Lithospermum incisum Lehm. Drink Roots used to make tea.
Nevada Goosefoot Chenopodium nevadense Standl. Food Seeds parched, ground and eaten as meal.
Nevada Onion Allium nevadense S. Wats. Food Whole plant eaten raw.
New Mexico Giant Hyssop Agastache pallidiflora ssp. neomexicana var. neomexicana (Briq.) R.W. Sanders Food Used as one of the most important foods.
Nutgrass Cyperus rotundus L. Food Raw tubers used for food, tubers made into meal and cooked as cereal.
Pacific Willow Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra (Benth.) E. Murr Basketry Twigs used to make the withes for the three rod foundation coils of baskets, used as the primary basket material.
Parry's Agave Agave parryi Engelm. Food Used as one of the most important foods.
Pinemat Manzanita Arctostaphylos nevadensis Gray Food Berries used for food.
    Smoking Roasted, dried leaves mixed with tobacco and smoked.
Redosier Dogwood Cornus sericea ssp. sericea Misc. Wood used for cradle board frames.
Rubber Rabbitbush Ericameria nauseosa ssp. nauseosa var. nauseosa Food Root bark chewed like gum.
    Tools Peeled stems used for piercing ears in preparation for wearing earrings.
Sagebrush Mariposa Lily Calochortus macrocarpus Dougl. Food Bulbs eaten raw, boiled or roasted, bulbs skinned and eaten fresh in spring.
Saltmarsh Bulrush Schoenoplectus maritimus (L.) Lye Basketry Roots used as dark brown or black decorations for baskets.
Sego Lily Calochortus nuttallii Torr. & Gray Food Roots and tubers peeled and eaten roasted or raw, bulbs used for food during the spring, roots dried and eaten or ground and cooked in soup.
Showy Milkweed Asclepias speciosa Torr. Food Dried sap chewed as gum, species used for food.
Siolverberry Elaeagnus commutata Bernh. ex Rydb. Food Seeds used for food.
Silverscale Saltbush Atriplex argentea Nutt. Food Seeds parched, ground into a flour and made into mush.
Singleleaf Pinyon Pinus monophylla Torr. & Frém. Food Pinons eaten in the mountains away from home.
Skunkbush Sumac Rhus trilobata Nutt. Basketry Formerly used as withes and splints for baskets.
Small Camas Camassia quamash (Pursh) Greene Food Roots cooked overnight, dried and used for food, dried, ground bulbs made into a pudding.
Small Onion Allium parvum Kellogg Food Bulbs dried and eaten, bulbs dried, ground and cooked in soup.
Smoky Mariposa Calochortus leichtlinii Hook. f. Food Roots and tubers peeled and eaten roasted or raw, roots dried and eaten, roots dried and eaten or ground and cooked in soup.
Smooth Beggartick Bidens laevis (L.) B.S.P. Food Species used for food.
Snowy Thistle Cirsium pastoris J.T. Howell Food Stems peeled and eaten raw.
Tapertip Onion Allium acuminatum Hook. Food Onions eaten raw, boiled or baked in a pit, bulbs roasted and used for food, seeded heads placed in hot ashes for a few minutes, seeds extracted and eaten. leaves eaten as a relish.
Tioga Thistle Cirsium tioganum var. tioganum Food Roots eaten raw or roasted.
Twincrest Onion Allium bisceptrum S. Wats. Food Seeded heads placed in hot ashes for a few minutes, seeds extracted and eaten, leaves eaten as a relish.
Twinleaf Onion Allium anceps Kellogg Food Bulbs roasted and used for food, bulbs roasted in the sand and eaten, bulbs cooked on hot rocks, squeezed into cakes and eaten.
Utah Serviceberry Amelanchier utahensis Koehne Food Berries eaten fresh, berries crushed, dried and used for food.
Western Tastymustardseed Descurainia pinnata (Walt.) Britt. Food Seeds roasted, cooled, ground, mixed with cold water and eaten, seeds stored for winter use.
    Drink Seeds dried, cooked, ground, water added, kneaded, water added to make a fine batter and drunk.
Western White Clematis Clematis ligusticifolia Nutt. Cordage Used to make carrying nets for snares, used to make bowstrings.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
     Castetter, Edward F. 1935 Ethnobiological Studies in the American Southwest I. Uncultivated Native Plants Used as Sources of Food. University of New Mexico Bulletin 4(1):1-44
     Fowler, Catherine S. 1989 Willards Z. Park's Ethnographic Notes on the Northern Paiute of Western Nevada 1933-1940. Salt Lake City. University of Utah Press
     Kelly, Isabel T. 1932 Ethnography of the Surprise Valley Paiute. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 31(3):67-210
     Kirk, R.E. 1952 Panamint Basketry. Masterkey 26(76-86):
     Mahar, James Michael. 1953 Ethnobotany of the Oregon Paiutes of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Reed College, B.A. Thesis
     Murphey, Edith Van Allen 1990 Indian Uses of Native Plants. Glenwood, Ill. Meyerbooks. Originally published in 1959
     Nickerson, Gifford S. 1966 Some Data on Plains and Great Basin Indian Uses of Certain Native Plants. Tebiwa 9(1):45-51
     Steward, Julian H. 1933 Ethnography of the Owens Valley Paiute. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 33(3):233-250
     Train, Percy, James R. Henrichs and W. Andrew Archer 1941 Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Tribes of Nevada. Washington DC. U.S. Department of Agriculture
     Trenholm, Virginia Cole and Maurine Carley, The Shoshonis, Sentinels of the Rockies, U of Oklahoma P, 1964