Traditional ecological knowledge and resilience of the Southern Paiute high chief system

Southern Paiutes of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau have a deep connection to their environment. Since Creation, Southern Paiutes maintain that it is their duty to manage their environment to promote growth and sustainability within their ecosystem. They have developed numerous strategies and activities that have been integrated into their cultural system that increases biodiversity and biocomplexity throughout their homeland. The Southern Paiutes had a traditional leadership system that was responsible for the maintenance of social and ecological order throughout the Southern Paiute nation. The Southern Paiute leadership, more commonly referred to as the High Chiefs, was a multi-layered system that functioned on national, regional, and local levels. This essay examines the roles and functions the High Chiefs had traditionally in Southern Paiute culture and how it was used to maintain the Southern Paiute way of life and their environment.


Kathleen Van Vlack


Richard Stoffle





Arizona State Museum: 

M9791 V363t


ATT 1442826

UA Library: 

E9791 2007
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences