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The Trade Economy of the Southern Paiutes

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1

Additional Core Ties

Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 1 Objective 2

Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 2

Time Frame

2 class periods of 30 minutes each


Utah LessonPlans


The student will be able to identify the subsistence practices of the Southern Paiutes and analyze the economic and social connections between the different bands of Southern Paiutes in Utah.


Teacher Materials

Student Materials

Background for Teachers

The bands that now make up the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah have always lived in arid southwestern Utah. Because their homeland does not contain abundant natural resources, the Southern Paiutes developed sophisticated farming practices and agricultural technologies. In addition, Paiute communities traded with one another to maximize their access to plants and resources. The Paiute trade network allowed each band to meet its resource needs while helping other bands survive. This lesson has groups of students, acting as individual Southern Paiute bands, trade amongst themselves. The students will learn how to work with one another while they learn about the trade economy of the Southern Paiutes.

Instructional Procedures

This lesson is almost entirely encompassed in the student activity. Start by explaining to students that natural resources are the raw materials that occur naturally in a given environment. Then explain that the Paiutes' ancestral homeland did not contain abundant natural resources, so the Paiute bands farmed and traded to make sure they had all the plants and resources they needed. Divide students into five teams, one for each band of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah. Give each team a "cache of resources," along with the Game Instructions and Rules. Assist the teams as they work through the activity, trading with others to make sure that all their needs are met. When a band believes that they have met their needs, have them fill in the Survival Chart as a team. Once the game has been completed, bring the students back together as a class, and show them the interactive map. The students should be able to identify the resources and band territories on the map using the knowledge from the game to make connections to the new learning.


  • Have students do a research project on local resources in their area. What kinds of foods are grown in their area? What natural resources are harvested near them? Where can they be purchased?
  • Have students research information about one of the specific resources covered in the lesson. For example, where does a pine nut come from and where are they grown? How does one make a basket from willow?

Assessment Plan

  • Group participation
  • Survival chart

End of Unit Assessment


Holt, Ronald. Beneath These Red Cliffs: An Ethnohistory of the Utah Paiutes. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1992.

Tom, Gary, and Ronald Holt. "The Paiute Tribe of Utah." In A History of Utah's American Indians. Ed. Forrest Cuch. Salt Lake City: Utah Division of Indian Affairs and Utah State Division of History, 2000. 123--66.


The University of Utah's American West Center (AWC) produced the curriculum materials in consultation with the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, Utah State Office of Education, KUED 7, and the Goshute, Northwestern Band of the Shoshone, Southern Paiute, and Ute nations.

Created: 01/16/2011
Updated: 02/05/2018