PYRAMID LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION – Located in Nevada, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, a member of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, is home to a new cultural heritage tourism effort to bring in travelers from around the globe. The reservation is home to the oldest recorded petroglyphs in North America, dating back at least 14,800 years.
“Pyramid Lake has been home to our ancestors for thousands of years and this development has great significance,” said Sherry L. Rupert, AIANTA Vice President, State of Nevada Indian Commission Executive Director and American Indian of Paiute and Washoe heritage.
“The exposure that these petroglyphs have received recently reinforces our early presence. It also provides a potential opportunity to share the Tribe's cultural heritage through tourism.”
Radiocarbon testing dated the carbonate layer underlying the petroglyphs to roughly 14,800 years ago. Geochemical data and sediment and rock samples from adjacent Pyramid Lake show they were exposed to air from 13,200 to 14,800 years ago, and again from 10,500 to 11,300 years ago, according to a recent Associated Press article.
“American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians are not simply relics; we are present and still very much full of cultural relevancy today. Indian country is an asset to tourism, history and economic development in the United States,” Rupert added.
The tribal reservation is located 35 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada in a remote desert area located in the counties of Washoe, Lyon, and Storey. Out of the Tribe's 475,000 acres, approximately 112,000 acres cover the surface of a terminal desert lake, Pyramid Lake. Pyramid Lake is one of the most valuable assets of the Tribe and is entirely enclosed within the boundaries of the Reservation. Pyramid Lake is approximately 15 miles long and 11 miles wide, measuring 350 feet at its deepest point.