The Washoe Tribe lived on the eastern face of the Sierra Nevada mountains for more than 6,000 years. They didn't actually call themselves the Washoe Tribe, though. They called themselves the Waashiw (Wa-she-shu) tribe, meaning "people from here" in the Washoe language. The Washoe language is unique because it was left virtually untouched due to the isolation of the tribe from other tribes.
The Washoe people were very peaceful and had few enemies. One of their enemies was the Paiute tribe. The Washoe were also very independent, so they formed their own language. One of the main food items of the Washoe Tribe was pine nuts.
A Good Story
The Washoe had many traditions. A well-known tradition was when a young boy killed a deer, he was considered a good hunter and earned respect from the older men. A celebration would then be thrown in honor of the first kill, representing the boy's entry into manhood. Another tradition the Washoe were known for was weaving baskets. A member of the tribe named Datsolalee became famous for her baskets.
Hello — Huna me hesibr
My Name Is — _______ de gum dia le'i
Long Time No See — Ha lina meligi esi
Things to do right here
First, please respect the petroglyphs; do not walk on them.
Walk a little past this sign to the petroglyphs. Walk up to the Rainbow Bridge and admire the view. Hike to the top of Mt. Stephens just north of Rainbow Bridge. Hike up the north side of Old Highway 40 to the catfish ponds. Beyond the catfish ponds are nice lakes: Angela, Flora, and Azalea. Watch the rock climbers on the different rock walls. Trace the Lincoln Highway and walk the route. It is the road cut you see above. Go up through the underpass and then through the train tunnel - the original Tunnel 6 built in 1867 for the transcontinental railroad.
If you are more ambitious, go to the Summit and take the first left after the Sugar Bowl Academy. Go down to the turn and park. To the left is a trailhead for the Pacific Crest. Turnoffs will lead you to the tops of Mts. Donner and Judah for spectacular views. From Donner Peak you can look 1000 feet straight down to Donner Lake.
This sign was produced by the Brisbin Crew of Sierra Expeditionary Learning School in Truckee, a fourth and fifth grade class during the Fall of 2010.