Native American Heritage Month Spotlight Jack Panance

This month, in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we will be highlighting some of the many remarkable contributors to Indian country. In no way is this list comprehensive or extensive. For the next few weeks we will present a brief biography a day.

The Southern Paiute people still chose leaders and speakers up until the early 1900’s. These leaders were known as chief amongst their people. By 1908, Jack Panance, “the Chief,” became an important leader.

Jack worked on the Helen Stewart family ranch. There had always been a place for native people on the Stewart Ranch while Helen Stewart ran it. In 1911, the federal government decided to establish an Indian reservation in or around Las Vegas, and asked for bids for the land. Whether she donated the land, or was paid for it, is unclear. But it was she who provided the site for today’s Las Vegas Paiute Indian Colony on North Main Street. Working for the Stewart Ranch and his close association with Helen Stewart, added to his influence as a spokesman. He spoke for the ranchers when they needed to speak to the Paiutes. He spoke for his people when they needed to relay important information to the non-Native people. His service extended into the Paiute communities throughout Southern Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. He was a great leader for his people.

Quoted in part from Alley, J. (1997)  The Las Vegas Paiutes: A Short History.

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