Red Rock Canyon A to Z

N: Native American History

In the Mojave Desert, the key to survival is usable water. The springs and many natural catch basins at Red Rock Canyon sustain an abundances of plants and animals, which attracted Southern Paiute Indians, Virgin Anasazi Indians, Desert Archaic peoples, and Paleoarchaic peoples. Animals hunted and harvested included desert tortoise, rabbits, big horn sheep, mule deer, quail, and more. Pinyon pine nuts, manzanita fruits, prickly pear cactus fruits, agave hearts, yucca fruits, and many other plants were used as food or medicine sources.

Native people used this area for thousands of years, living in the desert valley during the fall and winter and migrating to the hills and mountains during spring and summer. Some cultures used rock shelters and others built structures. Evidence of their existence includes agave roasting pits (ancient kitchens), petroglyphs (art sketched into the rock), and pictographs (art painted onto the rock). These cultural resources are considered precious artifacts to respect and protect. The Willow Springs Picnic Area and the Red Spring Picnic Area are two easily accessible spots to see these archaeological sites.

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