Washoe Hot Springs
In 2001, Barbara Snyder, a Washoe/Paiute living in New York City, had a vision that the hot springs on Washoe Tribal land in Nevada could be restored

About the Project

Washoe Hot SpringsHistorically the members of the Washoe Tribe would camp, swim and practice housekeeping chores on the edges of the Washoe Hot Springs, now known as Hobo Hot Springs. As recently as the sixties, the Washoe used the springs to enjoy family life through use of the waters at the springs.

Over the past 30 years, attempts by the Washoe Tribal Council of California and Nevada to develop the hot springs into a viable enterprise caused a disruption in the field which contained the hot pools. The hot pools hosted a shrimp farm and a tropical fish hatchery. A metal building, troughs, pipes and valves for water diversion are reminders of past attempts at development. During this period the pools were filled and covered over.

In 2001, Barbara Snyder, a Washoe/Paiute living in New York City, had a vision that the hot springs on Washoe Tribal land in Nevada could be restored. She worked with the Washoe Tribal Council, and funding was obtained for the restoration of the springs. In 2002 the hot springs were reopened with songs, prayers, offerings, healings and feasting. Today they are actively used and appreciated by the Washoe people, especially the Seniors.

NCPC is proud to have been an early sustaining contributor to the Washoe Hot Springs restoration project. We continue to support the ceremonies that are held at the Hot Springs.

The Story of Lo'om

In the long ago time, the Washoe shamans and medicine men went to Cave Rock to pray with Great Spirit and to do their work for the people. The guides who had accompanied the medicine men were surprised and shocked to return to Lo'om (the Washoe Hot Springs)— a 30-mile trip over the mountains— only to find the medicine men had already returned before them! The medicine men could not say how they had gotten back, only that the water spirits had guided them through underground tunnels back to Hot Springs.

Barb SnyderBack then the Washoe went to their Hot Springs which had a smaller mineral bath where the elders would use the mineral mud over their bodies. "Yes, as far back as I can remember people went over there to bathe and people that had ... rheumatism they called it in those days, it'd be arthritis... bathe at the springs, it’s helpful for the soreness of their body. It is like a renewal. They would go there, like a spiritual area."

Says Barbara Snyder: "For thousand of years the Lo'om was an integral part of Washoe culture, considered a traditional place and used by elders and children alike for both wellness and recreation. It was bulldozed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the early 1970's in an act of misguided paternalism. The Washoe people were left with nothing."

Barbara has had many visions at the behest of her spirit guide: "I am sitting on the Earth on the South side of the Hot Springs, my spirit guide is standing to my left. We are facing North. I am pleased to see our Hot Springs restored. I am in thought. My spirit guide reprimands me and I am told to have much love, understanding and lots of patience. For my people are a strong People and are still here. If they had not been strong I would not be working to restore the Hot Springs. I do not know the totality of prejudice, dehumanization, forceful removal from their heartland and boarding school experience, and hurt they carry. Much work to do. I go back in peace." Barbara realizes that "the people must come sing, dance and pray all of the time, so that the Earth Mother can be healed of the desecration that has been done there."