Some Native American Sacketts

Ted Smith #55

Several days ago, I happened upon records for another Sackett family where the father is unknown. This one is rather unique though.

The location is Clark County, Nevada. The mother appears in the annual censuses of Native Americans, usually as Opotune and once as Daisy Opotune. The earliest of the records include her name as part of the names of those in the family group, so Harry Sackett (her son) is listed as Opotune Sackett Harry.

Opotune was born about 1874 based on the census rolls. Harry's birth is listed as 1895 in some records and 1900 in others; Harry died in Reno in 1983. Opotune also had three Sackett daughters, Eliza (c1902-____), Beatrice (c1905-1964), and Daisy (1906-1981).

Tracing the children and their descendants has been somewhat challenging. First, it appears that some of Opotune's grandchildren were born out of wedlock; second, it appears that it was not unusual for marriages to last only a few years. It also is clear that poor diet and health caused the death of several infants until at least the 1930s. Usually the descendants were part of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe or the Moapa River Paiute Tribe, but for a few years, at least three of Opotune's children were living with an uncle in the Colorado River Reservation (which is mostly in Arizona but includes parts of California and Nevada and is home to four other tribes).

So far, from census, death, and a few marriage records plus many obituaries, I have been able to identify 49 Sacketts and descendants in this line. At least one other Sackett (Bessie, b. 1909, wife of James Hovietz) also is a member of the Moapa River Paiute Tribe and probably is related somehow to the family. I also have one census record for John and Susie Sacket and their son James (no ages recorded) in Searchlight, Nevada in 1900; that record says they are full-blood members of the Mojave Tribe (one of the four tribes on the Colorado River Reservation).

Although a few Sacketts made their way west through Nevada to California, sometimes staying in the Reno-Carson City area for a few years, I have been unable to find other Sacketts in southern Nevada from 1890-1910, so I have no idea who Opotune's spouse may have been.

Among the interesting descendants of Opotune is Leroy Spotted Eagle. Born Leroy Anderson, here is his obituary:
Leroy Spotted Eagle, age 61, died Wednesday, August 31, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was born January 30, 1950 in Las Vegas, Nevada to Raymond and Belinda Lopez Anderson. On February 9, 1971 he married Lucy Ibanez in Las Vegas.

Leroy grew up in Las Vegas, graduating from Rancho High School. He served in the US Marine Corps during Vietnam, then moved back to Las Vegas. He raised his family as part of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, with the Moapa Paiute Tribe and later in Snow Mountain in the foothills of Mt. Charleston. He worked for 25 years with the Centel Telephone Company. He later worked as a Federal Police Officer. He enjoyed coaching youth football, and helped to start the Warrior Football Program in the Moapa Valley. He was a respected spiritual leader for the Paiute Nation. He loved going to Pow Wow, the Traditional Indian Dances and old ways.

Survivors include his wife, Lucy of Las Vegas; two sons, Chris of Las Vegas; Lance (Jamie) of Moapa, NV; five grandchildren; two brothers and one sister: LaMar (Claudina) Anderson of Kaibab, AZ; Gregory (Shannon) Anderson of St. George, UT and Linda Linero of Las Vegas, NV.

Visitation will be Saturday, September 3, 2011 from 3 - 5 p.m. at Palm Mortuary, 1325 N. Main St., Las Vegas, NV. Funeral services will be Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. at the Moapa LDS Chapel. A Traditional Indian Sing will follow the funeral services at the Moapa Indian Tribal Building with interment at sunrise in the Moapa Indian Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Moapa Valley Mortuary, 702 398-3600. Friends and family are invited to sign our online guest book at

Leroy's Find A Grave memorial is available at and includes his photo in native garb. There are at least two oral histories for Leroy, one for the Veteran's project covers his time in the Vietnam War, and one for Nye County Oral Histories project covers his early life. One short passage indicates that his family lived in a "little shack" near Pahrump while his father worked on a nearby ranch. That page says, in part, 

LS: You know the ditch line that runs across the road there? Right up at the end of that ditch
line there was a little shack where we used to live.

RM: There were a bunch of other houses.

LS: No, this was the only one there because I remember there was nobody else living over
there. But on the other side over there was an Indian guy, Harry Sackett. He used to live across
there and his boys lived over there. We used to go over there all the time because they were
our relatives.

Today, Chris Spotted Eagle follows in his father's footsteps as spiritual leader of his tribe (see to learn more about Chris and his son).  

Linda Rae Anderson, Leroy's sister, married Dennis Gene Douglas. Dennis's father, Freeland Edward Douglas, was Hodulgee (Wind Clan) from Nuyakv Tribal Town of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, from Oklahoma. His story includes very harsh treatment in Chilocco Indian School and describes how he and others from the school became Code Talkers in North Africa and Italy during World War II. [I was aware of the Navajo Code Talkers, but not aware of Code Talkers from other tribes and native languages.] Freeland Douglas later worked as a cryptographer for the US military during and after the Korean War. Dennis's sister, Suzan, has a Wikipedia page ( ), "served as Congressional liaison for Indian affairs in the President Jimmy Carter administration and later as president of the National Council of American Indians . . . .On November 24, 2014, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor."

Ted Smith #55

I have found out a bit more about the Sackett who married Opotune, the Paiute woman described in my earlier message.

A Las Vegas Paiute genealogical researcher indicates that Opotune is the wife of John Kay Sackett. In some records, he is identified as John Sackett, and in others as John Kay. In any case, according to the researcher he was b c1872, with most records giving Nevada as his birth place.

In the 1900 census, he is identified as John Sacket, a male Indian, living in Lincoln County, Nevada, age not indicated, born in Nevada, with both parents born in Nevada, living with Susie Sacket and son James Sacket.

In the 1910 census, he is in Searchlight Township, Clark County, Nevada, identified as John Kay, age 38, Indian, married 3 years, born in Nevada, father born in Nevada, mother born in Arizona, married to Kate (Hep Toon) Kay, age 30, with daughters Duck (Miapots), age 2, and Kiddie, age 8 months.

The Las Vegas Paiute researcher indicates that John Kay Sacket died in 1915 in American Township, Allen County, Ohio, but when I asked what the source of that information was, he was unable to provide one. This raises the question, though, of why John would be in Ohio. Was he related to someone there, or was he perhaps traveling tor or from somewhere further east?

As one might suspect, records for the Paiute tribal areas are hit and miss. The Paiutes were rather nomadic, especially after Mexican slave traders started making annual forays into the area and Mormon and American immigrants began pushing the Paiutes off their lands and away from water sources. Measles and other diseases of whites also periodically devastated the native population. Nuwuvi: A southern Paiute history (available as a free PDF at ) describes the plight of the Paiute people, noting that they used to farm and camp in the Las Vegas area but had no land there after the whites took the area over. In 1911, a white woman, Helen J. Stewart, sold 10 acres of land on the northern edge of Las Vegas  to the US government stipulating that it be used "for all Indians in Southern Nevada."  A day school was built, and some Indians started living on the land. However, it had no water, no sanitation, no roads, and no street access. Most of the homes tended to be tents and brush shelters. A well was drilled sometime in the 1930s and the natives began growing some crops, but the well dried up in 1945.

Although the Indians did not want to move, the Bureau of Indian Affairs began discussing selling the 10 acres. By 1961, the Las Vegas Paiute property still had no water, no electricity, and no sanitation. Conditions began to improve by 1965 when telephones reached the property and 1970 when the Las Vegas band organized a government.

Today the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe has a website ( ), and the image there shows the 10 acre parcel surrounded by urbanization. If one zooms in on that map, one will find Sackett Street, a spur off the main streets (Paiute Dr and Paiute Circle), leading to the Paiute cemetery in the northwestern corner of the property, where several Sacketts and descendants are buried.


John Kay Sackett  is referred to as

1) Sackett - (The Book: Isable T. Kelly Southern Paiute Ethnographic Field Notes, 1932-1934 Las Vegas) 
2) John Kay  on

John Kay married to Kate "Hop toon". She is referred to as Kate Uptune on on the death certificate listed in (Nevada Death Certificates, 1911-1965) of her daughter Beatrice Domingo her maiden name is Beatrice Sackett. (Error: Kenneth is listed as Beatrices father. Kenneth is Beatrice son and was born about 1925)

Kate is also referred to as

1) Opportune Kay on her death certificate  listed in (Nevada Death Certificates, 1911-1965)
2) Opertune on the 1930 US Federal Census Roll (Nevada, Nye, Tonopah, District 0020)
3) Kate Uptune on the death certificate (Nevada Death Certificates, 1911-1965) of her daughter Beatrice Domingo (Maiden Name: Beatrice Sackett)
4) Opotune (Las Vegas Moapa ) US Indian Census Rolls 1885-1940
5) Kate Padridge* on
6) Opputune Kay (Head Stone)

The 1910 US Census states that Opotune had 6 children by 1910 only 3 are living. I can only speculate some of the children were unaccounted.   


1) Thomas m. Lucy no known children (Not sure if Brother or Half Brother)
2) Mary m. John Gracy have children  (Half Sister)


1) Eliza (Duck-mia-pots) Sackett
2) Harry James Sackett 
3) Beatrice Sackett  
4) Daisy Sackett m. Manuel Lopez (A article can be found in the Historical News Paper Collection (Tonopah, Nevada) the article is dated April 27, 1930 about Manuels death.)
5) Hazel Kay
6) Bessie Sackett

All six children had children of their own. Today their Grand Children to their 3rd great grandchildren live in various states through out the south west