Paiute refers to three closely related groups of Native Americans — the Northern Paiute of California, Idaho, Nevada and Oregon; the Owens Valley Paiute of California and Nevada; and the Southern Paiute of Arizona, southeastern California and Nevada, and Utah.
The Northern and Southern Paiute both speak languages belonging to the Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan family of Native American languages. Usage of the terms Paiute, Northern Paiute and Southern Paiute is most correct when referring to groups of people with similar language and culture. It does not imply a political connection or even an especially close genetic relationship. The Northern Paiute speak the Northern Paiute language, while the Southern Paiute speak the Ute-Southern Paiute language. These languages are not as closely related to each other as they are to other Numic languages.
The Bannock, Mono tribe, and Coso People, Timbisha and Kawaiisu peoples, who also speak Numic languages and live in adjacent areas, are sometimes referred to as Paiute. The Bannock speak a dialect of Northern Paiute, while the Mono Tribe and other three peoples speak separate Numic languages: Mono language is more closely related to Northern Paiute, as is Coso; Timbisha language is more closely related to Shoshoni, and Kawaiisu language is more closely related to Ute-Southern Paiute.
Text adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Paiute people/a>