Arizona Indian Tribes

Apache Indians. Bands of Apache occupied the Gila River region in Arizona within historic times and periodically overran much of the territory of the State.

Cocopa Indians. Significance of name unknown.

Connections. The Cocopa belong to the Yuman linguistic family, a branch of the Hokan stock.

Location. About the mouth of Colorado River. (See also Mexico.)

Subdivisions. River Cocopa and Mountain Cocopa. Cuculato and Llagas are also mentioned, the latter a name applied by the Spaniards to a group of villages.

Cocopa Villages

Gifford (1923) reports as follows: “Settlement sites on West bank of Colorado from Hardy confluence North (when river flowed near Colonia Lerdo):
1, A’u’ewawa;
2, Kwinyakwa’a;
3, Yishiyul, settlement of Halyikwamai in 1848;
4, Heyauwah, 5 miles N. of Yishiyul and opposite Colonia Lerdo (8 hours’ slow walk from Colorado-Hardy confluence);
5, Amanyochilibuh;
6, Esinyamapawhai (Noche Buena of the Mexicans).” There was also a town called Hauwala below or above No. 5.

“Settlement sites on West bank of Hardy from confluence North:
1, Karukhap;
2, Awiahamoka;
3, Nümischapsakal;
4, EweshespiL;
5, Tamanikwawa, (meaning `mullet (tamanik) place’) on lagoon 4 or 5 miles SE of Cocopah mts;
6, awikukapa (Cocopa mt.);
10, WeLsuL;
11, Awisinyai, northernmost Cocopa village, about 5 miles S. of Mexicali.

“Lumholtz (p. 251) lists following Cocopa settlements in the first decade of 20th century; Noche Buena (20 families), Mexical (40–50 families), Pescador (15 families), Pozo Vicente (more than 100 families).”

History. Without question this tribe was first met by Hernando de Alarcón in 1540. They are mentioned by ‘Dilate in 1604-5, by Kino in 1701—2 under the name “Hogiopas,” and by Francisco Games in 1776. Most of their territory was outside of the limits of the United States, but a small part of it passed under United States Government control with the Gadsden Purchase. Those Cocopa who remained on the northern side of the International Boundary were placed on the Colorado River Reservation.

Population. Garcés estimated 3,000 in 1776. In 1857 Heintzelman placed the former strength of the tribe at about 300 warriors. There are now said to be 800 in northern Baja California. There were 99 in the United States in 1930, and 41 in 1937.

Halchidhoma Indians. Significance unknown.

Connections. The Halchidhoma belonged to the Yuman branch of the Hokan linguistic stock and are said to have spoken the same language as the Yuma tribe and to have been closely connected also with the Maricopa.

Location. At various points on the Colorado River near the mouth of the Gila. (See also California.)


Asumpción, a group of villages on or near the Colorado River, in California,
more than 50 miles below the mouth of Bill Williams Fork.
Lagrimas de San Pedro, a group of villages in the neighborhood of Asumpción.
San Antonio, in the same general location as Lagrimas but only 35 or 40 miles
below the mouth of Bill Williams Fork.
Santa Coleta, a group of villages in the same region as Asumpci6n and Lagrimas
de San Pedro.

History. The Halchidhoma were probably encountered by Alarcon in 1540, though he does not mention them. In 1604—5 Orate found them occupying eight villages on the Colorado below the mouth of the Gila; Father Eusebio Kino in 1701—2 came upon them above the Gila, and by Garces’ time (1776) their villages were scattered on both sides of the Colorado, beginning about 38 miles below Bill Williams’ Fork and extending the same distance downstream. Later they moved farther north, along with the Kohuana, but were soon forced downstream again by the Mohave and ultimately took refuge with the Maricopa on Gila River, by whom they were ultimately absorbed.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates 3,000 in 1680, but this is evidently based on Garces’ figure of 2,500 in 1776, which Kroeber (1920) believes much too high. Kroeber suggests about 1,000 as of the year 1770.

Halyikwamai Indians. Significance unknown. Also spelled Jallicumay, Quigyuma, Tlalliguamayas, Kikima(by Mason, 1940), and in various other ways.

Connections. The Halyikwamai belonged to the Yuman linguistic stock, their dialect being reported as close to Cocopa and Kohuana.

Location. (See History.)


Presentation, probably Quigyuma, on the west side of the Colorado River, in
Baja California.
San Casimiro, probably on the east bank of the Colorado River, above
tidewater, in northwest Sonora, Mexico.
San Felix de Valois, apparently on the east bank of the Rio Colorado, between
its mouth and the junction of the Gila, probably about the present Arizona-Sonora boundary line.
San Rudesindo, probably on the east bank of the Colorado River, just above its
mouth, in northwestern Sonora, Mexico.
Santa Rosa, a group of villages on the eastern side of the lower Rio Colorado,
about latitude 32°18′ N., in northwestern Sonora, Mexico.

History. The Halyikwamai were discovered in 1540 by Alarcon, who calls them Quicama. In 1604—5 Orate found them in villages on the Colorado River below the mouth of the Gila River and above the Cocopa Indians. In 1762 they dwelt in a fertile plain, 10 or 12 leagues in length, on the eastern bank of the Colorado, and here they were found by Father Garcés in 1771 in a group of villages which he named Santa Rosa. By 1775, when he revisited the tribe, they had moved to the west side of the river, their first villages on the north being in the vicinity of Ogden’s Landing, about latitude 32°18′ N., adjacent to the Kohuana. It is probable that they were finally absorbed by the Cocopa or some other Yuman people.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates a population for the Halyikwamai in 1680 of 2,000, which is Garces’ estimate in 1775. Orate estimated 4,000—5,000 in 1605, but all of these figures are probably much too high.

Havasupai Indians. Signifying “blue (or green) water people,” abbreviated into Supai. Also called:

Ăk’-ba-sū0pai, Walapai form of name.
Ka’nfna, Coconino, Cosnino, Kokonino, Zuni name said to have been
borrowed from the Hopi and to signify “pinon nut people.”
Nation of the Willows, so called by Cushing.
Yabipai Jabesua, so called by Garces in 1776.

Connections. The Havasupai belong to the Yuman branch of the Hokan linguistic stock, being most closely connected with the Walapai, and next with the Yavapai.

Location. They occupy Cataract Canyon of the Colorado River, northwestern Arizona.

History. The nucleus of the Havasupai Tribe is believed to have come from the Walapai. The Cosnino caves on the upper Rio Verde, near the northern edge of Tonto Basin, central Arizona, were named for them, from a traditional former occupancy. Garces may have met some of these Indians in 1776, but definite notices of them seem to be lacking until about the middle of the last century. Leroux (1888) appears to have met one of this tribe in 1851, and since then they have come increasingly to the knowledge of the Whites.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates about 300 Havasupai in 1680, but Spier (1928) believes this figure somewhat too high. In 1869, 300 were reported; in 1902, 233; in 1905, 174; in 1910, 174; and in 1923, 184. In 1930, with the Walapai and Yavapai, they numbered 646. In 1937 the number estimated was 208.

Hopi Indians. Contracted from their own name Hópitu, “peaceful ones,” or Hópitu-shinumu, “peaceful all people.”

Kohuana Indians. Significance unknown. Also given as Cajuenche, Cawina, and Quokim.

Connections. The Kohuana belonged to the Yuman branch of the Hokan linguistic stock, spoke the Cocopa dialect, and were also closely connected with the Halyikwamai.

Location. In 1775–76 the Kohuana lived on the east bank of the Colorado River below the mouth of the Gila, next to the Ilalyikwamai, their villages extending south to about latitude 32°33′ N., and into southern California, at about latitude 33°08′ N., next to the eastern Diegueno. (See also Mexico.)


Merced, a group of rancherias in northeastern Baja California, west of the
Colorado and 4 leagues southwest of Santa Olalla, a Yuma village.
San Jacome, probably Cajuenche, near the mountains, about latitude 33°8′ N.,
in southern California.
San Sebastian, Cajuenche or Dieguefio, in southern California, latitude 33°8′
N., evidently at Salton Lake.

History. The Kohuana are the Coana mentioned by Hernando de Alarc6n, who ascended the Colorado River in 1540. Juan de Onate visited them in 1604-5, and they are probably the Cutganas of Kino (1701-2), while Francisco Games in 1776 reported that they were numerous and at enmity with the Cocopa. From Mohave tradition, it appears that at a somewhat later period they lived along the river near Parker together with the Halchidhoma, whom they followed to the fertile bottom lands higher up. Later the Mohave crowded them southward but still later compelled them to return to the ?Mohave country where they remained for 5 years. At the end of that period they determined to go downstream again to live with the Yuma; but, one of their number having been killed by the Yuma, they joined the Maricopa, with whom they ultimately became merged.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 3,000 Kohuana in 1680, the figure given by Games in 1775-76. Kroeber (1920) believes these estimates are too high. In 1851 Bartlett re-ported 10 of this tribe living with the Maricopa, and, according to a Mohave informant of Kroeber’s, there were 36 about 1883.

Maricopa Indians. Significance of the name unknown. Also called:

Atchihwa’, Yavapai name (Gatschet 1877-92).
Cocomaricopa, an old form.
Cohpap, or Awo-pa-pa, Pima name.
Pipatsje, own name, signifying “people.”
Si-ke-na, Apache name for Pima, Papago, and Maricopa, signifying “living in
sand houses.”
Tt’hba, Yavapai name (Gatschet, 1877-92).
Tchihogasat, Havasupai name.
Widshi itikapa, Tonto name, also applied to Pima and Papago.

Connections. The Maricopa belong to the Yuman linguistic stock, a part of the Hokan family, and are said to be related most closely to the Yuma tribe proper and the Halchidhoma.

Location. On Gila River, with and below the Pima, to the mouth of the river. Anciently they are said to have had some rancherias in a valley west of the Colorado.


The following villages were all on the Gila River unless otherwise specified:

  • Aicatum.
  • Amoque.
  • Aopomue.
  • Aqui.
  • Aquimundurech. Aritutoc, on the north
  • the present Oatman flat and the
  • Great Bend of the river.
  • Atiahigui.
  • Aycate.
  • Baguiburisac, probably Maricopa, near the Gila River.
  • Caborh.
  • Caborica.
  • Cant, probably Maricopa, not far below the mouth of Salt River. Choutikwuchik.
  • Coat, probably Maricopa, location uncertain.
  • Cocoigui.
  • Cohate.
  • Comarchdut.
  • Cuaburidurch.
  • Cudurimuitac.
  • Dueztumac, about 120 miles above the mouth of the Gila.
  • Gohate.
  • Guias.
  • Hinama, its people now on the south bank of Salt River east of the Mormon settlement of Lehi, Maricopa County.
  • Hiyayulge.
  • Hueso Parado, with Pima, on the Pima and Maricopa Reservation. Khauweshetawes.
  • Kwatchampedau.
  • Norchean.
  • Noscario.
  • Oitac.
  • Ojiataibues.
  • Pipiaca.
  • Pitaya.
  • Sacaton, mainly Pima, on the Gila River about 22 miles east of Maricopa Station.
  • San Bernadino, at Agua Caliente, near the Gila River; another place on the river was called by the same name.
  • San Geronimo, 20 leagues from Merced
  • and 27 leagues from the Gila River.
  • side at or near San Martin, on the Gila River west of
  • the Great Bend.
  • San Rafael, probably Maricopa, in southern Arizona.
  • Sasabac.
  • Shobotarcham.
  • Sibagoida, probably Maricopa, location uncertain.
  • Sibrepue.
  • Sicoroidag, on the Gila River below Tucsani.
  • Soenadut.
  • Stucabitic.
  • Sudac.
  • Sudacsasaba.
  • Tadeovaqui.
  • Tahapit.
  • Toil.
  • Toaedut.
  • Tota, probably Maricopa.
  • Tuburch.
  • Tuburh, location uncertain.
  • Tubutavia.
  • Tucavi, perhaps identical with Tucsani. Tucsani.
  • Tucsasic.
  • Tuesapit.
  • Tumac, said to have been the western-most Maricopa village on the Gila River.
  • Tuquisan.
  • Tutomagoidag.
  • Uitorrum, a group of rancherias on the south bank of the Gila River not far west of the Great Bend.
  • Uparch.
  • Upasoitac, near the Great Bend of the Gila River.
  • Urchaortac.
  • Yayahaye.

History. The Maricopa are thought to have separated from the Yuma and to have moved slowly up the Colorado River to the lower Gila River; or, as later history would indicate, they may have been forced into this region by hostile tribes. They were encountered by Juan de Oñate in 1604–5, and by Kino in 1701–2. From 1775 until recent times they were at war with the Yuma, and in 1857, in alliance with the Pima, they inflicted a severe defeat upon the Yuma near Maricopa Wells. A reservation was set apart for the Maricopa and Pima by Act of Congress February 28, 1859; it was enlarged by Executive order of August 31, 1876, but was revoked and other lands were set apart by Executive order of June 14, 1879. This was again enlarged by Executive orders May 5, 1882, and November 15, 1883. No treaty was ever made with them.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 2,000 Maricopa in 1680. Venegas (1758) says that in 1742 there were about 6,000 Pima and “Cocomaricopa” on Gila River, and in 1775 Garcés estimates a population of 3,000 Maricopa. In 1905 there were 350 under the Pima School Superintendent. The census of 1910 gives 386, and the Report of the United States Indian Office for 1923, 394. The census of 1930 returned 310, and the Report of the United States
Indian Office of 1937, 339.

Connection in which they have become noted. The name of the
Maricopa is preserved in that of Maricopa County, Ariz., and in the name of a post village in Pinal County and another in Kern County, Calif.

Mohave Indians. From a native word “hamakhava,” referring to the Needles and signifying “three mountains.” Also given as Amojave, Jamajabs. Synonyms are:

Năks’-ăt, Pima and Papago name.
Soyopas, given by Font (1775).
Tzi-na-ma-a, given as their own name “before they came to the Colorado
Wamakava, Havasupai name.
Will idahapá, Tulkepaya name.

Connections. The Mohave belonged to the Yuman linguistic family.

Location. On both sides of the Colorado River—though chiefly on the east side—between the Needles and the entrance to Black Canyon.


Pasion, a group of rancherias on the east bank of the Colorado, below the present Ft. Mahave.
San Pedro, on or near the west bank of the Colorado, about 8 miles northwest of Needles, Calif.
Santa Isabel, a group of rancherias situated at or in the vicinity of the present Needles.

History. Possibly Alarc6n may have reached the Mohave territory in 1540. At any rate, Oñate met them in 1604, and in 1775–76 Games found them in the above-named villages. No treaty was made with them by the United States Government, but by Act of March 3, 1865, supplemented by Executive orders in 1873, 1874, and 1876, the Colorado River Reservation was established and it was occupied by the Mohave, Chemehuevi, and Kawia.

Population. Mooney (1928) gives 3,000 Mohave in 1680, and Kroeber (1925) the same as of 1770, the estimate made by Gamés in 1775–76. About 1834 Leroux estimated 4,000. In 1905 their number was officially given as 1,589, of whom 508 were under the Colorado River School Superintendent, 856 under the Fort Mohave School Superintendent, 50 under the San Carlos Agency, and about 175 at Camp McDowell, on the Verde River. The Indians at Fort Mohave and Camp McDowell, however, were apparently Yavapai, commonly known as Apache Mohave. The census of 1910 gives 1,058 true Mohave. The United States Indian Office Report for 1923 seems to give 1,840, including Mohave, Mohave Apache, and Chemehuevi. The census of 1930 returned 854, and the Report of the United States Office of Indian Affairs for 1937, 856.

Connection in which they have become noted. The name Mohave has been preserved in the designation of the Mohave Desert and Mohave River in California, and Mohave County, Ariz., and also in the name of a post-village in Arizona. There is also a post village named Mojave in Kern County, Calif.

Navaho Indians. The Navaho occupied part of the northeastern section of Arizona.

Paiute Indians. The southern or true Paiute occupied or hunted over some of the northernmost sections of Arizona.

Papago Indians.

Pima Indians.

Quahatika Indians. Significance unknown. Also spelled Kohatk.

Connections. The Quahatika belonged to the Piman division of the Uto-Aztecan stock, and were most closely related to the Pima, of which tribe they are said to have been a branch.

Location. In the desert of southern Arizona, 50 miles south of the Gila River.

Villages. The chief Quahatika settlement is Quijotoa, in the western part of Pima County, southern Arizona. Early in the eighteenth century they are said to have shared the village of Aquitun with the Pima. (See Pima.)

History. The history of the Quahatika has, in.the main, been parallel with that of the Pima and Papago (q. v.). They are said to have left Aquitun about 1800, and to have introduced cattle among the Pima from the Mexicans about 1820.

Population. The Quahatika seem to have been enumerated with the Pima.

Sobaipuri Indians. Significance unknown. Also called: Rsársavinâ, Pima name, signifying “spotted.”

Tonto Indians. This name has been applied to a number of distinct groups of Apache and Yuman peoples. It is said to have been given to a mixture of Yavapai, Yuma, and Maricopa, with some Pinaleno Apache, placed on the Verde River Reservation, Ariz., in 1873, and transferred to the San Carlos Reservation in 1875; also to a body of Indians, descended mostly from Yavapai men and Pinaleno women. (See New Mexico.)

Walapai Indians. From the native word Xawálapáiy’, “pine-tree folk”

Yavapai Indians. According to the Handbook of American Indians (Hodge, 1907, 1910), from enyaéva, “sun,” and pai, “people,” and thus signifying “people of the sun,” but the southeastern Yavapai interpreted it to mean “crooked-mouth people,” that is, a “sulky” people who do not agree with other peoples (fide Gifford, 1936). Also called:

Yuma Indians. Said to be an old Pima and Papago term for this tribe and in some cases the Kamia and Maricopa also (Forde, 1931). Also called:

Cetguanes, by Venegas (1759).
Chirumas, an alternative name given by Orozco y Berra (1864).
Club Indians, by Emory (1848).
Cuchan, or, strictly, Kwitcyána, own name.
Dil-zhay’s, Apache name for this tribe and the Tonto and Mohave, signifying “red soil with red ants” (White, MS.).
Garroteros, by Emory (1848).
Guichyana, Chemehuevi name.
Hatilshe’, same as Dil-zhay’s.
Húkwats, Paiute name, signifying “weavers.”
Kún, said to be Apache name for this tribe and the Tulkepaia.
Wamâkava, applied by Havasupai to Mohave and perhaps to this tribe also.

Connections. The Yuma were one of the chief tribes of the old Yuman linguistic stock, to which they have given their name, but their closest immediate relatives were the Maricopa and Halchidhoma. The Yuman stock is now considered a part of the larger Hokan family.

Location. On both sides of the Colorado River next above the Cocopa, or about 50 or 60 miles from the mouth of the river, at and below the junction of the Gila River, Fort Yuma being in about the center of their territory. (See also California.)


Forde (1931) gives the following:

Ahakwedehor (axakweởexor), about 2 miles northeast of Fort Yuma.
Avikwotapai, some distance south of Parker on the California side of the Colorado. Huksil (xuksī’l), along the Colorado River near Pilot Knob, a few miles south of
Algodones and across the International Boundary.
Kwerav (ava’io), about 2 miles south of the present Laguna Dam and on the California side of the Colorado.
Unnamed town, a little east of the present site of Picacho, at the foot of the Chocolate Mountains.

History. Neither Alarcon, who ascended the Colorado River in 1540, nor Ofiate, who visited it in 1604, mentions the Yuma, but in the case of Oñate this may be accounted for by the fact that these Indians were then living exclusively on the west side of the river, which he did not reach. The first explorer to mention them by name seems to have been Father Kino, 1701–2; and Garcés, 1771, and Anza, 1774 and 1775, have a great deal to say about them. Garcés and Eixarch remained among them in 1775. (See Kino (1726), and Games (1900).) Most of their territory passed under the control of the United States by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and the remainder in consequence of the Gadsden Purchase of 1853. After the founding of Fort Yuma, contacts between the Whites and this tribe became intimate. Most of them were ultimately concentrated on the Colorado River and Yuma Reservations.

Population. Garcés (1776) estimated that there were 3,000 Yuma, but Anza (see Cones, 1900) raises this to 3,500. An estimate attributed to M. Leroux dating from “early in the 19th century,” again gives 3,000. According to the Report of the United States Indian Office for 1910, there were then 655 individuals belonging to the tribe, but the census of that year gives 834. The Indian Office figure for 1923 is 826 and that for 1929, 826, but the United States Census for 1920 increases it very materially, to 2,306. However, the Report of the Indian Office for 1937 gives only 848.

Connections in which they have become noted. Besides giving its name to the Yuman stock, the name Yuma is preserved by counties in Arizona and Colorado; localities in Yuma County, Ariz.; Yuma County, Colo.; Cloud County, Kans.; Taylor County, Ky.; Wexford County, Mich.; and Carroll County, Tenn.

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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