Yuma Tribe

Last Updated on September 13, 2011 by

Yuma Indians (Yahnuiyo, ‘son of the captain,’ seemingly the title of the son of the hereditary chief, contracted and applied to the tribe through misunderstanding by the early Spanish missionaries.) They call themselves K-wichhna. One of the chief divisions, or tribes, of the Yuman family (q. v.), formerly residing on both sides of the Rio Colorado next above the Cocopa, or about 50 or 60 miles from the mouth of the river, and below the junction of the Gila. Ft Yuma is situated about the center of the territory formerly occupied by them. When Oñate visited the locality in 1604-05, he found the ‘Coahuanas’ (Cuchan) in 9 rancherias on the Colorado, entirely below the mouth of the Gila. Physically the Yuma were a fine people, superior in this respect to most of their congeners. Though brave and not unwarlike they were in no sense nomadic, seldom leaving their own villages where, like the Mohave, they practiced a rude agriculture, raising corn, beans, pumpkins, and melons. The Catholic fathers of the 18th century erroneously considered Yuma and Cuchan as separate and distinct groups, the former residing east of the lower Colorado, and the latter west of it. They divided the Yuma into several tribes: Alchedomas, Hudcodoadans, etc. Leroux, about 1853, estimated their number at 3,000. In 1910 there were 655 under the Ft Yuma school superintendent, Cal. For the so called Apache Yuma, see Tulkepaia.

The following have been mentioned as Yuma tribes or bands and rancherias: Cerritos, Concepción, Gimiels, Pescadero, Posos, San Dionysio. San Pablo, San Pascual, San Pedro, Santa Isabel, Tinajas, Tutum.


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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