Pai Yuman

Native Americans of the Deserts

Some Yuman groups expanded into the upland regions of the Great Basin Desert that are part of the Colorado Plateau and include the Yavapai, Hualapai and Havasupai. Originally, these people hunted and gathered the basin environs for seeds, roots and berries while they cultivated small CBS (corn, beans and squash) gardens at lower elevation water sources.

They also maintained extensive trade between the Pueblos to the east and other cultures as far as the Pacific Coast in the west. The Haulapai (Walapai) live on a reservation in northwest Arizona. The Yavapai live near the former Ft. Whipple and present Prescott, Arizona. The Havasupai live on a small, but beautiful reservation, in Havasu Canyon near the Grand Canyon. Recently, some of their original land on the plateau has been returned.

To the west of the Colorado River in California's Sonoran Desert and Pacific Coast regions, lived other Yuman people referred to as Kumeyaay (Diegueno, Kamia). These people hunted and gathered various resources including acorns, shellfish, sea mammals and a great variety of seeds. Today, some Kumeyaay live on 12 small reservations in Southern California and 5 reservations (Ejidos) in Baja California, Mexico.

-- Steve Crouthamel

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Native American Desert Peoples Index
Prehistoric Desert Peoples Index

 

 

 


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