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


Native American Desert Peoples Index
Prehistoric Desert Peoples Index





Share this page on Facebook:

DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)

The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms



Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
The movie Stagecoach, in 1939 introduced two stars to the American public, John Wayne, and Monument Valley. Visiting Monument Valley gives you a spiritual and uplifting experience that few places on earth can duplicate. Take a look at this spectacular scenery in this DesertUSA video.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly NM offers the opportunity to learn about Southwestern Indian history from the earliest Anasazi to the Navajo Indians who live and farm here today. Its primary attractions are ruins of Indian villages built between 350 and 1300 AD at the base of sheer red cliffs and in canyon wall caves.


Take a look at our Animals index page to find information about all kinds of birds, snakes, mammals, spiders and more!


Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!

Copyright © 1996- and Digital West Media, Inc. - -