chapter  4
26 Pages

The Southwest's Other Peoples: The Athapaskans, Yumans, and Southern Uto-Aztecans

ByZdenek Salzmann, Joy M. Salzmann

According to anthropologists, the ancestors of today's Navajos and the closely related Apaches came to the Southwest from western Canada, where other Athapaskan tribes, from whom the Navajo separated about a thousand years ago, still live. Visitors to the Southwest who are interested in the relations among the various Native American peoples of the region are likely to hear mention of the land dispute between the Navajo and the Hopi. Yuman-speaking peoples are made up of Upland Yumans in northwest and north-central Arizona. In prehistoric times a small population of some 600 or 700 Native Americans lived a nomadic life in the eastern half of the Mohave Desert. Since they spoke a dialect of a Uto-Aztecan language, they were not related to the River Yumans, but eventually they came to be known by their Yuman name, Chemehuevi. During the early 1800s the Mohave allowed these people to farm along the Colorado River.