Arizona – Hualapai and Yavapai Indians

Native American ǀ American Indian

Yavapai men Pakota and his nephew Takodawa were chosen to attend a peace conference in Washington, DC with President Ulysses Grant. Photo taken by E.A. Butine 1889.

The Yavapai are a Native American tribe in Arizona. Historically, the Yavapai – literally “people of the sun” (from Enyaava “sun” + Paay “people”) – were divided into four geographical bands who identified as separate, independent peoples: the Ɖulv G’paaya, or Western Yavapai; the Yaavpe’, or Northwestern Yavapai; the Gwev G’paaya, or Southeastern Yavapai; and the Wiipukpaa, or Northeastern Yavapai – Verde Valley Yavapai.

The Yavapai have much in common with their linguistic relatives to the north, the Havasupai and the Hualapai. Often the Yavapai were mistaken as Apache by American settlers, who referred to them as “Mohave-Apache,” “Yuma-Apache,” or “Tonto-Apache”. The Tonto Apache lived usually east of the Verde River and most of the Yavapai bands lived west of it. However, the Yavapai–Apache Nation is a federally recognized tribe. Tribal members share two culturally distinct backgrounds and speak two indigenous languages, the Yavapai language and the Western Apache language.

According to their creation story, the Yavapai believe that their people originated “in the beginning,” or “many years ago,” when either a tree, or a maize plant sprouted from the ground in what is now Montezuma Well, bringing the Yavapai into the world. Most archeologists agree that the Yavapai originated from Patayan groups who migrated east from the Colorado River region to become Upland Yumans. Archeological and linguistic evidence suggests that they split off to develop as the Yavapai somewhere around 1300.

Arizona- Hualapai and Yavapai Indians population data are based on blood samples obtained from 168 unrelated individuals living in the Southwestern United States in 2016.

Source publication: Native American Population Data based on the Globalfiler autosomal STR PCR Amplification Kit, Forensic Science International, 2016, 12-13.  

 [Population 485]