Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Learning the names of Indian Tribes in Arizona

If, like me, you have decided to begin learning the names of the Indian Tribes in Arizona, and have been dismayed by the dizzying amount of them, and how a name that had been used in the past is no longer being used, and has been replaced with a tongue-twister, don't give up. I think that I can help.

Walking up to a person while carrying a clipboard and trying to categorize them as if they were some type of wild bird, is not only insulting, it's foolish. So, if you're doing that to anyone, including me, don't expect a lot of cooperation, or even a straight answer.

But if your research of Indians in Arizona is based on old movies, which were usually filmed in Monument Valley, it's time to start all all over again. And the best place to start in Arizona is right after the Civil War. I strongly recommend the History of Arizona by Thomas Edwin Farish. It was printed in 1918, and if you go to Volume VI, you can get a good look at Arizona, especially around the Salt River Valley, going back to 1867. That's where I'm starting.

The most important thing to learn about any tribe of people, from the Pimas to the Saxons (my tribe, from England) is that their name to themselves was always just “the people”. And the names of the river near them was “the river”, and, you guessed it, the mountains were “the mountains”. Only outsiders give names to these things.

Thank you giving me the chance to hold the Talking Stick. Your turn is next. And if you know what that means, that's a good start, too.

Photo above: 1889 group of Pima (Akimel O'ogham) and Maricopa (Xalychidom Piipaash) Indians in Arizona, and a cowboy.

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