US Tribes H to J

Click on a letter of the alphabet to go to US Tribes starting with that letter. Where known, the official name is used. 

Click on a letter of the alphabet to go to US Tribes starting with that letter. Where known, the official name is used.

Linked tribal names go to their profile index page which will contain more links to sections of our site where you can find articles about that tribe and related tribes.

A-B   C-D   E-F-G   H-I-J   K-L-M   N-O-P  Q-R-S   T-U-V   W-X-Y-Z

KEY:(F)= Federally Recognized, (S)= State Recognized, (T)= Terminated, (U)= Unrecognized, (M)= Mesoamerican Civilizations,(P)= Petitioning for Recognition, (C)= Canadian Tribes, (E)= Extinct, (IRA)= Indian Reorganization Act

Indian tribes are unique legal entities in the United States and are distinct political communities with extensive powers of self-government. Tribal sovereignty predates the U.S. government.

Treaties, federal statutes and executive agreements over the past 200 years have established a special trust relationship between tribes and the federal government.

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (B.I.A.) has been designated by the Secretary of the Interior as the primary agency to protect tribal interests and administer trust responsibilities. Inclusion on this site does NOT mean an endorsement has been made for recognition of any particular tribe.

All entities claiming to be US indian tribes that we are aware of have been included for completeness. Where known, we have indicated official tribal status with our Key Chart, based on information released by the BIA as of May 2016.

In many cases we have not verified the validity of the claim of tribal status, and leave it to your own common sense or further research to validate tribal claims.

Alternate names in parenthesis are either older names that were once used to identify that tribe, or they are misspellings.

Links to tribal profile pages are at the bottom of the page.

us tribes starting with H


Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska


Haliwa-Saponi (North Carolina) (S)

Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School


Hassanamisco (Massachusetts) (S)


Havasupai Tribe of the Havasuapi Reservation (Arizona) (F)

Hidatsa: (Hinatsa, Hidasta)

Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation) (North Dakota) (F)

Ho-Chunk: (Hocak, Hochunk)

Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin (F) (formerly the Wisconsin Winnebago Tribe)


Hoh Indian Tribe of the Hoh Indian Reservation (Washington)(F)

Hooopa (Hupa):

Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria (California) (F)
Hoopa Valley Tribe (California) (F)


Colorado River Indian Tribes of the Colorado River Indian Reservation (Arizona and California) (Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo) (F)
Hopi Tribe of Arizona (F)


United Houma Nation (Louisiana) (S)


Hualapai Indian Tribe of the Hualapai Indian Reservation (Arizona) (F)


Huron Potawatomi, Inc. (Michigan) (F) – See Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi

Wyandotte Nation (formerly the Huron Tribe)

Hamilton Village

Hoonah Indian Tribe (IRA)

Huslia Tribe

Hydaburg Cooperative Tribe (IRA)


Halkomelem (Halqomelem, Halqomeylem)

Han (Hän, Hankutchin, Han Hwech’in)















Huarijio (Huarihio, Huarijío)


Huichol (Huichola)(M)


Hupa – See Hoopa



us tribes starting with I


Illini (Illiniwek, Illinois) – See Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma

Indian Colony:

An Indian Colony is a Native American settlement associated with an urban area. Although some of them became official Indian reservations, they differ from most reservations in that they are located where Native Americans could find jobs in the white economy and originally formed without federal encouragement or sanction.

Indian Colonies are especially common in the Great Basin culture area.

As the Great Basin ecosystem is very fragile, native lifeways became untenable soon after white settlement due to livestock over-grazing, water diversions and the felling of Pinyon pine groves.

At that time there were few official reservations in the area, and those were terribly run even by contemporary standards. Many Native Americans chose instead to seek jobs in white ranches, farms and cities.

The areas in which they settled became known as Indian Camps or Colonies.

In some cases they owned the land they settled on, in other cases they settled on public land. Starting in the early twentieth century, the federal government began establishing Indian trust territories for the colonies on public land.

Following the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, many of the Indian colonies gained federal recognition as tribes.

Bridgeport Indian Colony (California) — See Paiute

Burns Paiute Tribe (Burns Indian Colony) (Oregon) — See Paiute

Ely Shoshone Tribe (Ely Indian Colony) (Nevada) — Also See Shoshone

Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe (Fallon Indian Colony) (Nevada) — See Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of the Fallon Reservation and Colony

Las Vegas Paiute Tribe (Las Vegas Indian Colony) (Nevada) — See Las Vegas Tribe of Paiute Indians of the Las Vegas Indian Colony

Lovelock Paiute Tribe (Lovelock Indian Colony) (Nevada) — See Lovelock Paiute Tribe of the Lovelock Indian Colony

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (Nevada)(F) — Also See Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone

Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians, Battle Mountain Band (Battle Mountain Indian Colony) (Nevada) –See Shoshone

Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians, Elko Band (Elko Indian Colony) (Nevada) –See Shoshone

Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians, Wells Band (Wells Indian Colony) (Nevada) — See Shoshone

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, Carson Community Council (Carson City Indian Colony) (Nevada) — See Washoe

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, Dresslerville Council (Dresslerville Indian Colony) (Nevada) — See Washoe

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, Stewart Community Council (Stewart Indian Colony) (Nevada) — See Washoe

Winnemucca Colony (Nevada) — See Paiute

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, Woodfords Community Council (Woodfords Indian Colony) (California) — Also See Washoe

Yerington Paiute Tribe (Yerington Indian Colony) (Nevada) — Also See Paiute


Inupiaq (Inuktitut, Inuit, Inupiat, Inupiaq, Inupiatun) See Alaskan Natives.


Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska (F)
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma (F)
Iowa-Oto (Ioway)

Isleta Pueblo— See Pueblo Indians

Inca — See Ancient Indians

Ineseño (Inezeño)

Ingalik (Ingalit) – See Alaska Indians


Innu- See Alaska Natives



Ishak, Isleño, Isleta del Sur — See Pueblo Indians

Itza Maya (Itzaj, Itzah) — See Ancient Indians


us tribes starting with J

Juaneño (Juaneno) :

Juaneño Band of Mission Indians (California) (S)

James Bay Cree – See Cree

Jemez Pueblo – Also See Pueblo Indians



Article Index:

Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake

The federally recognized Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake have lived in central and northern California since before recorded time.

Official Tribal Name: Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake

Address:  375 E. Hwy 20, Suite I, P.O. Box 516, Upper Lake, CA 95485
Phone:  707-275-0737 ext. 13 – Toll Free: 1-877-543-5102
Fax:  707-275-0757
Email: Contacts

Official Website:

Recognition Status:  Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

xabe ma tolel Xabe=:rock”, ma=people/person. A variation of the meaning is “The people of rock village.” 

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Misspellings:

Name in other languages:

Region: California

State(s) Today:California

Traditional Territory:

The Pomos, along with the Patwin and Wintun, were actually made up of numerous small bands or villages spread throughout the area North of the Sacramento River Delta and between the Russian River and the California River Valleys, as well as along the Pacific Coast.

Confederacy: Pomo


Reservations: Upper Lake Rancheria

Land Area:  
Tribal Headquarters:  
Time Zone:  

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


Name of Governing Body:  
Number of Council members:  
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  


Language Classification:

Language Dialects:

Number of fluent Speakers:



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:


Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts:





Economy Today:

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs


Famous Pomo Chiefs and Leaders

Catastrophic Events:

Bloody Island Massacre

Tribe History:

In the News:

Further Reading:

Hannahville Indian Community

The Hannahville Indian Community is a Potawatomi tribe located in the south-central section of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in Menominee Country, 20 miles west of Escanaba, MI and 95 miles northeast of Green Bay, WI.

Official Tribal Name: Hannahville Indian Community

Address:  N14911 Hannahville B-1 Rd., Wilson MI 49896
Phone:  (906)466-9933
Fax:  (906) 723-2027

Official Website:

Recognition Status:  Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning: Bode’wadmi – Firekeepers

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name: Potawatomi – keeper of the fire.

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Misspellings:  Pottawatomi, Potawatomie,  Chipewa, Chipawa, Anishinaabe, Anishinababe, Anishinabeg, Ojibway, Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Chippewa, Algonquin,  More names for Ojibwe

Name in other languages:

Region: Northeast (Eastern Woodland) –> Ojibwa, Chippewa and Potawatomi

State(s) Today:  Michigan

Traditional Territory:

Prior to 1450, the Potawatomi lived further north in the upper Great Lakes, but then they begin a migration the led them to the south to settle in warmer climates and better agricultural lands. The rich soils along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and into northern Indiana and Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin now became their new homelands.

By 1550 they had established dozens of villages in what is now Michigan from Ludington to the north to St. Joseph River area in the south, and again in the northern regions of Indiana, Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin. They first encountered the French explorer Jean Nicolet in 1634 in the Detroit area.


The Potawatomi Tribe as a whole, has resided in the Great Lakes area for over 500 years. With the Ojibwa and Ottawa they formed the Council of Three Fires Confederacy. Before this, all three tribes were one tribe, who called themselves Anishnabek (The People or Good People) of the Algonquian linguistic stock, and the name Potawatomi is said to mean People or the Place of the Fire, or Keepers of the Fire, and at times were referred to as the Fire Nation. 


The various Potawatomi bands in total were party to in part or entirely to a record 43 treaties in the United States and seven in Canada. This is the most treaties of any of the Indian tribes that exist today.

The Michigan Potawatomi were party to 11 different treaties, with the major treaty being the 1833 Treaty of Chicago. This treaty, was ratified under President Andrew Jackson in the era of Indian Removal (1932-1940), and set the stage for the justification of removing them West to Indian Territory (Oklahoma and Kansas).

Part of these southern Potawatomi were rounded up and forcefully removed to Indian Territory where they are now known as the Prairie Band Potawatomi of Kansas and Citizens Band Potawatomi in Oklahoma.

Those in southern Wisconsin fled north, settling around what is now Forest County, WI and became known as the Forest County Potawatomi of Crandon, WI. Another part of the tribe moved into the Upper Peninsula and are now known as the Hannahville Indian Community Potawatomi.

Some of the Potawatomi escaped removal and hid out on Walpole Island, and on other Canadian First Nation Anishnabek Reserves; some returned and became known as the Nottawaseppi Huron Band Potawatomi. The band that became known as the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, (numbering 280) in 1835 were led by Chief Leopold Pokagon and through his skillful negotiations were able to allude removal. under Chief Leopold Pokagon

Today, all of these 6 Potawatomi Tribes and the Gun Lake Pottawatomi along with their Canadian kinfolk, meet collectively from time to time for cultural, language, spiritual sharing and the like.

Reservation: Hannahville Indian Community and Off-Reservation Trust Land

Hannahville Indian Community
Land Area:  The tribe had a land base in 1999 consisting of 4,025 acres with 3,200 of it being in federal trust.
Tribal Headquarters:  Wilson, MI
Time Zone:  

The reservation was established by an act of Congress in 1913, although descendants of the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin Potawatomi have been residing in the Wilson, Bark River, and Harris, MI area since 1853, specifically along the Cedar River.

In 1883 a Chippewa Methodist missionary by the name of Peter Marksman lent the Potawatomi at Cedar River money to establish a permanent location around the towns of Harris and Wilson. Eventually, the reservation became known as Hannahville, named after the wife of the missionary.

Currently, they continue to buy lands around Wilson and Harris, MI for future expansion and development.

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

The current Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community tribal membership in 1999 was 703, with an unemployment rate of  only 3%, and of those employed, 19% were living below the poverty line.

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Membership is ¼ or more Hannahville Potawatomi bloodline. Dillution of blood quantum through mixed marriages accounts for the small tribal population at the present time.  

Genealogy Resources:


Charter:  Organized under the terms of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.
Name of Governing Body:  Hannahville has a 12 member elected tribal council
Number of Council members:  12
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  

Elections:  Elections are every two-years. 

Language Classification:  Algic => Algonquian => Central Algonquian => Ojibwa-Potawatomi => Potawatomi

Language Dialects: Potawatomi

Potawatomi is an Algonquian language closely related to the Ojibwayan dialect complex.

Number of fluent Speakers:

The Potawatomi language is critically endangered and nearly extinct. It has about 50 first-language speakers in several widely separated communities in the US and Canada. These include the Hannahville Indian Community (Upper Peninsula of Michigan), the Pokagon and Huron Bands (southern Michigan), the Forest County Band (northern Wisconsin), the Prairie Band (eastern Kansas), and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma. A few Potawatomi speakers also live among the Eastern Ojibwe in Ontario, particularly at the Walpole Island Reserve. The largest speech communities are in the Forest County and Prairie Bands, each with about 20 speakers, several conservatively fluent.



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Forest County Potawatomi
Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
La Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Lac de Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians
Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Potawatomi
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Saginaw Chippewa Indians
Sokaogon Chippewa Community
St. Croix Chippewa Indians
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts:





The Potawatomi traditional means of subsistence included farming, hunting, fishing, gathering of wild fruits and berries, and later lumbering. Their bands lived in clan-based villages which were more complex then those of the Ojibwa or Ottawa as it relates to dodem and extended family structures duties, roles and responsibilities and social interactions protocol, because their communities were larger.

During the 1880s, the Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community primarily subsisted by small scale farming and seasonal work in the woods as part of the area’s thriving lumbering industry. By the early 1900s the forestry activities had dwindled and the community farmlands, always marginal at best, were worn out.

The members of the Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community survived anyway they could and sought employment in whatever was possible. They continued to be basically ignored by the federal and state governments and had to turn inward for strength and survival purposes. In essence, health services were all but nonexistent and abject poverty was the norm.

Economy Today:

The Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community struggled through the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s like the rest of Michigan Anishnabek country, with little hope or help for their peoples. Incidents of tuberculosis was high at Hannahville during the 40s & 50s, as well as short life expectancy, high rates of diabetes, alcoholism and inadequate educational and employment opportunities. The Tribal infrastructure was barely developed during these hard times.

After 1965, through President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and national initiatives, their living conditions begin to improve, hope was reestablished and the infrastructure begin making significant gains. They joined Bay Mills, Keweenaw Bay and Saginaw Chippewa with the establishment of the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, Inc. in 1966.

In the early 1990s the Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community signed a gaming compact with the Governor of the State of Michigan and opened a casino. It has evolved into the new Chip-In Casino – Hotel – Resort.

The gaming operations in this rural, high unemployment area of Michigan, has proved to be a major industry and economic boom to the region, for both the Native and non-native communities.

Today Hannahville has a host of new tribal facilities and membership services. They now possess the financial wherewithal to regularly interact with their other Potawatomi band relatives and it has really ignited their cultural-language-spirituality renewal.

The Hannahville Indian Community continues to operate and have for a number of years, a long-term treatment facility for Men, called The Three Fires Halfway House, an indication of their long commitment to substance abuse issues, and as indicated by the name, supportive of their Ojibwa and Ottawa Anishnabek brothers as well.Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs

Education and Media:

In 1975, they opened their own K-8 tribal school, via a grant from the American Bicentennial Commission for a community arts and crafts building. It is now a K-12 BIA funded tribal grant and Michigan Charter Public School Academy, and is housed in a beautiful state-of-the-art educational complex. The school and the welfare of the community children, continues to be the heartbeat of the Hannahville Potawatomi.


Famous Potawatomi Chiefs and Leaders


Renae Morriseau 


Jim Thorpe whose indian name was Wathohuck , meaning Bright Star (Sauk/Potawatomi 1888–1953), athlete who won gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics


Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

In the News:

Further Reading:

Havasupai Tribe of the Havasupai Reservation

The Havasupai Tribe of the Havasupai Reservation is a federally recognized American Indian tribe who has lived in the Grand Canyon for at least the past 800 years. 

Official Tribal Name:  Havasupai Tribe of the Havasupai Reservation

Address:  Havasupai Tribe, P. O. Box 10, Supai, Arizona 86435
Phone:  928 448 2731
Fax: 928 448 2731

Official Website: 

Recognition Status:  Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

 Havasupai – People of the blue-green water

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name: Havasupai

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Misspellings:

With the Hualapai, from whom they may be descended, they are also called the Pai (Pa’a) Indians (“the People”; Hualapai are Western Pai, and Havasupai are Eastern Pai). With the Hualapai and the Yavapai, the Havasupai are also referred to as Upland Yumans, in contrast to River Yumans such as the Mojave and Quechan.

Name in other languages:

Region:  Southwest

State(s) Today: Arizona

Traditional Territory:

Beaver Falls in the Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Reservation
Beaver Falls in the Havasupai reservation in the Grand Canyon
Photo By Gonzo fan2007 (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Havasupais have dwelt in the Grand Canyon and the rest of north-central Arizona for over 1,000 years.

Confederacy: Yuman


Reservation: Havasupai Reservation

The Havasupai Reservation was established from 1880 to 1882, near Supai, Arizona, along the Colorado River, 3,000 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon. It was substantially enlarged in 1975, when the tribe regained a portion (185,000 acres) of their ancestral homeland along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

Land Area:  188,077 acres of canyon land and broken plateaus abutting the western edge of the Grand Canyon’s south rim, with year-to-year permits issued for grazing in Grand Canyon National Park and the adjacent National Forest. 
Tribal Headquarters:  Supai, Arizona
Time Zone:  Mountain

Population at Contact: Of roughly 2,000 Pai, perhaps 250 Havasupai Indians lived at Cataract Canyon in the seventeenth century.

Registered Population Today: Approximately 400 lived there in 1990. 

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


The Havasupai Tribal Government consists of 87 employees made up of Havasupai Tribal members. The Tribal-Member employees operate and manage the Havasupai Tribe programs and enterprises.

Charter:  The tribe adopted a constitution and by-laws in 1939 and a tribal corporate charter in 1946.
Name of Governing Body:  Tribal Council
Number of Council members:   The Havasupai Tribe is governed by a seven-member Tribal Council. The executive officers of the Havasupai Tribe is the Chairman and in the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman.
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  


Language Classification:   Yuman–Cochimí -> Pai -> Upland Yuman (aka Northern Yuman) -> Havasupai 

Language Dialects:

Havasupai is a dialect of the Upland Yuman language spoken by fewer than 450 people on the Havasupai Indian Reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.As of 2005, Havasupai remained the first language of residents of Supai Village, the tribal government seat.

The Havasupai dialect is nearly identical to the dialect of the Hualapai, although the two groups are socially and politically distinct (Kendall 1983:5). It is a little more distantly related to the Yavapai dialects.

Number of fluent Speakers: It is the only Native American language in the United States spoken by 100% of its indigenous population. 


Origins: The Havasupai probably descended from the prehistoric Cohoninas, a branch of the Hakataya culture. Thirteen bands of Pai originally hunted, farmed, and gathered in northwest Arizona along the Colorado River. By historic times, the Pai were divided into three subtribes: the Middle Mountain People; the Plateau People (including the Blue Water People, also called Cataract Canyon Band, who were ancestors of the Havasupai); and the Yavapai Fighters. 

Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes: Hualapai Indian Tribe of the Hualapai Indian Reservation

Traditional Allies: Traditional allies included the Hualapai and Hopi.

Traditional Enemies: This peaceful people needed no war chiefs or societies. In the rare cases of defensive fighting, the most competent available leader took charge. Enemies included the Yavapai and Western Apache. 

Ceremonies / Dances: Only girls went through a formal puberty ritual. 

People continue to celebrate the traditional fall “peach festival,” although the time has been changed to accommodate the boarding school schedule. People continue to celebrate the traditional fall “peach festival,” although the time has been changed to accommodate the boarding school schedule.

Modern Day Events & Tourism: Pack trips into the bottom of the Grand Canyon on mules and helicopter flights into the canyon provide the bulk of today’s economy for the Havasupai people. They also have a campground, hostel, and restaurant in the canyon.

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts: Baskets, created by women, were especially well made. They were used as burden baskets, seed beaters and parching trays, pitch-coated water bottles, and cradle hoods. Brown and unpainted pottery was first dried in the sun, then baked in hot coals. 

Animals:  With the possible exception of Francisco Garces, in 1776, few if any Spanish or other outsiders disturbed them into the 1800s. Spanish influences did reach them, however, primarily in the form of horses, cloth, and fruit trees through trading partners such as the Hopi in the 1600s.

Clothing: Buckskin, worked by men, was the main clothing material. Women wore a two-part dress, with a yucca-fiber or textile belt around the waist, and trimmed with hoof tinklers. In the nineteenth century they began wearing ornamental shawls. Moccasins, when worn, were made with a high upper wrapped around the calf. Men wore shirts, loincloths, leggings, headbands, and high-ankle moccasins. 

Adornment: Both sexes painted and tattooed their faces. Personal decoration consisted of necklaces and earrings of Pueblo and Navajo shell and silver.

Housing: In winter and summer, dwellings consisted of domed or conical wikiups of thatch and dirt over a pole frame. People also lived in rock shelters. Small domed lodges were used as sweat houses and clubhouses. 


The Havasupai tribe  practice summertime irrigated farming in the canyons and wintertime hunting in the plateaus.

In Cataract Canyon the people grew corn, beans, squash, sunflowers, and tobacco. During the winter they lived on the surrounding plateau and ate game such as mountain lion and other cats, deer, antelope, mountain sheep, fowl, and rabbits, which were killed in communal hunting drives.

Wild foods included pinon nuts, cactus and yucca fruits, agave hearts, mesquite beans, and wild honey.

Formal authority was located in chiefs, hereditary in theory only, of ten local groups. Their only real power was to advise and persuade. The Havasupai held few councils; most issues were dealt with by men informally in the sweat lodge.

The Havasupai were individualists rather than band or tribe oriented. The family was the main unit of social organization. With some exceptions, work was roughly divided by gender. Babies stayed mainly on basket cradle boards until they were old enough to walk. 

Leisure time was spent in sweat lodges or playing games, including (after 1600 or so) horse racing. The Havasupai often sheltered Hopis in times of drought.

Traditional implements included stone knives, bone tools, bows and arrows, clay pipes for smoking, and nets of yucca fiber. The Havasupai tilled their soil with sticks. Baskets and pottery were used for a number of purposes. Grinding was accomplished by means of a flat rock and rotary mortars.

The Havasupai often traded with the Hopi and other allied tribes, exchanging deerskins, baskets, salt, lima beans, and red hematite paint for food, pottery, and cloth. They also traded with tribes as far away as the Pacific Ocean.

Economy Today: Tourism constitutes the most important economic activity. The tribe offers mule guides, a campground, a hostel, a restaurant, and a lodge, and they sell baskets and other crafts. Farming has almost entirely disappeared. The tribe owns a significant cattle herd. Some people work for wages at Grand Canyon Village or in federal or tribal jobs. Fearing contamination from a new uranium mine, the tribe has banned mining on tribal lands and the people are fighting an ongoing legal battle over uranium pollution of a sacred site in the Kaibab National Forest. 

Life among the Havasupai remains a mixture of the old and the new. Unlike many Indian tribes, their reservation includes part of their ancestral land.

Some people never leave the canyon; many venture out no more than several times a year. The nearest provisions are 100 miles away. Many still ride horses exclusively, although they may be listening to a portable music player at the time. Havasupai people often mix with tourists who wind up in the village at the end of the Grand Canyon’s Hualapai Trail. Some people own satellite dishes and video cassette recorders, but much remains of the old patterns, and intermarriage beyond the Hualapai remains rare.

Residents live in Supai Village in the 3,000 foot deep Havasu Canyon, near the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Tourism is the main base of their economy today. A favorite destination of tourists are the beautiful Havasu Falls, Navajo Water Fall, and Mooney Falls in Havasu Canyon. There are fees to enter the canyon, which are subject to change without notice before arrival.

Havasu Canyon is a fragile environment and is subject to flash floods that can rise with little warning. Some areas in the canyon are off limits to visitors due to continuing repair work or unstable ground conditions. Immediate closure of the canyon is possible at any given time during your visit.

Lodging and camping facilities are available. There is a Trading Post and a café with limited service. Visitors can hike, swim, ride horses, or fly by helicopter the last 8 miles into the canyon where the Havasupai Indians live. They have the last US Mail mule train in the country. Many tribal members work for the tribe in the tourist industry, and local artists sell arts and crafts to the tourists.

The tribe owns and manages the 24-room Havasupai Lodge, Havasupai Café, Havasupai Trading Post and General Store, and Havasupai Tourism, which manages and operates tourism related activities including guided and unguided tours, a 200-person campground near Havasu Falls and a horse packing business in which tribal members serve as guides and provide saddle and pack horses that carry goods and visitors in and out of the canyon. Advance reservations are recommended.

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs: The Havasupai performed at least three traditional ceremonies a year, the largest coming in the fall at harvest time and including music, dancing, and speechmaking. They often invited Hopi, Hualapai, and Navajo neighbors to share in these celebrations.

Although the Hopi influenced the Havasupai in many ways, such as the use of masked dancers, the rich Hopi ceremonialism did not generally become part of Havasupai life. Curing was accomplished by means of shamans, who acquired their power from dreams. The Havasupai accepted the Ghost Dance in 1891. 

Variants of traditional religion remain alive, while at the same time Rastafarianism is also popular, especially among young men.

Burial Customs: One important ceremony was cremation (burial from the late nineteenth century) and mourning of the dead, who were greatly feared.

Wedding Customs: In place of a formal marriage ceremony, a man simply took up residence with a woman’s family. The couple moved into their own home after they had a child. Women owned no property.

Education and Media: Students attend school on the reservation through the eighth grade, then move to boarding school in California or to regular public schools. Most children entering the tribal school (self-administered since 1975) speak only Pai. Unlike many tribes that focus on relearning tribal identity, Havasupai children are encouraged to learn more about the outside world. 


Famous Yuman Chiefs and Leaders

Catastrophic Events: Severe epidemics in the early twentieth century reduced their population to just over 100.

Tribe History:

The Blue Water People were comfortable in an extreme range of elevations. They gathered desert plants from along the Colorado River at 1,800 feet and hunted on the upper slopes of the San Francisco peaks, their center of the world, at 12,000 feet.

In the early 1800s, a trail was forged from the Rio Grande to California that led directly through Pai country. By around 1850, with invasions and treaty violations increasing, the Pai occasionally reacted with violence. When mines opened in their territory in 1863, they perceived the threat and readied for war. Unfortunately for them, the Hualapai War (1865-1869) came just as the Civil War ended. After their military defeat by the United States, some Pai served as army scouts against their old enemies, the Yavapai and the Tonto Apache.

Although the Hualapai were to suffer deportation, the United States paid little attention to the Havasupai, who returned to their isolated homes. At this point the two tribes became increasingly distinct. Despite their remote location, Anglo encroachment eventually affected even the Havasupai, and an 1880 executive order established their reservation along Havasu Creek.

The final designation in 1882 included just 518 acres within the canyon; the Havasupai also lost their traditional upland hunting and gathering grounds (some people continued to use the plateau in winter but were forced off in 1934, when the National Park Service destroyed their homes).

The Havasupai intensified farming on their little remaining land and began a wide-scale cultivation of peaches. In 1912 they purchased cattle. Severe epidemics in the early twentieth century reduced their population to just over 100. At the same time the Bureau of Indian Affairs, initially slow to move into the canyon, proceeded with a program of rapid acculturation.

By the 1930s, Havasupai economic independence had given way to a reliance on limited wage labor. Traditional political power declined as well, despite the creation in 1939 of a tribal council.

Feeling confined in the canyon, the Havasupai stepped up their fight for permanent grazing rights on the plateau. The 1950s were a grim time for the people, with no employment and little tourism.

Conflict over land led to deep familial divisions, which in turn resulted in serious cultural loss. Food prices at the local store were half again as high as those in neighboring towns. In the 1960s, however, an infusion of federal funds provided employment in tribal programs as well as modern utilities.

Still, croplands continued to shrink, as more and more land was devoted to the upkeep of pack animals for the tourists, the tribe’s limited but main source of income. In 1975, after an intensive lobbying effort, the government restored 185,000 acres of land to the Havasupai.

In the News:

Further Reading:

Exploring Havasupai: A Guide to the Heart of the Grand Canyon

People of the Blue Water : A Record of the Life Among the Walapai and Havasupai Indians

The Sacred Oral Tradition of the Havasupai: As Retold by Elders and Headmen Manakaja and Sinyella 1918-1921  

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