Chemehuevi Language


Last Updated: 6 years

The Chemehuevi language was spoken by the Chemehuevi who were a part of the true Paiute and were associated with them and the Ute in one linguistic subdivision of the Shoshonean division of the Uto-Aztecan linguistic stock.

Chemehuevi Indians. The Yuman name for this tribe and for the Paiute; significance unknown. Also called:

  • Ah’alakåt, Pima name, meaning “small bows.”
  • Mat-hat-e-vátch, Yuma name, meaning “northerners.”
  • Tä’n-ta’wats, own name, meaning “southern men.”

Location. Anciently in the eastern half of the Mohave Desert. At a later date the Chemehuevi settled on Cottonwood Island, in Chemehuevi Valley, and at other points on Colorado River. The Chetco extended slightly across into northern California from its home in Oregon.

Subdivisions: (So far as known)

  • Hokwaits, in Ivanpah Valley.
  • Kauyaichits, location unknown.
  • Mokwats, at the Kingston Mountains.
  • Moviats, on Cottonwood Island.
  • Shivawach or Shivawats, in the Chernehucvi Valley, perhaps only the name of a locality.
  • Tumpisagavatsits or Timpashauwagotsits, in the Providence Mountains.
  • Yagats, at Afnargosa.

Population. Kroeber (1925) estimates between 500 and 800 Chemehuevi in ancient times. In 1910, 355 were returned of whom 260 were in California.