Mohave Indians


Last Updated: 7 years

The Mohave occupied some territory in the neighborhood of the Colorado River. The Mohave belong to the Yuman linguistic family.

Mohave Indians. From a native word “hamakhava,” referring to the Needles and signifying “three mountains.” Also given as Amojave, Jamajabs. Synonyms are: Năks’-ăt, Pima and Papago name. Soyopas, given by Font (1775). Tzi-na-ma-a, given as their own name “before they came to the Colorado River.” Wamakava, Havasupai name. Will idahapá, Tulkepaya name.

Location. On both sides of the Colorado River—though chiefly on the east side—between the Needles and the entrance to Black Canyon.


  • Pasion, a group of rancherias on the east bank of the Colorado, below the present Ft. Mahave.
  • San Pedro, on or near the west bank of the Colorado, about 8 miles northwest of Needles, Calif.
  • Santa Isabel, a group of rancherias situated at or in the vicinity of the present Needles.

History. Possibly Alarc6n may have reached the Mohave territory in 1540. At any rate, Oñate met them in 1604, and in 1775–76 Games found them in the above-named villages. No treaty was made with them by the United States Government, but by Act of March 3, 1865, supplemented by Executive orders in 1873, 1874, and 1876, the Colorado River Reservation was established and it was occupied by the Mohave, Chemehuevi, and Kawia.

Population. Mooney (1928) gives 3,000 Mohave in 1680, and Kroeber (1925) the same as of 1770, the estimate made by Gamés in 1775–76. About 1834 Leroux estimated 4,000. In 1905 their number was officially given as 1,589, of whom 508 were under the Colorado River School Superintendent, 856 under the Fort Mohave School Superintendent, 50 under the San Carlos Agency, and about 175 at Camp McDowell, on the Verde River. The Indians at Fort Mohave and Camp McDowell, however, were apparently Yavapai, commonly known as Apache Mohave. The census of 1910 gives 1,058 true Mohave. The United States Indian Office Report for 1923 seems to give 1,840, including Mohave, Mohave Apache, and Chemehuevi. The census of 1930 returned 854, and the Report of the United States Office of Indian Affairs for 1937, 856.

Connection in which they have become noted. The name Mohave has been preserved in the designation of the Mohave Desert and Mohave River in California, and Mohave County, Ariz., and also in the name of a post-village in Arizona. There is also a post village named Mojave in Kern County, Calif.