Mojave Indian - IntroductionThe Mojave Indians, also known as "Mohave", are a tribe of Native American Indians from the Southwest region of the United States. This includes present-day Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and California. Mojave life was centered along the Colorado River as well as the Mohave Valley, home to Death Valley, the hottest place in the U.S. The name Mojave is translated to mean the people who live by the river or on the water. The facts and information below is broken down into sections to give a broad overview of who these Indians were, how they survived, what clothing they wore, and what their way of life was like. This information is written for both kids and adults.
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Mojave Indian General Facts
- The Mojave speak Yuman which is a language spoken by some Southwestern tribes throughout Arizona, California and Mexico.
- The Mohave were among the few Southwestern nations that fished for their food. They did not make canoes like other tribes; instead they used rafts and poles to travel to different fishing spots. They utilized nets and baskets to catch the fish.
- Although the region was dry, the Mohave were able to develop irrigation systems which allowed them to grow crops of beans, squash, corn (or maize), and pumpkins. Even with their knowledge of how to use the land around them, they believed rain dances would help bring the rain they needed to crow their crops.
- The Mojave people did not wear much in the way of clothing. The men usually wore a simple loincloth. Women wore simple clothing made from animal skins like beaver and rabbit. Animal skin robes were sometimes worn on cool nights.
- The Mojave tribe differed from many other tribes in that they did not wear moccasins. They preferred to just go barefoot or wear sandals.
- Tattoos were popular among this tribe. They used ink from a blue cactus plant to adorn their bodies. They also branded slaves by tattooing their chins.
- In this particular tribe, the women did not have an equal ranking. They did not own land and they were not able to become chiefs as in other tribes. The men also controlled the important matters of government and war.
- The Mojave were religious and very spiritual. They beloved in the afterlife and tribe members were often buried with their belongings and with gifts from those in mourning.
- The jewelry they are most known for is their beadwork. They would create beaded collars with elaborate designs and patterns. These were valuable and often used in trading.
Mojave Indian Houses
- Mojave people built two different types of houses. One for the warm season and one for the cold season.
- In spring and summer when they were fishing near the Colorado River, the homes they built were raised on stilts in order to protect from flooding. These thatched huts or Wickiups were very simple homes which had wooden frames covered with grass or brush.
- Sturdier homes were built further from the river which they occupied during the colder months. These were usually made with clay which helped make the walls thick in order to keep the heat in.