The Southwest American Indian region encompasses Arizona, New Mexico, the southern portion of Colorado, and northern Mexico. This section of our website provides information and facts about the Native American people who inhabited this area. Below you will find a list of Southwest Indian Tribes followed by a list interesting facts about the Native Americans of the Southwest. This information is written for both kids and adults.
The Indians of this region generally lived in a harsh and inhospitable environment. Most of the region is hot and rocky and receives very little rainfall. There are some forest in the higher elevations and a few river valleys.
Most of the Indians of Southwest America including the Hopi, Yuam, and Zuni tribes were traditionally farmers and lived in permanent homes. Due to the harsh environment farming was challenging and usually required irrigation.
Some of the tribes in this region including the Apache and Navajo were nomadic hunters.
Turquoise is used extensively in Southwest Indian jewelry. The Indians believe turquoise promotes happiness, health, and good fortune.
The Indians of the southwest are famous for their beautiful traditional baskets. These baskets are colorful and have beautiful patterns. The indigenous people of this region have been using the same basic method of basket making for thousands of years. Baskets dating back to 6,000 B.C. have been found in this region.
Some of the tribes in this area carved Kachina dolls. These dolls were beautifully decorated and symbolized spirits.
One of the most famous Indians of the Southwest was the Apache Cochise. For many years he and a small band of warriors terrorized settlers and others who entered their territory. They fought a bloody war with U.S. federal troops. Cochise and his men finally surrendered in 1872.
One of the most famous Southwest Native Americans is Manuelito. This Navajo war chief led his people in fighting the U.S. government's efforts to relocate them to New Mexico.
Perhaps the most famous Indian of this region was Geronimo. Born in 1829 he led numerous raids against Mexicans and Americans. Apache chiefs relied on his wisdom. He died in 1909 as a prisoner of war.
There were probably more battles fought between the Indians of the Southwest and the U.S. government than in any other Indian region.
From 1849 to 1886 the Apache Indians of the Southwest fought a series of battles against the U.S. government in what is called the Apache Wars.
The Navajo Indians of the Southwest have the largest Indian reservation in the U.S. It covers over seventeen million acres in New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona and is larger than some U.S. states.
The Southwest Indian region is home to the largest Indian tribe in the U.S., the Navajo.
Incredible Indian archaeological sites can be found throughout the southwest United States. Northern Arizona, near Flagstaff and Sedona in particular, is known for many ancient cliff dwellings and pueblo sites. This includes the ruins of Tuzigoot which is an amazing hill top pueblo built between 1125 and 1400 AD.