Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Maricopa are a Yuman-speaking people living along with the Pima on and around the Gila River and Salt River Indian Reservations in Arizona. They are the result of a nineteenth century coalescence of small local populations with immigrant groups, notably the Halchidhoma, Halyikwamai, and Kohuana. Traditional economy was based on hunting and gathering, supplemented by intensive agriculture. Since the 1980s the Maricopa have relied primarily on income from leasing agricultural and business properties.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


North America --Southwest and Basin


United States

OWC Code


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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF World Culture collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where needed.

The NT43 Maricopa Collection is concerned with the Yuman-speaking Maricopa peoples of Gila River and Salt River Indian Reservations in Arizona. Time focus of the documents principally spans from the late eighteenth century, when the Maricopa settled in the Gila River area, to the early 1980s. During this time, the Maricopa have lived with the Pima as their immediate neighbors.

Curtis (1908) provides an early account of Maricopa culture, along with a transcription of a creation myth. The basic, most detailed source is a book by the anthropologist Leslie Spier (1933) who worked among the Maricopa living in the Gila River Indian Reservation at various periods between 1929 and 1932. This source includes information on subsistence techniques, food preparation, diet, houses, clothing, industries, daily routine, concepts of time, the kinship system, warfare, names, religious beliefs, burial customs, child care, puberty observances, and folklore. The author also provides some comparisons with neighboring groups throughout the text, highlighting presence/absence of traits, songs, mythologies, and historical migration patterns.

Other primary sources supply complementary information on food habits (Frisch 1968), traditional history and community structure (Cameron 1994), and the dynamics of identity issues (Kelly 1972). The collection also includes one secondary source that provides a general over-view of aspects of traditional Maricopa culture and society (Harwell and Kelly 1983).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Teferi Adem

Čamač -- edible food -- Use Eating ( 264 ) with Diet ( 262 ) and Ethnobotany ( 824 )

Clan chief -- -- Use Status Role And Prestige ( 554 )

Commissioner of Indian Affairs -- -- Use Research And Development ( 654 ) with Cultural Identity And Pride ( 186 )

Dreams -- -- Use Ethnopsychology ( 828 ) with Revelation And Divination ( 787 )

Family groups or bands -- -- Use Community Structure ( 621 ) with Annual Cycle ( 221 )

Earth houses -- -- Use Dwellings ( 342 )

Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 -- -- Use Research And Development ( 654 )

Informal learning of adult family tasks -- -- Use Techniques Of Socialization ( 861 ) with Labor Supply And Employment ( 464 )

Pipa-vtay -- literally, "big man" -- Use Community Heads ( 622 )

Relocation to reservations -- -- Use Research And Development ( 654 ) with Settlement Patterns ( 361 )

Indexing Notes by

Teferi Adem

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