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Pima Indians

Pima Indians. Signifying “no” in the Nevome dialect and incorrectly applied through misunderstanding by the early missionaries. Also called:

Pima Connections. The Pima gave their name to the Piman linguistic stock of Powell, which is now recognized to be a subdivision of the great Uto-Aztecan stock, also including the Nahuatlan and Shoshonean families. The tribes connected most intimately with the Pima were the Papago (see above) and the Quahatika (q. v.), and after them the so-called Pima Bajo or Nevome of Mexico.

Pima Location. In the valleys of the Gila and Salt Rivers.

Pima Subdivisions. Formerly the name Pima was applied to two tribes called respectively the Pima Bajo and Pima Alto, but the former, living chiefly in Sonora, Mexico, are now known as Nevome, the term Pima being restricted to the Pima Alto.

Pima Villages

Pima History

According to native tradition, the Pima originated in the Salt River Valley and spread later to the Gila River. They attribute the large adobe ruins in their country, including the Casa Grande, to their ancestors, and tell stories of their occupancy of them, but the connection is still in doubt. The Nevome and Opata of the Altar, Magdalena, and Sonora Rivers are said to have sprung from Pima colonies. They claim that their old manner of life was ended by three bands of foreigners from the east, who destroyed their pueblos, devastated their fields, and killed or enslaved many of their people. The rest fled to the mountains, and when they returned they did not rebuild the substantial adobe structures which they had formerly occupied, but lived in dome-shaped lodges of pliable poles covered with thatch and mud. Russell (1908) considers it unlikely that Coronado encountered the Pima, but in 1694 Father Eusebio Francisco Kino reached the Casa Grande and undoubtedly met them. Under his inspiration, an expedition was sent to the Gila in 1697 to ascertain the disposition of the tribe. In 1698 he again visited them and between that date and 1702 entered their country four times more. In 1731 Fathers Felipe Segresser and Juan Bautista Grashoffer took charge of the missions of San Xavier del Bac and San Miguel de Guevavi and became the first permanent Spanish residents of Arizona. Padre Ignacio Javier Keller visited the Pima villages in 1736–37 and in 1743, and Sedelmayr reached the Gila in 1750. The first military force to be stationed among the Pima was a garrison of 50 men at Tubac on the Santa Cruz. The presidio was moved to Tucson about 1776 and in 1780 it was in-creased to hold 75 men. Between 1768 and 1776 Father Francisco Garc4s made five trips from Xavier del Bac to the Pimas and beyond. In 1851 parties of the Boundary Survey Commission passed down the Gila River, and J. R. Bartlett, the American Commissioner, has left an excellent description of the Pima Indians (Bartlett, 1854). After the California gold rush began, the Pima frequently assisted parties of explorers and travelers who were making the southern route, and they often protected them from the Apache. In 1853 the Gadsden Purchase transferred the Pima to the jurisdiction of the United States. Surveys for a railroad through Pima territory were made in 1854 and 1855, but it was not constructed until 1879. In the meantime the Pima were subjected to contact with White outlaws and border ruffians of the worst description, and White settlers threatened to absorb their supplies of water. In 1857 the first United States Indian Agent for the territory acquired by the Gadsden Purchase was appointed. In 1871 the first school among them was opened.

Pima Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 4,000 Pima in 1680. In 1775 Garces placed the number of those on the Gila River at 2,500. In 1906 there were 3,936 in all; in 1910, according to the United States Census, 4,236; and in 1923, according to the Report of the United States Indian Office, 5,592. The 1930 census returned 4,382. The Indian Office reported 5,170 in 1937.

Connections in which the Pima Indians have become noted. Pima County, Ariz., and a post town in Graham County, Ariz., preserve the name of the Pima, which has also been made familiar to ethnographers and geographers by the use to which it has been put in the Powell classification to cover a supposed linguistic stock. There is little doubt, however, that this supposed stock is merely a part of a much larger stock, the