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Tonto Apache Tribe

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Arizona,Native American | No Comments

Tontos (Spanish: ‘fools,’ so called on account of their supposed imbecility; the designation, however, is a misnomer).

A name so indiscriminately applied as to be almost meaningless.

  1. To a mixture of Yavapai, Yuma, and Mohave, with some Pifialeno Apache, placed on the Rio Verde Reservation, Arizona, in 1873, and transferred to San Carlos Reservation in 1875; best designated as the Tulkepaia.
  2. To a tribe of the Athapascan family well known as Coyotero Apache.
  3. To the Piftalenos of the same family.
  4. According to Corbusier, to a body of Indians descended mostly from Yavapai men and Pinal Coyotero ( PinaleƱo ) women who have intermarried.

The term Tontos was therefore applied by writers of the 19th century to practically all the Indians roaming between the White mountains of Arizona and the Rio Colorado, comprising parts of two linguistic families, but especially to the Yavapai, commonly known as Apache Mohave.

The Tonto Apache transferred to San Carlos in 1875 numbered 629, while the Yavapai sent to that reserve numbered 618 and the Tulkepaia 352. The Tontos officially designated as such numbered 772 in 1908, of whom 551 were under the San Carlos agency, 160 under the Camp Verde school superintendency, and 11 at Camp McDowell.


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