:"Not to be confused with Quechua, South American language."

The Quechan (also Yuma, Yuman, Kwtsan, Kwtsaan) are a Native American tribe who live on the Fort Yuma Reservation on the lower Colorado River in Arizona just north of the border with Mexico. The Quechan are one of the Yuman tribes. Yuman is derived from the old name for the tribe, Yuma. The reservation is a part of their traditional lands. Established in 1884, the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation has a land area of 178.197 km² (68.802 sq mi) in southeastern Imperial County, California, and western Yuma County, Arizona, near the city of Yuma, Arizona.


The first important contact of the Quechan with Europeans was with the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and his party in the winter of 1774. Relations were friendly and on Anza's return from his second trip to Alta California in 1776 the chief of the tribe and three others journeyed to Mexico City to petition the Viceroy of New Spain for the establishment of a mission. The chief, Palma and his 3 companions were baptized there on February 13, 1777. Palma was given the name Salvador Carlos Antonio.

Spanish settlement among the Quechan did not go as well as hoped and the tribe rebelled from July 17–19, 1781 and killed 4 priests and 30 soldiers. The Spanish mission settlements of San Pedro y San Pablo de Bicuñer and Puerto de Purísima Concepción were also decimated. The tribe was punished militarily the following year.

The United States engaged the Yuma Indians in warfare during the Yuma Expedition, which was one of many Indian Wars that took place before the American Civil War. The California state government also sponsored the ill fated 1857 Gila Expedition against the Quechan in retribution for the revenge massacre of the John Joel Glanton gang.


Estimates for the pre-contact populations of most native groups in California have varied substantially (see population of Native California). Alfred L. Kroeber (1925:883) put the 1770 population of the Quechan at 2,500. Jack D. Forbes (1965:341-343) compiled historical estimates and suggested that before they were first contacted the Quechan had numbered 4,000 or a few more.

Kroeber estimated the population of the Quechan in 1910 as 750. By 1950, there were reported to be just under 1,000 Quechan living on the reservation and another 1,100+ off it (Forbes 1965:343). The 2000 census reported a resident population of 2,376 persons on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation, only 56.8 percent of whom were of solely Native American heritage, and more than 27 percent of whom were white.

ee also

* Quechan traditional narratives
* Quechan language


* Forbes, Jack D. 1965. "Warriors of the Colorado: The Yumas of the Quechan Nation and Their Neighbors". University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
* Kroeber, A. L. 1925. "Handbook of the Indians of California". Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 78. Washington, D.C.
* [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-CONTEXT=dt&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_P001&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_P003&-tree_id=4001&-transpose=N&-redoLog=false&-all_geo_types=Y&-geo_id=25000US1280&-geo_id=27000US128004027&-geo_id=27000US128006025&-search_results=25000US1280&-_showChild=Y&-format=&-_lang=en&-show_geoid=Y Yuma Reservation, California/Arizona] United States Census Bureau

External links

*http://www.itcaonline.com/tribes_quechan.html (Tribal Council Web Site)

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