Any of several North American Indian peoples living mostly in California and Arizona, U.S., and speaking related Hokan languages. They once lived in the lower Colorado River valley and adjacent areas in what are now the U.S. states of Arizona and California and in Mexico. The river Yumans (including the Mojave, Yuma, and Maricopa) lived along the lower Colorado and middle Gila rivers; the upland Yumans (including the Hualapai, Havasupai, and Yavapai) inhabited western Arizona south of the Grand Canyon. The river Yumans were primarily farmers; most upland Yumans emphasized hunting and gathering. Both settled in dispersed hamlets rather than in villages. Yuman religion is characterized by belief in a supreme creator, faith in dreams, and ritual use of song narratives. Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 9,000 individuals who identified themselves as Yuman.
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The term Patayan is used by archaeologists to describe the prehistoric Native American cultures that inhabited parts of modern day Arizona, California and Baja California, including areas near the Colorado River Valley, the nearby uplands, and north to the vicinity of the Grand Canyon. These prehistoric people may have been ancestral to the Yuman. They practiced floodplain agriculture where possible, but relied heavily on hunting and gathering.
Subgroups include the River Yuman, Delta-Californian, and Upland Yuman ("Pai").