Indigenous languages of Arizona Article

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Arizona, a state in the southwestern region of the United States of America, is known for its high population of Native Americans. Arizona has the third highest number (and the sixth highest percentage) of Native Americans of any state in the Union (See Demographics of Arizona). Out of the entire US population of 2.9 million Native Americans, [1] roughly 286,680 live in Arizona, representing 10% of the country's total Native American population. Only California and Oklahoma have more Native Americans than Arizona by number. Arizona also has the highest proportion of land allocated to Native American reservations, at 28%. [2] Arizona has five of the twelve largest Indian reservations in the United States, including the largest, the Navajo Nation, and the third-largest, the Tohono O'odham Nation. Also, Arizona has the largest number of Native American language speakers in the United States. [3] [4]


There are twelve Native American languages spoken in Arizona, in addition to three other languages that are primarily spoken outside the state and one language with a disputed existence.

Population estimates are based on figures from Ethnologue and U.S. Census data, as given in sub-pages below. The twelve languages are shown in the table below:

Language Classification Number of speakers Total ethnic population Tribe(s) included Location(s) in Arizona Significant external populations
Navajo Na-Dene: Southern Athabaskan 170,000 300,000 Navajo Navajo Nation New Mexico
Western Apache Na-Dene: Southern Athabaskan 13,000 20,000 White Mountain Apache, San Carlos Apache, Tonto Apache Fort Apache Indian Reservation, San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Tonto Apache Tribecall/Tonto Apache Indian Reservation
Yavapai Yuman: Pai 163 1,420 Yavapai Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Yavapai-Prescott Tribe
Havasupai-Hualapai Yuman: Pai 1,530 2,437 Havasupai, Hualapai Havasupai Indian Reservation, Hualapai Indian Reservation
Quechan/Yuma Yuman: River 250 1,200 Quechan Fort Yuma Indian Reservation California
Mojave Yuman: River 100 750 Mohave Fort Mojave Indian Reservation, Colorado River Indian Reservation California
Maricopa Yuman: River 160 400 Maricopa Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Gila River Indian Reservation ( Maricopa Colony)
Cocopah Yuman: Delta 400 1,000 Cocopah Cocopah Indian Reservation Mexico ( Baja California, Sonora)
Hopi Uto-Aztecan: Northern: Hopi 5,000 18,000 Hopi Hopi Indian Reservation
Colorado River Numic Uto-Aztecan: Northern: Numic 2,000 5,000 Chemehuevi, Southern Paiute, Ute San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe of Arizona, Kaibab Indian Reservation, Colorado River Indian Reservation Nevada, Utah, Colorado, California
O'odham Uto-Aztecan: Southern: Piman 10,000 20,000 Akimel O'odham/Pima, Tohono O'odham/Papago Tohono O'odham Nation, Ak-Chin Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Sonora
Yaqui Uto-Aztecan: Southern: Taracahitic 15,000 25,000 Yaqui people Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation, Guadalupe Sonora (Yaqui River Valley)
Halchidhoma Yuman ? Halchidhoma

Other minority Native American languages

In addition to the languages listed in the table above, there are three other Native American languages spoken in Arizona that are primarily found in New Mexico, located immediately to the east:

See also


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2014-05-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title ( link) 2010 Census Bureau
  2. ^ State DOTs and Native American Nations
  3. ^ Navajo tops list of Native language speakers in US | CNS News
  4. ^ Language Magazine » Census Shows Native Languages Count
  5. ^ Newman, Stanley. (1996). Sketch of the Zuni language. In I. Goddard (Ed.) Handbook of North American Indians: Languages (Vol. 17, pp. 483–506). Washington: Smithsonian Institution.