1. a member of a North American Indian people closely related to the Pima and now living mainly in southern Arizona and northwestern Mexico.2. the Uto-Aztecan language of the Papago Indians, closely related to Pima.[ < Sp pápago, earlier papabo(s), shortening of papabi-ootam < Pima-Papago bá·bawi-óodham Papago(s), equiv. to bá·bawi tepary beans + óodham Piman]
* * *or Tohono O'odhamNorth American Indian people linving mostly in a region straddling the U.S.-Mexico border.Their language belongs to the Uto-Aztecan language stock. They rejected the name Papago, from a Piman word papahvi-o-otam meaning "bean eaters," in the 1980s; they call themselves Tohono O'odham, meaning "Desert People." Closely related to the Pima, they probably descend from ancient Hohokam peoples. On their traditional territory, vast stretches of desert regions of Arizona, U.S., and northern Sonora, Mex., the Papago practiced food gathering and flash-flood farming. Because of the wide dispersal of their fields, their largest viable political unit was a group of temporarily related villages. They had less contact with whites than other Indian groups and have retained elements of their traditional culture. They number some 15,000.
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