1. a member of an American Indian people of Arizona.2. the Yuman dialect of the Yuma Indians, mutually intelligible with the dialect of the Mohave Indians.3. a city in SW Arizona, on the Colorado River. 42,433.
* * *Any of various North American Indian peoples living mostly in California and Arizona, U.S. Their languages belong to the Hokan language family.They once lived in the lower Colorado River valley and adjacent areas in Arizona, California, and Mexico. The river Yuma (including the Mojave, Yuma, and Maricopa) lived along the lower Colorado and middle Gila rivers; the upland Yuma (including the Hualapai, Havasupai, and Yavapai) inhabited western Arizona south of the Grand Canyon. The river Yuma were primarily farmers; the upland Yuma also practiced hunting and gathering. Both lacked settled villages. Yuma religion is characterized by belief in a supreme creator, faith in dreams, and ritual use of song narratives. At the turn of the 21st century, they numbered more than 4,000.
* * *city, seat (1871) of Yuma county, southwestern Arizona, U.S. It is situated on the Colorado River at the mouth of the Gila River, just north of the Mexican frontier. Founded in 1854 as Colorado City, it was renamed Arizona City (1862) and Yuma (1873), probably from the Spanish word humo, meaning “smoke,” because of the local Quechan (Yuma) practice of creating smoke clouds to induce rain. A strategic river crossing, the site was probably visited in 1540 by Hernando de Alarcón (working with the Coronado expedition).Yuma is the centre of large irrigation districts that have transformed parts of the desert into rich farmland. Thus agriculture, tourism, and some light manufacturing form the basis of the economy, which is augmented by the nearby Yuma Proving Ground (1942), the Marine Corps Air Station (1928), federal and local government centres, and the two-year Arizona Western College (1962). Yuma Territorial Prison (1876), now a state historical park, displays artifacts and photographs of prison life in the old West. Inc. town, 1871; city, 1914. Pop. (1990) city, 54,923; Yuma MSA, 106,895; (2000) city, 77,515; Yuma MSA, 160,026.
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