The modern tribes of the Southwest present striking differences in culture. It is, in fact, almost impossible to speak longer of a Southwestern culture area. In the present state of our knowledge it is apparent that a great cultural gap separates the Pueblos from many of the people about them. Consequently it will be necessary to consider the various groups more or less in dependently.
The geographic area which is to be considered is slightly more limited than that of the archaeological or prehistoric Southwest. It consists roughly of Arizona, New Mexico, a portion of northern Sonora, southern Utah, southwestern Colorado, and the southeastern fringe of California. Within these limits live a large number of tribes of very diverse culture and speaking various languages, often of very different linguistic stocks (see maps 1 and 2).
The first and most obvious group is the Pueblos, those Indians who live in large communities of massive and permanent architecture and who subsist almost entirely from agriculture. This group, although homogenous in culture in contrast to the other Southwestern tribes, displays certain internal differences and speaks a diversity of languages.
Next in the cultural scale are the rancheria tribes, characterized by more or less scattered villages of unpretentious architecture, lacking stone or adobe constructions, and with less dependence upon agriculture than is the case with the Pueblos. This group probably includes the Opata of northeastern Sonora (about whom little is known; they may possibly belong with the Pueblo group), the Pima and Maricopa on the Gila River in south central Arizona, the Papago extending south of the Gila River into Sonora, and the Cocopa, Yuma, Mohave, Walapai, and Havasupai in ascending order from the mouth of the Colorado River to Cataract Canyon. The last two rather shade into the next cultural group.
The third group may be termed marginal agriculturists, from the fact they had no fixed habitations and practised agriculture in only the most sporadic and desultory fashion. They include the western Apache of Arizona and southeastern New Mexico, the Yavapai of western Arizona, the Navaho, and the Paiute groups of southern Utah.
The final group is the least clearly defined. For convenience the tribes of this group may be called nomads. The really coherent feature of this grouping is the close Plains affiliations of the members. All are predominantly hunting peoples without fixed habitations and depending originally to some extent upon the buffalo for subsistence. Probably some of them also practised agriculture in a rudimentary fashion but in the main they more resemble typical Plains Indians than they do any of the Southwestern groups. They include Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, Comanche, southern Ute, and eastern Apache (Table I).
A. Rio Grande Drainage
TaosB. Western New Mexico Zuni
C. Northern Arizona Hopi (seven villages)
A. Gila Valley
OpataB. Colorado River
CocopaIII. Marginal Agriculturists