Mojave Tribe

Mojave Native American Indian Tribe

Mojave Native American Indian Tribe

This article contains interesting facts, pictures and information about the life of the Mojave Native American Indian Tribe of California.

The Mojave Tribe
Summary and Definition: The Mojave (Mohave) tribe were a California tribe of fierce Native American Indians who were hunters, fishers and farmers. The Mojave tribe are highly distinctive due to the tattoos that adorned their bodies. The names of the most famous chiefs of the Mojave tribe included Chief Iretaba and Chief Hobelia.

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Facts about the Mojave Native Indian Tribe
This article contains fast, fun facts and interesting information about the Mojave Native American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions like where did the Mojave tribe live, what did they wear, what did they eat and who were the names of their most famous leaders? Discover what happened to the Mojave tribe with facts about their wars and history.

What was the lifestyle and culture of the Mojave tribe?
The Mojave tribe were fishers, hunters and farmers who mainly inhabited California. The Mojave tribe called themselves Hamakhav meaning "People Living Along the Water," a reference to their homeland along the lower Colorado River in what is now California and Arizona. As can be seen from the above picture, tattoos were particularly popular with the Mojave tribe and used for sacred rituals and ceremonies.

The Mojave tribe were expert fishers who used utilized nets and baskets to catch the fish. They traveled the river on rafts and poles to different fishing locations. The Colorado River used to overflow seasonally, depositing rich soil that the Mojave used for agriculture. In the Mojave culture the women were subservient to men. Each Mojave village had an elected chief who was responsible for the overall government of the people. The principal chief shared responsibilities for the tribe with the war chiefs, shamans and other religious leaders.

The Mojave Tribe Tattoos
The Mojave tribe tattoos were made using ink from a blue cactus plant. Tattooing was performed at the time of puberty as an important rite of passage. Both the women and men of the tribe wore complete body tattoos as part of religious ceremonies, and were believed to bring good fortune and entry into the afterlife. Protection tattoos were also made when Mojave warriors prepared to go into battle to bring protection and to instil fear in their enemies.


Where did the Mojave tribe live?
The Mojave are people of the California Native American cultural group. The location of their tribal homelands are shown on the map.  The geography of the region in which they lived dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Mojave tribe.

  • They mainly lived in the American states of California and Arizona along the banks of the Colorado River

  • Land: Arid but with rivers

  • Climate: Mild temperate climate.

  • Land Animals: Rabbits, squirrels, quail and chipmunks,

  • Natural Resources: Mushrooms, roots, acorns, nuts and grasses, seaweed. Redwood and cotton wood

Map showing Native American Indians Cultural Groups


Mojave Village Plank House and Ramada

Mojave Redwood plankhouse with ramada

What did the Mojave tribe live in?
The Mojave tribe were farmers who lived near the banks of the Colorado River. The rectangular Mojave houses were made from redwood planks with slanted roofs. The supporting framework of the house was made using Redwood logs or cottonwood poles. The framework was then covered with Redwood planks. A stone fire pit was built into the house for cooking and warmth in the winter. At the front of the house the Mojave added a ramada, derived from the Spanish word ramaje (arbor). The ramada was a simple shelter that was open on at least three sides that offered shade in the summer. The Mojave also built granaries to store their grain as can be seen in the picture. Temporary brush shelters were used on hunting and fishing trips.

What language did the Mojave tribe speak?
The Mojave tribe spoke in the Yuman language.

What food did the Mojave tribe eat?
The food that the Mojave tribe ate included a variety of fish and shellfish including salmon, trout, eels, clams and crabs. Rabbits were in abundance in their area and were used as a meat supplement to their fish diet. They grew crops of beans, squash, corn (or maize) and pumpkins and the women collected roots, herbs and berries to add to their meals. Many foods were dried either before they were eaten. The Mohave dried beans, corn, muskmelons, and wild plants by the sun.

What transportation did the Mojave use?
Mojave men made dugout canoes from hollowed logs and redwood planks. The men hollowed logs with controlled fire that softened the timber so they could carve and shape their canoe to have a flat bottom with straight sides.

What clothes did the Mojave men wear?
The clothes worn by the men were limited to loin cloths woven from grass or bark fibers. Cloaks made from rabbit skins were worn if it grew cold at night. The Mojaves were usually barefoot, but occasionally wore sandals. They adorned their hair with a pelican plume.

What clothes did the Mojave women wear?
The type of clothes worn by the women were also basic. They wore a willow-bark, knee-length skirts and, like the men, used rabbit skin cloaks at night. Both the men and women of the tribe wore jewelry made from shells and beadwork. They were highly skilled at creating beaded collars with elaborate designs and patterns. Their clothes were painted and embroidered with porcupine quills.

Who were the most famous leaders and chiefs of the Mojave tribe?
The most famous leaders and chiefs of the Mojaves included Chief Iretaba and Chief Hobelia. The enemies of the Mojave Tribe were the Pima, Halchidhoma, Cocopa, Maricopa, and Papago tribes. Their allies were the Quechan and Yavapai tribes.

What weapons did the Mojave tribe use?
The weapons used by the Mojaves included spears, stone ball clubs, knives and the bow and arrow. Enemies captured during raids and battles were made slaves, identified by tattoo markings on the chin.

What was the religion and beliefs of the Mojave tribe?
The religion and beliefs of the Mohave tribe was based on Animism that encompassed the spiritual or religious idea that the universe and all natural objects animals, plants, trees, rivers, mountains rocks etc have souls or spirits. The Mojave were a deeply religious people. Their supreme deity was Matevilya, who created the earth. When his task was done, he transformed himself into a fish eagle. His son, Mastamho taught the people how to live and how to plant. "Dreaming" was the source of religious power and the Mojave tribe underwent a form of a Vision Quest or Spiritual Journey which was sometimes accompanied by the inducement of a Trance State for the purpose of attaining guidance or knowledge from supernatural forces or spirits.    

Mojave History: What happened to the Mojave tribe?
They made first contact with the whites in 1540 when they were met by the Hernando de Alarcon expedition who was exploring the Baja California peninsula. The United States acquired Mojave territory in 1853 with the Gadsden Purchase, which saw an influx of white settlers and farmers encroaching their lands. Most of the Mojave tribe living in the region were forced to move to the Colorado River and Fort Mojave reservations were established in 1865 and 1870, respectively.


  • Interesting Facts and information about the way the people lived
  • The clothes worn by men and women
  • Description of the homes and the type of food the Mojaves would eat
  • Fast Facts and info about the Mojave
  • Names of famous chiefs and leaders
  • Interesting Homework resource for kids on the history of the Mojave Native American Indians

Pictures and Videos of Native American Indians and their Tribes
The Mojave Tribe was one of the most famous tribes of Native American Indians. Discover the vast selection of pictures on the subject of the tribes of Famous Native Americans such as the Mojave nation. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes, such as the Mojave tribe, that can be used as a really useful educational resource for kids and children of all ages. We hope you enjoy watching the video - just click and play - a great social studies homework resource for kids .


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