Colorado River Culture

Colorado River Traits

1.   Sedentary hunter/farmers
.  Dry farmed corn, beans, and squash
.  Lived in large bucolic villages
.  Fished
2.   Practiced the Dream Song
.   Sang Bird Songs
.   Shaman based
3.   Bellicose using large wooden clubs as favorite weapons
4.   Communal
5.   Excellent artisans
.   Potters
.   Basket weavers
6.   Live in sunken earth houses
7.   Traded extensively

Colorado River Culture languages and tribes:

Phylum / Stock / Family / Language Tribe
Hokan / Western Hokan / Yuman / Delta-California Yuman Cocopa
Hokan / Western Hokan / Yuman / River Yuman Halchidhoma
Colorado River Culture Ethnobotany 
Common Name Scientific Name Use
American Agave Agave americana L. Food Used as one of the most important foods.
Arizona Desert-thorn Lycium exsertum Gray Food Berries sun dried, stored and eaten without preparation, berries washed, boiled, dried and stored, berries washed, boiled, strained, mashed and wheat added to make mush.
Drink Berries gathered, washed, boiled, ground, mixed with water and used as a beverage.
Beans Phaseolus vulgaris L. Domestic Food Plant grown by Paipai in Baja California and traded to the Colorado River tribes
Bearded Cupgrass Eriochloa aristata Vasey Food Seeds parched, ground and the flour eaten dry.
Big Saltbush Atriplex lentiformis (Torr.) S. Wats. Food Seeds boiled to make a mush, seeds pounded, pit baked, ground, mixed with water to form stiff dough and eaten raw.
Blue Paloverde Parkinsonia florida (Benth. ex Gray) S. Wats. Famine Food Seeds parched until almost burned and eaten as a famine food.
Food Seeds roasted, ground and made into mush.
Blunt Tastymustard Descurainia obtusa (Greene) O.E. Schulz Food Young plants boiled as greens.
Broadleaf Arrowhead Sagittaria latifolia Willd. Food Tubers baked, peeled, and eaten whole or mashed.
Broadleaf Cattail Typha latifolia L. Food Pollen shaped into flat cakes and baked, rhizomes dried, stored temporarily, pounded and boiled with fish, pollen dried and stored for future use, young shoots used in combination with corn or tepary meal to make mush, pollen boiled in water into a thin gruel, pollen used as flavoring, fleshy rhizomes eaten without preparation. young shoots eaten raw, pollen gathered, sifted and eaten raw.
Cactus Apple Opuntia engelmannii Salm-Dyck Food Fruits rolled on ground to remove spines and eaten raw.
Candy Barrelcactus Ferocactus wislizeni (Engelm.) Britt. & Rose Fishing Spines heated and bent to make fishing hooks.
Carelessweed Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats.
Food Seeds parched and ground into meal, fresh plants baked and eaten, plants cooked and eaten as greens, plants cooked, rolled into a ball, baked and stored for future use.
Cattle Saltbush Atriplex polycarpa (Torr.) S. Wats. Food Seeds separated from hulls and eaten.
Chia Salvia columbariae Benth. Drink Seeds mixed into water
Food Seeds used to make pinole
Medicine Several uses
Common Reed Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. Food Honey-dew obtained from grass.
Smoking Tubular stalk internodes used to smoke tobacco.
Common Sunflower Helianthus annuus L. Food Seeds winnowed, parched, ground and eaten as pinole, seeds stored in gourds or ollas.
Crookneck Squash Cucurbita moschata (Duchesne ex Lam.) Duchesne ex Poir. Domestic Food Fruit peeled, cut spirally into strips, dried and stored, fruits cut into pieces and boiled with mesquite pods, pumpkin eaten as a cooked, mushy vegetable, seed sun dried, parched, cracked and the meat eaten, seeds used to tan hides.
Datura or Jimson Weed or Sacred Thornapple Datura wrightii Regel Narcotic Hallucinogen (Deadly poisonous)
Desert Agave Agave deserti Engelm. Food Crowns gathered and pit-baked, baked crowns obtained from Paipai and Diegueno in trade for agricultural products.
Dye Burned stalks burned and used for tattoos
Misc. Dried leaves pounded and made into carrying bags, sandals, cordage, nets, women's skirts, bow strings, snares, 
Tools Thorns used as awls in basket weaving and for tattooing
Desert Ironwood Olneya tesota Gray Food Seeds parched, ground lightly, roasted and the meal made into thin loaves and baked, seeds parched, ground lightly, roasted and eaten, seeds roasted, ground and made into mush.
Desert Lily Hesperocallis undulata Gray Food Bulbs eaten raw, baked or boiled.
Desert Tobacco Nicotiana obtusifolia var. obtusifolia Smoking Wild tobacco smoked.
Field Pumpkin Cucurbita pepo L. Domestic Food Roasted flesh eaten with fingers, fresh flesh boiled with rind on and sometimes mixed with maize meal, parched seeds used for food, dried flesh strips stored and mixed with flesh of stored whole pumpkins to improve flavor.
Fragrant Flatsedge Cyperus odoratus L. Food Seeds used for food
Fendler's Groundcherry Physalis hederifolia var. fendleri (Gray) Cronq. Food Fruits eaten fresh by children.
Fremont's Desertthorn Lycium fremontii Gray Food Berries sun dried, stored and eaten without preparation, berries washed, boiled, dried and stored, berries washed, boiled, strained, mashed and wheat added to make mush.
Fremont's Goosefoot Chenopodium fremontii S. Wats. Food Young shoots boiled as greens.
Golden Suncup Camissonia brevipes ssp. brevipes Food Seeds used for food.
Goodding's Willow Salix gooddingii Ball Food Honey-dew obtained from cut branches, bark eaten raw or cooked in hot ashes.
Drink Leaves and twig bark steeped to make tea.
Honey Mesquite Prosopis glandulosa Torr. Food Beans eaten raw, roasted, ground into flour and made into cakes
Drink Green beans mixed with water
Drink Blossoms used to make tea
Netting Bark pounded into carrying net for pottery
Indian Rushpea Hoffmannseggia glauca (Ortega) Eifert Food Tuberous roots utilized as food.
Indian Woodoats Chasmanthium latifolium (Michx.) Yates Food Seeds dried, ground and made into mush, seeds stored for later use.
Iodinebush Allenrolfea occidentalis (S. Wats.) Kuntze Food Seeds harvested, winnowed, parched, ground and the meal eaten.
Drink Ground seed flour and water made into a drink
Jojoba Simmondsia chinensis (Link) Schneid. Food Kernels molded into oily cake, boiled and eaten, nuts cleaned, winnowed, shelled and eaten.
Lotebush Ziziphus obtusifolia var. canescens (Gray) M.C. Johnston Food Berries dried and stored, to be soaked in hot water and used later, fruits mashed into a concoction and eaten.
Mexican Lovegrass Eragrostis mexicana (Hornem.) Link Food Seeds parched, ground and the flour eaten dry, seeds parched, ground and the flour cooked into a mush.
Mexican Panicgrass Panicum hirticaule J. Presl Food Seeds parched, winnowed and ground into flour, seeds ground into a meal and used to make bread, seeds ground into a meal and used to make gravy, seeds stored in ollas for future use.
Mojave Yucca Yucca schidigera Roezl ex Ortgies Food Fruit peeled and eaten without preparation.
Drink Fruit cooked and made into a drink.
Mule's Fat Baccharis salicifolia (Ruiz & Pavón) Pers. Famine Food Young shoots roasted and eaten as a famine food.
New Mexico Giant Hyssop Agastache pallidiflora ssp. neomexicana var. neomexicana (Briq.) R.W. Sanders Food Used as one of the most important foods.
Parry's Agave Agave parryi Engelm. Food Used as one of the most important foods.
Sandfood Pholisma sonorae (Torr. ex Gray) Yatskievych Food Roots baked, dried, boiled and eaten, roots baked and eaten after stripping off the thin bark.
Sauwi Panicum sonorum Beal Food Seeds ground, mixed with water and dried to make cakes, seeds harvested, winnowed and stored for winter use.
Screwbean Mesquite Prosopis pubescens Benth. Drink Bean pods rotted in a pit for a month, dried, ground into a flour and used to make a drink.
Food Bean pods used for food.
Scrub Live Oak Quercus turbinella Greene Food Acorns used to make mush.
Singleleaf Pinyon Pinus monophylla Torr. & Frém. Food Pinons eaten in the mountains away from home.
Spiny Cloracantha Chloracantha spinosa (Benth.) Nesom Famine Food Young shoots roasted and eaten as a famine food.
Staghorn Cholla Opuntia echinocarpa Engelm. & Bigelow Food Fruits rolled on ground to remove spines and eaten raw.
Tepary Bean Phaseolus acutifolius var. latifolius Freeman Food Parched, ground, boiled beans and unparched maize made into a meal, beans stored in pots for later use.
Valley Redstem Ammannia coccinea Rottb. Food Seeds gathered and prepared as food.
Velvet Mesquite Prosopis velutina Woot. Food Pods used for food, pods stored for later use.
Western Honey Mesquite Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana (L. Benson) M.C. Johnston Drink Pods crushed and steeped in water to make a beverage.
Food Pit cooked pods dried and stored in baskets, pods dried on roof tops and stored, beans dried thoroughly and pounded into meal, pit cooked pods pounded in a mortar and prepared as food.
Yellow Paloverde Parkinsonia microphylla Torr. Food Seeds roasted, ground and made into mush.
     Castetter, Edward F. 1935 Ethnobiological Studies in the American Southwest I. Uncultivated Native Plants Used as Sources of Food. University of New Mexico Bulletin 4(1):1-44
     Gifford, E. W. 1933 The Cocopa. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 31:263-270
     Minnis, Paul E., Ethnobotany, A Reader, U of Oklahoma P, 2000