The Pima (or Akimel O’odham, also spelled Akimel O’otham, “River People”, formerly oft simply known as Pima) are a group of Indigenous Americans living in an area consisting of what is now central and southern Arizona. Currently the majority population of the surviving two bands of the Akimel O’odham is based in two reservations: the Keli Akimel O’otham on the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) and the On’k Akimel O’odham on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC). They are also closely related to other river people, the Ak-Chin O’Odham, now forming the Ak-Chin Indian Community, and the Sobaipuri, whose descendants still reside on the San Xavier Indian Reservation or Wa:k (together with the Tohono O’odham) and in the Salt River Indian Community. Together with the kindred Tohono O’odham (“Desert People”, formerly known as Papagos) of Eastern Papagueria and the Hia C-ed O’odham (“Sand Dune People”, formerly known as Sand Papagos or Sand Pimas) of the Western Papagueria they form the Upper O’otham or Upper Pima (also known as Pima Alto). The short name, “Pima” is believed to have come from the phrase pi ‘añi mac or pi mac, meaning “I don’t know,” used repeatedly in their initial meetings with Europeans.

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