Maricopa (märĭkōˈpə, mâr–) [key], Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Yuman branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). At some time in the past the Maricopa, under pressure from the Yuma, moved up the Gila River in Arizona from the Colorado River. In 1775 they lived near the mouth of the Hassayampa River in S Arizona, numbering some 3,000. The Maricopa were previously sedentary farmers who lived in somewhat permanent villages. In alliance with the Pima, they severely defeated the Yuma in 1857. The Maricopa, numbering close to 800 in 1990, now live with the Pima on the Gila River and the Salt River reservations in Arizona. Some Maricopa also live in Phoenix and Los Angeles. They are known for their excellent pottery.
See L. Spier, Yuman Tribes of the Gila River (1933, repr. 1970); P. H. Ezell, The Maricopas (1963).