nounEtymology: Mexican Spanish, alteration of earlier hiaqui, probably from Yaqui hiyaki, the Yaqui River Date: 1861 1. a member of an American Indian people of Sonora, Mexico 2. the Uto-Aztecan language of the Yaqui people
Amer. Indian people centered in S Sonora on the W coast of Mexico. They were settled agriculturalists who offered stubborn resistance to the first Spanish invaders and only gradually came under mission influence. In the 19th cent. they fought against Mexican encroachment on their fertile lands, and were finally quelled with difficulty in 1887. Thousands were subsequently deported. In the 1930s much of their land was returned to them. Irrigation projects have led to a shift from subsistence agriculture to cash cropping (wheat, cotton, and crops for vegetable oil). They number about 25,000 in Mexico and several thousand in Arizona.