Mohave Child

Mohave Child
by Ken West

The Mohave of the Southwest are only one of several desert people who were virtually eliminated by "White expansion" into their territory. They were a tall, handsome people who adjusted to a hot, difficult land with informal, peaceful ways within the tribe and constant war against all others.

Despite the unending warfare, life was not uncomfortable.  Food was plentiful; children, even those brought in as captives, were treated well.  The Mohave were one group of the Yuman-speaking people who lived along the lower Colorado River.

Social and political organization for the Mohave was similar to that of other desert people.  Theirs was a close yet informal structure with shared responsibility and little need for authoritative leadership; ironically, this lack of obvious, strong chiefs, who inherited their position, were more advisors than law enforcers, contributed the the decline of the nation.

Although their material belongings were few, they were adequate and elegant in their simplicity.

Allowed to follow ordinary adult activity at will, children had the additional benefit of attitude toward dress.  Clothing in this frequently hot country followed the seasons; for five-year olds, before the influence of white missionaries, this meant no clothing at all unless needed for warmth.

The original of this piece is available. This is a very large graphite painting and is absolutely beautiful.

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