Identification. The Quechan are an American Indian group located in western Arizona and eastern California. "Quechan," meaning "those who descended," is a shortening of the name that the Quechan believe was given to them and to other lower Colorado peoples at the time of creation on the sacred mountain Avikwame: "Xám Kwacán," meaning "those who descended by a different way" or "those who descended by way of the water."
Location. Aboriginally the Quechan lived along the lower Colorado River, north and south of its junction with the Gila River. This area lies primarily within the present states of California and Arizona. Their reservation today is a small portion of their aboriginal territory.
Demography. The population may have been about four thousand prior to contact with Spaniards in 1540. By the early 1900s there were fewer than a thousand. In 1988 the Quechan population was estimated at two thousand, about two-thirds of whom lived on or adjacent to the reservation.
Linguistic Affiliation. Quechan is classified in the Yuman subfamily of the Hokan language family. Those living in the extreme southern portions of their territory may have spoken a distinct dialect of Quechan.