Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Opatas (Onavas), a Mexican people, formerly very numerous and powerful in the state of Sonora, where they reached as far as the crests of the western Sierra Madre, being here conterminous with the Tarahumaras. They comprised four main groups: - (1) The Tehues, in the Cucurpe, Sonora, and Matape river valleys; (2) the Tehuimas, mainly in the Sonora valley and about the headwaters of the Rio Grande; (3) the Caguinachis, "Highlanders," in the Saguaripa spurs of the Sierra Madre; (4) the Jovas, between 2 and 3. At present all are settled in pueblos (rural villages); hence they are called "Pueblo Indians" to distinguish them from the neighbouring nomad wild tribes. But they are entirely distinct from the true Pueblo Indians of Arizona and New Mexico, and in appearance resemble the Aztecs and other Nahuas, being short, thick-set, with flat oval features and dark brown colour. But the language shows Pima affinities, the two forming the so-called Opata-Piraa family, extending far into the state of Durango. In the wars of the conquest the Opatas were conspicuous for their stubborn resistance to the Spaniards, and in more recent times they were chiefly instrumental in breaking the power of the fierce Apache nomads. Now they are peaceful agriculturists, gradually merging in the half-caste Mexican population.