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September Designated as Cocopah Month in Yuma County

Cocopah Indian Tribe

Cities in Yuma County proclaimed September as Cocopah Month in honor of the Cocopah Indian Tribe’s 100th anniversary of federal recognition.

KAWC’s Stephanie Sanchez reports.

The Cocopah, also known as the River People, have long lived along the lower Colorado River and delta.

In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed an Executive Order that federally recognized the tribe. The recognition made them eligible for federal funds and establish their reservation. 

As the tribe marks what officials call a bittersweet centennial, three border cities including Yuma, passed a proclamation declaring September as “Cocopah Month”.

Cocopah Indian Tribe councilwoman Rosa J. Long calls it a milestone for the tribe.

“It's history made for us," Long said. "I think having that done, it shows a great friendship that we built throughout the years...for them to do that for us and to take us into consideration.”

Cocopah Indian Tribe vice-chairman J. Deal Begay said it’s also a great opportunity to bring awareness of the Cocopah Culture.

"That’s what it really is," Begay said. "We as the Cocopah have been here for thousands of years and it seems like when you go around Yuma. A lot of people don’t know about the Cocopah.”

The Yuma County communities will display a billboard showing a timeline of Cocopah history in their city halls.

To hear the extended interview with Cocopah Indian Tribe vice chairman J. Deal Begay and council members Rosa J. Long and Edmund Domingues click below: 

Extended interview with Cocopah Indian Tribe council members.