Cocopah Indian Reservation was established through an executive order by President Woodrow Wilson in1917. It created the west and east reservation with approximately 1,772 acres. In 1985, President Reagan signed the Cocopah Land Acquisition Bill, which increased the Cocopah Reservation by nearly 6,000 acres, including a north reservation of 600 acres. The total reservation is in southwestern Arizona, at an elevation of 103 feet, approximately 13 miles south of Yuma, five miles north of San Luis, Mexico, about 180 miles east of San Diego and 180 miles west of Phoenix.

 

With about 2,400 acres of irrigated land on the reservation, agriculture is very important to the Cocopah economy. All of the lands are farmed through land leases to non-Indians. Income from agriculture amounts to some $250,000 per year. With the acquisition of 4,000 acres of land in 1985, the tribe started several new businesses and developments. In 1987, a convenience store, gas station, smoke shop and the Cocopah Bingo Hall were opened in joint ventures with private developers. These businesses created a variety of job opportunities for Cocopah tribal members were designed to achieve a goal of self-sufficiency for the Cocopah Tribe. The tribe now operates the Bingo Hall and casino directly under a gaming compact with the State of Arizona. The casino employs 50 tribal members. The Cocopah Bend Recreational Vehicle Resort is four miles from downtown Yuma and 10 miles from San Luis, Mexico. The resort has full hook-ups, on-site management, and a full-time activity director. Amenities include an 18-hole golf course, Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts, community building and dance hall. Monthly and annual rates are available. Water treatment and sewer treatment facilities at Cocopah Bend and elsewhere have been completed. These offer employment opportunities for tribal members.

 

Train excursions from Yuma to the west reservation are provided in cooperation with the Yuma Valley Live Steamers. At the end of the line, an early 1800s Cocopah Indian Village has been recreated and Cocopah Elders sell authentic Cocopah jewelry and fry bread. The tribe is building a museum this year at the location. Attractions in the vicinity include the California dunes; fishing, water-skiing, swimming at lakes along the Colorado River; Yuma's historic areas, and golf courses. Nightspots and shopping are popular activities in San Luis, Mexico, and the port-of-entry community. Special events include Cocopah Land Acquisition Day, Cocopah Festivity Days, the Miss Cocopah Pageant, an annual Powwow, and Cocopah Street Fair.