Cocopah Tribe

Leadership (updated August 2017) Contact Information
Sherry Cordova, Chairwoman Address: 14515 S. Veterans Drive
J. Deal Begay Jr., Vice Chairman                Somerton, AZ 85350
Rosa J. Long, Council Member Phone:    928-627-2102
Marvin Sharkey Jr., Council Member Website:
Edmund Domingues, Council Member
Lilia Tafoya, Executive Secretary to the Chairwoman
GOVERNANCE: The Cocopah Tribe is led by a five-person Tribal Council. Council seats are held for 2-year terms with elections held in July of even-numbered years. The current Council will be in office 2016-2018.  Council meetings are held the second Friday of each month. The Cocopah Tribe is in Congressional District 3; Legislative District 4. 
CONSTITUTION: To view the Cocopah Tribe full Constitution, adopted 1959, amended 1964, click here.

COMMUNITY PROFILE: "The Cocopah Sovereignty is the foundation that preserves traditional cultural values and educational empowerment for a healthier way of life." - Cocopah Tribe Vision Statement, Adopted May 2012.

The Cocopah Indian Tribe, known as the River People, have lived along the lower Colorado River for centuries. The Cocopah Reservation was established in 1917, and in 1964 the Tribe established a Tribal Council. The Cocopah Indian Tribe is one of seven descendant Tribes from the Yuman language-speaking people that lived along the Colorado River. Although the Cocopah people had no written language, history and traditions have been passed down orally and through the diaries and journals of outside travelers along the Colorado River. According to the 2010 Census, approximately 817 individuals live on the Cocopah Tribe Reservation in Arizona (a 20.3 percent decrease in population from the year 2000). 

The Cocopah Tribe is located in the southwest corner of Arizona near the California and Mexico borders. The land area consists of more than 6,500 acres along the lower Colorado River, with a land base of 9.4 square miles. The Cocopah Tribe is actively involved in habitat restoration efforts along the Colorado River. The reservation is comprised of three non-contiguous regions: the North, East, and West Reservations. The East and West Reservations are located 15 minutes from each other on either side of the town of Somerton. The North Reservation is located in Yuma.  

Approximately one-quarter of the Cocopah Tribe is under the age of 18, and another quarter of the Tribe is 65 years or older.*  The proportion 65 years and older is significantly higher than the figures for the state of Arizona and Yuma County.  The median age for the Tribe is 39, compared to a median age of 35.9 for the state. Cocopah Tribe households are more likely to multigenerational compared to the rest of the state (defined by the census as more than two generations living together). Traditional husband-wife families are predominant (61 percent), and households headed by a single female make up more than one-quarter (29 percent) of all households. Cocopah Tribe households have a significantly high poverty rate (33 percent), with 31 percent classified as "severely poor" due to earning less than half of the poverty threshold. The percent in poverty is especially high for youth - 53 percent of those between age 6 and 17 live in poverty.  The median household income for the Tribe is $43,300. 

The Cocopah Museum and Cultural Center is located on the West Reservation and includes hand-crafted exhibits, meeting space, and a gift shop.  The museum is surrounded by a 1.5-acre park featuring a traditional dwelling replica made from natural elements.  The Cocopah Tribe also operates the Cocopah Casino, Resort, and Conference Center, the Cocopah Speedway Race Track, the Cocopah RV and Golf Resort, and the Cocopah Rio-Colorado Golf Course. 

*All statistics are from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey, 5-year estimates.