Cocopa Tribe

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Cocopa (ko’-ko-pa). A division of the Yuman family which in 1604-05 lived in 9 rancherias on the Rio Colorado, 5 leagues above its mouth. At a later period they also extended into the mountains of Lower California, hence were confined almost. exclusively to Mexico. According to Heintzelman, in 1856, the tribe was formerly strong in numbers and could muster 300 warriors; their total number was estimated by Fray Francisco Garcés in 1775-76 at 3,000, but there are now only 800 in north Lower California, in the valley of the Rio Colorado. The Cocopa were reputed to be less hostile than the Yuma or the Mohave, who frequently raided their villages; nevertheless they were sufficiently war-like to retaliate when necessary. Garcés said of them in 1776 that they had always been enemies of the Papago, Jalliquamai (Quigymna), and Cajuenche, but friendly toward the Cuñeil. Although spoken of as being physically inferior to the cognate tribes, the males are fully up to and in some cases rather above normal stature, and are well proportioned, while the females appear also to be of at least ordinary size and are also well developed. Heintzelman1 says” they so much resemble the Cuchan (Yuma) in arms, dress, manners, and customs it is difficult to distinguish one from another.” They depended for subsistence chiefly on corn, melons, pumpkins, and beans, which they cultivated, adding native grass seeds, roots, mesquite beans, etc. The Cocopa houses of recent time range in character from the brush arbor for summer use to the wattled hut, plastered outside and in side with mud, for winter occupancy Polygamy was formerly practiced to some extent. They universally cremate their dead. The Cuculato are mentioned as Cocopa division and Llagas as the name applied by the Spaniards to a former group of Cocopa rancherias.


  1. H. R. Ex. Doc. 76, 34th Cong. 3d sess. ,43, 1857 

MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. Web. 31 January 2015. - Last updated on Jul 22nd, 2014

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