Cocopah Tribe asks Congress to increase its boundaries
The Cocopah Indian Tribe is making its third plea to Congress for permission to extend the reservation's traditional boundaries to include lands purchased by the tribe.
Congressman Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., recently introduced the Cocopah Lands Act to the 110th Congress.
The act would allow the Cocopah Indian Tribe to expand its boundaries to include 423 acres, according Liz Pratt, director of communications for the tribe. That land was purchased by the tribe since the Cocopah Reservation was created in 1917 through an executive order by President Woodrow Wilson.
Pratt said bringing the land into the official reservation is important for many reasons, including the tribe's ability to govern that land as part of its sovereign nation.
"The tribe needs to place land into the tribal trust so it can govern the land and provide the needed infrastructure and development for community members to enhance their quality of life," Pratt said.
The 423 acres are all adjacent to land within the reservation, which is split into three reservation communities in Yuma County.
The act specifies that the acquired land could not be used for gaming purposes.
This is the third time the act has been introduced in Washington, with the first attempt by Congressman Ed Pastor. The act's best success came in 2007 when it passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
"The tribe is just working hard to keep the momentum and working hard with the congressman to get the act before congress," Pratt said. "The tribe is remaining hopeful."
She added words of appreciation for Grijalva's support.
"The congressman has been very supportive of the tribe's need to place the lands into trust. He and his office have worked hard to get the act before Congress."
Darin Fenger can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6860.