POZAS DE ARVISU, Son. Colin Soto stood in front of the crowd
and welcomed people to the event in a language most listening didn't
he said in English that the event was meant to increase the understanding
the general public, especially children, has of the Cocopah Indian
Tribe's culture and language on both sides of the border.
of you that are young here will be my friends, my doctors, people
that are going to help the Cocopah people for years to come,"
said Soto, a member of the Cocopah Indian Nation in Somerton.
comments were made during the meeting of the Cocopah Nations that
was held in the town of Pozas de Arvisu, Son., which is located
a few miles south of San Luis Rio Colorado and is the home of the
Cucupahs of San Luis Rio Colorado.
officials said the meeting was the first of its kind to bring together
tribal members from Arizona, Sonora and Baja California. The tribes
split between the United States and Mexico by the Gadsden Purchase
Flores, a Cucupah historian, said the event was created to allow
the communities to learn about the tribal customs in Mexico and
the United States.
want them to see how the people who were the first to inhabit this
land live," he said.
Sunday, hundreds of people made their way to the event and got a
first-hand look at the arts and history of the tribes.
were also treated to musical performances and an exhibitions of
a tribal game that involved two players using a stick to push a
small rubber ball into a goal area.
area schools bused in students and used the gathering as a way to
teach the kids a little more history.
Ivethe Garay Leon, a 15-year-old San Luis Rio Colorado student,
said she was working on a report on the tribes and brought her camera
to take pictures of the displays and musical shows.
is very interesting," she said as she looked at pictures of
tribal artifacts on display.
could also purchase arts and crafts such as dolls or necklaces from
the various tribal members who made the items by hand.
Santos and Santiago Reyes were selling flutes they spent hours making
to the young children who enjoyed watching the men play the instruments,
which were made from bamboo.
said he welcomed the event and was appreciative of the children's
excitement over his flutes.
they know we are here," he said.
big part of the event, though, was talking about where the tribes
go from here.
Palafox, the mayor of San Luis Rio Colorado, said it was important
to make sure the needs of the tribes aren't overlooked.
said his office will start working with the local tribe to help
improve the tribal facilities and see about getting them a museum
similar to the one tribal members in Somerton have. "They need
to be respected and get the dignity they deserve," he said.