Coco-Maricopas, Or Maricopas, a tribe of semi-civilized Indians, living upon the river Gila, New Mexico, about 150 m. above its mouth. They occupy a portion of the rich alluvial valley found there, in common with another tribe known as the Pimos, which holds the same rank in civilization. The valley is there about 15 m. in length, and from 2 to 4 m. in width, nearly the whole of which is occupied by the villages and cultivated fields of these two tribes. The Pimos occupy the eastern portion. There is no dividing line between them, nor anything to distinguish the villages of one from those of the other. Their joint reservation, as established by congress, on both sides of the Gila, is about 25 m. long and 4 m. wide, extending from Maricopa Wells to below Sacaton. The whole of this plain is intersected by irrigating canals from the Gila, by which they are enabled to control the water, and thereby raise luxuriant crops. The villages consist of groups of from 20 to 50 habitations, surrounded by gardens and cultivated fields, the latter fenced with crooked stakes wattled with brush. Their houses are built with stakes, poles, corn husks, and straw. These habitations are from 5 to 7 ft. in height, and in diameter from 15 to 25 ft.

There is usually a bower or shed attached to each wigwam, open on all sides, beneath which the occupants are generally seen engaged in their household duties, only resorting to their better protected abodes in cool or rainy weather. Besides the dwelling places, each family is provided with a storehouse or granary, better built than the former. These Indians possess horses, mules, and horned cattle. When ploughing is resorted to, oxen only are used; but they prefer to use the hoe for turning up the light soil. With this simple instrument and a long-handled spade, they are able to cultivate as much ground as they require. The men generally plant and gather the crops. The food of these people is chiefly bread, made both of the flour of wheat and maize, and vegetables. Little meat is used. But that which elevates these tribes above most other aborigines is their knowledge of the art of spinning and weaving, an art known to the semi-civilized tribes of New Mexico before the arrival of the Spaniards. Cotton of a superior quality is raised by them, which they spin and weave into blankets of various textures and sizes, a heavy cloth used by the women to wrap around their loins, and an article from three to four inches wide, used as a band for the head or a girdle for the waist.

The implements used for spinning and weaving are of the most primitive character. Their other manufactures are baskets and pottery. The basket work is remarkably well made of willow twigs, of various shapes, and used for different purposes. Their pottery is either red or dark brown, some of it quite fine, though not equal to that made by the ancient tribes, fragments of which cover the adjacent grounds. It consists of vases and cups holding from half a pint to six or eight gallons, jars with small apertures, basins of every size, and oblong vessels used as dippers. The ornaments on their pottery and their cotton manufactures closely resemble those on the pottery found among the ancient ruins and sites of ancient towns throughout New Mexico. They resemble, too, the ornaments of the Pueblo or semi-civilized Indians of the country, which leads to the inference that the Coco-maricopas, the Pimos, and the Pueblo Indians generally, are descendants from the ancient people who have left so many remarkable works in the great basin of the Colorado. The dress of the women is simply a cotton blanket or cloth wrapped around their loins. Sandals of raw hide are worn on the feet. Nothing is worn on the head, nor is the hair ever tied up.

In front it is cut off square across the eyebrows; the rest is suffered to hang loosely over the ears, neck, and half way down the back. It is a universal custom among the women, when they arrive at maturity, to draw two lines with some blue-colored dye from each corner of the month to the chin. This is pricked in with a pointed instrument, and remains through life. The men generally go naked, except the breech cloth. In cool weather they throw one of their native blankets over their shoulders. Much pains is taken in decorating the head. They wear their hair long, never cutting it except across the eyebrows. When loosed, it reaches to their knees; but usually it is clubbed up in a large mass on their backs. This people restrict themselves to a single wife. They believe in the existence of a great spirit and in an existence after death; that their souls go to the banks of the Colorado, their ancient dwelling place, where they are metamorphosed into various animals and birds; they believe, too, that the fends which have existed on earth between them and other tribes will continue after death. The Coco-maricopas lived originally on the Colorado, but were found about 50 miles beyond their present location early in the last century.

In 1775 Father Font found them on the river Salinas, 10 or 20 miles from the Pimos. Subsequently they removed for protection to the valley occupied by the Pimos, with whom they live on terms of the greatest harmony, and whose customs they have adopted. Their languages are totally different. The language of the Coco-maricopas has a close affinity with that of the Yumas of the Colorado, and Comeyas of California. The Maricopas numbered in 1870 only 382 in two villages, and are rapidly disappearing from their contact with the whites.