Colorado River Indian Tribes Extension
The Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation - commonly called CRIT - is located in La Paz County in Western Arizona. The Colorado River Indian Reservation was chosen as the second Indian Reservation in Arizona. It was established in 1865 and instead of stating that the reservation was being established for a specific tribe, the document states that the reservation is for the "Indians of said River and its Tributaries." Initially, this included the Mohave, whose ties to the land dates from prehistoric time and the Chemehuevi who had also resided along the Colorado River from present day Nevada to Mexico for generations. The Mohave have farmed the lower Colorado River basin for over 800 years. Traditionally, they were also great traders reaching all the way to the coast of California and up into what is now Nevada. The Chemihuevi are especially known for their beautiful, high quality, baskets. Unfortunately, this art is dying out today some say because of a shortage of the native plants needed for their baskets.
Following WWII, members from the Hopi and Navajo tribes were relocated by the BIA to the Colorado River Indian Reservation from their traditional homes in northeastern Arizona. They originally occupied lands and housing constructed in the town of Poston for a War Relocation Camp.
The Hopi are great artisans, known for weaving, pottery, and the cultivation of cotton to make cloth which is then dyed and embroidered.
The Navajo were traditionally a nomadic people. Overtime, due to their ability to accept and incorporate the best traditions, talents, and cultural concepts of the many tribes with which they came in contact, the Navajo became the most pervasive tribe in the Southwest.
For CRIT, the skills of both the Hopi and Navajo at farming under arid conditions have greatly benefited the farming community and the reservation.
While, the four CRIT tribes maintain and observe their traditional ways and religious and culturally unique identities, they are now functioning as one geopolitical unit. The combined tribe is governed by a council of 9 members and includes a tribal Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. The round CRIT seal with a sunburst design around the edges depicts the sun's rays with 52 points representing 52 weeks of sunshine. Riverside Mountain is in the middle with the Colorado River flowing past. The crosshatch represents the checkerboard of farmed parcels on the reservation and the wheat and cotton represent the reservation's traditional ag resources. The 4 feathers represent the 4 tribes.
There are several characteristics unique to CRIT. The primary one is water availability. The reservation has almost 270,000 acres mostly in Arizona, but with lands on both sides of the Colorado River providing 90 miles of shoreline along the river. CRIT has senior water rights to 717,000 acre feet of the Colorado River which is almost 1/3 of the water allotment for the state of Arizona. This alleviates some of the drought impacts currently being felt elsewhere across the west and mid-west. Over 80,000 acres of tribal lands are currently in agriculture production.