Tecopa (Paiute leader)

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Tecopa, very early 1900s.

Tecopa (c.1815–1904) was a Native American leader, his name means wildcat.[1] Tecopa was a leader of the Southern Nevada tribe of the Paiute in the Ash Meadows and Pahrump areas. In the 1840s Tecopa and his warriors engaged the expedition of Kit Carson and John C. Fremont in a three-day battle at Resting Springs.[2] Later on in life Tecopa tried to maintain peaceful relations with the white settlers to the region and was known as a peacemaker.[3] Tecopa usually wore a bright red band suit with gold braid and a silk top hat. Whenever these clothes wore out they were replaced by the local white miners out of gratitude for Tecopa's help in maintaining peaceful relations with the Paiute.[4]
Tecopa is buried with his son and grandson at the Chief Tecopa Cemetery in the Pahrump Valley, Nevada.[4][5]

The Census-designated place of Tecopa, California was named after Tecopa by J. B. Osbourne who was the operator of a mining camp at the location.[3]

In November 1971 Nevada Governor Mike O'Callaghan called Tecopa a leader of vision and courage and dedicated a state memorial to him at the Chief's gravesite. 15 acres (61,000 m2) of land were deeded to Nye County and became Tecopa Park.[6]


  1. ^ McCracken, Robert D. (1996). Las Vegas:The Great American Playground. p4: University of Nevada Press. ISBN 0-87417-301-9. 
  2. ^ Le Hayes. Pilgrims in the Desert. p27: Mojave River Valley Historical Association. ISBN 0-918614-16-3. 
  3. ^ a b Carlson, Helen S. (1974). Nevada Place Names. p229: University of Nevada Press. ISBN 0-87417-094-X. 
  4. ^ a b Glass, Al (1983). Touring Nevada. p174: University of Nevada Press. ISBN 0-87417-074-5. 
  5. ^ "Cemetery project uses present to identify past". Pahrump Valley Gazette. 1998-02-12. Retrieved 2008-11-12. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Back Then:36 Years Ago This Month". Pahrump Valley Times. 2007-11-21. Archived from the original on November 24, 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-13.