Cahuilla Band of Indians

Mailing Address

52702 Hwy 371
Anza, CA 92539


Cultural History

Cahuilla Band of Indians is a Band of Native American Indians who has been in California for around 2,000 years. They were the original inhabitants the 2,400 square miles but traditional habitat was actually near the geographic center of the Southern California region. Today, there are reservation areas dedicated to the Cahuilla Band of Indians. Nine of these reservation areas can be found in the Imperial, Riverside and San Diego Counties most specifically the Agua Caliente, Augustine, Cabzon, Cahuilla, Los Coyotes, Morongo, Rmaona, Santa Rosa and the Torres-Martinez.

The native tongue of this tribe is from the Uto-Aztecan family. The data from the 1990 census stated that only 35 were speakers among the 800 members of the tribe. This only proves that the dialect is near extinction. 

The tribe’s first contact with the Europeans was in 1774 when they were discovered by Juan Bautista de Anza. During that time, he was looking for a trade route in the Sonora and Monterey area. Since then, more and more whites have come to visit their land offering trading products. Juan Antonio, the leader of the Cahuilla band then was the first one who gave the access of their land to the Anglo/Americans. This was during the expedition of Daniel Sexton. It was followed by the expedition by Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale against the Ute warriors.

Their former territory was bordered to the north by the so-called San Bernrdino Mountains, on the south was the Borrego Springs as well as the Chocolate Mountains, on its east was the Colorado Desert, on its west, it was bordered by the San Jacinto Plain and some of the eastern slopes of the Palomar Mountains.

Their folklores suggest that when the tribe first moved to the Coachella Valley, the Lake Cahuilla already existed. However, sometime during the seventeenth century, the lake dried up and in 1905, a new body of water emerged which is now known as the Salton Sea. 

Because of the California Gold Rush during the 1850’s, the Cahuilla Band of Indians became under pressure to relocate and avoid the invaders who were trying to get as much fortune as they can from the territories of the Indians. There were several attacks that also triggered the relocation. The Cahuilla Band of Indians of today is more successful than before. They have the Palm Springs area which is flourishing for business enterprises and is currently experiencing rapid growth. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is now one of the major factors for the success of the general band. While they operate the Palm Springs, another part of the Cahuilla Band of Indians, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians operates the Moprongo Casino Resort and Spa along with the Hadley Fruit Orchards in Cabazon.

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