Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 1477
Temecula, CA 92593



Cultural History

The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians has been living in the Temecula Valley for tens of thousands of years now. The valley has been their natural habitat since most of their ancestors could remember. According to their legends, the life on earth actually began in the valley, of which they call the Exva Temeeku which is the place of the union of the Sky who is the father and the Earth as the mother. The Temecula Indians has lived at the Temeekunga which is the place of the Sun.

Prior to the contact with the White settlers, the Pechanga people has grown and adjusted to their lands alone, without the help from anybody. They were independent in their own way and have always lived in the Temeeku, their ancestral village. The village is governed by the Redhawk. The Temeeku Village, however still remained to be the home of the Temeekuyam and was the center for all the other Luiseño Tribesmen.

Also known as payomkowishum, the Luiseño people were almost brought to extinction by the events and actions upon their first contact with the Spanish Missionaries. It was then that their territories were threatened to be lost forever as well as their culture and heritage. The traditional lands of the tribe were ceded, and the Pechanga Reservation was established in compliance with the Executive Order of the President of the United States on the 27th of June in 1882. Together with their reservation, their sovereignty and land-base was also affirmed. Trust Patents were likewise issued in the years 1893, 1931 and 1971. Each patent increased the size of the Pechanga. One thousand, two hundred thirty three acres of the reservation’s land were soon allotted to the heads of the tribal households. 

The lands that were allotted to the tribesmen were both hilly and bushy so only small plots were available for farming. This urged the tribe to send off petitions asking for more suitable land for farming. It was Commissioner C.E Kelsey who was an Indian Commissioner who sought for a remedy to the burdens of the Pechanga. He was the one who urged the project called the Pechanga Creek as well as another land for the farming purposes of the tribe.

An additional 303 acres of land was added to the original size of the reservation. This is under the passage of the Southern California Indian Land Transfer. The additional land was located in the northern boundary of the reservation. Since then, the total land area of the reservation became 5,500 acres. The tribe has evolved since their first contact with the Whties. They are now engaged in business enterprises of which their government handles. They are also into charitable operations as well as community building.