Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Mailing Address

5401 Dinah Shore Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92264

Contact Information

760-699-6800

Website

http://www.aguacaliente.org/

Casino(s)

Cultural History

Although the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians occupied the Palm Springs area for their entire history, their stay there, much like other tribes, has been nothing short of tumultuous. Their early years in the Palm Springs area was marked by inconsistency and change due to differing government policies, all while maintaining the rich history and tradition of their proud tribe.

It wasn’t until the latter part of the nineteenth century that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians were given a reservation of their own. Even when this reservation arrived, however, the tribe still had no place to call their own exclusively. This was because the reservation was divided into segments, giving the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians only half of the available area. Imagine a chess board with white and black squares. Now imagine a piece of land that was divided into areas like a chess board and that one tribe would be given only the white squares. That was the situation that the tribe faced.

Throughout their entire ordeal, the tribe maintained a culture that lasts to this day. An important, and unique, tale told within the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians was the one of the Cahuilla Maiden. As the tale goes, the Cahuilla Maiden risked her own life to save a newborn she saw dying in a hot bed of water. Although her efforts resulted in her death, and failed to save the newborn, she was revered and used as an inspiration. The previously-feared season of spring was now seen in a different light, and to this day helps heal the soul of many Cahuilla Indians. Today, a prominent statue of this woman lies within the reservation. 

To make up for this slight, the government did allow tribal members to create economic opportunities on their land and guaranteed their freedom from other tribes and businesses for about one-hundred years. While this boon may seem minimal, it has proven to be quite prosperous for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Although the band never chose to build a casino or a similar profitable venue, their center for tourist activities and rented out land and home space has brought in a high level of income. In fact, the current worth of their upwards of thirty-thousand acres of land is estimated to be well into the ten-figures. 

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians found a way to keep their sense of pride and culture in their own beliefs prominent throughout their survival and today are benefiting from economic prosperity. Their Cahuilla Maiden omnipresent within their reservation, the band will no doubt continue to prosper and pass on tales of legends that have long passed.