Chemehuevi Indian Tribe

Mailing Address

1909 Palo Verde
Havasu Lake, CA 92363



Cultural History

The Chemehuevi Indian Tribe takes pride as part of the Great Basin Culture Area. Their name, the Chemehuevi comes from a Mojave term which literally means "those that play with fish". The tribe is a branch of the Southern Paiute and has been constant inhabitants of the Mojave Desert. They like to call themselves as the Nuwu which means "The People". For thousands of years now, they have adapted the nomadic lifestyle that living in the Mojave Desert requires. Their territory is also bound by the Colorado River shoreline.

The Chemehuevi Indian Tribe has lost their original ancestral lands in 1853. It was when the Federal Government first declared the land as public ownership. This started the conflicts between them and their neighbors, the Mojaves. Because of these hostilities, their people have scattered and many of them were lost. Their population was reduced to only hundreds and so in 1885, they have reunited with the Chemehuevi Valley. 

In 1907, they were blessed with their own reservation area when the Federal Government established the Chemehuevi Valley Reservation. Because of this, thirty six thousand acres of land in the valley became the property of the Chemehuevi. Despite gaining a homeland, the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe was still forced to relocate in the Parker area and their recognition as a federally-recognized tribe was taken away. 

It was in 1929 when the formation of the Metropolitan Water District started and so the Congress certified the acquisition of the lands for the building of the Parker Dam Project. A disaster came in 1940 when the flood gates closed and some 8,000 acres of the Nuwuvi lands were flooded. In the early fortieth century, there was still a constant push in the recognition of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe. Their persistence succeeded and in June 5, 1970, the finally gained their much awaited acknowledgement. Despite the loss of land, there is still a remaining 32,000 acres of land in trust for the tribe and in addition, they are also granted almost thirty miles of the Colorado River frontage dedicated to the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe.

They celebrate their Nuwuvi Days every first week of June as part of their constitution. It is a celebration of the tribe’s reinstatement as the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe. They also celebrate the Indian Days which acknowledges the Californian Indians.

Their current tribal leaders are Mr. Charles Wood, the Chairman, Shirley M. Smith as the Vice Chairman and Ron Escobar, their Secretary-Treasurer. Their main duty and responsibility is the welfare of the tribe. The Chairman is also the spokesperson of the Tribe. They also have their own tribal court, tribal attorney and tribal administrator. Their current tribal administrator is Mr. Ken Hayes.

Today, their main business is the Havasu Landing Resort and Casino. It boasts of its facilities and guarantees one of enjoyment. The casino has several slot machines to choose from as well as gaming rooms.

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