San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

Mailing Address

26569 Community Center Drive
Highland, CA 92346

Contact Information




Cultural History

The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians is an American Indian tribe formally recognized by the country. The said tribe is located near the city of Highland in California. The tribe is composed of aboriginal people who were originally from the San Bernardino highlands and valleys. These people share a common language and of course, culture. In 1891, a reservation called the San Manuel Reservation was established. The establishment of the said organization led to the sovereignty and complete control over an area of the tribe. With this, they were recognized as a distinct group of people with their own government. The said reservation was named after one of its greatest tribal leaders, Santos Manuel. The reservation is located in the foothills of San Bernardino Mountain region in the north of the Highland City. It measures 800 acres which is composed of mountainous land.

The culture of this tribe is equally enticing and wonderful. They are used to living in the forests and getting their needs from nearby trees and available resources. One of the folklores about the tribe says that their creator is someone named Kruktat who died in the high mountains. They have then mastered the art of growing piņon nuts and utilizing the acorns as food. Villages also play a special role in the lives of this tribe. Many family gathering sin the villages promote culture as they sing together and tell folklores. They are also good in basket weavings and are even known as one of the best basket weavers in the United States. 

For the sake of economic growth, the tribe ventured on the high-stakes bingo operation, thus the birth of the so called San Manuel Indian Bingo. In 1994, this establishment was expanded. Additional card room and video machines were installed making it one of the most loved recreational facilities in the area. Today, the San Miguel Band of Indians is said to be one of the largest employers having not less than 2,000 employees.

Another business venture was the San Manuel Water Group established in December 2000. The business commits itself to serving the Southern Californians the purest water available by using a technique that they have long learned from their ancestors.

However, it did not take long since the tribe experienced difficulties both financially and economically. The tribe stuck together and stood strong to continue what they have started. The government concentrated on reinforcing the infrastructure, education and other economical factors that has now led them to a major economic growth. 

Their government consists of two governing bodies. They have a seven-member Tribal Council whose role is to act as the Business Committee and another council known as the General Council composed of elders who are 21 years old and older. Its Tribal Council is composed of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and three other Business Committee members.