The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Published on December 14, 2012 by Amy

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The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation is a federally recognized tribe of Cahuilla Indians, located in Riverside County, California.

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The Agua Caliente Indian Reservation was founded in 1896[3] and occupies 31,610 acres (127.9 km2). Since 6,700 acres (27 km2) of the reservation are within Palm Springs city limits, the tribe is the city’s largest collective landowner. The tribe owns Indian Canyons, located southwest of Palm Springs. The canyons are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They also own land in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.


The tribe’s headquarters is located in Palm Springs, California. They ratified their constitution and bylaws in 1957, gaining federal recognition. For many years the band was headed by Chairman Richard M. Milanovich until his death on March 11, 2012. Their current tribal council is as follows:

  • Chairman: Jeff L. Grubbe (elected June 19, 2012)
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Vincent Gonzales III
  • Member: Anthony Andreas III
  • Member: Jessica Norte
  • Language

    Agua Caliente is one of three reservations where speakers of the “Pass” dialect of the Cahuilla were located, the other two being the Morongo Indian Reservation and Augustine Indian Reservation. Pass Cahuilla is a dialect of Cahuilla found within the Cupan branch of Takic languages, part of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Though revitalization efforts are underway, all dialects of Cahuilla are technically considered to be extinct as they are no longer spoken at home, and children are no longer learning them as a primary language. The last native speaker of Pass Cahuilla died in 2008.

    Programs and economic development

    Tribal programs and family services
    Tribal Family Services was established in 2003 to support social and educational programs for tribal members. Other services include cultural preservation, child development, and scholarships.

    The Jane Augustine Patencio Cemetery provides burial services. (Palm Springs artist Carl Eytel is one of the few non-Indians buried in the cemetery.)

    Agua Caliente Cultural Museum
    The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in Palm Springs was founded by the tribe in 1991. It houses permanent collections and archives, a research library, and changing exhibits, as well as hosting an annual film festival.


    The tribe owns two major casinos, the Spa Resort Casino located in downtown Palm Springs and the Agua Caliente Casino Rancho Mirage in Rancho Mirage, California. The resort at Rancho Mirage also includes a hotel, fitness center and spa, the Canyons Lounge, and seven different restaurants. The Spa Resort Casino, opened in 2003, features gaming, a hotel, the Cascade Lounge, and four restaurants.


    Tahquitz Canyon southwest of downtown Palm Springs is accessible for hiking and guided tours. The Indian Canyons (consisting of Palm Canyon, Murray Canyon, and Andreas Canyon) also accessible for hiking, horesback riding, and tours, are south of Palm Springs.

    Golf courses

    The tribe also maintains two golf courses in Indian Canyon which are open to the public.

    Source: wikipedia Unabridged
    Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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