Published on October 21, 2012 by Amy
Set at the foot of the beautiful San Gorgonio and San Jacinto Mountains, the Morongo Indian Reservation spans more than 35,000 acres and overlooks the vistas of the Banning Pass. Resilient and resourceful, the Morongo tribe has had to overcome many adversities.
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The Morongo Reservation was one of nine small reservations set aside by President Grant by executive order in 1865. In 1983, the path of Morongo’s future changed when tribal members started a modest bingo hall. From this building evolved one of the oldest and most successful Indian gaming facilities in California. The present $250 million destination which opened in late 2004, the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, is one of the largest tribal gaming facilities in the nation.
With its diversification into non-gaming businesses, the tribe has become the largest private sector employer in the Banning-Beaumont region and is a major contributor to the Coachella Valley economy. The tribe now employs more than 3,000 people. An independent study reported that the tribe’s gaming and non-gaming businesses would generate more than $2.8 billion into the regional economy by 2008. The tribe pays payroll taxes, unemployment benefits, employee benefits and provides health programs. More than two thirds of the Morongo workforce is composed of residents from the Banning Pass and desert cities.
On both community outreach and social education fronts, Morongo has taken a leadership role. The tribe gives generously on an annual basis to hundreds of local community groups. Today, the region’s governments, businesses, community leaders and groups regard Morongo as a friend and partner. The Morongo tribe’s progress is a case history that illustrates how combining a pro-active tribal government with sound economic development can enable tribes to turn their lives and communities around and dramatically impact the surrounding economic region.
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is actively working with government and community leaders to explore the best paths of future development and planning that will yield a better quality of life for this generation and for generations to come.