Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Centuries ago, ancestors of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla (pronounced Kaw-we-ah) Indians settled in the Palm Springs area and developed extensive and complex communities in Palm, Murray, An- dreas, Tahquitz and Chino Canyons. Many traces of these communities exist in the canyons to- day, including rock art, house pits and foundations, reservoirs, trails, and food processing areas.

Archaeological research has discovered that the Cahuilla have occupied Tahquitz Canyon for at least 5,000 years. The Cahuilla Indian name for Palm Springs area was Sec-he (boiling water); the Spanish who arrived named it Agua Ca- liente (hot water). And then cam the name “Palm Springs” in reference to both the native Washigtonia filifera palm tree and Agua Caliente Hot Mineral Springs.

In 1876, the U.S. Federal Government deeded in trust to the Agua Caliente people 32,000 acres for their homeland. At the same time, they gave the So. California Railroad ten miles of odd sections of land to induce them to build the railroad. Of the reservation’s 32,000 acres, some 6,700 lie within the Palm Springs city limits. The remaining sections fan out across the desert and mountains in a checkerboard pattern.

As early as the 1890’s, Palm Springs and the surrounding ar- ea have been described as a recreation oasis. Tahquitz Canyon and three southern canyons are listed in the Na- tional Register of Historic Places. Palm Canyon is considered the world’s largest California Fan Palm Oasis.

The Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians remains actively involved with the City of Palm Springs.

murray canyon

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