Cultural Heritage



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, Andreas, Tahquitz and Chino Canyons. Abundant water and hundreds of plants and animals found throughout the area ensured stable living conditions. Many traces of these communities exist in the canyons today, including rock art, house pits and foundations, reservoirs, trails, and food processing areas.

The Agua Caliente Indians were industrious and creative with a reputation for independence, integrity, and peace. They believed this productive land of their ancestors would always be theirs. However 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 area have been described as a recreation oasis. Tahquitz Canyon and three southern canyons are listed in the National 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. In 1995, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians opened their first casino in a tent. Today, the Tribe has hotels, casinos, a golf resort, and entertainment venue.

Experience the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians