Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians

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Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians
Augustine Tribal Executive Office.jpg
Tribal offices are located near the Augustine Casino in Coachella, California
Total population
8
Regions with significant populations
United States (California)
Languages
English
Related ethnic groups
other Cahuilla tribes

The Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians is a federally recognized Cahuilla band of Native Americans based in Coachella, California. They are one of the smallest tribal nation in the United States, consisting of only eight members, only one of whom is an adult.[1]

Background[edit]

According to interviews with Augustine Elders in the winter of 1924-1925, the tribe is of the Nanxaiyem clan of Pass Cahuilla Indians. Francisco Nombre, a Desert Cahuilla ceremonial leader and keeper of traditional clan genealogy, stated that the Nanxaiyem migrated to the Coachella Valley around 1860 and their survivors settled at La Mesa, the flat land east of La Quinta, California. There, according to Nombre, they became known as Augustin [sic]. There are over a dozen Pass Cahuilla clans, traditionally following patrilineal descent, and are divided into the Wildcat and Coyote moieties,[2] inhabiting the San Gorgonio Pass eastward to Indian Wells and westward to San Timoteo Canyon. The Nanxaiyem Clan of Augustine Reservation is Coyote moiety.[3]

On April 13, 1956 the Commissioner of Indian Affairs approved a census roll of the tribe, documenting 11 living members.[2] Roberta Augustine, the last original enrollee, died in 1986.[1] The reservation of the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians is a one-square-mile tract of land, located in Riverside County, California at 33°39′01″N 116°11′27″W / 33.65028°N 116.19083°W / 33.65028; -116.19083. Thermal, California and the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians are both nearby. The land was left vacant for half a century, until Chairman Green moved there in 1996.

Mary Ann Green, née Martin, born in 1964, decided to rebuild the tribe and resettle the reservation.[4] On December 29, 1981, the August Band of Mission Indians was established by an Executive Order.[2] Green was elected chairperson in 1988 and has held the position since. The tribal government was established in 1994 and currently employs 8 people.

Traditional Cahuilla singer, Tony Andreas, grew up on the Augustine Reservation in the 1930s and 1940s.[1]

Current projects[edit]

The tribe has developed plans for both cultural revival and economic sustainability.

Improvements to reservation lands include adopting a zoning code and removing illegally dumped garbage.[4] During the 50 years the land was vacant, trash, commercial wastes, carcasses, and thousands of tires were dumped on the land. The monumental cleanup task started in 1994, when the tribe partnered with the US Environmental Service, the California Conservation Corps, the California Integrated Waste Management Board, and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.[2]

The tribe owns the Augustine Casino in Coachella.[5]

The Augustine Band built the first photovoltaic renewable energy system on Indian land in California. The system is expected to produce 1,900 megawatts of solar energy annually.[6]

Other Cahuilla tribes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c May, James. Eight-member Augustine tribe opens casino. Indian County Today. 30 July 2002 (retrieved 25 Feb 2009)
  2. ^ a b c d California Indians and Their Reservations. San Diego State University Library and Information System. 2009 (retrieved 25 Feb 2009).
  3. ^ Strong, William Duncan (1987). Aboriginal Society in Southern California. Morongo Indian Reservation, Banning, California: Malki Museum Press. pp. 91, 102. ISBN 0-939046-00-8. 
  4. ^ a b Recent History. Augustine Casino. (retrieved 23 Feb 2009).
  5. ^ Augustine Casino. 500 Nations. (retrieved 23 Feb 2009)
  6. ^ Gruszecki, Debra. Augustine Band takes green path. The Desert Sun. 12 Feb 2009 (23 Feb 2009)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

33°38′57″N 116°11′25″W / 33.64917°N 116.19028°W / 33.64917; -116.19028Coordinates: 33°38′57″N 116°11′25″W / 33.64917°N 116.19028°W / 33.64917; -116.19028