Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians

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Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians Logo.png
Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians
Flag of the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians.PNG
Flag of the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians
0125R Augustine Reservation Locator Map.svg
Location of the Augustine Reservation
Total population
2010: 11[1]
Regions with significant populations
United States (California)
Related ethnic groups
other Cahuilla tribes
Tribal offices are located near the Augustine Casino in Coachella, California

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 nations in the United States, consisting of only 16 members, seven of whom are adults.[2]


According to interviews with Augustine Elders in the winter of 1924–1925, the tribe is of the Nanxaiyem clan of Pass Cahuilla. 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,[3] inhabiting the San Gorgonio Pass eastward to Indian Wells and westward to San Timoteo Canyon. The Nanxaiyem Clan of Augustine Reservation is Coyote moiety.[4]

On April 13, 1956, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs approved a census roll of the tribe, documenting 11 living members.[3] Roberta Augustine, the last original enrollee, died in 1986.[5] The reservation of the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians is a one-square-mile (2.6 km2) 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.[6] On December 29, 1981, the August Band of Mission Indians was established by an Executive Order.[3] Green was elected chairperson in 1988 and held the position until 2016.[7] Under Green, the tribal government, which currently employs eight people, was established in 1994 and their reservation was resettled in 1996.[8] Green's daughter, Amanda Vance, became tribal chair in 2016 after Green became ill.[2]

Traditional Cahuilla singer, Tony Andreas, grew up on the Augustine Reservation in the 1930s and 1940s.[5]

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.[6] 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.[3]

The tribe owns the Augustine Casino in Coachella.[9] Vance, the tribe's chair, is also the CEO of Synergy Blue, a slot machine company based in Las Vegas majority owned by the tribe.[10]

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.[11]

Other Cahuilla tribes[edit]


  1. ^ "2010 Census CPH-T-6. American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes in the United States and Puerto Rico: 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-09.
  2. ^ a b Lopez, Ricardo. "How one of America's smallest Indian tribes bounced back from the brink of dying out". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 2021-09-29.
  3. ^ a b c d California Indians and Their Reservations. Archived 2010-01-10 at the Wayback Machine San Diego State University Library and Information System. 2009 (retrieved 25 Feb 2009).
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b May, James. Eight-member Augustine tribe opens casino. Archived March 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Indian County Today. 30 July 2002 (retrieved 25 Feb 2009)
  6. ^ a b Recent History. Archived February 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Augustine Casino. (retrieved 23 Feb 2009).
  7. ^ Reyes, Jesus (2017-01-11). "Former Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal Chairperson passes away". KESQ-TV. Archived from the original on 2017-01-13. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  8. ^ "Destination: Augustine Casino, Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians" (PDF). Indian Gaming magazine. March 2009. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  9. ^ Augustine Casino. 500 Nations. (retrieved 23 Feb 2009)
  10. ^ Reports · , Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming. "Augustine tribal chairperson Amanda Vance named Synergy Blue's new CEO". CDC Gaming Reports. Retrieved 2021-09-29.
  11. ^ 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