Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians

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Torres Martinez Desert
Cahuilla Indians
Total population
4,146 people living on the reservation[1]
Regions with significant populations
United States (California)
English, Cahuilla language[2]
traditional tribal religion,
Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Protestantism)[3]
Related ethnic groups

The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians is a federally recognized tribe of Cahuilla Indians, located in Imperial and Riverside counties in California.[5][4] Their autonym is Mau-Wal-Mah Su-Kutt Menyil,[6] which is said to mean "among the palms, deer moon."[7]

Torres Martinez Indian Reservation[edit]

The Torres Martinez Indian Reservation is a federal reservation in Imperial and Riverside Counties, with a total area of 24,024 acres (9,722 ha).[5] It was established in 1876[8] and was named for the village of Toro and the Martinez Indian Agency.[7] In 1970, 42 of the 217 enrolled tribal members lived on the reservation.[4] As of the 2010 Census the population was 5,594.[9]


The tribe's headquarters is located in Thermal, California.[10] Their tribal administration as of January 2019 is as follows:

  • Tribal Chairman Thomas Tortez Jr.
  • Vice-Chairman Joseph Mirelez
  • Secretary Altrena Santillanes
  • Treasurer RoseMarie Morreo
  • Council Member Elesha Duro
  • Council Member Arthur Lopez
  • Council Member Proxy Gary Wayne Resvaloso Jr.[11]

Economic development[edit]

The tribe owns and operates the Red Earth Casino in Salton City, California.[12]


The tribe maintains a small (48 interments) cemetery on Martinez Road in Thermal.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "California Indians and Their Reservations." San Diego State University Library and Information Access. 2012. Retrieved 1 Nov 2012.
  2. ^ Eargle, 111
  3. ^ Bean, 584-5
  4. ^ a b c Bean, 585
  5. ^ a b "California Indians and Their Reservations." San Diego State University Library and Information Access. (retrieved 17 May 2010)
  6. ^ "Home." Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. 2009 (retrieved 17 May 2010)
  7. ^ a b "Torres-Martinez Desert Band of Cahuilla". Gallery of Nations. Mid-America All-Indian Museum. Archived from the original on 2010-12-23. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  8. ^ Pritzker, 120
  9. ^ Staff, Website Services & Coordination. "US Census Bureau 2010 Census Interactive Population Map". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  10. ^ Dirmann, Tina (2002-03-29). "Tribe Impoverished by Salton Sea Gets Windfall". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-02-23.
  11. ^ "Tribal Council." Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. 2019 (retrieved 12 Feb 2019)
  12. ^ "Red Earth Casino." 500 Nations. (retrieved 17 May 2010)
  13. ^ 33°33′37″N 116°09′09″W / 33.5603042°N 116.1525048°W / 33.5603042; -116.1525048USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
  14. ^ "Torres Martinez Reservation Cemetery in California - Find A Grave Cemetery". Retrieved 17 April 2018.


  • Bean, Lowell John. "Cahuilla." Heizer, Robert F., volume ed. Handbook of North American Indians: California, Volume 8. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978. ISBN 978-0-16-004574-5.
  • Eargle, Jr., Dolan H. California Indian Country: The Land and the People. San Francisco: Tree Company Press, 1992. ISBN 0-937401-20-X.
  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°33′17″N 116°07′48″W / 33.55472°N 116.13000°W / 33.55472; -116.13000