July 11, 2012

Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians


Brief Summary:


Official Tribal Name: Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians

Address:  P.O. Box 391820, Anza, CA 92539
Phone: (951) 659-2700

Official Website:

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning

Common Name: Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians

Meaning of Common Name:

Cahuilla has been interpreted to mean “the master,” “the powerful one,” or “the one who rules.” 

Alternate names / Alternate Spellings / Misspellings:

Formerly the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of the Santa Rosa Reservation

Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria

Name in other languages:

Region: California

State(s) Today: California

Traditional Territory:

The traditional Cahuilla territory was near the geographic center of Southern California. It was bounded to the north by the San Bernardino Mountains, to the south by Borrego Springs and the Chocolate Mountains, to the east by the Colorado Desert, and to the west by the San Jacinto Plain and the eastern slopes of the Palomar Mountains.

Confederacy: Cahuilla


Reservation: Santa Rosa Reservation
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Population at Contact:

Prior to European contact, when they occupied the better part of Riverside County and the northern portion of San Diego County, the collective Cahuilla bands numbered from 6,000 to 10,000 people. Some people estimate the population as high as 15,000 Cahuilla people, collectiively. There were once 22 bands of Cahuilla.

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Bands, Gens, and Clans

The Cahuilla can be generally divided into three groups based on the geographical region in which they lived: Desert Cahuilla, Mountain Cahuilla and Western (San Gorgonio Pass) Cahuilla. All three spoke the Cahuilla language, had similar lifestyles and practiced the same traditions. The Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians are Desert Cahuilla, and are one of a total of nine Cahuilla Indian nations living on ten indian reservations.

The Cahuilla People were divided into two moieties: Wildcat and Coyote.

Related Tribes:

Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians, Ramona Band of Cahuilla Indians, Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians, and Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla Indians. There are also some Los Coyotes in the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians.

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Wedding Customs


Famous Cahuilla Indians

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In the News:

Further Reading:

John Tortes “Chief” Meyers: A Baseball Biography – One of major league baseball’s first Native American stars, John Tortes “Chief” Meyers (1880-1971) was the hard-hitting, award-winning catcher for John McGraw’s New York Giants from 1908 to 1915 and later for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He appeared in four World Series and remains heralded for his role as the trusted battery mate of legendary pitcher Christy Mathewson. Unlike other Native American players who eschewed their tribal identities to escape prejudice, Meyers–a member of the Santa Rosa Band of the Cahuilla Tribe of California–remained proud of his heritage and became a tribal leader after his major league career.  

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