The Agua Caliente Indian Reservation was founded in 1896 and occupies 31,610 acres (127.9 km2). Since 6,700 acres (27 km2) of the reservation are within Palm Springs city limits, the tribe is the city’s largest collective landowner. The tribe owns Indian Canyons, located southwest of Palm Springs. The canyons are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They also own land in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
The tribe’s headquarters is located in Palm Springs, California. They ratified their constitution and bylaws in 1957, gaining federal recognition. Their current tribal council is as follows:
Chairman: Richard M. Milanovich
Vice Chairman: Jeff L. Grubbe
Secretary/Treasurer: Karen A. Welmas
Member: Anthony Andreas III
Member: Vincent Gonzales, III
Agua Caliente is one of two reservations where speakers of the “Pass” dialect of the Cahuilla were relocated, the other being the Morongo Indian Reservation. Pass Cahuilla is an extinct dialect found within the Cupan branch of Takic languages, part of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Though revitalization efforts are underway, all dialects of Cahuilla are technically considered to be extinct as they are no longer spoken at home, and children are no longer learning them as a primary language. The last speaker of Pass Cahuilla died in 2008.
Programs and economic development
The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in Palm Springs was founded by the tribe in 1991. It houses permanent collections and archives, a research library, and changing exhibits, as well as hosting an annual film festival.
The tribe owns two major casinos, the Spa Resort Casino located in downtown Palm Springs and the Agua Caliente Casino Rancho Mirage in Rancho Mirage, California. The resort at Rancho Mirage also includes a hotel, fitness center and spa, the Canyons Lounge, and seven different restaurants. The Spa Resort Casino, opened in 2003, features gaming, a hotel, the Cascade Lounge, and four restaurants.