Thursday, 19 January 2017 11:53

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Written by Jeff Shotwell
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Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

When visiting Palm Springs, it is important to recognize the original inhabitants of the area, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The  Agua Caliente Indian Reservation occupies almost fifty square miles in the Palm Springs area, including parts of the cities of Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, and Cathedral City. 

A good place to begin learning about Cahuilla history and culture is the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in Palm Springs. Located at 219 South Palm Canyon Drive, the museum is easily accessible. In addition to photographs and maps, the museum houses Native American artifacts. Woven Stories: Baskets of the Cahuilla is an exhibit on traditional basket making.

The exhibits change, so be sure to visit the museum more than once. Section 14: The Other Palm Springs displayed the life experiences of the "diverse cultures, races, ethnicities, and conflicting political and economic interests" that lived in Section 14 from WWII to the 1960s. This exhibit is now on loan to the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is more than just a collection of exhibits. It hosts events like the 2017 Singing the Birds (Wikitmallem Bird Tahmuwhae) Bird Song & Dance Festival in February and the 2017 Native FilmFest in March. The Bird Song & Dance Festival honors bird singers and dancers. It will be February 4, 2017, at the Palm Springs High School gymnasium. Admission is free. There will be food for sale. The Native FilmFest showcases "the best in films by, about, and starring Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples from around the world." The Native FilmFest is March 2, 3, and 4, 2017. Again, admission is free.


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