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Mojave Desert Indians - Historic Desert Indian Territories Map:

Timeline & Notes

1774 The first encounter with Europeans was when Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition was looking for a trade route between Sonora, Mexico and Monterey, California.

Living far inland, Cahuillas had little contact with Spanish soldiers or Priests, who saw the desert as having little to offer and a place to avoid. They learned of Mission life from Indians living near Missions in San Gabriel and San Diego.

1781 Yumas closed land route to Whites

1811 Revolted against the missions along with the Serrano, Gabrielino, and Yuma

1819 Several asistencias established nearby

1842 Juan Antonio, leader of the Cahuilla Mountain band, gave traveler Daniel Sexton access to areas near the San Gorgonio Pass

1845 Chief Juan Antonio recruited to attack Luiseņo in Mexican War, killed 33 to 100 at Temecula

The Mountain Band also lent support to a U.S. Army expedition led by then Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale, defending the party against attacks by Walkara and his band of Ute warriors.

1850 Revolted along with Yuma and Cocopa at Cupeņo village over property tax imposition

During the 1850s, the Cahuilla came under increasing pressure due to the California Gold Rush. In addition to the influx of Anglo-American miners, ranchers and outlaws, and groups of Mormon colonists, the Cahuilla came into conflict with the neighboring Cupeņo tribe to the west. When the California Senate refused to ratify an 1852 treaty granting the Cahuilla control of their lands, tribal leaders, including Antonio, resorted to attacks on settlers.

1863 Smallpox epidemic from infected blankets given by Whites

To encourage the railroad, the U.S. government subdivided the lands into one mile square sections, giving the Indians every other section.

1877 the government established reservation boundaries which left the Cahuillas with only a small portion of their traditional territories. One former Cahuilla village, Tekwite (Tikwit) located near a natural hot spring was turned into a railroad station and the present-day town of Indio, California.

1891 Reservations established

1913 Killed Indian Agent

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    Cahuilla woman

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