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Centuries ago, ancestors of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla (pronounced Kaw-we-ah) Indians settled in the Palm Springs area. They developed complex communities in the Palm, Murray, Andreas, Tahquitz, and Chino Canyons. With an abundant water supply, the plants, animals, and Cahuilla Indians thrived. They grew crops of melons, squash, beans, and corn. They gathered plants and seeds for food, medicines, and basketweaving. Today, remains of Cahuilla society like rock art, housepits, foundations, irrigation ditches, dams, reservoirs, trails, and food preparation areas still exist in the canyons.

The Agua Caliente Indians were industrious and creative with a reputation for independence, integrity, and peace. They believed this productive land of their ancestors would always be theirs. However in 1876, the U.S. Federal Government deeded in trust to the Agua Caliente people 32,000 acres for their homeland. At the same time, they gave the So. California Railroad ten miles of odd sections of land to induce them to build the railroad. Of the reservation's 32,000 acres, some 6,700 lie within the Palm Springs city limits. The remaining sections fan out across the desert and mountains in a checkerboard pattern.

As early as the 1890's, Palm Springs and the surrounding area have been described as a recreation oasis. Tahquitz Canyon and three southern canyons are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Palm Canyon is considered the world's largest California Fan Palm Oasis.



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