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Visions of the Indian Canyons

Categorized as: Community & Neighborhood
Event tags: Museum, Palm Springs, Native


Visions of the Indian Canyons will lead you on a photographic journey deep into the majestic beauty of the Indian Canyons of Palm Springs. The exhibition also explores historical controversies surrounding Tahquitz, Andreas, Murray, and Palm Canyons - now referred to as The Indian Canyons.

The canyons supplied food, water, medicines, building materials, shelter, and beauty for their inhabitants. When the old villages were thriving, native plants were nurtured and managed, and irrigation ditches carried creek water to tribal gardens.

With the coming of non-Indians, a struggle began over who controlled the canyons, their waters, and other natural resources. The canyons were important to the newcomers of Palm Springs - they were a goldmine for tourism and held the precious commodity of water.

Beginning in the early 1900s, settlers, businessmen, land developers, writers, photographers, and tourists, as well as city, state, and federal governments joined forces repeatedly to have the sacred Indian Canyons taken from the Indians and placed in the public domain to become a national park. Battles over the sovereignty of tribal lands continue even today.

In 2001, The San Jacinto/Santa Rosa Mountain National Monument was established, and the Agua Caliente people became the first American Indian tribe in the country to achieve a stewardship status equal to other government land managers of a national monument.

Remnants of the old ways of life, the bedrock mortars, and ancient rock drawings till exist in the canyons. The kids who once played in the creek are gone, and women no longer pound mesquite beans in the rocks. Because of the persistence of the Agua Caliente people, the canyons have been kept pristine for us and future generations to enjoy.