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United States Gotoarrow.png American Indians Gotoarrow.png California Gotoarrow.png Indians of California Gotoarrow.png Chemehuevi Indian Reservation (California)


The Chemehuevi Reservation is a federally-recognized reservation located in San Bernardino County, California.

Established -- 1907 and 1970
Agency (BIA) -- Colorado River Agency
Principal tribes -- Chemehuevi
Population -- 2010: 203 - it does not include non Indians


This Reservation was established very late in the Reservation establishment period, which may indicate either a relocation of Indians from some other location occurred, or a leader or leaders, of the Chemehuevi took treaty and agreed to accept a Reservation. The Chemehuevi Valley Reservation was established in 1907. It originally covered over 36,000 acres. The Chemehuevi Indians from the Chemehuevi Valley Reservation relocated to the Colorado River Reservation.Colorado River Reservation has a much larger Chemehuevi population. The United States broke a treaty promise with a group of Indians who settled the Chemehuevi Reservation in 1907, from another location to the north. The Chemehuevi continued to fight to have their Reservation returned and on June 5, 1970 the Chemehuevi were once again recognized by the government of the United States. Today, their Chemehuevi Valley Reservation covers 32,500 acres.

Lake Havasu City, Arizona is on the Arizona side of the Colorado River.
The Chemehuevi Valley Reservation Tribal Administration Office is located in Havasu Lake, California. The Reservations population was 345 in the 2000 census. Indians accounted for 149 of the population of 345. Hispanics accounted for 77 of the white population of 158.

1907 Deportations

In 1907, the United States deported several hundred Idaho and Montana Chippewas to other Reservations including the Chemehuevi Reservation and Navajo Reservation.
Many of the Chemehuevi of Twenty-Nine Palms Reservation, were also relocated to Chemehuevi Valley Reservation.
In 1905, the United States eradicated the Lemhi Reservation. Supposedly the Lemhi Reservation covered around 64,000 acres. However, in southwest Montana a large Chippewa population lived. About 15 to 20 miles to the east of the Lemhi Reservation, was Horse Plains Prairie or Horse Prairie, Montana.

According to a book (NATIVE BUT FOREIGN: INDIGENOUS TRANSNATIONAL REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS IN THE U.S. - CANADIAN AND U.S. - MEXICAN BORDERLANDS, 1880 PRESENT, page 167), the Cree who are the northern Chippewa people known as the O-mush-ke-go-walk or O-ma-ske-go-walk (Swamp or Swampy People), had around 40 lodges in Horse Plains Prairie. Their population may have been between 200 and 300.
There is another Horse Plains a few miles west of Flathead Reservation but southwest Montana is Flathead country according to the October 17, 1855 Blackfeet Treaty which the Flathead leaders signed.

Lemhi Reservation may have been primarily located in southwest Montana. A small portion was located in southeastern Idaho. It extended up to the southern fringes of Anaconda and Butte. According to newspaper reports, the Chippewas who lived south of Anaconda and Butte, were told in 1907 to leave or face interment.

Many were deported to Canada, many more were deported to the Chemehuevi Reservation, Fort Hall Reservation of Idaho, Navajo Reservation, and Uintah-Ouray Reservation of Utah. At the Lemhi Reservation of southeast Idaho, it was reported that over 500 Chippewas left on their own and relocated to the Fort Hall Reservation.

Exactly how many Chippewas were relocated to the Chemehuevi Reservation is unknown. It may have been 100 to 300. Since the Montana and Reserve of Alberta, Canada has a population of over 10,000, far more Chippewas were relocated there than to the Chemehuevi Reservation.

Forced Relocations

In 1895, the United States arrested chiefs Little Shell III and Red Thunder in May. They were forced to leave Montana for the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Rolette County, North Dakota. Afterwards, the United States began to find land for the Chippewas of the Little Shell Pembina Chippewas Blackfeet Reservation (aka Turtle Mountain Reservation of Montana).

One location was Twenty-Nine Palms Reservation in California. It was created in 1895. It may have been the first Reservation created for the Montana Chippewas who were being relocated away from the Little Shell Chippewa's Blackfeet Reservation in June and July of 1896. The United States realized the Reservation (Twenty-Nine Palms Reservation) was impressive. What is now Joshua Tree National Park, was in fact the Twenty-Nine Palms Reservation. It covers 1,234 sq. mi.

In 1908, the United States forced the Chippewas who lived at the Twenty-Nine Palms Reservation to relocate to the Morongo Reservation, Augua Caliente, Cabazon, Colorado River, Soboba, and Torres-Martinez.


Web Sites

Chemehuevi Indian Culture and History

Mojave Desert Chemehuevi Indians


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  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published
  • Tiller, Veronica E. Velarde. American Indian Reservations and Trust Areas. [Washington, DC]: Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1996. WorldCat 35209517; FHL book 970.1 T463a.
  • United States Department of Commerce, Frederick B. Dent, Secretary. Federal and State Reservations and Trust Areas. 1974. FHL book 970.1 Un3fe/1974.
  • United States Department of the Interior. Executive Orders Relating to Indian Reservations. Washington: [United States] Government Printing Office, 1912 (v. 1), 1922 (v. 2). Vol. 1 – May 14, 1855 to July 1, 1912. Vol. 2 – July 1, 1912 to July 1, 1922. FHL film 1440543 Items 8-9.
  • United States Federal and State Indian Reservations, Map. Available online.
  • Waldman, Carl. Atlas of the North American Indian. New York: Facts on File, 2009. 3rd ed. WorldCat 244771132; FHL book 970.1 W146a 2009.
  • Waldman, Carl. Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. New York, New York: Facts on File, 2006. 3rd ed. WorldCat 14718193; FHL book 970.1 W146e 2006.



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  • This page was last modified on 8 June 2015, at 21:42.
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