• Created 1876 by Presidential Executive Order
• Located in Banning, California
• Encompasses nearly 40,000 acres
• One of Riverside County’s largest employers
• Provides more than 3,000 jobs
• Generates nearly $3 billion in economic activity
First and foremost, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians is a sovereign government that provides services like those offered by federal, state, and local agencies. Morongo tribal members elect a seven-member Tribal Council to govern their independent nation. Morongo’s tribal government is organized into 17 different government departments:
• Administration & Operations
• Child & Family Services
• Community Outreach
• Cultural Heritage
• Education Services
• Elders Program
• Emergency Services Dept.
• Environmental Dept.
• Fire Department
• Information Technology
• Human Resources
• Planning & Construction
• Public Works
• Realty Department
• Tribal Police
• Water & Wastewater Dept.
Morongo has a diverse business portfolio that stretches across numerous industries:
• Morongo Transmission, LLC.
• Tribal Capital Markets
• Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon
• Morongo Travel Center
• Hadley Fruit Orchards
• Canyon Lanes
• Arrowhead Water Bottling Plant
• Taco Bell
Morongo owns and operates two tribal casinos: The AAA-Four Diamond Morongo Casino Resort & Spa and the newly renovated Casino Morongo.
Expanded in 2020, the $250 million Morongo Casino Resort & Spa is one of the nation’s largest tribal gaming facilities with over 3,700 slots and dozens of table games.
Nestled beneath the windswept San Gorgonio Mountains of Riverside County, the Morongo Indian Reservation is home to nearly 1,000 members of the resilient Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Located within traditional Cahuilla territory, the original 640-acre reservation was established in 1865.
For more than a decade, the untamed tapestry of gentle canyons, rangeland and steep ridgeline was known as the Malki Reservation. On May 15, 1876, the Morongo Indian Reservation was created by Presidential Executive Order by President Ulysses S. Grant. Eventually, members of several Indian groups and clans were mandated to live on the reservation.
The Serrano people from the north migrated to the Pass area, joining the Cahuilla people who already resided on the lands that make up the Reservation The Morongo Band of Mission Indians came to include members from the Cupeno, Luisena, Chemeuevi, Gabrileno, Paiute and Kumeyaay tribes.
The name Morongo is believed to have been derived from the Serrano word ‘Marringa,’ meaning “the people from Marra,” or the place of origin for the Serrano people. Others suggest that the tribe and reservation bear the name of Captain John Morongo, a prominent Serrano leader.
Today the Morongo Reservation spans nearly 40,000 acres of largely untouched ridgelines, canyons, and open space dotted with foothill grasses, sagebrush, and majestic oaks. Cattle continue to graze on the backcountry landscape as they have for decades.
Blessed with an indomitable spirit, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians persevered to overcome decades of poverty, intolerance and adversity. Today the tribe is a model of self-reliance and self-determination, building upon its successes for the benefit of generations to come, all while honoring and preserving the rich traditions of its past.
STATE AND NATIONAL TRIBAL LEADER
STATE AND NATIONAL TRIBAL LEADER
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians has long been recognized as a national leader in Indian Country and a trailblazer for tribal self-reliance.
PROTECTING INDIAN CHILDREN
Morongo appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 to defend the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to ensure tribes continue to have a voice in the care of their youngest and most vulnerable tribal citizens.
ADVANCING TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY
Morongo’s landmark 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling confirmed the sovereignty of federally-recognized Indian tribes and their right to offer gaming – a defining moment in the advancement of tribal self-determination for the more than 550 tribes across the United States.
STRENGTHENING PUBLIC SAFETY
As the first public-private partnership of its kind in the nation, the Morongo Air & Ground Ambulance program saves lives across Riverside County, enhancing our regional emergency healthcare.
Morongo became the first tribe in the nation to be authorized by the federal government to own or operate power lines with the launch of Morongo Transmission, LLC, a new entity that advanced California’s sustainable energy goals and strengthened Southern California’s power grid reliability.
For more than two decades, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians has led the region in economic development, generating thousands of new local jobs and nearly $3 billion in regional economic activity in a wide variety of industries.
Operating beside the original Casino Morongo, the AAA-Four Diamond Morongo Casino Resort & Spa offers one of the largest tribal gaming floors in the US.
The towering 27-story resort features six acclaimed restaurants, a stunning swimming pool with private cabanas, a world-class spa and legendary live entertainment.
FUNDING PUBLIC SERVICES
Morongo pays millions of dollars annually in state and local taxes, which helps pay the salaries of police and firefighters and fund other critically needed public services in the region.
LEADING JOB GENERATOR
With an annual payroll well over $50 million, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians is one of Riverside County’s largest employers. Morongo keeps the region working by providing more than 3,000 local jobs and supporting thousands more indirectly through its suppliers and vendors.
DIVERSE BUSINESS INTERESTS
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ diverse portfolio of business enterprises includes holdings in energy, gaming, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, hospitality, recreation and dining. These ventures range from a 1 million square-foot water bottling facility and a 17,000-bed network of skilled nursing facilities in 10 states, to a precedent-setting power transmission company.
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ diverse and expanding business portfolio stretches across numerous industries and markets. Its many holdings include:
Morongo Transmission LLC
As the first tribe in the nation to be authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a participating transmission owner, Morongo helped triple the capacity of 48 miles of powerlines connecting renewable solar, wind and battery projects in the desert to population centers.
Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon
Ranked among Southern California’s best golf courses, the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon offers 36 world-class holes and outstanding amenities. Tukwet is regional home to the Southern California PGA, and has hosted the annual IOA Championship / Epson Tour, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA, since 2015.
Morongo Travel Center
As the ultimate Interstate 10 pitstop, the sleek Morongo Travel Center includes a 32-pump discount gas station, dog park, car wash, electric vehicle and Tesla charging stations, RV dump, propane fills and six high-speed diesel truck fuel pumps.
Hadley Fruit Orchards
The relationship between Morongo and Hadley’s began nearly 70 years ago. In 1999, the tribe acquired this beloved roadside store renowned for top quality dates, dried fruits, nuts, and delicious shakes, along with Hadley’s thriving mail-order business.
In 2014, the nation’s first In-N-Out Burger restaurant on tribal lands opened on the Morongo Indian Reservation.
Central to the core values of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians is an unwavering commitment to aid the needy and less fortunate, and to support programs that enhance lives and strengthen communities.
PUBLIC SAFETY PARTNER
From responding to emergencies across Riverside County to leading regional emergency/disaster planning efforts, the Morongo Police, Fire, and Public Safety departments work closely with area first responders to strengthen public safety. Morongo maintains strong mutual aid relationships and tribal firefighters are routinely deployed to fight destructive wildfires locally and across California.
FEEDING THE HUNGRY
Launched almost 40 years ago, Morongo’s Thanksgiving Outreach provides 15,000 free turkeys every year to help families, seniors and veterans in need. Since the program began, Morongo has given away more than 175,000 turkeys, which provided an estimated 3.5 million meals for the holidays. Morongo routinely provides resources to homeless shelters and community food pantries that help those facing food insecurity.
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ annual Community Outreach Awards have provided nearly $400,000 to 135 local non-profits since its launch in 2022.
Over the past 10 years, Morongo has donated more than $15 million to support non-profits, homeless shelters, youth sports, family/child service programs and hospitals across the Inland Empire
Morongo provides financial resources and volunteers to programs that help youth and teens develop confidence, life skills and community awareness. Before every school year, the tribe provides free shoes and backpacks filled with school supplies to local elementary school students.
Morongo has provided over $1 million over the past decade to help provide holiday shopping sprees for tens of thousands of children in need.
DEVELOPING TOMORROW’S LEADERS
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is developing the next generation of tribal and civic leaders through education and empowerment programs that foster self sufficiency and encourage public service.
CREATING OPPORTUNITY THROUGH EDUCATION
Morongo’s commitment to helping tribal students achieve academic success begins with innovative education programs and curriculum and includes financial support for college-bound tribal students.
EDUCATING WITH PURPOSE
From its enriching preschool to the tribally-funded and operated college preparatory academy, Morongo’s education programs are recognized for academic excellence and leadership development.
Morongo’s fully-accredited schools connect tribal students to their rich cultural heritage through a curriculum that includes lessons involving traditional songs, stories, and native languages.
SUPPORTING COLLEGE DREAMS
Morongo’s annual Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Memorial Scholarship has provided over $550,000 in awards as California’s first scholarship program for Native American youth across the state.
Harvard University recognized the innovative Morongo Tutoring Program with its national Honoring Nations Award. The program’s inspiring work with students, parents and schools raised its high school graduation rates to nearly 90 percent.
RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians actively preserves Native American culture and traditions of art, dance and song by promoting interest and education in tribal history, languages and practices.
Morongo celebrates its long history of cattle-ranching by hosting an annual rodeo that attracts professional and amateur ropers and riders. The rodeo is also a qualifying event for one of the nation’s biggest annual rodeos.
Morongo works actively to maintain its history, heritage, languages, and customs by hosting and supporting inspirational exhibits, rodeos, educational programs, and cultural gatherings.
The acclaimed annual Morongo Thunder & Lightning Powwow attracts as many as 50,000 people to celebrate the diverse cultures and traditions of Native Americans through traditional dance, music, bird singing, art and other tribal customs.
Morongo protects its past through meticulous care and restoration of its extensive collection of cultural artifacts including mission baskets remarkable for their beauty and craftsmanship. Morongo’s collection also includes stone grinding bowls (metates), stone mortars (manos), clay jars (ollas) and historical photos and recordings.
Morongo advances the understanding and preservation of tribal cultures, knowledge and artifacts through collaborations with the Malki Museum, the oldest nonprofit museum founded by Native Americans on a California Indian reservation, and the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center.