Welcome to Morongo

Set at the foot of the beautiful San Gorgonio and San Jacinto Mountains, the Morongo Indian Reservation spans more than 35,000 acres and overlooks the vistas of the Banning Pass. Resilient and resourceful, the Morongo tribe has had to overcome many adversities.

Latest News

Morongo’s Fire Chief Retires After Long, Distinguished Career

Kevin Gaines spent 40 years in fire service, including the last six leading the Morongo Fire Department.
Morongo Fire Engineer Jason Carrizosa has been promoted as his replacement.

MORONGO INDIAN RESERVATION, Calif. – After serving six years with the Morongo Fire Department, Fire Chief Kevin Gaines has hung up his helmet, marking the end of a distinguished career that began 40 years ago in CAL FIRE, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians announced this week.

Morongo Fire Department Engineer / ALS Coordinator Jason Carrizosa has been named the new chief. Carrizosa, an 11-year veteran of the department, is a Morongo Tribal Member and grew up on the Morongo Reservation.

“Working for Morongo has been extremely fulfilling and I’m very proud of the strides that the Morongo Fire Department has made over the past six years with the support of a Tribal Council who is very committed to advancing public safety,” Gaines said. “I will miss the members of my department and the many tribal members I have come to know over the years. I know Jason will do an amazing job as the department continues to move forward.”

“Working for Morongo has been extremely fulfilling and I’m very proud of the strides that the Morongo Fire Department has made over the past six years with the support of a Tribal Council who is very committed to advancing public safety,” Gaines said. “I will miss the members of my department and the many tribal members I have come to know over the years. I know Jason will do an amazing job as the department continues to move forward.” 

Gaines spent 34 years with CAL FIRE before joining Morongo Fire in 2015. At Morongo, Gaines helped strengthen the Advanced Life Support (ALS) and paramedic programs, brought on new state-of-the-art firefighting equipment and oversaw the department’s response to major incidents all across the San Gorgonio Pass, including the 33,000-acre Apple Fire in 2020. Under Gaines’ leadership, Morongo firefighters helped battle destructive wildland fires across California, such as the Woolsey Fire, Carr Fire and Camp Fire.

Gaines was integral in cultivating the tribe’s strong mutual aid relationships with surrounding emergency service agencies in addition to directing efforts to protect Morongo residents and the tribe’s environmental, cultural and economic resources during emergency incidents.

“We are truly grateful to Chief Gaines who served Morongo with the highest levels of professionalism and demonstrated extraordinary leadership, expertise and compassion during critical incidents,” said Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin. “As we wish Chief Gaines the best in his well-earned retirement, we are excited to welcome our new fire chief, Jason Carrizosa, who will continue to grow the department’s legacy for protecting life and property across the region.”

A Banning High School graduate, Carrizosa holds an undergraduate degree in business and marketing from Culver-Stockton College in Missouri, where he played collegiate baseball. He played rookie ball for the Kansas City Royals before returning home and graduating from Moreno Valley College’s fire academy.

“Having grown up on the Morongo reservation, it means the world to me to accept this position, which will allow me to protect the safety of my fellow tribal members and our neighbors in surrounding communities,” Carrizosa said. “I have some big shoes to fill, and I have immense respect for everything Chief Gaines accomplished to strengthen our department. I intend to continue along that path.”

The Morongo Fire Department, which was formed in the 1950s as a team of volunteer firefighters, is now made up of 24 full-time staff. From its inception, the department has responded to emergencies on the reservation, as well as in neighboring cities and across California.

Morongo Presents Over $128,000 to Support Local Youth

Photographer

Casino’s partnership with its patrons transforms a nationwide shortage of coins into an opportunity to help the Boys and Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass.

MORONGO CASINO RESORT & SPA – Thanks to the generosity of its guests, the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa presented a $128,643 check to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass to support the organization’s vital community youth programs.

Due to the nationwide coin shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across the country – including casinos like Morongo – have had limited access to quarters, nickels, dimes, and even pennies. To help alleviate the national strain, Morongo launched a program in July offering its guests a chance to donate the spare change from their winnings to charity, and thousands did.

“We are simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our guests during these challenging times to help local youth through Morongo’s community coin donation program,” said Morongo’s Tribal Chairman Robert Martin. “We want to thank all of our guests who participated in this effort to support local families and children who receive services from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass.”

Amy Herr, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass, said the funds will be used to help operate education support and other programs offered by the organization.

“We are beyond grateful for the generosity of Morongo’s guests, and for the casino’s innovation in turning a nationwide coin shortage into a positive that is benefiting local children during these critical times,” Herr said. “Once again, Morongo has stepped up for local youth, and we are very thankful.”

In October, Morongo raised $60,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs at the 24th Annual Morongo Charity Golf Tournament, held at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon.

Photo Caption: Boys and Girls Clubs Board Chair Phillip Hutchins (left to right), Morongo Tribal Vice Chair James Siva, Boys and Girls Clubs Executive Director Amy Herr and Richard St. Jean, Chief Operating Officer of the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa.

COVID-19 Notifications Now Available

California has rolled out COVID-19 Exposure Notifications to Android and iOS devices. These notifications are anonymous, and do not track or store your name, contact information, whereabouts, or movements.

When a person tests positive for COVID-19, CA Notify will trigger an alert to the phones of people who may have been in close proximity — within 6 feet of that individual for 15 minutes or more — in the past 14 days.

For the safety of yourself and others, please opt in to the notifications by following the steps below:

iPhone
iPhone users can enable CA Notify in their device’s settings

1. Update your iOS to version 13.7 or later
2. Go into Settings
3. Scroll down to Exposure Notifications
4. Turn on Exposure Notifications
5. Select United States> California

Android
CA Notify is available on the Google Play Store:

CA Notify – Apps on Google Play

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Upcoming Events

Oct 08

9th Annual Morongo Open Ranch Rodeo

Rodeo Grounds : 11555 Cottonwood Rd., Morongo Indian Reservation, Banning, CA