The history of Pechanga (A PLACE, not a people) begins with the ancestral home village of Temeeku. Now under Redhawk, where Margarita road cuts south through a bluff, the Temeeku Village was home to the Temeekuyam and a center for all Luiseño Tribal peoples.
After the establishment of the state of California in 1850, a group of Temecula Valley Ranchers petitioned the District Court in San Francisco for a Decree of Ejection of Indians living on the land in Temecula Valley, to which the Temeekuyam could show no clear written title on April 15, 1869. The court later granted the decree in 1873. Several attempts by the Temeekuyam captains to stay the decree were unsuccessful, and our fate was sealed.
In 1875 a posse led by the sheriff of San Diego County, Mr. Hunsaker, began three days worth of evictions. Among those in the posse were Jose Gonzalez, Juan Murrieta, Francisco Sanjurjo, Pujol, and Louis Wolf. Murrieta and Sanjurjo were two of the ranchers— sheep farmers— who successfully petitioned for the decree.
The Temecula Indians were advised and warned by our friends that, for our own protection, rather than resist any longer we should submit. We complied, and our possessions are carried away in wagons while we walked behind. We were taken into the hills south of Temecula River. The location is now near the west end of Loma Linda Road on the Temecula Creek Golf-course's fairway. The late Antonio Ashman, a vaunted Pechanga Tribal member born three years after the eviction recounted how the eviction-trek ended: "They just dumped them here"— pointing to a low hill near the golf-course. "Just dumped them!"
Being strong of spirit, most of our dispossessed ancestors moved upstream to a small, secluded valley; they built new homes and re-established their lives in this valley. A spring located 2 miles upstream in a canyon provided them with water; the spring we have always called Pechaa'a (from pechaq = to drip). This spring is the namesake for Pechaa'anga or Pechaanga, which means "at Pechaa'a, at the place where water drips."
Creation of the ReservationOn June 27th, 1882, seven years after being evicted, an Executive Order of the President of the United States (Chester A. Arthur) was issued, thereby establishing the Pechanga Indian Reservation. Several subsequent Trust Patents were issued in 1893, 1931 and 1971, each one increasing the size of Pechanga. In 1891, 1,233 acres of the reservation's lands were allotted to adult heads of household in 20 and 10 acre plots. Read more about Traditional Sites.
Mr. Ashman, who was born in 1875, swore under oath that our ancestor, Paulina Hunter was a Pechanga Indian, also proven by the allotment she was given by President McKinley's order.
In subsequent depostions taken in the Luiseno Language, true,sworn ORAL history, in 1915 three Pechanga members, including a relative of current tribal chairman Mark Macarro, swore Paulina Hunter was a member.
Sadly, modern-day Pechanga people didn't believe anyone who knew Paulina when she was alive, choosing instead to believe hearsay of people who were born decades after Paulina Hunter died.