San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Information

The Coachella Valley climbs north to the San Bernardino Mountains, home of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Called Serrano by the Spanish (Serrano means “highlander”) the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians are the Yuhaaviatam (People of the Pines) Clan of the Maara’yam People. 

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is named after a great Yuhaaviatam leader called Santos Manuel by the Spanish. Many of Maara’yam people were forcibly relocated to Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in Los Angeles and its satellite operations beginning in the 1770s. In the 1860s, amid violence perpetrated against his people by California militias, Santos Manuel led the Yuhaaviatam to safety in the San Bernardino Valley. 

The Act of Relief for Mission Indians was passed in 1891. It recognized the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians as a sovereign nation and secured their land, which today is a little over 1100 acres of their 7.4 million-acre ancestral territory.

Since then, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has wisely developed its Tribal economy and owns several hotels and properties near its homeland and in other states, securing its economic independence for generations to come.

The Tribe publishes Hamiinat Magazine. The Yuhaaviatam has long used storytelling to honor the strength, perseverance and resiliency of its people, and Hamiinat, the magazine of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, is filled with stories about the Tribe’s history, legacy, culture, and future. Issues are available online to the general public at the San Manuel Pow Wow.

San Manuel Pow Wow

San Manuel Pow Wow is a three-day celebration, held every September, that is free to the public and features Southern California traditional bird singers and dancers, as well as North American and Canadian dancers and drum singing groups. Additionally, Native American dishes – including crowd-favorite foods like fry bread – as well as traditional Native American crafts and fine art from vendors representing Indian tribal nations from and throughout North America and Canada are available for purchase. For more information, visit

California Native American Day at California State University San Bernardino

(Fourth Friday in September)

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians partners with Cal State San Bernardino to host the California Native American Day Evening Celebration. This celebration of the distinctive cultures of California's Native American people features traditional bird songs, music, art, and food. It is a free event open to the public.

Contact information:

  • (909) 864-8933
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