Published March 28, 2019
WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian presents “Section 14: The Other Palm Springs, California,” an exhibition that tells the story of the Agua Caliente Band’s struggle for justice and rights to their land in the popular California resort town. Just one block from downtown Palm Springs, with its busy restaurants, hotels and shopping district, lies the other Palm Springs—Section 14. It is the square-mile section of land that forms the heart of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation.
Native American tribes, such as the Agua Caliente Band, are sovereign—Native nations, not federal, state or city governments, have the inherent right to govern their people and territories. Over the years, however, corporations, property developers and non-tribal governments have challenged this sovereignty.
“Section 14: The Other Palm Springs, California,” which opened on March 1, will be on view through January 2020, and it was created by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and organized by the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.
“As a Smithsonian museum committed to equity for Native peoples, our museum sometimes presents exhibitions created by the Indian Nations themselves,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “On this occasion, we are showcasing ‘Section 14: The Other Palm Springs, California’ from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The exhibitionexposes a compelling story in the battle for tribal rights, exemplifying the long and ongoing conflict in the West between non-Indian economic ambitions and the rights and authorities of the Indian Nations.”