Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation

The Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation is a federally recognized tribe of Native Americans. The Tule River Reservation is the name of the tribe's reservation, which is located in Tulare County, California.[1] The reservation was made up of Yokuts, about 200 Yowlumne, Wukchumnis,[2] and Western Mono and Tübatulabal.[3] Tribal enrollment today is approximately 1,857 with 1,033 living on the Reservation.[3]


Tule River Farm

For thousands of years, this area was inhabited by varying cultures of indigenous peoples. Historic tribes encountered by Europeans in the area included the Yokuts, Mono and Tübatulabal. The area was first colonized by the Spanish and Mexicans, followed by European Americans after the US victory in the Mexican–American War in 1848.

Following the Tule River Indian War of 1856, the Tule River Farm, a farm attached to the Tejon Agency was established in 1858 at the base of the foothills, near the present town of Porterville. The farm was established on 1,280 acres (5.2 km2) on the South Fork of Tule River.[4] In 1860, Thomas Madden, an Indian service employee, gained personal title to the Tule River Farm, by using state school warrants. The federal government rented the Tule River Farm and paid Madden $1,000 per year.[5]

Tule River Reservation

In 1864, the Tule River Farm became the Tule River Reservation, one of five Indian reservations authorized by Congress. When the United States defeated the Native Americans in the Owens Valley Indian War of 1863, they were removed to the reservation, whose population nearly doubled. In 1864, the population consisted of 450 Tule River Indians and 350 Owens River Indians who were relocated there from Fort Tejon.[5]

The settlers around the growing town of Porterville began to demand removal of the Tule River Farm to a more distant location. Indian agents clamored to provide the Indians with a more permanent home. Some also argued the need to separate the Indians from unscrupulous individuals who entered the reservation to entice the Indians to buy cheap liquor.[6] As a result, the Tule River Indian Reservation was relocated; in 1873 it was established by Presidential Executive Order of Ulysses S. Grant as a homeland for Tule River, Kings River, Owens River, Monache Cajon and other scattered bands of Indians.[7]

While the Tule River Indian Tribe includes Mono and Tübatulabal members, the majority of the tribe are Yokut. Traditionally, 60 Yokut tribes lived in south central California to the east of Porterville. By the end of the 19th century, their population was reduced by 75% due to warfare and high fatalities from European diseases. The surviving Yokut banded together on the Tule River Reservation, including the Yowlumne, Wukchumni bands of Yokut.[3] In 1917, some Kitanemuk people lived on the reservation, as well.[8]


The tribe ratified their current tribal constitution in 1936 and last amended it in 1974.[9] Their Tribal Council is democratically elected and includes a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer and five Council Members. The Tule River Tribal Council Consists of nine council members. Each member is voted for by the Tule River Tribal Members. The elected officials then decide who will perform functions of Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.[10]

Current officers are:

  • Neil Peyron,Chairman
  • Ryan Garfield,Vice-Chairman
  • Wendi Correa, Secretary
  • Gary G. Santos,Treasurer
  • Heather Teran, Member
  • Joey Garfield, Member
  • Duane M. Garfield Sr., Member
  • Kenneth McDarment, Member
  • Charles Dabney Sr., Member

The main piece of governing legislation is the Tule River Indian Tribe Constitution and Bylaws approved January 15, 1936


The Tule River Reservation was established in 1873 by a US Executive Order in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is south of Fresno and north of Bakersfield.[11] It occupies 55,356 acres (224.02 km2). 566 tribal members live on the reservation.[3](Nearest Town is East Porterville and/or Springville)


The tribe operates many programs to serve its members including a health clinic, a child care center, an adult and vocational education center, a college scholarship program, a housing authority, and a chemical dependency treatment center.[11]


The Tule River Tribe has three enterprises that assist the tribe in making their community a better place. Through these enterprises, the Tule River Tribe is able to be a self-sufficient entity improving the everyday lives of their members.

Eagle Mountain Casino
Eagle Mountain Casino is the only full service casino in Tulare County offering local residents gaming 24 hours a day. With over 1400 of the newest slot machines, 12 table games, live poker tournaments, the River Steakhouse and many other dining options.[12]

Eagle Feather Trading Post
Eagle Feather Trading Post is one of the largest convenience stores in Tulare County, located on Hwy 190 just above Lake Success. The store has a full line of groceries; cold beer, wine, fishing and bait supplies. They carry National and Native brands of cigarettes and tobacco products. Gas, diesel, and propane are the cheapest price available. Subway sandwich shop is located within the store. For the RVers they also have a free dump station and a pet run. Plenty of parking is available for customers, with security on site 24 hours a day.[13]

Tule River Indian Health Center Inc.

The Tule River Indian Health Center is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 1973 and dedicated to meeting the healthcare and health education needs of the Native American communities in Tulare County.

Tule River Indian Health Center is governed by a Health Advisory Board composed of local tribal members from the Tule River Indian Reservation.[14]

Oral history

Many of the stories told by the elders of the Tule River Indian reservation have been handed down from generation to generation. Almost all of these stories reflect the ways and life of the Tule River Tribes. All of the stories however, carry a strong message to the youth and adults in the region. Significant historical facts on these stories come from Painted Rock. This is a formation located next to the Tule River, on the Reservation.[15]

  • Painted Rock
  • Coyote and the Moon
  • Coyote and the Sun
  • Big Foot, The Hairy Man
  • Soda Springs

See also


  1. Pritzker, 137
  2. Last native speaker
  3. California Indians and Their Reservations. SDSU Library and Information Access. (retrieved 25 July 2009)
  4. Frank, Gelya. "The Tule River Indian War of 1856" (PDF). Tule River Bands of the Tule River Reservation Website. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 11, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  5. Frank, Gelya. "Employee Gets Deed to Permanent Home" (PDF). Tule River Bands of the Tule River Reservation Website. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  6. Frank, Gelya. "Growing Population of Porterville" (PDF). Tule River Bands of the Tule River Reservation Website. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  7. Frank, Gelya. "Executive Orders" (PDF). Tule River Bands of the Tule River Reservation Website. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  8. "Kitanemuk." Four Directions Institute. Retrieved 28 Nov 2012.
  9. Constitution and By-laws of the Tule River Indian Tribe of California. Archived 2008-11-27 at the Wayback Machine (retrieved 25 July 2009)
  10. "Tule River Tribal Council". Tule River Trive. Tule River Tribe. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  11. Tule River Tribe. Archived 2009-06-15 at the Wayback Machine (retrieved 25 July 2009)
  12. Eagle Mountain Casino
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-07-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (retrieved 21 July 2011)
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-07-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (retrieved 21 July 2011)
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-07-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (retrieved 21 July 2011)


  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1

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