The Colorado Desert lands that became Riverside County in the 19th century were home to diverse bands of California Indian people, including the Cahuilla, Gabrielino, Serrano, Luise’o, Chemehuevi, and Mojave tribes. Other Native Americans call the county home, including urban Indians who moved here in the 20th century. The tribes of Riverside County are survivors, descendants of sovereign people who left their mark on the county’s history eons before the first European explorers entered the land. These historic photographs depicting the tribes and their way of life were culled from the authors’ personal archives as well as the collections of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Museum, Twenty-nine Palms Tribe, Riverside Municipal Museum, and the University of California, Riverside.
Dr. Trafzer is the Costo Professor of American Indian Affairs at the University of California Riverside. Raised in Arizona, Clifford Trafzer was born to parents of Wyandot Indian and German-English blood. He earned a B.A. and M.A. in history at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he also worked as an archivist for Special Collections. He earned a Ph.D. in American History in 1973 with a specialty in American Indian History and the same year became a museum curator for the Arizona Historical Society. Before joining the faculty of the University of California, Riverside in 1991, Trafzer taught at Navajo Community College, Washington State University and San Diego State University.