Tribal Historic Preservation Office

To foster, improve, and protect the cultural heritage of the Tribe, on and off the Reservation, for future generations of the Agua Caliente People. The Historic Preservation Office will work with Tribal Members, the Tribal Council, other Tribal departments, programs, and agencies to meet its mission.

The Tribal Historic Preservation Office

The Tribal Historic Preservation Office and/or Officer (THPO) is responsible for the management of cultural resources significant to the Tribe, such as archaeological sites, burials, trails, buildings or other structures, resource gathering areas (plants, minerals), and sacred places (springs, hills, etc.). Protecting cultural sites is a way of respecting the past. It maintains connection to the land, binds together the community through a common history/ancestry, and records information about the past for future generations.

Designated by the National Park Service in 2005 as a THPO, pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, the THPO has assumed functions of the State Historic Preservation Officer in administering the National Historic Preservation Act on the reservation. The THPO works with the Tribal Council, the Tribal membership, other Tribal departments and programs, and federal and state agencies to meet its primary responsibilities, including compliance and consultation, monitoring construction and archaeological excavations, protecting burials, and maintaining an archival database.

For Tribal consultation, monitoring services, or general information please email your request to

Project Request Form
Monitoring Request
Monitoring Training

Compliance and Consultation

The THPO reviews proposed development projects for their potential to impact historic properties and cultural resources important to the Tribe and/or eligible for the Tribal register, California Register of Historical Resources, or National Register of Historic Places. The THPO develops policies and consult with Coachella Valley cities, and Riverside County, on California Environmental Quality Act and other state-regulated documents. The THPO consults with federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service to mitigate adverse impacts significant resources.

Agua Caliente Archive

The Agua Caliente Archive is the depository of all documentation related to cultural resources on Reservation and traditional usage areas. The THPO maintains a GIS database of cultural sites. We also maintain a reference library of materials related to Agua Caliente, the Cahuilla, and of materials related to Historic Preservation and cultural resource management.

Agua Caliente Tribal Register of Heritage Places

The Tribe established the Agua Caliente Tribal Register of Heritage Places (Tribal Register) in 2018 to maintain a library of culturally significant sites. The Register includes important places such as viewscapes, features, places, landscapes, districts, or objects that possess Cahuilla cultural significance and maintain integrity of locations, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.

National Register of Historic Places

The Tribe assumed the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) responsibilities in the 2005 THPO agreement with the National Park Service. National Register applications for consideration of properties on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation must be submitted to the THPO for review. Please contact the THPO at for more information.

Cultural Monitoring/Field Services

The Tribal cultural monitors observe construction activities as a mitigation measure resulting from the consultation process during environmental review. After the review process the recommendations from the THPO are compiled into requirements by the agency- either in conditions of approval or as mitigation measures. Each year our monitoring team observes construction activities at large projects, cell towers, private homes, and Tribal projects. In addition, THPO cultural monitors participate in archaeology projects (survey, testing and excavation) and trainings.


Lacy Padilla
Phone: 760-333-5222

Timothy Wilcox
Tribal Archaeologist
Phone: 760-423-3451

Michael Morales
Cultural Resources Supervisor
Phone: 760-567-0704