Tribal Council

As a governing body, the Tribal Council sets policy, makes laws and implements the direction voted upon by Tribal membership. The structure of the Tribal Council is comprised of five positions and four proxy members. The Tribal Council Members are elected by secret absentee ballot and the four proxy members are appointed by the elected Tribal Council. The three Tribal Council officer seats are for a staggered two-year term and the two members for a one-year term.


Reid D. Milanovich
Chairman

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Candace Patencio Anderson
Vice Chairman

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Savana R. Saubel
Secretary-Treasurer

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John R. Preckwinkle III
Member

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Virginia Siva-Gillespie
Member

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Reid D. Milanovich was sworn in as Chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians on April 5, 2022. He served as Vice Chairman of the Tribal Council for nearly two and a half years after being sworn in on Nov. 5, 2019 to fulfill the remaining two-year term for the late Larry N. Olinger, Vice Chairman who passed away in July 2019. Mr. Milanovich was first elected to the Tribal Council in April 2014 and served five consecutive terms as a Tribal Council Member.

Mr. Milanovich was named as one of Palm Springs Life's 40 Under 40, a group of impressive young professionals with promise to achieve greatness in the Coachella Valley. In addition, he was also recognized by The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development with a Native 40 under 40 Award.

Prior to his service on Council, Mr. Milanovich served as a Tribal Council Proxy in 2013 and served for more than two years on the Tribe's Scholarship Commission. In addition, he served for two years on the Board of Directors for the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. Mr. Milanovich earned his Bachelor's degree in Political Science from California Baptist University and resides in Palm Springs.

Mr. Milanovich's father, Richard M. Milanovich, served as Tribal Chairman for 28 years until his passing in 2012.

Candace Patencio Anderson is the Vice Chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, having been elected March 21, 2023. She previously served as a Tribal Council Member 1996 to 2000 and in 2002.

Ms. Patencio Anderson has a deep commitment to protect the security and general welfare of the Tribe and its members.

Prior to her service as Vice Chairman of the Tribe, she served as Director of Player Development for the Tribe's Agua Caliente Casinos for more than a decade. She also previously served on the Agua Caliente Gaming Management Commission.

While serving previously on Tribal Council, she helped establish Tribal gaming operations, working on and supporting California Proposition 5 in 1998, which allowed Tribal Indian Gaming Compacts with the State of California allowing gaming devices at tribal casinos. She was serving on Tribal Council during the construction and opening of the Tribe's second casino, Agua Caliente Casino Rancho Mirage.

She is a long supporter of improving access for Tribal Members to obtain higher educational goals. In addition, she currently serves on the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce Board, and is a delegate to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Indian Gaming Association, Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations and California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA).

Ms. Patencio Anderson earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego. She was one of the first participants in the Agua Caliente Tribal Management Internship Program.

Savana R. Saubel was first elected to the Tribal Council in 2011, as Member, following in the footsteps of her great grandmother, Laverne Saubel, who served on the All Woman Tribal Council in the 1950s. In 2011, Ms. Saubel had the privilege of serving on Tribal Council with her great uncle, Richard M. Milanovich, who was Tribal Council Chairman for over 28 years. He was instrumental in guiding her through meetings with other elected officials at the Local, State and Federal levels and within Indian Country. Her interest in tribal government was sparked by her father and grandfather, who encouraged her to get involved and follow the business of the Tribe by attending Tribal Council meetings and volunteering on Tribal committees.

Tribal family and culture have always been very important to Ms. Saubel. Her father, James S. Saubel, III, taught her about Cahuilla bird singing and dancing, and she has danced since the age of four. For many years Ms. Saubel has taught Tribal youth bird dancing, with the intention of keeping the Cahuilla culture alive. As a young adult, she took a strong interest in the Tribe's affairs, and volunteered to serve on several Tribal committees, more currently she held the positions of Chairman of the Scholarship Commission, Vice-Chairman of the Cemetery Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Youth Group committee and Member of the Indian Planning Commission. In 2014, Ms. Saubel was also appointed to the Agua Caliente Gaming Commission where she learned about regulatory and compliance of the Tribe's gaming facilities. Ms. Saubel has also worked closely with the young people of the Tribe, a passion of hers, and had served for several years as Tribal Youth Liaison and on the Youth Group committee. She will continue to advocate for the youth as she believes they are the future leaders of the Tribe.

A 2004 graduate of Noli Indian School, and a 2021 graduate of California Indian Nations College with an Associate of Arts: Liberal Arts: Business and Technology. Ms. Saubel transferred to Arizona State University majoring in Organizational Leadership and will be a part of the 2023 graduating class.

John R. Preckwinkle III serves as a Tribal Council member, and was first elected in Spring 2021. Prior to his service on the Tribal Council, he spent more than a decade serving on Tribal committees.

He served on the Tribe's Cultural Preservation Committee for 11 years, seven of which he served as the committee chair. He served as vice chairman on the Agua Caliente Child Development Committee for nine years. He was the vice chairman on the Tribal building committee for 10 years. In addition, he served on the Election Board for five years, two of which were as chairman and served eight years on the Cemetery Committee.

Mr. Preckwinkle, a bird singer, is from the Kawisiktem clan (Patencio family), which originally dwelled in Tahquitz Canyon. He grew up in Northern California and moved to Rancho Cucamonga at the age of 18 to attend the Universal Technical Institute, a technical trade school for automotive mechanics. Upon completion of the 51-week program, he invested in an additional 15-week program specializing in Ford automotive. From there, he moved to Palm Springs to fulfill his dream of one day living on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation. He continued his love of learning once in the Coachella Valley by taking additional college courses and then ultimately serving on various Tribal committees.

He is a passionate culture keeper who was first introduced to bird singing at the age of 14 through listening and studying recordings from his great grandfather John Joseph Patencio. When he first started bird singing, he borrowed a gourd rattle until he was gifted a rattle and was eventually taught how to make them. By the age of 19, he had made his first gourd rattle and has made dozens since.

"From there, I began learning as much as I could from different head singers about songs and protocols for bird singing." Mr. Preckwinkle said. "This also led me to start learning the Cahuilla language and joining the cultural preservation committee. The committee and bird singing opened up opportunities for me to meet other teachers from the entire community, which helped us strengthen the opportunities for classes we have available to Tribal Members today."

Virginia Siva-Gillespie serves as a Tribal Council Member, having been elected March 21, 2023. She previously served as a Council Member on the Agua Caliente Tribal Council in 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2008.

Ms. Gillespie is from the Kawisiktem clan (Siva family) and is passionate about protecting the Tribe's sovereign rights and the rights of individual Tribal members. During her previous service on the Tribal Council, Ms. Gillespie was a strong supporter and advocate in establishing the Tribe's gaming operations alongside other Tribal Council members.

In addition, she is dedicated to maintaining the Tribes cultural preservation efforts. She is also a tireless advocate for providing Tribal Member access to quality health care.

She has served the Tribe in various capacities including her service to the Enrollment Committee for 13 years and the Indian Planning Commission as an alternate. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum when it operated as a 501C3 both as a board member and as a Tribal Council ex-officio member.

Ms. Gillespie previously served as a delegate to the Board of Directors of Indian Child & Family Services as well as a designated Tribal Representative for the Coachella Valley Association of Governments.