ATTRIBUTION: CLEMENTE SEGUNDO
LIVED: 10/25/1885 – 7/23/1951
Clemente was born to Anita Patencio and Thomas Patencio Segundo of the Los Coyotes Canyon area. Active in many facets of tribal affairs, Clemente Segundo served as a tribal leader, spent time in Washington D.C. promoting pro-development legislation, worked as a tribal bathhouse attendant, translated for Cahuilla-speaking elders, and led a group that maintained the Indian Canyons.
Clemente generally affiliated himself politically with the kauisik clan leadership. The kauisik leaders were traditionalists who believed that tribal lands should be owned and managed by the tribe as a whole rather than by individual members – an arrangement they believed would most benefit the tribe and prevent the sale and further loss of tribal lands. During the late 1930s, Clemente traveled to Washington D.C. to fight the allotment of reservation land parcels to individual tribal members.
Clemente achieved other goals in the nation’s capital. Addressing the House of Representative’s Committee on Indian Affairs, Clemente brought attention to the federally-imposed disbanding of the kauisik clan leadership and their subsequent arrest. In a courageous and influential speech, he described a collusion of interests between federal officials and the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce that had led to these events. Clemente also helped negotiate legislation for the first long-term lease of reservation lands, resulting in the construction of the Section 18 airport and clearing the way for the economic development of reservation lands and Palm Springs as a whole.
While the allotment of reservation lands eventually came to pass, an important ruling came about as a result of a suit that Clemente Segundo and other tribal members brought against the federal government. In Clemente Segundo et al vs. United States, the court ruled that each plaintiff in the case was to be allotted
“total lands of as nearly equal value to the lands allotted to each other member of the Agua Caliente Band of Mission Indians, so when the allotment and equalization process is completed each qualified plaintiff will have been allotted land of as nearly equal value as practicable to each other member of the band.”
The Equalization Act redistributed land parcels of equal value to band members, setting the scene for modern economic development.
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