Pala Band of Mission Indians


The Pala Reservation is located in southern California. It was established by the Executive Order of December 27, 1875. Executive Orders of May 3, 1877, and July 24, 1882, restored portions of it to public domain. A Congressional Act of May 27, 1902, appropriated $100,000 for the purchase of land for California Mission Indians. An Act of March 31, 1903, permitted the use of part of this money for removing the Indians to the purchased land. The Executive Order of December 20, 1973, returned the Mission Reserve, formerly controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, to the Pala Band of Mission Indians. The rancheria encompasses over 12,000 acres, including 4,000 acres of forests, 6 acres of wetlands, 8 acres of lake, and over 38 miles of streams. The San Luis Rey River courses through the center of the reservation.

Members of the Pala Band belong to the Kuupangaxwichem, or Cupeño, and Luiseño tribes. The Pala Reservation represents one of the communities of Indians who were forced together by Spanish Franciscan missionaries during the 1800s. Although descendants of the Cupeño people form the majority, there has been a large degree of cultural integration between the groups.

The general council, composed of all adult members 18 years and older, governs the Pala Reservation. The council meets monthly, or the executive committee may call a special meeting. Executive committee members include a chairperson, a vice-chairperson, a secretary, and a treasurer. Members of the executive committee serve two-year terms. Tribal members must be at least 21 years old to run for office. The tribe is organized under Articles of Association approved in July 1961. These articles were amended in 1973 and 1980.


12196 Pala Mission Road
92059 Pala, CA

Council Members

Name Position
Robert Smith