Rocky Boy Tribe
Chippewa Indians of

The December 1851 Garra Expedition

Though historians claim that this event was a revolt, we have good reasons to believe that an Anishinabe military expedition was carried out from the Arizona-California border, to the mountains just west and south of what is now Palm Springs, California. There was a small Anishinabe population living in the Palm Springs region and in the mountains just west and south of the Palm Springs region, as well, which was involved in this conflict. Captain Samuel P. Heintzelman learned in December of 1851 (around the same time period Anishinabe soldiers were bringing Fort Yuma under their control), that a force of Indians (they claim they were Cahilla and Cupeno) had launched raids in the San Felipe Mountains (they are better known as the San Felipe Hills - they are about 40 miles south of Agua Caliente) and on a ranch at Agua Caliente which is near Palm Springs.

California leaders were very concerned that the Anishinabe military campaign would eventually reach the area between Los Angelas and San Diego. However, they also knew that the mountains just east and north of the Los Angelas region, would act as a barrier. They were probably more concerned with the San Diego region. In fact, the whites living in San Diego prepared for a possible Anishinabe military force attacking the city. Captain Heintzelman formed an expedition known as the Agua Caliente Expedition, to fight the Anishinabe soldiers who were in control of the San Felipe Mountains, just east of the San Diego region, and the southern California desert. Historians claim the leader of the Indians was Juan Antonio Garra who was Cupeno who are of Shoshonean origins, as are the Cahilla. Juan Antonio Garra was captured in the Coachella Valley, which is a few miles south of present Day Indio, California. Garra was executed by the whites on January 10, 1852, in San Diego. They claim that Garra was captured by an Indian named coincedentally, Juan Antonio.

He was apparently a Cahuilla who lived in the mountains. He was probably paid by the whites to find Garra. On December 21, 1851, Heintzelman led a force of American soldiers to a location just north of Agua Caliente and fought a battle against 100 Cahuilla soldiers, who they claim were armed primarily with bows and arrows. It was a lopsided battle easily won by the whites. The Anishinabe soldiers lost 6 killed in the battle including ogima Chipule and ogima Cecili. They surrendered after the Americans destroyed two of their villages in the Agua Caliente region. After their surrender, the Americans put 4 Anishinabe ogimak on trial. Their names were Juan Baustista, Francisco Mecate (Anishinabe people recognize the name Mecate), Quisil, and Luis. They were found guilty of killy several whites and executed on December 25, 1851, by firing squad. The Americans may have defeated the one group of Anishinabe soldiers in the Palm Springs region, but the other Anishinabe people in the San Berbardino Mountains and San Felipe Hills, remained free.

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