Saturday, March 19, 2016

Indian Biography: Juan Antonio, Cahuilla (Southern California) Indian

Juan Antonio was the chief during the time that whites were entering California.  He took a roll in protecting white encroachers, either from the military or settlers.  When Edward Beale of the U.S. Army came on an exploration mission, he granter permission for him to cross the Chihuilla territory.  He also defended Beale's men from the Ute Indians lead by Walkara.  Beal gave Juan Anontio a couple epaulets for his efforts.
During the Mexican American War he lead, with the Californios, and attack on the Luiseno.  The ambushed the Luiseno and killed about 40 warriors.  This became known as the Temecula massacre of 1847.
When the outlaw Irving gang began attacking and killing white settlers, Juan Antonio and his band took it upon themselves to hunt them down and kill them.  Instead of being thankful, this brought persecution against the band as people didn't know what to make of Indians tracking down and killing whites.  However, when the Mormons came to San Bernadino, some of the persecution against the Indians was relieved and directed towards the Mormons.
Juan Antonio further helped the local settlers as Antonio Garra, a Cupeno came to Juan Antonio seeking his help to drive whites from the region.  Instead Juan Antonio captured Guerra and turned him over to authorities.  Antonio did move his band farther East to avoid encroachments and persecution.  However they were eventually overtaken by a small pox epidemic and much of the group decimated.  the numbers after this were very few.  Today the Cuihuilla occupy 10 villages or bands in Southern California.
Information form Wikipedia and "American Indian Biographies" edited by Harvey Markowitz.

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