The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif. San Manuel is one of several clans of Serrano Indians, who are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys mountains and high deserts who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. Since time immemorial, the San Manuel tribal community has endured change and hardship. Amidst these challenges the tribe continued to maintain its unique form of governance. Like other governments it seeks to provide a better quality of life for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services and promoting social, economic and cultural development. Today San Manuel tribal government oversees many governmental units including the departments of fire, public safety, education and environment.
Over time, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has made progress toward becoming a self-sufficient tribal government with an established economic and social outlook. San Manuel is active in supporting projects in neighboring communities. Nearby cities and towns receive support from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in the way of monetary donations for cultural, social, and economic projects to benefit the common good of the communities in which they live and work.
The reservation which was established in 1891 is home to the Yuhaaviatam Clan of the Serrano Indians who are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture with other clans of the Serrano people. The reservation is named after Santos Manuel, a great tribal leader, and is located in southern California, in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountain region, just north of the city of Highland. It consists of just over 900 acres of mostly mountainous land.
Encompassing gaming governmental operations and other enterprises, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is one of the largest employers in the Inland Empire area and employs over 4000 people.
The San Manuel Indian Reservation, like other tribal lands in the United States, is a sovereign territory with a tribal nation and its own system of government. Tribal government consists of two governing bodies: a General Council comprised of adult members 21 years and older, and a seven-member Business Committee elected by the General Council. The Business Committee has a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, and three at-large Business Committee members elected to two-year terms. As elected officials, the Business Committee is responsible for enforcing by-laws, establishing policies, protecting business interests and preserving the sovereignty of the tribe.