SERRANO ETHNOGRAPHY & ETHNOHISTORY
History - Mission Period
The Serrano were a fairly numerous people when the Spanish arrived in 1769, but beginning about 1790, the westernmost of them began to be drawn into Mission San Gabriel. After an attempted Indian revolt in 1810, most of those in the San Bernardino Mountains and the western Mojave Desert were brought into the mission, some of them forcibly. Those in the easternmost deserts beyond the San Bernardino Mountains and Little San Bernardino Mountains were beyond the reach of the mission, but probably absorbed a number of those who fled the missions.
We have presented the oral history account that tells us that the Maringo Serrano were the original inhabitants of the village of Mara at the oasis of Twentynine Palms. It was probably early ethnographers who made the first written record that Mara near the headquarters of present-day Joshua Tree National Park was originally a Maringa Serrano village, but we have not learned from either written or oral literature how early this settlement may have been established-a question whose answer may lie in archaeological sites not yet examined. It is also not clear whether this was the main or "first" Maringa lineage settlement at one time, as the oral literature attests, or merely one of several places in a large area they used and occupied; however, the fact that it was near a major source of water with a valuable complex of biotic resources for food and manufactures argue for its use as a living place for Native Americans for a very long time.