Why the Proposed Eagle Mountain Dump

By Alfredo Figueroa
Reprinted from Desert Watch 2004, used with permission.

^Golden eagle.

The Eagle Mountain Mountain Range lies within the Joshua Tree National Park. The name Eagle Mountain is derived from ancient Nahuatl, Mexica language meaning Cuahtli (Eagle). As traditionalist, we are all the guardians of Mother earth (Tonantzin in Nahuatl.) We must defend her at all cost and prevent the sacred Eagle Mountain Range from becoming the Los Angeles County Mega Dump! What a tragedy that would be. The sacredness of this area must be revealed so as to save Eagle Mountain from the grave atrocity that will destroy it down to the core and destroy every existing life within it.

The information about the sacredness of the Eagle Mountains has never been published and was not scheduled to be made public, but I felt compelled to reveal the truth about these sacred mountains due to the graveness of the fate of the Eagle Mountains and the proposed MEGA DUMP.

Throughout the past centuries the name of the Eagle Mountain range has changed but the meaning has remained the same. In Mojave, the Eagle is called Amat’Avi Aspa (place of Eagle Mountain). The Chemehuevi and the cahuilla also have their name for Eagle Mountain. When the Spaniards came, they called Eagle Mountain “la Sierra de la Aguila”. Finally when the Anglos came to the area, the name changed to the present English spelling of Eagle Mountain. Coincidentally, other mountain ranges in the area have kept their native names like the Chuckwalla Mountains south of the Eagle Mountains.

When I was a boy, I used to wonder why the mountains were called Eagle Mountains. I wonder if they had been named after the Black Eagle Mine or other mines in the Eagle Mountain Range. My father, Danuario, was a miner and worked briefly in the Black eagle Mine during the thirties. The Eagle Mountain Range, though, had been named way before these mines came about. Even though I had spent many years working the mines throughout eastern Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and living in the desert, I had never seen a real live Eagle, except on rare occasions along the Colorado River.

Finally, during my 44 years of research of the Nahua (Mexica) Codex, (Aztec writing), I was finally able to determine why this Mountain Range was called the Eagle Mountains.

Our Chemehuevi and other indigenous Elders have always regarded the Eagle Mountains as very sacred. Through my investigations, I have been able to decipher and cross reference the hundreds of petroglyphs and other symbols found on these mountains with the Nahua Codex, and the Summer Solstice, thus confirming the authenticity of Cuauhtemoc.

The name Eagle Mountain is derived from the Uto-Aztecan language, Nahuatl. It’s full name is Cuauhtemoc. Cuauhtemoc is derived from ‘cuauhtli” meaning “eagle” and “-temoc” meaning “descending”, hence, cuauhtemoc means Descending Eagle. The Sun’s nahualli (animal representation) is the Eagle. The manifestation of the allegory of Cuauhtemoc is seen during the Summer Solstice, when the Sun sets on the Eagle Mountains as seen from the east in Blythe.

^Petroglyphs located by Alfredo Figueroa and Larry and Donna Charpied in 2000 in the Eagle Mountains within Joshua Tree National Park. (Photos by Donna and Larry Charpied)

Among Spanish Speaking natives of the Western Hemisphere, Cuauhtemoc is a very popular name and is one of the most beloved heroes of the Indigenous World.

Cuauhtemoc was the 11th Tlatoani (spokesperson) of the Mexica and Confederation of Anahuac that extended all the way from the Rocky Mountains of the Montana down to Nicaragua. In Nahua, Nicaraqua means “to here extended Anahuac,” or “to here, came the Nahua People”.

<“Descending Eagle” the 11th Tlatoani (spokesperson) of the Mexica and the Confederation of Anahuac.

Cuauhtemoc led the defense of Mexico/Tenochtitlan against the European invader led by Hernan Cortes. After 80 days of fierce fighting, Cuauhtemoc finally surrendered on August 13, 1521. This was an infamous day in our indigenous history, marking the beginning of the suppression and the destruction of our indigenous knowledge, language, custom and traditions. We all know the result of that day. The Native way of life would be kept in darkness for five-hundred years.



Thanks to the courageous leadership of Donna (Cihuacoatl) and Larry Charpied (Tlatoani). (In the Nahua, they are the spokespersons of the Nahua Supreme Council.) They along with Penny Newman of the Center For Community Action and Environmental Justice, and the Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent, Ernest Quintana, and the thousands of concerned environmentalists, have been able to delay the construction of the proposed Eagle Mountain Dump.

We need to restore the Joshua Tree National Park to its original boundaries such as they were when it was the Joshua Tree National Monument, before the withdrawal of land that allowed the Kaiser iron Mine to operate.


Alfredo Figureoa is a native of the Colorado River and has for the past 50 years, pursued the revealing of the truth of our creation. He has published his first book, “Ancient Footprints of the Colorado River”, that reveals the Cradle of Creation. No part of this article can be reprinted without the consent or permission of its article.

^Eagle Mountains. (Photo by Donna and Larry Charpied)


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