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Amega S'hana

Page history last edited by Michael 1 year, 11 months ago

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     A prosperous, neutral agricultural community, formed after the Atomic War by survivors from rural areas nearby and several Native American reservations.




     The Coachella Valley lies between the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the east, and the San Jacinto Mountains and the Santa Rosa Mountains on the west. A hundred thousand permanent inhabitants lived in the valley in November of 1989 -- notably at the popular resort towns of Palm Springs (pop. 32,000) and Palm Desert (pop. 12,000); That month another four hundred thousand seasonal residents, tourists, and other visitors were present. More footage here.


Starting in 1987 the city of  Palm Springs (led by Major Sonny Bono) began cracking down on public drinking during spring break.

In 1988 a further ban was enacted on public use of squirt guns and water balloons.

Many of the more rowdy and raunchy activities began moving to Lake Havasu and Rosarito, Mexico.

Finally, in 1991 the city outlawed public nudity and thong bikinis.


     There were about 800 members of the Cahuilla tribe in California, of which fewer than three dozen knew their language, and most were over 40 years of age. They shared ownership of much land in the Coachella Valley, and also controlled several reservations around the area.

     Interstate Highway 10 ran through the valley, connecting the Los Angeles area to the Southwest.



     No nuclear weapons struck the Coachella Valley -- the closest strikes were at Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base. A massive stream of refugees poured through along the Interstate the day after the Atomic War, but within another day the winds brought heavy fallout -- most of it from the destroyed reactors at San Onofre. Within a week the valley was nearly uninhabited, the Colorado River Aqueduct and All-American Canal were dry, and the next summer wildfires leveled most of the towns.

     For 20 years only the foolish or insane spent any time between San Bernardino and the Joshua Tree National Monument -- radiation sickness slowly, or quickly, struck them down. At the same time, earthquakes and annual fires destroyed more and more of the remains of Ancient civilization, and heavy rains (and even snow) led to floods and rapid erosion. As the threat of contamination receded, the waters of the Gulf of California slowly rose by seven meters, and the Long Valley eruption and quakes in 2020 changed the courses of rivers, lowered the land level along the shore by a final meter, and signaled the beginning of a new, fruitful era for the Coachella Valley.

     The head of the Gulf of California is now just outside of the Ancient town of Palm Desert; the ruins of Indio and Coachella stand up from the waters of the gulf. The Whitewater River, flowing through the valley, is a regular source of fresh water for drinking and agriculture.

     By the 22nd Century the Coachella Valley had become the "bread basket" of Southern California. Conflict with other regional powers grew into a few small wars -- the most recent of these was seven years ago, with the Nueva República de México. In 2140, however, a new conflict arose -- the "Purge" movement, spearheaded by Berdu and Southshore, threatened some of Amega S'hana's trade links. 


What Outsiders Know

     In southern California, they are a known powerful but neutral nation, with a strong agricultural economy, some limited industry, and rumored to possess "war machines". Their currency is stable and their goods -- horses, meat, cloth, agricultural produce, recycled scrap, and lead -- are very much in demand.


The Reality

     The Council of Elders is considering changing their neutrality policy to favor Astra.



     25,000. Of these, children under age 16 make up 25% (6,250); people age 48 or more make up 18% (4,500). There are 5,700 women above age 15 but under age 48, and 8,500 men in that same age category.

     About half of the "adult but not old" women have gainful employment.


Territory and Locations



     They are at the north end of the Gulf of California, along the former Interstate 10 near Palm Desert and Palm Springs. The northwestern "exit" is near Cabazon; to the north a pass leads to Yucca Valley.  The southeastern border is around the Chiriaco Summit. The entire area within the borders (not including the Gulf of California, but including the mountain ranges up to the main ridgelines) is 3600 square kilometers; land being grazed on or used for cultivation totals about 800 square kilometers (80,000 hectares).

     The floor of the Coachella Valley is only about 25 kilometers wide for much of its length; the nation stretches about 100 kilometers in length (including lands on the shores of the Gulf of California.




Government, National and Local

     A tribal Council of Elders is the central governing body. They are elected by the various family groups from among people at least 48 years old (there used to be a complicated system dealing with grand-children or grand-nieces and grand-nephews, but circa 2090 a simpler system was adopted).


Military Affairs


     A simple patrol system (the Border Rangers) employs 20 men, provided with horses, rifle and ammunition by the Council of Elders. About eight of these work at each end of the Coachella Valley, with a few more at lookout atop the mountains. There are another 100 men "on call" for posses, and as the ready reserve -- but calling them up would take most of a day.

     Two small steam-powered craft (the Fulton and the Brunel) are employed by the Council in the Gulf of California. Their main duty is rescue of fishing vessels unable to return to port when strong contrary winds continue too long; but their 5-man crews are armed.


Justice, Social Control, Punishment

     There's no separate legislative or judicial system; the family elders, and the tribal Council, have authority on most matters.

     For members of the tribe, expulsion is the most severe punishment that can be applied -- although there are rumors that a few truly evil malefactors have been expelled and then hunted down in years past. More often fines, and mandatory restitution, are applied.

     Outsiders face a rougher model of criminal justice, although still much more of a model of due process than most places in the American Southwest.


Political Factions, Dissent

     A strong but currently powerless group of younger persons are unhappy with their lack of legal authority, and are working to allow persons under the age of 48 to join the Council. Some of these "youths" have more radical notions of representative government, etc.

      People who would like to see Amega S'hana end its neutrality in favor of working more closely with Astra -- and of improving Amega S'hana's technical and industrial capacity -- are sometimes called the Radicals.

     A few very small, and usually ignored, groups espouse socialism, anarchism, monarchy, or other forms of society and government.

     The New Way Foundation, originating in Southshore, has a "meditation center" in the valley; the urge people to shun technology and "scientists". The Council of Elders has a careful eye on this group.

     There are agents from Southshore and Berdu in the valley, reporting back to the spy network established by the Purge. They have bribed, blackmailed and threatened a few influential locals into working with them.


Famous/Infamous Persons


     Chairman Shoshanna De Reil (age 47) is the chairman of the Council of Elders. She's been chairman for seven years, after leading the nation in a short war against  the Nueva República de México. Red-haired (though it's starting to turn gray).

     Nixon Gutierrez (age 61) is the director of the school at Palm Springs. He's easily the most technically educated man in the Coachella Valley, or anywhere in Southern California outside of Astra. In his youth he spent time among the Foundation of Mankind, and at Styx.

     Diego Lopez Mulderry (age 44) is the senior member of the Border Rangers. Very flamboyant and brash, but his ego is matched by his military and fieldcraft skills. He was chosen by Chairman De Reil to lead the military during the war with the NRM seven years ago.


Relationships with Other Groups

     For many decades the Council of Elders has followed a "strict neutrality" policy towards other communities. They sell horses, food and tools to anyone not breaking the laws of the Coachella Valley.

     Astra has long been a good trading partner -- that non-agricultural community provides useful advanced technical skills -- so the recent campaign by the Purge to destroy the "bombers" worries the Council. The main groups pushing for the Purge -- Berdu and Southshore -- are regarded with suspicion by people in the Coachella Valley.

     The Nueva República de México sees Amega S'hana as a rival, and as a "natural" ally against the gringos of the Los Angeles Bay area.

     The Morrow Project is unknown in the area. The Foundation of Mankind is regarded as mercenary but unthreatening; the Cartel as viewed as foolish and wicked, always attempting to rob people with bad bargains, counterfeit money, and quick talk.




Ethnic Groups, Immigration and Emigration


     By the 2020s, the inhabitants of what had been several Cahuilla reservations in the area - Agua Caliente, Morongo, and Santa Rosa  -- had spread back into the Coachella Valley. They were a thorough mix of Cahuilla, African-American, Mexican-American, and other ethnicities.

      Some immigration occurs; only people related to a current or past citizen can become citizens -- this isn't too hard for folk born in the Southwest of the 20th Century, as oral testimony, affirmation, and fragmentary records are all accepted as evidence. An immigrant becomes a member of one of the many families -- so the prejudices and opinions of the families have a lot of effect on the final decision (made by the Council of Elders a few times per years).


Social Divisions and Castes

     A few families have more influence and money. People with a recognized descent from the pre-Atomic War Cahuilla tribe get more respect.


Religion, Beliefs and Superstition

     Locals will tell you they are Christians, but there are some fairly non-standard beliefs. Most of these have little to do with traditional Cahuilla culture, though. To a casual observer these might resemble those of northern Mexican folk culture in the 20th Century.

     The souls of recently-departed friends or family members are prayed for regularly for a week or two. Heaven is vaguely described as being "in the East", though this is in much the same way as 20th Century casual Christians refer to Heaven as being "in the sky" -- nobody except for children expect to find it by going in that direction.

     Luck and fate are a common concern; profanity often involves this, as in the phrase, "Of all the damned luck!"

     The Cahuilla are very careful about repaying debts and matching gifts.

     Animals given particular respect, or seen as being "noble" are horses, eagles, wildcats and coyotes.


Morality and Values

     Repayment of debt, matching gifts with equal (or better) gifts, and returning injury for injury are pretty basic cultural features.


Progress and Failure

     Blah blah ...


Family, Age, Sexuality and Gender

     Men who do get married do so at an average age of 27 years; women, at age 21. About 80% of adult women will be married at some point; only about 53% (4,500) men. Bigamy and adultery are very much frowned upon.

     Literacy rates for women and men are about the same -- married but unemployed women are viewed as "having the most time for reading".

    Divorce is rare, and (given the connected-families nature of many legal and social networks) often a drawn-out legal and social drama.


Education and Language


     Road Talk is the usual language, with a sort of "Spanish" accent; many people also know Español Mexicano or Komerk. Words in the old Cahuilla language are used for many native plants, and for a few traditional activities. Except for a few ethnographic works from the late 20th Century, there are no written texts in Cahuilla.

     Schooling is free and encouraged -- but not mandatory -- up to age 15; about 90% of the population are literate, but very few proceed beyond the free schools. The school in Palm Springs (with 400 students in all grades) is the "most advanced', but still only gives the equivalent of a 1930s high school education.

     Higher education -- for doctors, dentists, pharmacists and advanced engineers -- is found outside of the Coachella Valley. Some students travel to Astra for education; others, to Styx or even further afield.


Environment and Agriculture

      After five centuries or so, abundant water has returned to the Coachella Valley. The fertile soils allow for year-round harvests. Herds of horses, sheep and goats roam the valley floor, foothills, and mountain sides (somewhat respectively).

     In a typical year, 1,860 seeded hectares produce 3,000 tons of wheat, 93 seeded hectares produce 130 tons of barley, 2,800 seeded hectares yield 2,800 tons of oats, 2,000 hectares produce 12,700 tons of maize (corn), 500 hectares produce 3,600 tons of potatoes, and 3,000 hectares of grass are harvested to give 15,000 tons of hay. Including land in other crops, and about 1/3 of the land fallow or seeded with "cover" crops (not producing saleable produce), there are about 20,000 hectares of active cropland in the Coachella Valley.


Those figures are just for some notable crops -- there are many other varieties.


     There are slightly more horses and mules -- 30,000 -- than there are people in the valley; and 36,000 sheep are herded.

      While not as dry as they were in the 20th Century, the mountain ranges flanking the valley are still quite rocky and treeless. There are many hot springs in the mountains.



     Blah blah ...


Art and Entertainment, Music, Literature, Recreation

     Blah blah ...


Fashion and Appearance

     Blah blah ...


Urban and Rural Areas, Architecture

     Palm Springs, the largest town, has 2,200 residents. There are dozens of small towns with a couple of hundred inhabitants.

     There's nothing recognizable left from before the Atomic War except some roads and swimming pools -- even those have been repaired.


Equipment and Resources



     Their economy is classified at Agricultural; the GNP is about $400,000 per year. Notable imports include technical equipment from Styx (via the Cartel) and Astra; along with heavy materials like structural steel from the Nueva República de México. The most valuable exports are foodstuffs and fabric.

     The official local currency is the Tolar, a one-ounce gold coin minted purely for external trade (and the rare hoarder). There is actually paper currency in circulation, the Trade Tolar; 100 Trade Tolars equals a Gold Tolar, so $1 is worth 5 Trade Tolars (abbreviated TT). The paper currency is printed in various denominations, up to 100 TT and down to 1 TT (= 20 cents). Old small coins fill in the gaps.

      Outlying farms still use barter for some transactions. The Cahuilla are widely known in Southern California for being honest about debts (and fierce in extracting them); and some of the larger merchants do in fact act as banks of a sort.


Science, Medicine and Technology

     Tech level E -- circa 1840 United States -- with some imported items at Tech level C -- circa 1920. There are electrical systems in service -- most power is generated by windmills, with a few small water reservoirs producing electrical power also.  Imported technology usually comes from the Cartel or Astra.

     The average life expectancy is about 50 years; the oldest person in the valley is age 92 (born 2048).

     Each year about 700 tons of scrap steel is gathered for recyling; most of it is sent to steel mills near Tijuana. 20 tons of lead is recovered from old batteries, wheel weights, and a couple of mines in the Little San Bernardino Mountains.

     Several weaving and knitting mills in Palm Springs employ nearly 50 persons.


Weapons and Military Equipment

     An armory and factory in Palm Springs employs 20 men in making and repairing weapons, and loading ammunition. Local small arms production amounts to about 130 rifles each year; the armory holds about 2,000 muzzle-loading rifles, and there are at least that many in private hands. A .58 caliber rifle can be purchased for $24 (120 TT) at stores in the large towns most years -- in 2140 and 2141, however, with concerns about war, a merchant can ask for -- and get $40 or more for a .58 caliber rifle. The Council sent out traders to obtain arms in those years. 

     Cartridge-firing weapons and ammunition are expensive but available from foreign traders in Palm Springs (prices about twice what the Cartel would charge) -- again, affected in 2140 and 2141 by war scares.

     The Council of Elders allocates $7,000 to military matters in a typical year -- including rifles for the armory, salaries, cavalry remounts, maintenance on steam boats, ammunition, etc..

     Hidden away on the outskirts of Palm Springs is a garage and walled yard; at least two armored fighting vehicles are kept there, but there's been no signs of training. They are a widely-known "national secret"; the usual views are that they're either a foolish waste of time and money, or cleverly prepared and trained for while hidden from sight. The Council won't answer public questions about these vehicles.



     Besides a daily mail service throughout the valley, a simple telephone system (purchased from Astra) connects the mountain lookouts with the post offices, border posts, and a few large farms in the valley. There are about 40 phones.

     There is one printing press, in Palm Springs, but no newspapers.



     Horses are ridden, and wagons are driven, for most of the transport needs of the valley. Any motor vehicles were purchased from outside the valley -- usually in Cartel paradas. They are a combination of smokers (gasogen) and burners (alcohol or biofuel).

     Hundreds of men and women are employed in driving horses, steam tractors, and primitive motor vehicles. A few small shops build wagons and draft gear, as well as repairing and maintaining motor vehicles. There are proposals to build a railway line down the length of the valley.

     The Council of Elders has a locked garage with a couple of armored fighting vehicles -- but they don't get used in training.






     Except for a few small fishing boats on the Gulf, and two steam-powered patrol boats, none.



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