Lorena Way

Lorena Way

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Lorene (Lena) Lugo Martinez discussing tribal matters with (L-R) Clemente Segundo, Willie Marcus Belardo, and Moreno Patencio at the Section 14 bathhouse.  Circa 1939

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.  All Rights Reserved

Gift of the Bureau of Indian Affairs


LIVED: 9/26/1908 – 11/22/2002

Lorene (Lena) Lugo Martinez, daughter of Romalda Lugo, played a principal role in early Agua Caliente politics and government.  In her political career, she was elected to Tribal Council, served on an Appraisal Committee which surveyed tribal land holdings for the purpose of development and progress, and was eventually elected chairman of the tribe.  She was one of the first women in the nation to hold such a position.

Lena and her mother were two of the eighteen complainants who demanded that the land allotment schedules of 1923 and 1927 be honored and granted by the federal government.  Members of this pro-allotment group were referred to by some as progressives.  With fellow tribal member Juana Hatchitt and other pro-allotment band members, she successfully rallied to reorganize tribal government with like-minded leaders.

Following a Supreme Court decision in 1947 upholding land allotments, Lena continued to express the opinion that the leasing and improvement of tribal lands would most optimally sustain the economic well-being of the Agua Caliente Band.  To this end she remained politically active with the Tribal Council pursuing street and zoning plans, Section 14 improvements, rehabilitation of the Indian Canyons, and similar investments in tribal infrastructure.