Last updated on Tuesday, June 5th, 2018
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“The Kumeyaay, referred to as Diegueño by the Spanish, were the original native inhabitants of San Diego County. The Kumeyaay, Yuman-speaking people of Hokan stock, have lived in this region for more than 10,000 years. Historically, the Kumeyaay were horticulturists and hunters and gatherers. They were the only Yuman group in the area and were the people who greeted the Spanish when they first sailed into San Diego Harbor with the Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo expedition of 1542.
The boundaries of the Kumeyaay lands changed with the arrival of the Europeans, but once extended from the Pacific Ocean, south to Ensenada in Baja Norte, Mexico, east to the sand dunes of the Colorado River in Imperial Valley and north to Warner Springs Valley. North to northeast, their territory was bounded by other Indian nations – the San Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla.
Today, Kumeyaay tribal members are divided into 12 separate bands – Barona, Campo, Ewiiaapaayp, Inaja-Cosmit, Jamul, LaPosta, Manzanita, Mesa Grande, San Pasqual, Santa Ysabel, Sycuan and Viejas. One of the largest owners of land in San Diego County, Kumeyaay governments have jurisdiction over approximately 70,000 acres concentrated in East County from El Cajon, Lakeside, Poway and Ramona, to the desert. Of the total acreage, more than 15,000 acres is unusable to the Kumeyaay because the El Capitan Reservoir was removed from Indian Government ownership. The reservoir feeds the San Diego River east of Lakeside and is located within the Capitan Grande Indian Reservation, which is jointly patented to the Viejas and Barona Bands.”
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