The Kumeyaay

History of the Kumeyaay Indians

The Kumeyaay and their ancestors  have lived on the Baja-California border at least 10,000 years in accordance with a recent excavation near Jacumba. Their descendants are probably the Yuman speaking Tipai. The striking red, black and white pictographs were painted in caves and on rocks along the southern California border, up the Gila River and along the Colorado River, ranging from the lower Grand Canyon to the Sea of Cortez. This tradition of ancient art is called La Rumorosa, after a site in northeastern Baja, Mexico.

The Kumeyaay Indians Today

There are twelve surviving North American Kumeyaay bands in the United States that are recognized by the federal government as sovereign tribal governments. Four Kumeyaay tribal communities survive south of the border in Baja California, Mexico.

Some of the more successful tribal ventures are the San Diego County Kumeyaay Indian casinos, resorts, hotels, restaurants, entertainment, and golf courses.

Movie of Rock Art at Echo Rock in the In Ko Pah Mountains

This movie shows some of the rock art at Echo Rock in the In Ko Pah Mountains. This very isolated rock shelter is unique in all of the Southwest. Nowhere else are there two orange beings and lots of accompanying rock art pertaining to the heavens and cosmology of the Kumeyaay Native Americans. When we go to one of the more than 200 La Rumorosa rock art sites, this is what we see and this remarkable short film will let you experience perhaps the finest rock art in the San Diego region. If you want more, please purchase one of our books. Your support goes directly to Kumeyaay education.

Don Liponi

In the deepest part of Wikwip also known as Echo Rock looking out into the ordinary world.  In this darkened chamber is where the shaman artist sat painting his vision in a metaphoric painting. These symbols may have preceded the European invasion of Kumeyaay land and the genocide that followed. Here, in a vision of the spiritual world, a holy person sought guidance and wisdom, then to honor the experience painted what we see here.

Don Liponi

Basketry of the Mission Indians

A photo from 1924 by Edward S. Curtis from The North American Indian (1907-1930) v.15, Southern California Shoshoneans. The Dieguenos Plateau Shoshoneans. The Washo ([Seattle] : E.S. Curtis ; [Cambridge, Mass. : The University Press], 1926), plate no. 509


Kumeyaay Bands of the United States

  • Campo Band of the Kumeyaay Nation
  • Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians
  • Barona Band of Mission Indians
  • San Pasqual Band of Indians
  • Inaja Cosmit Indian Reservation
  • Capitan Grande Indian Reservation
  • Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueño Indians, aka Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel
  • Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians aka Cuyapaipe
  • Manzanita Indian Reservation
  • La Posta Indian Reservation
  • Jamul Indian Village A Kumeyaay Nation
  • Mesa Grande Indian Reservation
  • Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation

The Baja California, Mexico, Kumiai Bands

  • San Jose de la Zorra
  • La Huerta
  • Juntas de Neji
  • San Antonio Necua
  • Santa Catarina (Kumeyaay-Pai Pai)

Campo reservation is only a few miles from the Mexican boundary.

A photo from 1924 by Edward S. Curtis from The North American Indian (1907-1930) v.15, Southern California Shoshoneans. The Dieguenos Plateau Shoshoneans. The Washo ([Seattle] : E.S. Curtis ; [Cambridge, Mass. : The University Press], 1926), plate no. 525

David Zielinski took this mystical photo of the area known as the McCain Wilderness which is really Kumeyaay land as reflected by it’s prehistoric La Rumorosa rock art. ...
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Free Presentation on August 6th at 7pm ONLINE. Link is below for you to sign on and learn something remarkable about your local Kumeyaay people. How they entered, obtained knowledge or wisdom from what we call the Spiritual World and used it to help their community. These experiences were recorded in what we see as rock art in the mountains and deserts of eastern San Diego County. Please come look at this highly visual presentation for the San Diego Sierra Club. ONLINE August 6 Friday 7:00 pm "La Rumorosa Rock Art: Kumeyaay Shamanistic Expressions" Kumeyaay Native Americans have lived In the San Diego region for at least 10,000 years. They survived and flourished partly because of their spiritual shamanistic system of beliefs. This system is reflected in the rock art that survives in the deserts and mountains east of the City: what can they show us? The presentation will draw on data from 160 sites which cover about 2250 La Rumorosa rock art panels (lots of great photos). And will include content related to the worldwide pattern for shamanism, using new research coming from all over Eurasia. The presenter, Dr. Don Liponi [biochemistry], has studied rock art for the past 50 years under the tutelage of such legendary teachers as Bob Begole, Michael Kelsey, Fran Barnes, and most importantly the Kumeyaay people. Don lamented 12 years ago that: "because I could only visit Utah or Arizona on vacations, out of desperation I realized that there was a huge vacuum in Kumeyaay-Patayan archaeology and rock art right in my own neighborhood of southern California, southwestern Arizona and northern Baja." Don proceeded to organize a group of more than 50 professionals, Native Americans, and avocationalists to recover the rock art of these "lost cultures".Program will be live streamed on Sierra Club SD Chapter Facebook Home page You can Post questions/comments there during & after the program. (Video will be at ...
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