In July 2019, San Diego celebrated the 250 year anniversary of the first mission being founded by the Spanish, which served as as the first building in “San Diego.” This year, unlike in year’s past, the Kumeyaay nation was honored by raising their flag alongside the US Flag.
This year San Diego civic leaders are commemorating 250 years since the Mission San Diego de Alcalá was established in 1769 by Father Junipero Serra. It marks the beginning of San Diego’s non-indigenous history while archaeological evidence shows that the Kumeyaay Indian people have lived in the region for 12,000 years.
Ethan Banegas is a member of the Barona Band of Mission Indians who teaches Kumeyaay history at Kumeyaay Community College.
“As our land got taken away, slowly but surely, we would lose these vibrant food sources that were only available in specific areas,” Banegas said. “It basically took away who were as a people as you take away our pieces of land. Because the land made us.”
Listen to this great podcast on San Diego’s KPBS.
Groups of Kumeyaay People (Kumiai) live in the isolated canyons of the Tijuana River watershed, high in the Baja California peninsula. They harvest acorns and pine nuts, hunt rattlesnake and small animals, collect grasses to weave baskets. As encroaching civilization brings electricity and running water, they still allow a glimpse of what life in Southern California before the Spanish arrived was like.
Ancient Ways and Modern Times
By Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times
Today’s exciting information comes from Kumeyaay.com dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Kumeyaay culture, telling the story from the Kumeyaay perspective.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) today announced that the Barona Cultural Center & Museum is among the 30 top finalists in the country for the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Services.
As San Diego County’s first museum on an Indian reservation dedicated to the perpetuation of the local Kumeyaay-Diegueno culture, the Barona Museum offers a unique educational journey for visitors of all ages.
The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities. For 25 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families and communities.
This was a beautiful ceremony that kicked off the garden in grand fashion.
In celebrating Native American culture, the event included Bird Songs, storytelling, ethnobotany tours, Kumeyaay cultural activities, and an art exhibition. Hands-on activities included basket making, Kumeyaay games and smoothies made with ingredients gathered from plants indigenous to Southern California.
The Agave Harvest and Tasting is an annual event sponsored by the Malki Museum. It is held on two consecutive Saturdays in mid- to late-April, when the Agave plants were traditionally gathered. The agave or amul was a basic food staple for indigenous people of Southern California. Reservations Recommended: Please call (951) 849 7289.
To learn more, visit the Kumeyaay Garden web page.
This article from the Women’s Museum of California, talks about the legacy of Two Spirits within Kumeyaay, also known as Tipai-Ipai or Diegueño culture and provides a brief overview of Kumeyaay history and how differents bands of the Kumeyaay nation are addressing ideas of gender fluidity.
The interview features Michael Wilken-Robertson, Anthropologist and Professor at Cal-State University San Marcos talking about his book, Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Shared Heritage of the Californias.
For thousands of years, the Kumeyaay people of northern Baja California and southern California made their homes in the diverse landscapes of the region, interacting with native plants and continuously refining their botanical knowledge. Today, many Kumeyaay Indians in the far-flung ranches of Baja California carry on the traditional knowledge and skills for transforming native plants into food, medicine, arts, tools, regalia, construction materials, and ceremonial items. Kumeyaay Ethnobotany explores the remarkable interdependence between native peoples and native plants of the Californias through in-depth descriptions of 47 native plants and their uses, lively narratives, and hundreds of vivid photographs. It connects the archaeological and historical record with living cultures and native plant specialists who share their ever-relevant wisdom for future generations.
Listen to the interview with Wilken-Robertson from January 2018 on KPBS Midday Edition in MP3 format. If this doesn’t work for you, visit the KPBS website.
Rose Creek is in the traditional lands of the Kumeyaay. The Kumeyaay are a living cultural group here in San Diego and in the northern part of Baja California, Mexico.
Every month, the Friends of Rose Creek tries to bring you a tidbit of information on Kumeyaay culture, news, or current events.
Enjoy this great program about Kumeyaay culture and the Nation-State border that has divided the people. Watch How the Creation of Borders Changed Kumeyaay Life on KCET.
KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. In addition to broadcasting the finest programs from around the world, KCET produces and distributes award-winning local programs that explore the people, places and topics that are relevant to our region.
Enjoy this great documentary on Native American Basket Weaving with a special focus on California traditions.
Native American basketry has long been viewed as a community craft, yet the artistic quality and value of these baskets are on par with other fine art. Now Native peoples across the country are revitalizing basketry traditions and the country looks to California as a leader in basket weaving revitalization. There has been a revival in traditional basket weaving, thanks to the work of the California Indian Basketweavers Association (CIBA), which was founded in 1992 under the slogan “keeping the tradition alive.” This episode was made in partnership with the Autry Museum of the American West and CIBA.