San Diego County is home to more Native American reservations than any other in the United States. Thirteen of the reservations belong to the Kumeyaay Nation that was split by force following the Mexican-American War that began in 1846 and ended two years later. Six of the reservations ended up south of the border in Northern Baja California, Mexico. Many people in the region are not aware that these communities exist. But the Kumeyaay people refuse to let a wall divide them.

These days they continue to teach younger generations the craft of basket weaving and cooking traditional foods, and sponsor cultural events in hopes of bringing Kumeyaay tribes together, and they have launched their own language-immersion programs to help keep their Kumeyaay language alive in both countries. For those who can’t cross the border, a task force was created to help them obtain short-term visas, which allow them to gather with family and attend cultural events. Because many elders were born at home and not in hospitals, they do not have official birth certificates or other forms of identification requested by immigration officials.

~ The San Diego Union-Tribune


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