Kumeyaay - Orientation

Identification. The Kumeyaay are an American Indian group located in southern California and often called the "Diegueño" or "Tipai-Ipai." The Spanish recorded dialect variants of "Kumayaay," the people's name for themselves. "Kamia" is a Mohave variant. The San Diego Mission named the nearby Indians "Diegueño." Dialect variants of "Ipai" mean "people." Some sib names: "Kwash," "Kwamaay," "Kuñeil," "Akwa'ala" (southerners) used by Kumeyaay for southern villages.

Location. At contact, Kumeyaays held the area from below Todos Santos Bay, Baja California, to above Agua Hedionda Lagoon, California, approximately 31° to 33°15′ N. The northern boundary extended along the southern divide above San Luis Rey River to Palomar Mountain, across Valle de San Jose, to the desert along the northern divide above San Felipe Creek, then to the sand hills west of the Colorado River, and south to the river below Yuma. From south of Todos Santos Bay, the southern boundary angled northeast to the Colorado River above the Cocopa. Today, the Kumeyaay have thirteen small reservations in San Diego County and four in Baja California.

Demography. In 1980, approximately 1,700 lived on or near Kumeyaay reservations in San Diego County and 350 in Baja California. These figures exclude those on mixed-tribe reservations and those living away, possibly another 1,700. In 1769, approximately 20,000 existed, based on mission birth and death records and the 1860 federal census.

Linguistic Affiliation. Kumeyaay belongs to the Yuman language family, Hokan stock. Each village had its dialect with differences increased by distance.

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