Articles of Interest

Barona Recreation Center Winter Day Camp




Camp Dates:

12/22, ½ day on 12/24, 12/26, 12/29, 12/30, ½ day 12/31

Activities include:

Age appropriate fitness games, sports, crafts, field trips and lots of fun.

Lunch & Snacks are available for purchase

Camp Hours of Operation:

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

*Please note we are closing at 1:00 PM on 12/24 & 12/31

Daily Rate for non-tribal is $15.00 per child

Barona Tribal Members & Immediate Family are FREE

Extra Camp Fees:

A.M. Extended Hours  7:45 AM – 9:00 AM

$3.00 per day, per family

P.M. Extended Hours  5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

$3.00 per day, per family

Schedule is subject to change without notice.

For more information and to enroll your child/ren in the program, please contact Barona Rec at 619-443-7003 ext. 1 or 218


Liberty and Justice for All: Mataguay, San Felipe and Cupeno Removal


Excerpted from a report by Helen Hunt Jackson.

Roy Cook, Editor

Fire is all too familiar in the San Diego backcountry and the recent required evacuation of the Boy Scout camp at Mataguay has sparked an investigation. Irresponsible use of fireworks is the cause of the fire. Lets look a bit deeper in to this Rancho Valle de San Jose history of tragedy. This is a very personal area of interest to this author. When I was one year of age my father worked at Lake Hensaw. Both my parents established lifelong friendships with the residents of the Santa Ysabel Reservation-1, 2 & 3.

I have been a student of this area all my life.

Diegueños. A collective name, probably in part synonymous with Comeya. Today we recognize Kumeyaay even though some of the Northern bands still prefer Diegeno. These terms were applied by the Spaniards to Indians of the Yuman language family who formerly lived in and around San Diego, California, whence the term; nevertheless it is a firmly established name and is thus accepted to include the tribes formerly living about San Diego and extending south to about lat 31º 30/.  Degueños still live in the neighborhood of San Diego. There are about 400 Indians included under this name attached to the Mission agency of California, but they are now officially recognized as part of the "Mission Indians." The rancherias formerly occupied by the Diegueños, so far as known, are; Abascal, Awhut, Cajon, Camajal, Campo, Capitan Grande, Cenyowpreskel(?), Cojuat, Coquilt, Corral, Cosoy, Cuyamaca, Ekquall, Focomae, Guieymura, Hasoomale, Hassasei, Hataam, Hawai, Honwee Vallecito, Icayme, Inomassi, Inyaha, Kwalwhut, Laguna, La unta, Lorenzo, Mactati, Maramoydos, Mataguay, Matamo, Matironn, Mattawottis, Melejo, Mesa Chiquita, Mesa Grande, Meti, Nellmole, Nipaguay, Otai, Otat, Pocol, Pickaway, San Felipe, San José, Lan Luis, Santa Ysabel, Siquan, Suahpi, Tachlay, Thwine, Tapanque, Toowed, Valle de las Viejas, Wahti, Xamacha, Xana and Yacum.  The Conejos, the Kiliwi and the Coyotes are mentioned as former Diegueño bands.

These bands are classified together as Kumeyaay because they are all of the Yuman language family, Hokan stock. The Kumeyaay are sub-divided into the Ipai (the northern dialectical form) and the Tipai (the southern dialectical form) and the Kamia (the eastern dialectical form mentioned above).

At its Northern most point the Ipai lived in territory extending from the San Diego River (approximately Interstate 8) north to Agua Hedionda Lagoon (approximately State Highway 78) and then eastward through Escondido to Lake Henshaw. The Metipai lived from what is now the Manzanita Reservation and Old Campo along the Sweetwater watershed. The Tipai lived south of the San Diego River into Baja south of Ensanada, and eastward to the Eyapaipe of the Laguna Mountains and beyond Mount Tecate. All except for the Ipai are collectively called Kumeyaay since about the 1970’s.

The Santa Ysabel Ranch is South of Warner's Ranch. It is a well-wooded, well-watered, beautiful country, much broken by steep and stony mountains. The original grant of this ranch was confirmed March l7th, 1858, to one José Ortego and the heirs of Edward Stokes. The patent was issued May l4th, 1872. It is now owned by a Captain Wilcox, who has thus far not only left undisturbed the Indian village within the boundaries of his estate, but has endeavored to protect the Indians by allowing to the ranch lessee a rebate of $200 yearly on the rent on account of the Indians' occupancy. There is in the original grant of this ranch the following clause: "The grantees will leave free and undisturbed the agricultural lands which the Indians of San Diego are actually occupying."

We found on arriving at the Santa Ysabel village that an intelligent young Indian living there had recently been elected as general over the Dieguino Indians in the neighborhood. He showed to us his papers and begged us to wait till be could have all his captains gathered to meet us. Eight villages he reported as being under his control,---Santa Ysabel, Mesa Grande, Mesa Chilquita, San José, Mataguay, La Puerta, Laguna, and Anaha. He was full of interest and inquiry and enthusiasm. about his people. "I want know American way," he said in his broken English. "I want make all my people like American people. How I find out American laws? When white men lose cow, lose pig, they come here with pistol and say we must find or give up man that stole. How we know? Is that American law? We all alone out here. We got nobody show us. Heap things I want ask about. I make all my people work. We can't work like American people; we ain't got work with; we ain't got wagon, harness; three old broked ploughs for all these people. What we want, some man right here to go to. While you here white man very good; when you go away trouble same as before."

There are one hundred and seventy-one Indians in this village. They are very poor. Many of their houses are of tale or brush, their clothes were scanty and ragged, some of the older men wearing but a single garment. That they had not been idle their big wheat-field proved; between three and four hundred acres fenced and the wheat well up. "How do you divide the crops?" we asked. "Every man knows his own piece," was the reply. They sell all of this wheat that they can spare to a storekeeper some three miles away. Having no wagon they draw the wheat there on a sort of sledge or wood triangle. about four feet long, with slats across it. A rope is tied to the apex of this, then fastened to the horn of a saddle on a horse ridden by a man, who steers the sledge as best he may. The Indians brought this sledge to show us, to prove how sorely they needed wagons. They also made the women bring out all the children and arrange them in rows, to show that they had enough for a school, repeating over and over that they had many more, but they were all out digging wild roots and vegetables." If there was not great many them, my people die hungry," said the general; "them most what we got eat." It is a sore grievance to these Santa Ysabel Indians that the Aqua Caliente Indians, only twenty miles away, have received from the Government a school, ploughs, wagons, &c., while nothing whatever has been done for them." Them Aqua Caliente Indians got every thing," said the general; "got hot springs too; make money on them hot springs; my people got no chance make money."

On the second day of our stay in this region we saw four of the young general's captains, those of Puerta San Felipe, San José, Anaha, and Laguna. In Puerta San Felipe are sixty-four people. This village is on a confirmed grant, the "Valle de San Felipe," confirmed to Felipe Castillo. The ranch is now leased to a Frenchman, who is taking away the water from the Indian village, and tells the captain that the whole village belongs to him, and that if anybody so much as hunts a rabbit on the place be will put him in prison. These people are in great destitution and trouble, being deprived of most of their previous means of support. The Anaha captain reported fifty-three people in his village. White men had come in and fenced up land on both sides of him. "When he plants his wheat and grain the white men run their hogs into the fields;" and "when the white men find anything dead they come to him to make him tell everything about it, and he has not got anything to tell." The San José captain had. a similar story. The Laguna captain was a tall, swarthy, well-to-do-looking Indian, so unlike all the rest that we wondered what there could have been in his life to produce such a difference. He said nobody troubled him. He had good land, plenty of water, raised grain and vegetables, everything he wanted except watermelons. His village contained eleven persons; was to be reached only by a steep trail, the last four miles. We expressed our pleasure at finding one Indian captain and village that were in no trouble and wanted for nothing. He smiled mysteriously, as we afterward recalled, and reiterated that nobody troubled him. The mystery was explained later, when we discovered accidentally in San Diego that this Laguna village had not escaped, as we supposed, the inroads of white men, and that the only reason that the Laguna Indians were not in trouble was that they had peaceably surrendered half their lands to a white man, who was living amicably among them under a sort of contract or lease.

The U.S. District Court of Claims, on October 10, 1850, confirmed Governor Alvarado's 1840 grant to Jose Antonio Pico of Rancho San Jose del Valle and Governor Micheltorena's 1844 grant of the Valley of San Jose to Warner. If the Cupenos had presented a claim to the Land Commission of 1851, they might have been able to prove ownership of their native lands. They did not do so, did not even know a Land Commission existed, and, as a result, they lost their claim to land their people had occupied long before 1795 when white men first appeared.

On February 23, 1857, the U.S. District Court for Southern California confirmed Portilla's grant as it applied to the southern half of the valley, and, in 1863, the U.S. Supreme Court approved their decision. Portilla's portion consisted of 17,634 acres. Warner's portion to the north, encompassing Rancho San Jose del Valle, consisted of 26,689 acres.

Warner's section passed to Henry Hancock in 1856 and Portilla's section to Cinventa Sepulveda de Carrillo in 1858.

On September 16, 1858, John Butterfield opened the Grant Overland Mail Route from Tipton, Missouri to San Francisco, California, with stage coach stops at Carrizo Springs, Vallecito, San Felipe Valley, and Warner's Ranch. J. Mora Moss in 1859 and John Rains in 1861 bought portions of Warner's Ranch from the Sheriff of San Diego County.

In 1878, Louis Phillips and John G. Downey, ex-governor of California, obtained possession of Rancho San Jose del Valle and Rancho Valle de San Jose, or the north and south sections of the Valley. In April 1880, Downey assumed title to the property. In August, he decided to give up sheep and stock raising, to remove the Cupenos, and to sell the ranch.

In 1888, Cupenos still lived at the springs. They used the water to irrigate about 200 acres, to do their laundry, to prepare food, and to soften fibers. White people in Southern California thought the mineral water in the spring had medicinal properties. The water had a temperature of 120 to 124 degrees Fahrenheit. To cool it, the Cupenos diverted it into pools by way of troughs. Visitors in the 1880's paid 25 cents for a single bath in the pools and $1.00 for a week's use of the waters. While at the springs, visitors lodged in the Indians' homes. The industrious Cupenos sold their guests baskets made from plant fibers. Unlike other California Indians, the Cupenos were self-supporting.

President Ulysses S. Grant, on December 27, 1875, set aside about 1,120 acres of the Cupeno settlement at Agua Caliente as a reservation. After the Warner and Portilla grants had been patented, President Rutherford B. Hayes, on January 17, 1880, rescinded Grant's order. The Cupenos were now at the mercy of their masters.

On August 11, 1892, ex-Governor Downey filed a complaint in the Superior Court of San Diego County (Downey vs. Barker), seeking to oust Cupenos from the hot springs. Downey hired U.S. Senator White to appear as his counsel and the U.S. Government engaged Shirley C. Ward of Los Angeles to look after the interests of the Cupenos. Judge George Puterbaugh took evidence from plaintiffs and defendants in July 1893, but he delayed announcing a decision.

After ex-Governor Downey's death, March 1, 1894, his heir and part-owner of the ranch, J. Downey Harvey, on April 21, revived the complaint against Barker. On August 3, he filed a second complaint (Harvey vs. Quevas), seeking to oust the Cupenos from the southern half of the Valley of San Jose. Judge Puterbaugh, November 5, 1895, authorized transfer of the two suits to Judge W. L. Pierce.

On August 21, 1896, Judge Pierce took depositions from the Cupenos at Warner's Ranch. On December 29, 1896, Judge Pierce decided the Harvey vs. Barker and Harvey vs. Quevas suits in favor of Harvey and the Merchants' Bank of San Francisco, which held an interest in the property. Judge Pierce ruled that the ancestors of the defendant Cupenos were not Mission or Pueblo Indians and that a United States patent of ownership was conclusive against the Cupeno claim of possessory rights.

Counsel for the Cupenos filed an appeal for a new trail, January 8, 1897, which Judge E. S. Torrance denied May 1.

On June 14, 1897, J. Downey Harvey, Henry T. Gage, Don Cunningham, C. W. Gates, D. Desmond, and Walter L. Vail, holders of interests in Warner's Ranch, filed an affidavit with the Superior Court stating that the hot springs were worth $100,000 and would be worth more if the Cupenos were not living there.

With the aid of funds from the Indian Rights Association of Washington, D.C. and the Women's National Indian Association of Philadelphia, the Cupenos, June 28, 1897, appealed Judge Torrance's denial to the California Supreme Court. On October 4, 1889, the California Supreme Court affirmed Judge Torrance's order denying a new trail and ruled the land granted to Warner and Portilla, at the time it was granted, was vacant, the Cupenos did not have possessory rights, and the Cupenos were wards of the U.S. Government, whose treatment or lack thereof was solely a Government responsibility.

The Attorney General of the United States, October 26, 1889, directed that Writs of Error be sued out of the Supreme Court of the United States to review the decision of the Supreme Court of California in the Warner Ranch case. Attorney D. W. Withington of San Diego, who argued for the owners before the U.S. Supreme Court, March 20-21, 1901, maintained the Cupenos at Warner's Springs were not Mission Indians, but Coahuillas (Cahuillas?) from the desert who had driven away the prior Indian occupants. If this statement were true, the invading Indians would not have the continuous right of occupancy recognized by Spanish and Mexican law. The statement was, however, a lie.

The U.S. Supreme Court, May 13, 1901, added to the California court's opinion: Cupeno Indians were subject to the political authority of the U.S. Congress, which, by its inaction, had denied their claim to the land. By reason of its prior ownership, Mission San Diego de Alcala had the only adverse claim. The U.S. Supreme Court concurred with the finding of the lower courts that a U.S. Government patent of ownership conferred absolute ownership.

J. Downey Harvey could now legally remove the Cupenos from the Valley. There were five settlements: Agua Caliente, Puerta de la Cruz, Puerta Ignoria, and Mataguay, with about 215 Indians living in them, the largest number (128) at the Hot Springs. They occupied 900 acres while the ranch consisted of 42,000 acres. Cupeno improvements to their rancherias, consisting of homes, chapel, schoolhouse, and irrigated and cultivated fields and orchards were worth at least $10,000. But the springs had the potential of becoming a flourishing health-spa which could make their owners rich, and this was what Harvey and his backers were after.

Harvey agreed to withhold enforcing his decree against the Cupenos until the U.S.Congress, then in session, enacted steps for their relief. For this forbearance, "friends of the Indians" had to pay him $2,700. Inspired by Harvey's success, the corporation owning San Felipe ranch, 15 miles from Warner's Ranch, filed for removal of between 30 and 40 Cupenos living there.

In June 1901, Charles Lummis formed the Sequoya League to look after the interests of the Warner Ranch Indians and to promote the cause of Indians in the Southwest. Lummis named the League after George Guess Sequoyah, a Cherokee scholar who developed a system of transcribing the Cherokee language. The League's motto was "to make better Indians and better-treated ones." Knowing that quick action was necessary to keep the Indians from being expelled to barren wastes, the League petitioned the U.S. Government to appoint a commission to look into the status of Indian tenures in Southern California.

Harvey offered to sell 30,000 acres of Warner's Ranch to the Government as a home for the Cupenos for $245,000, but Indian Inspector James McLaughlin recommended the Government purchase 2,370 acres of Monserrate Ranch for $70,000. Congress appropriated this sum and another $30,000 for the shelter and sustenance of Cupenos. When the Sequoya League informed the U.S. Congress that Monserrate Ranch lacked water, the Congress authorized the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to appoint three people to find a tract for the displaced Cupenos.

On May 28, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt chose Charles P. Lummis, Charles Partridge and R. C. Allen to locate a place to which the Cupenos would be moved. The Commission took Agua Caliente Cupenos Salvador Nolasquez and Ambrosio Ortega along on its tour of inspection.

At a March 1902 meeting with Cupeno Indians at Agua Caliente, the Commissioners asked Chief Cecilio Blacktooth where he would like to go. Mrs. Celsa Apapas translated Cecilio's reply: "You ask us to think what place we like next best to this place where we always live. You see that graveyard out there? There are our fathers and our grandfathers. You see that Eagle-nest mountain and that Rabbit-hole mountain? When God made them, he gave us this place. We have always been here. We do not care for any other place. It may be good, but it is not ours. There is no other place for us. We do not want you to buy us any other place. If you do not buy this place we will go into the mountains like quail and die there, the old people and the women and the children. Let the government be glad and proud. It can kill us. We do not fight. We do what it says. If we cannot live, we want to go into those mountains and die. We do not want any other home."

After they had investigated 106 ranches and traveled 7,040 miles by wagon and 6,829 by rail, and walked hundreds of miles, the Commission recommended the Government purchase 3,438 acres adjacent to Pala, about 30 miles southwest of Warner Springs and within the San Luis Rey watershed for $46,230. Some 2,000 of the acres were arable and 700 irrigable while only 200 acres were arable and 150 irrigable at Warner Springs. The Commission further recommended that the U.S. Government add another 5,000 acres of rocky and hilly public land contiguous to the Pala reservation.

In an article in Out West, June 1903, Lummis wrote: "The Warner's Ranch episode is closed. It was a tragedy, but that could not be helped after the Supreme Court acted. The one comfort about it is that for the first time in our history, the Indians got more land and better land than that from which they were ousted."

In 1950, the U.S. Government paid the Mission Indians of Southern California $150 each and in 1973 $668.51 each for lands they had been granted but did not receive in the treaties of 1851-52 and for other lands that were taken from them without benefit of treaties. It may seem that the Cupenos by accepting payment for their lands have relinquished claims to lands now occupied by others. But this is by no means certain as the Bureau of Indian Affairs was the defendant in the Indian claim case and also determined the amount of the settlement. In doing so, the Bureau may have corrupted the judicial process.

The 1901 U.S. Supreme Court ruling denying the Cupeno claims to ownership of Agua Caliente violated provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (signed February 2,1848) which recognized Mission Indians as Mexican citizens with legal rights to land. Since Spanish and Mexican governments (until the Ley Lerdo of 1856) held the rights of Indians to communal lands to be "inviolable," the U.S. Supreme Court was legally bound to respect Indian property rights in lands ceded to the United States by Mexico.

The removal of Cupenos from Agua Caliente has had a lasting impact because Indians could now cite a precedent for given them lands in exchange for lands they occupied that would be equal to or better than the lands they were giving up. Indians could inspect and approve or disapprove the lands they were to be given, and Indians had acquired the assurance of the U.S. Government that the lands they were to be given would be processed through escrow and would be protected by the Government from seizure or forfeiture.

San Diego Presidio Comandante Francisco Maria Ruiz received the first land grant in San Diego county for "meritorious service."  Like many other recipients of land grants, Ruiz used  Los Penasquitos Rancho (Little Cliffs), a 8,484 acre tract, for cattle grazing.  During the Mexican Republic period, between 1823 and 1846, governors gave friends or relatives thousands of acres for ranching, Spanish-Mexican military officers also received plots of land below Presidio Hill and built houses there, the beginning of Old TownSan Diego. 


In 1848 gold was discovered in northern California. By 1849 the first passenger ships began arriving in California with gold prospectors. This year San Diego was incorporated. A river ferry opened in the territory of the Quechan to ferry migrants over the Colorado River on their way to California. On April 23, 1850, the Quechan attacked the ferry and burned the structures. By December, U.S. soldiers had established Fort Yuma in the Quechan territory to secure the overland route into California.

The flood of Americans through the overland route drove out the Kumeyaay from the San Felipe Valley, the New River and Alamo Rivers. The Sh’mulqs from those areas fled to the Mohave, Quechan and to other Sh’mulqs of the Kumeyaay both north and south of the border. In 1850 California was granted U.S. statehood. This was also the year California passed the "Act for the Government and Protection of Indians". Under this Act Indians were to be regulated at the state level. This was a direct challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1832, (Worcester vs. Georgia), which recognized the Federal Government as the authority for dealing with Indians. The Act also gave whites the right to take custody and control of any Indian children, prohibited using Indian testimony in convicting a White, prohibited setting fire to grasslands and other restrictions.

One of the worst provisions was the vagrancy provision that allowed unemployed Indians to be arrested and hired out to Whites for four-month increments. In many cases the Indian was immediately re-arrested at the end of the four months, creating a revolving door of forced servitude. In other cases, the four-month limit was simply ignored. In 1851, San Diego Sheriff Agoston Haraszthy decreed that Indians were obligated to pay local taxes. The failure to pay the tax resulted in confiscation of land and property of San Diego County Indians.

The illegal invasion of California and the illegal US Senate disregard of the Federal Treaties of Peace and Friendship is one of the saddest chapters in Western American history. Our US Constitution LEGALLY will not allow the taking of land without due process and just compensation. Might does not make right. No phony war against peaceful people. No ratified Treaty, no legal claim to California. It is all Indian land.


Gateway sign for Barrio Logan

Artist Hector Villegas grew up in Barrio Logan and remembers when it was “labeled as the place you stayed away from.” Young men wearing T-shirts with the community’s name on it might be viewed as gang members.

Those perceptions are changing, he said, and Saturday brought proof: The official dedication of a new gateway sign for Barrio Logan, similar to the street-spanning arches that welcome visitors to many other neighborhoods in San Diego.

Read more: Gateway sign for Barrio Logan

WisePies gets naming rights to The Pit

UNM's basketball venue has been called The Pit since it opened in 1966. Fans will have to break their habit of calling it that soon, because somebody finally purchased the naming rights.

WisePies Pizza and Salad agreed to give $5 million over 10 years to support the UNM Athletics Department through the newly established WisePies Fund. Because of this donation, The Pit will be dubbed WisePies Arena, aka The Pit, for the duration of those 10 years.

Read more: WisePies gets naming rights to The Pit

Del Mar Fair in December: Holiday Crowds at Balboa Park

With the week’s downpour just a memory, tens of thousands of San Diegans flooded into Balboa Park on Friday to celebrate the 37th annual December Nights and kickoff the park’s exposition centennial observance.
Crowds reminiscent of the San Diego County Fair Midway feasted on international food specialties, Christmas music, carnival games and Fun Zone rides. The county fair will promote the park this year.

Read more: Del Mar Fair in December: Holiday Crowds at Balboa Park