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California Native American Day:
Friday, September 24

California Native American Day Celebration:
Saturday, September 25 @ Campo-Morena Village Library

Kumeyaay basket made from juncus (a reed) & pine needles over a deergrass bundle.

California Native American Day, celebrated each year on the fourth Friday of September, was established in 1998 as an official state holiday to teach people of all ages about the tribal cultures, histories and heritage of California's Native American tribes.

Did You Know...

Cupeño House, San Diego County
Northwestern University Library
"The North American Indian"

  • California has the second largest Native American population next to Oklahoma, with more than 100 recognized tribes.
  • There are many California Native Americans living off the reservation that help form the state's population of over 333,000.
  • San Diego County has the largest number of Indian reservations (19) of any county in the United States.
  • Four tribal groupings make up the indigenous Indians of San Diego County: the Kumeyaay (also referred to as Diegueño or Mission Indians), the Luiseño, the Cupeño and the Cahuilla.
  • Of the more than 25,000 Native Americans who make up the four tribal groups that live in San Diego County, only a small percentage live on reservation land.

Learn More!

California Indians and Their Reservations
Lists all the American Indian groups in California, and includes many cultural and historical terms, as well as population statistics; provided by San Diego State University.

Four Directions Institute: California Indians
Information and links related to California Native American languages, cultures, history and demographics.

Overview of California Indian History
Essay by Professor Edward D. Castillo.

Chronology of the Indigenous Peoples of San Diego County
Documents major events in the history of San Diego's first inhabitants; provided by the University of San Diego.

Indians of San Diego County & Baja California Research Guide
Information and guide to some of the major sources about the histories and cultures of the Indians of San Diego County; provided by San Diego State University.

Timeline of San Diego History
This timeline from the San Diego Historical Society includes information on San Diego's earliest inhabitants.

Native American Booklist
Recommended reading from the National Education Association

The Indian Sentinel, 1902-1962
The Indian Sentinel featured articles about Native Americans across the United States and their evangelization by the Catholic Church.

San Diego County Tribal Web Sites


Barona Cultural Center & Museum
San Diego's only museum located on an Indian reservation dedicated to the preservation of the heritage and culture of San Diego's original inhabitants.

California Indian Museum & Cultural Center
A world-class museum that tells the stories of California Indian histories and cultures from a Native perspective.

California State Indian Museum
Located in Sacramento, the California State Indian Museum displays cultural artifacts including basketry, beadwork, clothing and exhibits about the ongoing traditions of California Indian tribes.

San Diego Museum of Man
The permanent exhibit Kumeyaay: Native Californians includes displays of food supplies, dress and adornment, games, the arts of pottery and basketry, and traditional houses.

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
A variety of online exhibitions are available for those not able to visit the museum's New York, Maryland or Washington, D.C. locations.


Palomar College Department of American Indian Studies

San Diego State University American Indian Studies

The San Diego County Library carries a number of resources on California Native Americans. Check the catalog or visit your local branch for assistance!

Assistance for Native American Families

Tribal TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Tribal TANF is a federal and state funded program that provides cash assistance and supportive services to Native American families.

Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association
SCTCA serves the health, welfare, safety, education, cultural, economic and employment needs of its tribal members and enrolled Indians in the San Diego County urban areas.

The County of San Diego and the San Diego County Library disclaim any responsibility for the accuracy of the translations.