San Diego Native Americans

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USD Cultural Resources On and Near Campus Related to Native Americans

Places to Visit On or Near Campus | Places to Visit Within the San Diego Region | Links to Visit

Places to Visit on or Near Campus

The David W. May Indian Artifacts Collection

The May Gallery in Founders Hall on the USD campus offers an arresting collection of Native American pottery, textiles, jewelry and other objects, beautifully displayed. Museum may be viewed by appointment; call (619) 260-4238 for more information.

Junipero Serra Museum

2727 Presidio Drive, San Diego, CA 92138
Visible from the USD campus, the Junipero Serra Museum is on Presidio Hill, above Old Town. From its tower, the site of early Native villages in Mission Valley can be seen. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sundays from Noon until 4:30 p.m.

Mission San Diego Alcala

10818 San Diego Mission Road, San Diego CA 92108
Founded in 1769, Mission San Diego Alcala was the first church in California. It is currently an active parish that serves as a center for people of all faiths to visit. Located near the USD campus, off Friars Road, the Mission museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

Old Mission Dam

Mission Trails Regional Park, off Mission Gorge Road
Local Kumeyaay Indians offered advice and provided labor to build Old Mission Dam that is partially intact after almost 200 years. A remarkable engineering feat, the dam and flume provided water for crops and animals at the Mission, 5.5 miles away.

Presidio Excavation Site

On Presidio Hill (just below the Junipero Serra Museum on Presidio Drive). Located near the USD campus, the Presidio Excavation Site exposed the ruins of the earliest Spanish buildings in California dedicated to converting San Diego Indians to Christianity. The dig is again covered.

Tecolote Canyon

USD overlooks this former home to Indian villages. Tecolote means "owl" in the Kumeyaay language. Today, Tecolote Canyon is a San Diego city park with one of the most endangered natural habitats in California. The nature center at 5180 Tecolote Road provides information on hiking trails and a handout listing almost 30 plants used by the Kumeyaay tribe for food, soap, and medicines.

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Places to Visit Within the San Diego Region

Mission San Antonio de Pala

This sub-mission, or asistencia, founded in 1816 near Palomar mountain (today on east Highway 76 on the Pala Reservation), has its original stone floor, roof tiles, and adobe walls. The Mission San Antonio de Pala was connected to Mission San Luis Rey.

Mission San Luis Rey

Founded in 1798 near present-day Oceanside, the "King of the Missions" was the 18th of California's 21 missions. The Mission San Luis Rey has gardens, a cemetery, a colonnade, and a museum.

San Diego Musuem of Man, Balboa Park

Kumeyaay Native Californians is a permanent exhibit illustrating traditional lifeways, including foods, dress, personal adornment, games, and ceremonites of several San Diego and Baja Indian groups. See pottery and basketry arts and a typical Kumeyaay house.

Santa Ysabel Asistencia

A sub-mission of San Diego de Alcala, the Santa Ysabel Asistencia was founded in 1818. A newer church and a small museum stand on the site of the original chapel where it is reported that many Indians were baptized. On Highway 79, north of the town of Santa Ysabel.

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Luiseño Ethnobotany

This site covers in great detail the many uses that the Luiseño had for the native plants that grew in their environment. Discussion includes not only what plants were used for food, but also how they were used as medicines to treat various ailments, how they were used to make baskets, mats, tools, and shelters.

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