PART 1: 1852 to 1905 The Diegueno Indians
The Mesa Grande and Santa Ysabel Bands are Diegueno Indians. When contact began with the Europeans in the 16th century, the Diegueno occupied the portion of California south of the San Luis Rey river and into northern Baja California. (Cited No. 5) Geographically divided by mountains and deserts and speaking several dialects of Yuman-based language, the Diegueno have been divided into two groups by anthropologists; the Northern and the Southern. The bands residing at Mesa Grande and Santa Ysabel are Northern Diegueno, and though several terms have been used to identify the indigenous people living in the region, including ‘Mission Indians’, this report will use “Diegueno” to refer to the affiliation of these bands. (Cited No. 6)
Diegueno bands usually “controlled 10-30 miles along a drainage up the drainage divides.” (Cited No. 7) Each band had a primary village and several homesteads located at small sources of water.
Territorial organization was crosscut by the sib (Kinship) structure composed of between 50 and 75 named sibs [or clans] spread throughout the territorial bands. Each band might have lineage segments of between 5 and 15 sibs… This facilitated the movement of individuals or families from one area to another in times of necessity. (Cited No. 8)
Cited No. 6 – The terminology used to identify these indigenous peoples has changed several times over the years. The term “Diegueno” originated with the Spanish and was due to the proximity of the Indians to the mission of San Diego de Alcala. Furthermore the term “Mission Indians” was and is continued to be used to describe these people. Since the 1960’s, anthropologists have adopted the names: “Ipai” (the northern bands) and “Tipai” (the southern bands). Others use “Kumeyaay” or “Kumai”.