History of the Kumeyaay Indians
La Posta Band of Mission Indians, is one of the remaining 12 bands of the Kumeyaay Indian Nation, residing on a 3,556.49 acre Reservation west of Boulevard, California and the Laguna Mountains, 56 miles east of San Diego and 46 miles west of El Centro. Located just west of the Manzanita and Campo Indian Reservations, the Reservation is bordered on the southwest corner by Interstate 8. The Reservation was established on February 10, 1893, under the authority of the Act of January 12, 1891. In 1973, La Posta had 4 enrolled Members.
The residents of the La Posta Reservation are Members of the Kumeyaay Tribe. The group’s language belongs to the Yuman branch of the greater Hokan linguistic family.
Beginning with the Spanish invasion of 1769, continuing through the Mexican Period of 1826 to 1848, and on through the American Period, the Kumeyaay were forced off their ancestral lands. Nearly all of the Kumeyaay lands were taken into private ownership or made U.S. government holdings. Treaties negotiated with 18 California tribes in 1850 to set aside 8.5 million acres in specific Tribal lands were never ratified by the United States Senate as a result of opposition by the state of California. Today, the acreage of tribal reservations in California is approximately 500,000 acres.
The Kumeyaay, referred to as Diegueño by the Spanish, were the original Native inhabitants of San Diego County. Historically, the Kumeyaay were horticulturists and hunters and gatherers. They were the only Yuman group in the area and were the people who greeted the Spanish when they first sailed into San Diego Harbor with the Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo expedition of 1542.
The Kumeyaays’ traditional territory encompassed what is now San Diego County. The boundaries of the Kumeyaay lands changed with the arrival of the Europeans which once extended from the Pacific Ocean, south to Ensenada in Baja Norte, Mexico, east to the sand dunes of the Colorado River in Imperial Valley and north to Warner Springs Valley. North to northeast, their territory was bounded by other Indian nations – the San Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla.
Today, Kumeyaay Tribes are divided into 12 separate Bands – Barona, Campo, Ewiiaapaayp, Inaja-Cosmit, Jamul, La Posta, Manzanita, Mesa Grande, San Pasqual, Santa Ysabel, Sycuan, and Viejas. One of the largest owners of land in San Diego County, Kumeyaay governments have jurisdiction over approximately 70,000 acres concentrated in East County from El Cajon, Lakeside, Poway, and Ramona, to the desert. Of the total acreage, more than 15,000 acres is unusable to the Kumeyaay.
The La Posta Reservation is governed by a general council. Elected council members include a chairperson, a vice-chairperson, and a secretary/treasurer. Elected members serve two-year terms, and the general council meets four times a year. The band is organized under an IRA constitution that was approved on March 5, 1973.
The La Posta Band is recognized as a sovereign government by the United States, with which it maintains a government-to-government relationship.