Native Americans of San Diego de Alcala

Yuman-speaking Native Americans "occupied nearly the entire southern extreme of [Alta]California and adjoining portions of Baja California in the sixteenth century." Anthropologists refer to these Indians as Tipai-Ipai, terms that are native in origin and mean "people." The Spanish called the Indians who became neophytes at Mission San Diego Diegueño. Another native term used is Kumeyaay, one of the three principal dialects of Diegueño and the name of the tribe who initially occupied the mission land.

The neophytes at San Diego included some Indians from other tribes, particularly the Cahuilla who occupied mountainous lands to the north and east of the Ipai and Tipai territory and who were also recruited into other Southern California missions.

DIEGUENO INDIANS TRAVELING

DIEGUENO INDIANS TRAVELING

From Issue No. 47 of Ballou's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion in 1859.

The San Diego area Indians resisted the Spanish and were slow to accept Christianity.

FR. JUNIPERO SERRA'S FRUSTRATED BAPTISM

FR. JUNIPERO SERRA'S FRUSTRATED BAPTISM by Arthur.B. Dodge.

This drawing appeared in Fr. Zephrin Egelhardt's seminal work Missions and Missionaries of California, where the author discusses the difficulties the missionaries faced in converting the Tipais and Ipais.
1

An expert on the California Indians, Katharine Luomala, states that "of all the mission tribes in the Californias, Tipais and Ipais most stubbornly and violently resisted Franciscan or Dominican control."2

In 1775 some 800 Native Americans from many villages organized a massive attack on Mission San Diego (which had just been relocated), burning the mission to the ground and forcing its temporary abandonment. 3

  • 1. San Diego Mission by Fr. Zephyrin Engelhardt, O.F.M., James H. Barry Company: San Francisco, CAL, 1920
  • 2. "Tipai-Ipai" by Katharine Luomala pp. 592-609; "Cahuilla" by Lowell John Bean pp. 575-587 in Volume 8, CALIFORNIA, in Handbook of North American Indians, Smithsonian Institute: Washington D.C., 1978
  • 3. A History of California: The Spanish Period by Charles E. Chapman, Macmillan Company: New York, NY, 1921