July 13, 2012

Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel


The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel is a part of the larger Kumeyaay people that once populated much of the geographic area of present day San Diego County. On November 20, 2007, the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, by a majority ballot vote of the General Membership, certified the adoption of a new Tribal Constitution for self-governance. 

Official Tribal Name:Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel

Address:  Schoolhouse Canyon Rd, P.O. Box 130, Santa Ysabel CA 92070
Phone:  760-765-0846
Fax:  760-765-0320
Email: Contact Form

Official Website:  http://www.iipaynation-nsn.com 

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Iipay, meaning “the people.” 

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:

Alternate names:

Formerly the Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Santa Ysabel Reservation

Alternate spellings / Misspellings:

Santa Ysabel Band of Mission (Diegueno) Indians 

Name in other languages:

Region: California

State(s) Today: California 

Traditional Territory:

Historically, the area surrounding the Santa Ysabel Valley was known by the Indian name “Ellykwanan.” The Iipay of “Ellykwanan” have lived in the general vicinity of the Santa Ysabel Valley as well as the villages of Mataguay and San Felipe for at least 12,000 years, or 600 generations.

Confederacy: The Santa Ysabel Band is part of the Kumeyaay Nation, which extends from San Diego and Imperial counties in California to 60 miles south of the Mexican border.


Reservation: Santa Ysabel Reservation

The Santa Ysabel Reservation is located about 40 miles east of Escondido, on Highway 76, south of Los Coyotes Reservation. Santa Ysabel is situated on the slopes of the Volcano Mountains, at nearly 4,500 feet. The rugged, wooded area provides a sense of solitude for the reservation’s residents.
Land Area:    15,527 acres
Tribal Headquarters:
 Santa Ysabel, California
Time Zone:  Pacific

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


Name of Governing Body:  
Number of Council members:   1 Councilman and 1 Councilwoman, plus executive officers.
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  The tribe is governed by a council comprised of a tribe spokesman, a vice-spokesman, a secretary, a treasurer, a councilman, and a councilwoman. The tribe is in the process of developing a tribal court system.


Language Classification: Hokan => Yuman

The Hokan language group is wide ranging, covering most of the costal lands of southern California. It includes tribes as far north as the Kuroks of Northern California.

Language Dialects:

The Kumeyaays are members of the Yuman language branch of the Hokan group. Included with the Kumeyaays in the Yuman branch are the PaiPais, Kiliwas, Cocopas, Mojaves, Maricopas, Quechans, Yavapais, Havasupais, and Hualapais.

Number of fluent Speakers:



The coastal country where the Kumeyaay lived and the Salton Sea margins contain archaeological evidence suggesting that they are some of the oldest known Indian-inhabited areas in the United States; middens, or refuse heaps, have been found that date back some 20,000 years.

Bands, Gens, and Clans

The Kumeyaay were organized along clan lines called Sh’mulq. The clans maintained complex familial, spiritual and militaristic alliances with each other. When threatened by an outside adversary the clans would come togther under a Kwachut G’tag to meet the threat. See Kumeyaay Bands

Related Tribes: See link to Kumeyaay Bands, above.

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts:





Economy Today:

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

The Iipay were governed by a “Kuseyaay” or “Captain” who managed the religious, political and economic life of the people as well as trade relations with other tribes.  

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs


Famous Kumeyaay Chiefs and Leaders

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

In the News:

Further Reading:

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