July 12, 2012

La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians


La Jolla Indian Reservation is home to the Luiseno (Payomkawichum) people, and has been for at least the last 10,000 years. Today, there are about 700 La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians tribal members located in the foothills of the beautiful Palomar Mountains, on the banks of the San Luis Rey River, in the semi-wilderness now known as the La Jolla Indian Reservation.

Official Tribal Name: La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians

Address:  22000 Highway 76, Pauma Valley CA 92061
Fax:   760-742-1704

Official Website: 

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:

The term Luiseño is derived from the San Luis Rey Mission and has been used in Southern California to refer to those Takic-speaking people associated with the mission.

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Misspellings:

Formerly known as the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the La Jolla Reservation

Name in other languages:

Region: California

State(s) Today: California

Traditional Territory:

Luiseño traditional territory originally covered roughly 1,500 miles of southern California to the north of the Kumeyaays’ land, including most of the San Luis Ray and Santa Margarita drainages.

Confederacy: Members of the La Jolla Band belong to the Luiseño Tribe.


Reservation: La Jolla Reservation

The La Jolla Reservation spans 8,541 acres along the southern slopes of Mount Palomar and descends in cascading terraces to the cool forests of the upper reaches of the San Luis Rey River. The reservation is located off State Highway 76, 25 miles east of Escondido and 60 miles northeast of San Diego. The La Jolla Reservation was first established by Executive Orders on December 27, 1875, and May 15, 1876. An Executive Order on May 3, 1877, returned some land to the public domain. The present reservation was established on September 13, 1892. A subsequent allotment consisted of 634 acres.
Tribal Headquarters:  
Time Zone:  Pacific

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


The reservation is a PL-638 tribe governed by general council composed of all tribal members age 21 and older. The tribe is organized under a non-IRA Articles of Association that was approved in 1962. The La Jolla Tribal Government developed one of the first tribal employment rights offices in California. Government departments include education and culture. The tribe does not maintain its own law enforcement department. However, it is in the process of developing a program through contracts with the BIA and the county sheriff’s office currently provides services.

Charter:   PL-638 tribe
Name of Governing Body:  Tribal Council
Number of Council members:   2 council members, plus executive officers
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  chairperson, a vice-chairperson, and a secretary-treasurer


The tribal council meets monthly and serves two-year terms. 

Language Classification: Uto-Aztecan => Northern Uto-Aztecan => Takic  => Cupan => Luiseño

Language Dialects:

Number of fluent Speakers:



The La Jolla Reservation lies within traditional Luiseño territory. Tribal members have resided in the region for thousands of years.

Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

Today there are six federally recognized bands of Luiseño Indians based in southern California, and another that is not yet recognized by the US Government. They are:

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Traditional Enemies:

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Economy Today:

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Wedding Customs


Famous Luiseno Indians

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In the News:

Further Reading:

US Tribes K to M
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