July 11, 2012

Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Rincon Reservation


The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians are a federally recognized tribe of Luiseño who live on the Rincon Indian Reservation in the Valley Center CDP, San Diego County, California. It is one of six tribes in Southern California who collectively make up the Luiseño people. They are also known as Mission Indians.

Official Tribal Name:  Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Rincon Reservation

Address:  P.O. Box 68, Valley Center CA 92082
Phone:  760-749-1051

Official Website: 

Recognition Status:  Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Payomkawichum – Meaning “People of the West.”

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:

Luiseno is a name given them by the Spanish because they lived near the Mission San Luís Rey de Francia (The Mission of Saint Louis, King of France, also known as the “King of the Missions.”). Prior to that time, they were known as Cupeno or Cupa.

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Misspellings:

Payómkowishum, Cupeno

Name in other languages:

Region: California

State(s) Today: California

Traditional Territory:

At the time of the first contacts with the Spanish in the 16th century inhabited the coastal area of southern California, ranging 50 miles from the present-day southern part of Los Angeles County to the northern part of San Diego County, and inland 30 miles.

Confederacy: Members of the Rincon Band belong to the Luiseño Tribe.


Reservation: Rincon Reservation

The Rincon Indian Reservation is in the northeastern corner of San Diego County, California, along the San Luis Rey River. The Rincon Reservation was established by an Executive Order on December 27, 1875. A second Executive Order on March 2, 1881, increased the land area of the reservation. The reservation was officially established on September 13, 1892, under the authority of the Act of 1891.
Land Area:  5,000-acres
Tribal Headquarters:  Valley Center, CA
Time Zone:  Pacific

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today: Tribal enrollment is about 651

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


The tribe is organized under Articles of Association that were approved on March 15, 1960, by the secretary of the interior. A general council and a tribal business committee oversee the governing of the Rincon Reservation.

Name of Governing Body:  Business Committee
Number of Council members:   3 tribal members, plus executive officers
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson


Council members serve two-year terms.

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

Language Dialects:

Number of fluent Speakers:

About 30 to 40 Luiseno people collectively speak the language.



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:

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances 

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts:





The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians used many of the native plants, harvesting many kinds of seeds, berries, nuts, fruits, and vegetables for a varied and nutritious diet. In particular, acorns were ground and used as a staple flour in a large variety of dishes.

The land also was inhabited by many different species of animals which the men hunted for game and skins. Hunters took antelopes, bobcats, deer, elk, bear, foxes, mice, mountain lions, rabbits, wood rats, river otters, ground squirrels, and a wide variety of insects. The Luiseño used toxins leached from the California buckeye to stupefy fish in order to harvest them in mountain creeks.

Economy Today:

Since the founding of the Rincon Reservation more than a century ago, residents have utilized their fertile soil for agriculture and livestock. By 1910 the average annual income of the reservation matched or exceeded that of local non-Native famers. The reservation operates a small citrus grove and a total of 150 acres of land are farmed.

In addition, the Rincon San Luiseño Band of Mission Indians Museum is located on the reservation.

This tribe also owns a Harrah’s Casino gaming facility on the reservation.

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs


Famous Luiseno Indians

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

In the News:

Further Reading:


US Tribes Q-S
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