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Who We Are and
How We Began…

The Kumeyaay, also known as 'Iipai-Tiipai or Diegueño, are an indigenous people of the Americas who live at the northern border of Baja California in Mexico and the southern border of California in the United States. The Kumeyaay have 12 bands, including the Barona, Campo, Ewiiaapaayp, Inaja-Cosmit, Jamul, LaPosta, Manzanita, Mesa Grande, San Pasqual, Santa Ysabel, Sycuan, and Viejas.

The Kumeyaay have advanced land management techniques, including erosion control, controlled burns, and water management. They also hunted rabbit, quail, antelope, and deer with bows and axes. The women wove coil baskets and made pottery, clothing, and shelter.

Our Founders

Located in the mountain foothills of San Diego County, approximately 30 miles east of San Diego, the Barona Reservation spans 5,900 acres of flat and rocky terrain. The reservation was created in 1931 upon 5,900 acres purchased by the federal government for Kumeyaay tribal members residing on the Capitan Grande Indian Reservation.


The residents of the Barona Reservation, located in traditional Kumeyaay/Diegueño territory, are descendants of the Hokan-speaking peoples, an ancient language group found throughout California and on into southern Mexico. They are one of 12 bands of the Kumeyaay/Diegueño Tribe. The coastal country 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.


The Barona Reservation is currently governed by a seven-member elected tribal council, including a chairman and vice-chairman. Members of the council serve four years. The tribal council conducts all business for the band, including those activities related to planning and economic development. Decisions on land or other tribal resources are referred to the general council, composed of all the tribe’s voting members.


Barona Indian Charter School is a publicly funded, free PK-8 charter school located on the Barona Indian Reservation. Since 2002, we have served the Native-American student population as well as students from the surrounding communities of Lakeside, El Cajon, Poway, San Diego Country Estates, Ramona, and Santee. Our class sizes are low and our academic standards are high, creating an ideal learning environment for all students.

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