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Luiseño: Wikis


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Pablo Tac, who lived at Mission San Luis Rey in the 1820s and 1830s, made this drawing depicting two young men wearing skirts of twine and feathers with feather decorations on their heads, rattles in their hands, and (perhaps) painted decorations on their bodies.

The Luiseño, or Payomkowishum are a Native American people who 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 southern part of Los Angeles County, California to the northern part of San Diego County, California, and inland 30 miles. In the Luiseño language, Luiseño people call themselves Payomkowishum (also spelled Payomkawichum), meaning "People of the West." Today they are enrolled in the La Jolla Band, Pala Band, Pauma Band, Pechanga Band, Rincon Band, and Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians.

The tribe was named Luiseño by the Spanish due to their proximity to the Mission San Luís Rey de Francia ("The Mission of Saint Louis King of France," known as the "King of the Missions"), which was founded on June 13, 1798 by Father Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, located in what is now Oceanside, California, in northern San Diego County, in what was the First Military District.

The Luiseño language is in the Uto-Aztecan family of languages.



Richard Bugbee (Luiseño), curator, museum director, and California language advocate[1]

Estimates for the pre-contact populations of most native groups in California have varied substantially. A. L. Kroeber[2] put the 1770 population of the Luiseño (including the Juaneño) at 4,000-5,000, though Raymond C. White[3] proposed 10,000.

Kroeber estimated the population of the Luiseño in 1910 as 500.

Prehistoric culture

The Luiseño people were successful in exploiting a number of natural resources to provide food and clothing. They had a close relationship with their natural environment. They used many of the plants they found, and harvested many kinds of seeds, berries, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. The land on which they lived provided many different species of animals available for hunting. Hunters would bring home antelopes, bobcats, deer, eld, foxes, mice, mountain lions, rabbits, wood rats, river otters, ground squirrels, and wide variety of insects.[4] One interesting adaptation of the Luiseño was the use of toxins leached from the California buckeye to stupefy fish in order to harvest them in mountain creeks.[5]

Notable Luiseños

See also


  1. ^ "Board of Directors." Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival. (retrieved 21 Dec 2009)
  2. ^ A.L.Kroeber, 1925: p 649, 883
  3. ^ R.C. White, 1963, p.117, 119
  4. ^ J.S. WIlliams, 2003
  5. ^ C.M. Hogan, 2008


  • Bean, Lowell John and Shipek, Florence C., 1978. "Luiseño," in California, ed. Robert F. Heizer, vol. 8 of the Handbook of North American Indians (Wash., D. C.:Smithsonian Institution): 550–563.
  • Du Bois, Constance Goddard. 1904-1906. Mythology of the Mission Indians: The Mythology of the Luiseño and Diegueño Indians of Southern California. The Journal of the American Folk-Lore Society, Vol. XVII, No. LXVI. p. 185-8 [1904]; Vol. XIX. No. LXXII pp. 52-60 and LXXIII. pp. 145-64. [1906].
  • Hogan, C. Michael. 2008. Aesculus californica,, ed. N. Stromberg [1]
  • Kroeber, A. L. 1925. Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 78. Washington, D.C.
  • White, Raymond C. 1963. "Luiseño Social Organization". University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 48:91-194.

External links

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