The Native American lands span the entire length of America and beyond. Today we want to review the land specifically in Valley Center, a Native American land in Southern California that is rich in the Luiseno Indian history. They moved up and down the coast in search of food and shelter, staying where they could find the most abundant food which was typically near lakes, rivers and the ocean.


Miyu, pronunced mee-yoo, means hello in the Luiseno Uto-Aztecan language, that is still spoken in the world today.


Hunting on coastal and mountainous areas of Southern California, the Luiseno tribes would travel among the land and oceans hunting and gathering for a healthy amount of food to sustain the tribe. The Luiseno Indians would fish in the lakes and gather what could be eaten in the rich salt oceans and fresh water rivers. The types of fish the Luiseno Indians were able to catch include yellow fish, trout, rock tail, sharks, surf perch, mackerel and sardines. Clams were also dug for and eaten as well. When hunting on the land, they would mainly hunt quail, squirrels, rabbits, deer and buffalo. The females were normally in charge of gathering vegetables and fruits. The vegetables mainly included avocados, roots, pumpkins, squash, acorns, nuts, and corn. The fruits they gathered include mangoes, apples, oranges, guavas, peaches, and pears. Seeds were also collected by the females, like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.


Tule reeds, cedar and willow wood would be used in the traditional domes the Luiseno tribes would use for shelter. The Luiseno tribes would outline their domes in fur and skins hunted from the animals they ate to keep rain and snow out of their homes. In some cases they would dig a hole underneath the ground to keep the home cooler in the hotter months.


The Luiseno tribes spent time weaving their homes, making baskets, crafting, and arts that include dancing and painting. Making sure their homes are safe, their food is bountiful, and their tribes were growing and prosperous were all priorities for survival.


Hummingbirds, woodpeckers, scrub jays and house finches were the main birds that would fly from tree to tree as the tribes carried on with their daily tasks. The bigger birds included the redtail hawk and the golden eagle, both noble fliers that the Luiseno tribe loved and respected as majestic animals.


We were able to walk through the Southern California Luiseno trails that are still left to peruse and walk through. Mainly there are trees, cacti and other yellow flowered bushes that take up the land, that is actually very dry at the moment due to the drought in California. We were lucky to see a herd of rabbits and their babies as we walked through the predefined trails. They bordered the trails with natural wooden fences that were made by the local tribes.


Lacrosse was invented by Native Americans using sticks and sliced wood as the stick. The balls were rounded rocks or dried clay balls. Tug of war was also played where one team would pull a rope against the other. The team that was able to use their strength to pull the other over the line would win. Hide and seek was also a popular game where the Luiseno’s would hide and one person would be the seeker, trying to find everyone that was hidden. The last person that was found would win the game. The first person found would become the next seeker. There were running races and strength lifting competition that were also good time passers. Playing was an important part of celebrating life for the tribe.

The Luiseno tribes are an important part of the Southern California Native American history. They thrived on the lands and lived simple lives, preserving the integrity of the land and celebrating life.

I hope you get the chance to walk the lands and learn more about the history of the tribe when in Southern California.

I hope you enjoyed the article!

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