I guess I’m drawn to learning more about indigenous tribes because my children are Siletz tribal members in Oregon and descendants of two different tribes. I remember making outfits for Pow Wow’s when they were children because I wanted them to be involved and learn as much culturally plus the history. My oldest actually works for the Native American Youth And Family Center (NAYA) in Portland, Oregon. She has also been involved in several educational events through the tribe including learning the language. Her and a boyfriend even designed a mobile app so the language database the tribe has could be incorporated. I thought this was so cool!
So, I plan to give some general information on the tribes of northern Baja plus some places to check out.
The indigenous tribes of Northern Baja include several tribes Pai Pai, Kumeyaay (Kumiai), Cochimí, Cucapás (Cocopá) and Kiliwa. In my next blog I’ll spend a little more time discussing the Kumeyaay (Kumiai) as they seem to be more predominate in our area.
The tribes in the area of Baja Norte ranged from hunters, to fisherman, to gatherers of fruit, vegetables and seeds.
The initial contact was made by the Spaniards in Baja Sur during the earlier 1500’s. The tribes were very successful in keeping the Spaniards at bay from 1596 until 1697 when the Jesuit missionaries finally started settling the area then later the Dominicans continued after the expulsion of the Jesuits.
Sadly the decline of the indigenous population continued due to war, smallpox, typhus, measles and other infectious diseases from the Spaniards until they became almost non-existence today compared to the total population of the area. Of these, only a small number actually speak the language with some of these tribes being at risk of becoming extinct. There are currently initiatives to document these languages.
The following museums have historical displays of the Indigenous of Baja:
Museo Histórico Regional in Ensenada
Museo de Historia at the Riviera of Ensenada