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We are honored that you'd like to learn more about the Barona Band of Mission Indians. We would like to tell you about our heritage, our culture and our land.


After thousands of years of peaceful life in the region, known today as San Diego County, Native American life was abruptly changed in the late 1700's. More than 200 years of hardship for Native Americans began with the arrival of the Spanish military and the establishment of the first presidio and mission in 1769.


In 1875, the federal government established the Capitan Grande Reservation for the native people living in the area at that time. About 40 years later in 1932, the city literally bought the Capitan Grande Reservation to build a reservoir and the people were removed from their land.



In 1932, without a homeland but with some federal monies allotted from the sale, a group of the
Capitan Grande Tribal members purchased the Barona Ranch which today is the Barona Indian
Reservation near Lakeside, about 30 miles northeast of San Diego. For many years living without
electricity and other services, the tribal members tried to create a living through the ranch and farming.

Until the early 1990s, the Barona Tribe was still struggling economically in the backwoods of San Diego

County. In 1994, the tribe, with the consulting guidance of Venture Catalyst, opened the Barona Casino

"Big Top", and this property eventually became the world-class Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino.


The casino has become the means to a restoration of self-sufficiency, prosperity and renewed hope. Unemployment and welfare dependency have dropped from 70 percent to zero on the Barona reservation.




....Where Ancient Spirits Live Again!


Opened in January 2000, the Barona Cultural Center & Museum is a testament to the past, present and future of the Barona Band of Mission Indians and San Diego Native Americans. Dedicated to education, this wonderful cultural center and museum provides a hands-on history lesson to preserve the culture of San Diego's Native Americans for future generations of Tribal members as well as the San Diego community.


                                                    Open to the public, the cultural center and museum also serves as an important Native American history
                                                    resource to San Diego schoolchildren through outreach, tours, and curriculum tools. The museum also provides unique education and language programs through changing exhibitions, native heritage classes, and workshops. The Research Center is open to scholars, students, and the interested public and the Barona Museum Press creates publications to enrich the experience for all visitors.

Museum Location & Contact Info

The Barona Cultural Center & Museum is located at 1095 Barona Road in Lakeside. Contact the 
Barona Cultural Center & Museum at 619-443-7003 ext. 2 or visit the website at

Business Hours:

Thursday & Friday, 12pm to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm.
Closed Sunday-Wednesday.
Research and group tours by appointment.


For information about the Kumeyaay Nation Indians, visit the website at

Tribal Photo 1952

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