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Capitan Grande Reservation facts for kids

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0495R Capitan Grande Reservation Locator Map
Location of Capitan Grande Reservation

The Capitan Grande Reservation is a Kumeyaay Indian reservation in San Diego County, California, jointly controlled by the Barona Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians and Viejas Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians. The reservation is uninhabited and is 15,753 acres (63.75 km2) large, located in the Cuyamaca Mountains and middle of the Cleveland National Forest and west of Cuyamaca Peak. The closest town is Alpine, California.


Communal Ceremonial Shelter at Capitan Grande - Diegueno LACMA AC1997.271.57
Communal Ceremonial Shelter at Capitan Grande (photographed by Edward Sheriff Curtis in 1924.

The reservation was created by US Executive Order in 1875 for local Kumeyaay people. Its name comes from the Spanish Coapan, which was what the area west of the San Diego River was called in the 19th century. The dry, mountainous and chaparral lands proved inhospitable.

In 1931, the state flooded the heart of the reservation, creating the El Capitan Reservoir. Many Kumeyaay families had homes in the floodzone, and they petitioned Congress to prevent the loss of their land; however, Congress gave San Diego the right to buy the land without the local Kumeyaays' knowledge or consent. The two tribes, Barona and Viejas, were forced to sell the land and with their proceeds they purchased their current reservations, the Barona Reservation and Viejas Reservation, respectively.

In 1973, 7 people lived on the reservation.


Today, the two tribes have a joint-trust patent of the remaining reservation. It is undeveloped but serves as an ecological preserve.

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