Welcome to the land of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel where rich traditions of the past blend with a promising future.
Historically, the area surrounding the Santa Ysabel Valley was known by the Indian name “Ellykwanan.” The original inhabitants who lived in the Santa Ysabel village called themselves “Iipay,” “the People.” The Iipay are part of the larger Kumeyaay people that once populated much of the geographic area of present day San Diego County. The Iipay of “Ellykwanan” lived in the general vicinity of the Santa Ysabel Valley as well as the villages of Mataguay and San Felipe near S-2. The Iipay were governed by a “Kuseyaay” or “Captain” who managed the religious, political and economic life of the people as well as trade relations with other tribes.
The Santa Ysabel Patent to create the Reservation was signed by Executive Order on February 10, 1893 by Benjamin Harrison, then President of the United States. The villages of Ellykwanan, Mataguay, and San Felipe along with Tekemuk, —-, and —- would be combined to comprise Tracts 1, 2, and 3 of the Santa Ysabel Reservation and would make up the population of the Santa Ysabel Band of Mission (Diegueno) Indians, the name by which the Tribe is most commonly known.
On November 20, 2007, the Tribe, by a majority ballot vote of the General Membership, certified the adoption of a new Tribal Constitution for self-governance. The Constitution reasserted the Tribe’s sovereign right of self-determination by first and foremost reestablishing itself as the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel.
The Santa Ysabel Indian Reservation is located on Hwy 79, in North San Diego County near Lake Henshaw between the towns of Santa Ysabel and Warner Springs. The reservation is within a 45 minute drive from Interstates 8, 15, and 5. If you enjoy taking the “scenic route” add Santa Ysabel to your travel plans to discover for yourself all the benefits the back country has to offer.
The Santa Ysabel Indian Reservation ranges from 3,200 feet to 5,700 feet in elevation and it comprises a land base of over 15,000 acres on three tracts of land. The mountainous topography of the Reservation is home to a wide variety of indigenous plants and trees, including seven different species of oak trees, musky sage plants, verdant wild ferns, vibrantly blue lilacs, and waves of golden poppies that flourish along the hillsides and ridges of Volcan Mountain. The Santa Ysabel Reservation enjoys four beautiful seasons every year, with blossoming springs, warm summers, colorful and breezy autumns, and snow in most winters.
The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel looks forward to developing a brighter future through economic development, opportunities to pursue higher education, improved and affordable housing, cultural, language, and arts preservation, and improvements in the physical and environmental health of the Nation and land to make a better life for all Iipay. The hardships our ancestors endured help make us the strong, proud Iipay Nation we are today.