MUSEUM: LAND OF EXTREMES: Changing landscape, changing identity

Map of the traditional territorial extent of the Kumeyaay nation.

On Aug. 18, Imperial Valley Desert Museum staff traveled to the Pai Pai reservation in Valle de la Trinidad, Baja California. The Pai Pai are one of the five southern tribes of the greater Kumeyaay nation, historically separated from the 13 bands located in Imperial and San Diego counties by the U.S.-Mexico border. The purpose of this visit was to connect with the artisans and culture of this indigenous group, where the traditional arts are still alive and well.

The trip was a long one, involving a crossing over mountains, through fertile valleys and across desert. Much like the varied terrain and landscape of western Imperial and San Diego counties, these intermixed micro-climates represent the full range of opportunities, resources and challenges faced by some of the region’s earliest inhabitants. This expanse represents a collective territory spanning thousands of square miles and extending across both the later United States and Mexican territories.

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