The Kumeyaay: Astronomers, Artisans, Environmentalists and Cosmologists

Richard L. Carrico

Lecturer, Department of American Indian Studies, San Diego State University

When discussing the indigenous people of San Diego County, the narrative too often focuses on native food, food processing and tool making. Worthy subjects for certain, but hardly a fair explication of a rich and complex culture that stretches back thousands of years. Mr. Carrico’s presentation will focus on the South Bay and the topical discussion will greatly enhance the audience’s understanding of native life before the arrival of Spanish explorers.

This presentation will delve into several important aspects of Kumeyaay life to include:

  1. Astronomy and how the constellations and the sky are tied into the religion and cosmology of the people,
  2. Rock art, the painted and carved rock panels that dot the San Diego landscape–how they were made and what the intricate designs might mean,
  3. The relationship between the Kumeyaay and their environment with an emphasis on fire and vegetation management, and
  4. Kumeyaay cosmological constructs and beliefs including creation, the importance of the animal world and cultural landscapes.

About the Speaker:

Richard L. Carrico, writer, educator and wine maker is a lecturer in the Department of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University and lives in Warner Springs. He is a well-respected scholar and researcher who has made significant contributions to our understanding of the local Native American culture.

Richard is also a principal in his firm Recuerdos Research where he serves as a consultant to local Indian tribes, government agencies and private firms. A veteran of the service in the U.S. Army, he has a Master’s Degree from the University of San Diego in History and B.A. degrees from San Diego State University in both History and Anthropology.

His primary area of research is the Indian people of southern California and northern Mexico. In addition to more than 30 publications in professional journals, Richard is the author of History of Wines and Wineries of San Diego County (2016), Images of America Series: Ramona and other books including the revised Strangers in a Stolen Land: The Indians of San Diego County from Prehistory to the New Deal (2014); and San Diego’s Ghosts and Hauntings. He also has authored stand-alone chapters in four academic books.