Discover “Land of the First People” at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park has a new public gathering area named Iipay ~Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok (Land of the First People). The area was created by transforming a former California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) office complex into a new outdoor space that honors the culture of the Kumeyaay Nation and their enduring relationship with the San Diego River and Old Town San Diego.

The new public gathering area is now part of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and features interpretive elements, lighting, seating, landscaping, enhanced pedestrian circulation system, and shaded structures. The area also includes trilingual displays (Kumeyaay, Spanish and English) and art features that showcase the Kumeyaay culture.

One of the exhibits illustrates the constellation of the stars of the Kumeyaay. The circular mosaic located near the center shows the summer sky and includes symbols for geographic features as a type of mapping. Four circles on the outer ring represent key features that frame the location of San Diego. Together, the symbols and colors of the mosaic represent the time and place that traditional Kumeyaay lifeways changed forever when Spanish colonists arrived in San Diego.

“We stand upon thousands of generations of Kumeyaay footsteps, in honor and respect to that history and the ancient values they passed down to us. We celebrate the dedication of this tranquil, welcoming space where our Ancestors lived, loved, died and wrote our history in the land,” said Chairman of the Kumeyaay Diegueño Land Conservancy Johnny Eagle-Spirit Elliott.

The new public gathering area is an opportunity to rightfully honor the Kumeyaay who first called this region along the San Diego River home. Visitors can learn about the Kumeyaay culture and history, as well as attend events and ceremonies at the Native American interpretive public gathering area.

“We thank every person who dedicated their time, energy and knowledge to this project. We consider this a launching point from which we will continue to build and look forward to continuing to collaborate, learn and share the lifeways, culture and history of the First People, the Kumeyaay,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero.

Plan a trip to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to experience the new public gathering area and learn about the Kumeyaay culture and history.

Hours – Daily, 10am-5pm

Phone – (619) 220-5422

Address – 2829 Juan St, San Diego, CA 92110