Pala Band of Mission Indians
The Pala Band of Mission Indians is located in northern San Diego County, where a majority of the approximately 1,000 enrolled members live on their 11,000-acre reservation, established for Cupeño and Luiseño Indians, who consider themselves to be one proud people – Pala.
The word Cupeño is of Spanish derivation, adopting the native place-name Kupa and appending Spanish — “eño” to mean a person who lives in or hails from Kupa. The Cupeños, however, called themselves Kuupangaxwichem, or “people who slept here.” The Cupans were one of the smallest native American tribes in Southern California. It is unlikely that they ever numbered more than 1,000 in size. They once occupied a territory 10 square miles in diameter in a mountainous region at the headwaters of the San Luis Rey River in the valley of San Jose de Valle. Many of the Pala Indians trace their heritage back to Cupa. Today, more than 90 years after having been expelled from their native homeland, the Cupeños call Pala home and live as one among the Luiseño tribe.