There’s a relatively new shop in Old Town San Diego and one that should be visited by all: Kosay Kumeyaay Market. Kosa’aay was once a Kumeyaay village that sat right where Old Town is today. It is also where colonization of the West began. Before the Spanish invasion, Kosa’aay was a small village consisting of 30-40 families.
When the Spaniards arrived, the Kumeyaay brought them to this village. The men were provided food and shelter due to extreme fatigue and malnourishment. This helped them to regain their health. The Spanish referred to the village as Cosoy, which was the Hispanic version of Kosa’aay. In fact, if you drive just up the hill to Presidio Park, one of the streets is named Cosay Way.
The story does not end well and is in fact extremely disturbing of how not only the Kumeyaay were treated by these outsiders, but Indigenous people nationwide. I highly recommend doing your research on the land you are living on and the great mistreatment the Natives endured on their own homeland. The trauma runs deep and is still felt by their people today. I have written more on what happened at Old Town on this page.
Kosay is translated to “the drying place”. Outside their market sits an e’waa, which was their traditional shelter made from willow and tule. It is also shown in their logo.
Inside the modest-sized market you can find many traditional, handmade items from local Kumeyaay bands that are available for purchase. There are traditional baskets, jewelry, pottery, clothing, dolls, paintings and more! Keep coming back because the selection will constantly be changing.
The market was founded by Martha Rodriguez as a way to celebrate the Kumeyaay and other Yuman people who live in the region. Beyond running the market, Martha also teaches basketry, pottery, and food culture at Kumeyaay Community College. Here she passes down her family’s traditions and knowledge of the Kumeyaay people for future generations.