One of the most recent additions to Old Town State Park is the Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok, Land of the First People.
This interpretive garden has been in the making since 2014 actually. Discussions for the park had been made between the Old Town Working Group and Tribal members from: Barona, Campo, Ewiiaapaayp, Inja-Cosmit, Jamul, La Posta, Manzanita, Mesa Grande, San Pasqual, Santa Ysabel, Sycuan, and Viejas Bands of the Kumeyaay Nation.
It’s so amazing to finally see the vision brought to fruition. When walking around the park make sure to really take your time and read the informative plaques. You will learn a lot from reading them.
The garden is full of Native plants that the Kumeyaay have used for thousands of years with educational plaques to teach you their names and uses. The park also includes a public gathering area for events and ceremonies. Keep your eye out for the stunning mosaic pieces as well!
The chosen location for the Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok center is not by chance. This exact area is where the Kumeyaay village Kosa’aay used to sit. It has a very long and bitter history which involves Spanish missionaries attempting to wipe out the Natives. I have written more in depth about this story on this page.
It is so beautiful to finally see this area giving the Kumeyaay proper recognition and a beautiful space. Old Town is not complete without it. There is also a lovely shop in the heart of Old Town called the Kosay Kumeyaay Market where you can purchase hand-crafted goods that goes directly to supporting the tribe.