Food

The Kumeyaay obtained food in several ways. They hunted, fished, gardened, and gathered. To determine where and when to do these tasks, they studied the stars. The position of the stars in the sky let the Kumeyaay know the right time to take certain foods.

Men used bows and arrows to hunt deer, antelope, and bighorn sheep. They also tracked small animals.Using traps or snares, the men captured badgers, rabbit, rodents, and birds. Kumeyaay families fished in the bays. There, they also gathered shellfish and seaweed.

Inland, the Kumeyaay grew foods such as corn, beans, and squashes. The men burned down trees to prepare fields for planting. Then, the tribe planted foods in areas where rainfall was abundant.

Usually, the women gathered foods.In spring and summer, they collected plants, fruits, seeds, and berries. They gathered acorns and piñon nuts in autumn.

The Kumeyaay used several methods to prepare food for eating. The women ground seed and nuts to make flour and bread. They cooked some foods over fire. Acorn mush and soups were heated in baskets over hot rocks.

Other foods were dried in the sun or stored in pots or baskets for later use. The Kumeyaay kept acorns in large woven baskets called granaries. Granaries protected food from being eaten by insects and animals.

Kumeyaay material provided courtesy of ABDO Publishing Company.  Author Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh, JD.  Illustrations by David Kanietakeron Fadden