The Kumeyaay had both summer and winter villages. This was because they migrated at certain times of the year.Access to food and water was very important when choosing a village location. For this reason, the tribe settled near rivers and streams.
Kumeyaay homes were dome-shaped. They were built over a dug-out area lined with boulders. The Kumeyaay constructed the frame of the dome with willow poles. They bent the poles and used twine to tie them together at the top. Then, they attached thatch to the frame.
A Kumeyaay home had a small opening for a doorway covered with tule mats. Inside, soft grass covered the floor. The Kumeyaay kept a small fire burning to heat the home. When it was still cold, they slept under rabbit-fur blankets.
The center of a Kumeyaay village had a circular space where religious gatherings took place. Village leaders lived in this area and managed the gatherings.
Kumeyaay villages also contained sweat houses. These buildings were constructed like homes, but they were smaller. Inside, there was a fire pit where the men heated rocks. Then, they poured water over the rocks to make steam. Kumeyaay men used sweat houses both to meet and to purify themselves.
Kumeyaay material provided courtesy of ABDO Publishing Company. Author Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh, JD. Illustrations by David Kanietakeron Fadden