American Indian Recruitment Program in the Laguna Mountains

AIR newsletter, edit by Roy Cook

A special place and a special person is Carmen Lucas at Kwaymii. A person who can explain everything about that location is what makes the experience special. Carmen Lucas is Kwaymii (a village of the Kumeyaay tribes of the Laguna mountain region). She lives on the site of the village that she is descended from. Historical and political circumstances determined that this village site is no longer recognized as a Federal Indian reservation. This location will forever be rich in heritage and culture.

The local Kumeyaay bands acknowledge Carmen’s Tribal heritage and she works as a Native American monitor to ensure that dignity and respect is afforded to Native American remains and cultural items during construction type projects. She also participates in the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee (KCRC); a group dedicated to seeing proper treatment is given to Native remains held by federal agencies. Carmen is fortunate to have received traditional tribal instruction and be recognized as an expert in the local tribal cultural geography.

Carmen took our AIR program on a tour of various sites within the Laguna Mountain range showing us the Kumeyaay regions that were traveled from the ocean to the desert during various times of the season. These patterns show that the Kumeyaay traveled within this region based on seasonal changes and therefore occupied many locations based on any given season. The Kumeyaay territory is vast, from Baja Mexico to San Diego and Imperial Counties. We thank Carmen for taking us into her home, the Laguna Mountains and sharing her knowledge. We all gained a greater understanding of the Kumeyaay people of the Cuyamuc-Laguna Mountains.

Bobby Levi Says...

Bobby Levi is a first time student within the AIR Program and has agreed (from time to time) to write on his progress in the AIR Program.


Hello, my name is Bobby Levi, I am Cahuilla and Hopi from the Torres Martinez Reservation. This is my first year in the AIR Program and next week I will be getting my schedule for my freshman year of classes and talking to my counselor about this. What I will be asking him/her is about A-G requirements. Prior to the AIR Program I didn’t know about required classes or courses to follow to get into college. By taking theses courses and talking about them with my counselor I can be on track to qualify for college right after high school. It’s never to early to prepare. I am learning a lot while in the AIR Program about college, culture, and how to approach things in order to succeed. Thanks...


2008-09 AIR Program Officers

Devon L. Lomayesva (Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel)
Board Chair/President

Larry Banegas (Barona Tribe)
Board Member

Natalia Orosco (Kumeyaay)

Stephanie Saavedra-Leo (Otomi/Pueblo)
Vice President

Hattie Lou Lomayesva (Hopi Tribe)
Board Member


Dwight K. Lomayesva (Hopi Tribe)
Executive Director

American Indian Recruitment (AIR) Programs
P.O. Box 880471
San Diego, CA 92168