Famous Luiseno

Famous Luiseno Chiefs and Leaders

The Luiseño, or Payómkawichum, (also called Juaneño) are a Native American people who at the time of the first contacts with the Spanish in the 16th century inhabited the coastal area of southern California, ranging 50 miles from the present-day southern part of Los Angeles County to the northern part of San Diego County, and inland 30 miles.

Famous Luiseno:

Erle Stanley Gardner, lawyer and mystery writer, most famous for the Perry Mason novels and television show. In addition to writing over 100 fiction novels, he also wrote several non-fiction books and dozens of short stories and magazine articles.

James Luna, performance artist

Fritz Scholder, painter and sculptor

Pablo Tac (1822–1841), historian

Freddy Herrera, music artist

Pedro Calac, Pro Football Player

Wawa Calac Chaw (Wa-Wa-Chaw) meaning Keep From The Water, was from the Rincon division of the Luiseno tribe (1888-1972). She was a writer, artist, and a feminist on Indian matters. 

Today Luiseño people are enrolled in the following federally recognized tribes:

La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians
Pala Band of Luiseño Indians
Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians
Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians
Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians
Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians

Additionally, the San Luis Rey Band of Luiseños is organized and active in northern San Diego County, but is not currently recognized by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs.