The Kamia Indians belonged to the Yuman stock of Powell now considered a subdivision of the Hokan family, their closest affinities being with the eastern Diegueno who were sometimes considered one tribe with themselves. Today, they prefer to be called Kumeyaay.
Kamia Indians. From their own term Kamiyai or Kamiyahi, which they applied also to the Diegueno. Also called:
- Comeya, common synonym used by Bartlett in 1854 and adopted in Handbook of American Indians (Hodge, 1907, 1910).
- I’-um 0′-otam, Pima name for Kamia and Diegueno.
- ew River Indians, from their location.
- Quemaya, so called by Garces in 1775-76.
- Tipai, own name, also meaning “person.”
- Yum, same as I’-um.
Location. In Imperial Valley, and on the banks of the sloughs connecting it with Colorado River. (See also Mexico.)
Villages. There were no true villages.
Population. Gifford (1931) says there could not have been more than a few hundred Kamia in aboriginal times. Heintzelman (1857) gives 254 under the chief Fernando in 1849. (See Diegueno.)
Connection in which they have become noted. Whatever notoriety the Kamia, an inconspicuous tribe, has attained is due entirely to the fame of their valley home.