Richly Embellished with historic photos and innovative digital maps, El Capitan is Southern California regional history at its best. Based upon extensive archival research, the study blends the dynamic social history of Native people with the changing winds of federal Indian policy. El Capitan is framed within the larger story of legal dispossession and cultural adaptation of Southern California’s Mission Indians under Spanish, Mexican and American rule. Challenging stereotypes, the book traces the actions of strong-willed and capable Native leaders (aka captains) who defended boundaries and resources with the support of “friends of the Indian” and the federal guardian. An intense conflict over water rights culminates in the removal of the Capitan Grande people from their trust land in order to construct the El Capitan dam and reservoir. Defining terms of their capitulation, the Capitan Grande people insist on being relocated as communities. Out of the geopolitical maelstrom of the Depression era came the birth of two new reservations in San Diego County: Barona and Viejas. Above all, this is a story of Native survival in place. The Name El Capitan is an embodiment of the history, social principles, and world view of Indian people on the Southern California landscape.