Our Ortega Family's California Indigenous ancestry originates from inter marriages to the population of Indigenous people of Southern California and the Northern Channel Islands. Who are now referred to as "the Chumash." These marriages to indigenous women began in the late 1500's.

The Ortega Family are considered the Indigenous Nobles of California recognized as "Gente de Razon" (people of reason)  with various Ortega Family members playing formative, historic roles in the founding of California and specifically Santa Barbara.  José Francisco Ortega, an Indigenous man from Celeya Guanajuato, Mexico had come to California in the late 18th century and led the Portola Expedition, which discovered San Francisco Bay. Jose Francisco Ortega was awarded the Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio land grant in 1794, for his 40 years of military service, as a award of war. The Rancho was established for the self determination of the indigenous people of this coastal area. Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio land grant can be considered the First Sovereign Indian Nation in California. 

Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio

Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio (land grant) the only land grant awarded in Santa Barbara County during the Spanish era. Granted by the King of Spain and the Catholic Church, title granted by the Mexican government and confirmed by the United States through Patent.

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