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"Uncle" Henry Rodriguez collection

Identifier: UA013

Content Description

Sixteen folders, one binder, and hundreds of digital photographs containing materials related to the life and life celebration of "Uncle" Henry Rodriguez of the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, as well as publications and magazine/news clippings about California Indians. Materials include paper, media, digitized files, and publications.

Significant themes in the collection include the life, accomplishments, and memorial for Henry Rodriguez; the preservation of Luiseño cultural heritage, and the fight for and settlement of water rights from the San Luis Rey River.


  • 1931-2010

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Access to original CDs is restricted; researchers may request use copies. Please contact Special Collections for more details. Due to original media format, it may not be possible in some cases to create use copies. File UA13 01/15 has been restricuted (with use copies created) due to condition issues. File UA13 01/16 has been restricted due to FERPA. See individual files' records for more information. File Memorial tribute photos, 2002-03-30 is currently restricted.

The Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room is accessible by appointment only, Monday-Friday, 8am - 4pm. Final requests for materials must be made one hour prior to closing. Please submit requests for archival materials at least 24 hours in advance of desired appointment. Materials requested over the weekend will be available on the following Tuesday at the earliest. Please note that Special Collections and University Archives observes all campus holiday closures as noted in the Library Calendar. For more information, please send an email to

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with the university. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact

Permission to examine Library materials is not authorization to publish or to reproduce the examined material in whole, or in part. Persons wishing to quote, publish, perform, reproduce, or otherwise make use of an item in the Library’s collections must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of the copyright holder.

The researcher assumes full responsibility for use of the material and agrees to hold harmless the University Library, and California State University, against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of the Library's materials.

In assuming full responsibility for use of the material, the researcher also understands that the materials they examine may contain Social Security numbers, other personal identifiers, and/or sensitive material on potentially living and identifiable individuals (e.g., medical, evaluative, or personally invasive information). The researcher agrees not to record, reproduce, or disclose any Social Security number or other information of a highly personal nature that may be found.

Biographical / Historical

Henry Rodriguez was born on the La Jolla Indian Reservation in 1919, and spent most of his life advocating for Native American rights and education, serving in tribal leadership positions, and preserving Native American culture. Since the 1940s, Mr. Rodriguez was a major contributor to California Indian politics and was a national authority on Indian water rights. One of the founders of the San Luis Rey Water Authority, he served as president and on the Board of Directors. Rodriguez worked with state and federal authorities on environmental protection, repatriation, and health legislation, and was instrumental to bringing healthcare to California reservations.

"Uncle Henry" Rodriguez was an important elder and preserved indigenous California culture. He began in the 1940s to document traditional Luiseño songs on reel-to-reel tapes, which are currently preserved by Grossmont College. Rodriguez served as chairman of the La Jolla Band of Mission Indians and was instrumental in establishing the Southern California Intertribal Council, now the California Tribal Chairpersons Association.

Rodriguez was an active proponent of Native American Indian education. He helped to bring Head Start to a number of reservations and served as a board member and consultant to a number of school districts, assisting to develop curriculum with more accurate representation of local Indian people. Rodriguez was significant in the establishment of Native American Indian Studies programs throughout southern California and Arizona.

Rodriguez served as one of the most significant community consultants to California State University San Marcos since the university's inception. He contributed to the organization of the university's annual Pow Wow, blessed commencement ceremonies, and participated in Native American Indian graduation ceremonies and the time capsule celebration. In recognition of his many contributions to the community and to his promotion of educational opportunities for all students, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, San Marcos conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon Henry Rodriguez on June 3, 2001.

Rodriguez was killed in an automobile accident on February 14, 2002 at the age of 82, and his body was cremated and his ashes scattered on reservation land. A tribute to Henry's life was held on Saturday , April 30, 2002 on the athletic field at California State University San Marcos.

(biographical note adapted from life tribute program and from San Diego Union-Tribune obituary)


0.75 Linear Feet




Sixteen folders and one binder containing materials related to the life and life celebration of "Uncle" Henry Rodriguez of the La Jolla Indian Reservation, as well as information about California Indians. Materials include paper, media, digitized files, and publications.


There are two series in the collection: Henry Rodriguez papers and Publications. The series Henry Rodriguez papers contains two subseries of records: physical records and digital photographs. Physical records have been arranged and described to the folder (file or item) level. Digitized photographs have been arranged to the item level by filename.

Physical Location

KEL 1006 10.d.5

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was compiled by former CSUSM librarian and first CSUSM Tribal Liaison Bonnie Biggs, and transferred to the library upon her retirement. Additional files have been compiled by library employees.

Related Materials

The family of Henry Rodriguez donated Rodriguez's papers to the California Indian Culture and Soverignity Center (CICSC) at CSUSM ca. 2008. For researchers interested in Rodriguez's papers, called the "Henry Rodriguez Archive" please contact the CICSC.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff, circa 2015. Reprocessed and described by Sean Visintainer, 2023 November 9.

In some instances in description, "quotation marks" were used to denote information transcribed directly from resources. When library information has been provided inside those quotation marks, [brackets] have been used to indicate edits/changes made by library processors.

"Uncle" as in "Uncle" Henry Rodriguez is also often put within quotation marks, to indiciate an informal honorific title that was often bestowed upon Rodriguez both within and beyond the university.


Guide to the 'Uncle' Henry Rodriguez collection
Sean Visintainer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the CSUSM Special Collections Repository

California State University San Marcos Library
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd
San Marcos California 92096-0001 United States