ERIC Number: ED168742
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Chumash Indians of Southern California. Malki Museum Brochure No. 4.
Anderson, Eugene N., Jr.
The Chumash Indians were one of the most populous, rich peoples of aboriginal California. Though their origins are mysterious, they were reported to be a flourishing people by Spanish explorers in the sixteenth century. Missionization by Spaniards and secularization in 1833 spelled destruction, so that today only a few isolated and impoverished Chumash remain. Having lived in modern Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties in southern California, the Chumash over thousands of years thrived without agriculture, developed a far-flung trade network, and depended heavily on the sea. Drought, a hazard, was likely a factor in the relatively low population, estimated at up to 10,000 persons. A patrilineal society, the Chumash also belonged to moieties, and the basic unit of life was the village. Social classes and part-time specialists existed. Rains, health, food, and proper relationships with powerful and uncanny animals such as bears or swordfish were vital concerns--shamans were influential. Admired craftsmen, the Chumash, alone among Californian Indians, made plank boats, and their pictographs demonstrate their artistic skills. They lived in dome-shaped, thatch houses, ranging from small huts to huge communal houses. Clothing was simple, and weapons were ordinary Californian ones. Their games and songs are mostly forgotten today, but music, dancing, stories, and songs were evidently popular. (RS)
Descriptors: American Indian Culture, Architecture, Art Expression, Business, Clothing, Family Relationship, Food, Games, Governmental Structure, Social Structure, Tribes
Malki Museum Press, 11-795 Fields Road, Banning, California 92220 ($1.00)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: American Indian History; California; Chumash (Tribe); Cultural Contributions