Haku! and welcome to Chumash Indian life.

 

The Chumash Indian homeland lies along the coast of California, between Malibu and Paso Robles, as well as on the Northern Channel Islands. Before the Mission Period, the Chumash lived in 150 independent villages with a total population of about 18,000 people. In different parts of the region, people spoke different but related languages.

The area was first settled about 13,000 years ago. Over time, the population increased and the people adapted their lifeways to the local environment. Villages along the coastline, on the islands and in the interior had access to different resources, which they traded with one another.

This trade was made possible in part by the seagoing plank canoe, or tomol, which was invented about 2,000 years ago. In addition to the plank canoe, the Chumash are known for their fine basketry, their mysterious cave paintings and their money made from shells.

Today, there are still many people who can trace their ancestry back to these historic Chumash communities. Now you can learn more about how the Chumash people once lived, what customs they practiced, how they made money and what kinds of food they ate.

This website includes information about the Chumash people's daily lives, as well as resources archived by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Visit the museum and experience the Chumash people, "the ones who make shell bead money."


Listen to Chumash flute music! Listen to the contemporary flute sounds of Lew Silva Chumash Indian.

press the arrow point to enter Chumash Life!

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This Tishle' blade is the only surviving example of a Chumash tomol paddle. The paddle was collected during Vancouver's visit to the Santa Barbara area in 1793 and presently resides in the British Museum collection.

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