The Chumash Indians: A History

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The Chumash Indians were indigens to the coastlands in California, from Malibu to Paso Robles, every bit good as on all three of the Northern Channel Islands. There were 150 independent small towns with a entire population of 18,000 people. Peoples in the other parts spoke a small otherwise although the linguistic communications were similar. The small towns were made of ceremonial evidences, semi subterraneous sweathouses, cleared playing Fieldss, storage huts, and unit of ammunition thatched brooding houses up to fifty pess in diameter and able to keep every bit many as 70 people. Their fatherland was foremost settled approximately 13,000 old ages ago and with clip, the population got bigger so some of them started migrating to other coastlands of California.

With all these other small towns they had entree to different resources, which they would merchandise with one another in different small towns. Some of the major groups were the Obispe O, Purisme O, Yneze, Barbare O and Venture o ( named after the Franciscan missions San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, La Pur sma Concepci N, and Santa Ynez. With all this trading traveling on among the Chumash small towns, it would hold taken many yearss to go by pes. Populating on the coastlands they invented a seagoing board canoe or in their linguistic communication a tomol. They invented the canoe about 2,000 old ages ago. The board canoe was anyplace from eight pess to thirty pess and was made from driftwood or redwood. The sides of the board canoe were approximately three to four boards high, and was glued in topographic point with yop, a liquid mixture of pine pitch and hardened asphalt. After the gum was dried they drilled holes into the seams of each side and so binding the boards together with works fibre threading made from Indian hemp, so the holes were filled up once more with yop. When the canoe was all put together they would sand it down utilizing sandstone and so finished with sharkskin ; so the canoe was painted and decorated. The board canoes could keep a crew of three and likely were large plenty for 10 people. Seawater would sometimes ooze into the board canoes, so one of the crewmembers would function as the bailer.

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A immature male child would normally function as the bailer as the work forces paddled the board canoes. It s non truly cognize how long these canoes would last, it likely depended on how much wear and tear they experienced on the sea. The Chumash kept good attention of the canoes, they would hive away them in moist shaded countries until they were ready to be used. They would look into the canoes on a regular basis and do fixs if necessary. They took good attention of them every bit much as possible. The last Chumash canoes were made in about 1850. In 1913 an aged Chumash adult male built a canoe for an anthropologist named John P. Harrington to demo how they were built. In the past 20 old ages several of these canoes were built utilizing John s notes to steer them. The Chumash Indians were besides first-class basket weavers. The adult females had this function in the folk. The baskets were made from whole snowbird haste stems or split tule ( cat’s-tail ) . The Chumash used both twined and coiled weaving techniques. Out of this they made coiled baskets, trays, bowls of all sizes, chapeaus, leaching basins, screens, fish traps, cradles and H2O bottles. The foundation was a spiraling of three slender rods of snowbird haste, wrapped and run up together with disconnected strands of the same stuff. The baskets were of course straw sunburn in colour with the designs in black. The snowbird chaffs were dyed black by burying them in dark clay, or by soaking them in H2O with acorns and a piece of Fe. The natural red-orange base of the chaff was used individually to make full in designs, or even as the full background colour. The alone thing about the Chumash baskets was that they are able to keep H2O. By weaving their baskets tightly together, they were capable of keeping H2O. Some of them were even used to boil H2O ; H2O or soup stirred in a basket along with het stones would shortly boil. Twined basketry bottles were less tightly woven but were coated on the interior with asphaltum to do them watertight. The Chumash, though, are most celebrated for these baskets. They even exported them to other folks, even in pre-European times. The Chumash besides had a signifier of money. Their money was the clamshell disc bead, and they were the bankers covering in this currency, likely supplying the majority of the supply for the Southern half of California. The bead money was normally made from little discs, which were shaped from the olivella shell ( besides called the Purple Olive, a marine snail ) . The Indians who lived on the Channel Islands specialized in doing the bead money, or in their linguistic communication anchum. The name Chumash comes from the name the mainland Indians gave to the island-dwellers. Chumash and anchum are related words, so Chumash beginning

ally means something like bead moneymakers. The value of the money depended on the labour invested to do it and the rareness of the shell that was used. They would mensurate the value of a strand of beads harmonizing to its length-how many times it would wrap around a individual s manus. The Chumash lived in houses or aps which were unit of ammunition and shaped like half an orange. They placed willow poles in the land in a circle, and they were set at the top to organize a dome. Then smaller saplings or subdivisions were tied crosswise. They used cat’s-tail or cattails to cover the outside in beds, get downing at the underside with each row overlapping the bed below it, about like shingling a roof. A hole was left unfastened at the top for circulation, when it rained they covered the hole with tegument. On a good twenty-four hours the cookery was outdoors but when it rained the cookery was moved indoors. A fire could be lit in the center as good which provided heat. The Chumash fatherland offered a broad assortment of nutrient supplies. Most of their nutrient came from the sea. They ate many sorts of wild workss, besides hunted little and big animate beings for nutrient. They didn Ts do any planting of maize or other harvests like others did. The Chumash roasted meat and fish over the fire and made shellfish into soup. Chumash Indians besides built a sweathouse or apa yik which was used to cleanse the organic structure. The sweathouses were partly built resistance, and merely work forces normally used them. To acquire in you would mount through a ladder on the top of the sweathouse. The intent of these was to cleanse the organic structure and they served as a meeting topographic point for work forces. Before runing they would sit in the sweathouses firing herbs so the cervid wouldn T smell the huntsmans aroma. This was done besides for wellness, cleanliness, and for purification. The Chumash work forces and adult females served different functions. The adult females would make the cookery, weaving of baskets, and garnering the herbs. The work forces would do the canoes, do the hunting, and edifice houses. Marriage in the folk was different between work forces and heads. Chiefs could be married to as many people as they wanted because of how much power they had in a folk. The work forces would travel to the adult females s small town and stay with her and her relations. This happened because if the work forces of all time came back to the folk, they could portion some of the cognition they have learnt. They did non pattern agribusiness but lived good by angling, and runing little and big game and birds, they besides gathered an tremendous assortment of wild nutrients, like acorns from the California oaks. The mean life span for the Chumash was about 35 old ages old, or even less. Some seniors survived into their 1970ss and 1880ss. Fernando Librado was the last known full-blooded island Chumash, died in 1915. The Chumash specialized in many accomplishments they were curers, astrologists, canoe builders, basket and bead shapers, soaprock Carvers, woodsmans, and stone creative persons. Most of the Chumash were huntsmans, gathers, and fishermen. The Chumash Indians didn t wear much. Women would have on a two-piece skirt of deerskin or works fibre. It hung about articulatio genus length and had a narrow apron in the forepart with a wider piece that wrapped around the dorsum. Work force and male childs wore nil at all or sometimes a belt or a little cyberspace at the waist for transporting tools they might necessitate. During ceremonials there were particular outfits with feathery skirts and headgears. Rafael Solares photographed in 1878, head or wot of the Inese o Chumash Community, in traditional dance outfit. His skirt is milkweed fiber twisted with white feather down. The headgear is a Crown of plumes topped with magpie dress suits. A similar headgear and skirt can be viewed in the museum’s Chumash exhibit hall. The first contact with the indigens was in 1592, when Cabrillo saw the prehistoric civilisation of the Chumash Indians. He was the first Spaniard to sail along the Southern seashore of California. There s non much recorded about the Chumash Indians because they didn t maintain any records of the yesteryear. It wasn t until people like John P. Harrington started making research in about 1912 a twosome old ages before Fernando died, but even so most of it was forgotten. The Chumash Indians didn t write most of their history down. They kept they history of the folk traveling in narratives that were told at the campfires. And when people were interested, most of the narrators of the folk were dead.


Work Cited Chumash. Encyclopedia Britannica. Chicago. Encyclopedia Britannic Inc, 1997. Volume 3 of Encyclopedia Britannica 24 Vols. Josephy Jr. , Alvin M. 500 Nations Alfred A Knope. New York 1994. Ed. Duane Champagne. Chronology of Native American History. Gale Research Inc, Detroit 1994. Terrell, John Upton. American Indian Almanac. Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York 1834. Hypertext transfer protocol: //

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