The Chumash and Gabrielino-Tongva peoples were the first human inhabitants of the Channel Islands and Santa Monica Mountains areas. Our peoples are known to have lived here for thousands of years; numerous archaeological sites have been uncovered in the past decade some of which date to 15,000 years.
Their food included staple diet of acorns which they ground into acorn meal to make soup, cakes and bread. These great fishers used nets and harpoons to capture sharks and even whales. Smaller fish such as sea bass, trout, shellfish and halibut were primary food sources.
The Chumash were also purveyors of clamshell-bead currency for southern California. Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 7,000 Chumash descendants.
This trade was made possible in part by the seagoing plank canoe, or tomol, which was invented by 1,500 years ago. In addition to the plank canoe, the Chumash are known for their fine basketry, their mysterious cave paintings and their bead money made from shells.
Today, the Chumash are estimated to have a population of 5,000 members. Many current members can trace their ancestors to the five islands of Channel Islands National Park.
They played contests and played games at special ceremonies. The Chumash Indians liked to play games. They played games and had contests at festivals and on special occasions.
The people called themselves “the first people,” although many tribal elders today say that Chumash means “bead maker” or “seashell people.” The Spanish used the name “Chumash” to refer to every group of Native Americans living on these islands and along the southern coast of California.
How do you say hello in Chumash? Cahuilla: Míyaxwe! ( pronounced “mee-yakh-way”) Chumash: Yawa! ( pronounced “yah-wah”) Cupeno: Miyaxwa! ( pronounced “mee-yakh-wa”) Hupa: He:yung! ( pronounced “hay-yung”) Karuk: Ayukii! ( pronounced “ah-yu-kee”) Diegueno: Haawka! ( Luiseno: Míyu! ( Miwok: Oppun towih? (
The Chumash believed in supernatural gods and they believed that humans could influence those gods. The most important time of the year for the Chumash was right before the winter solstice. They believed that this was the time when the Sun might not choose to come back to the Earth.
1: a member of an American Indian people of southwestern California. 2: the family of languages spoken by the Chumash people.
Archaeologists show that the Chumash Indians had been using shell beads as money for at least 800 years. As one of the most experienced archaeologists studying California’s Native Americans, Lynn Gamble(link is external) knew the Chumash Indians had been using shell beads as money for at least 800 years.
The Chumash house, or ‘ap, was round and shaped like half an orange. It was made by setting willow poles in the ground in a circle. The poles were bent in at the top, to form a dome. Then smaller saplings or branches were tied on crosswise.
Types of Tools The Chumash had many different kinds of tools. They made bows and arrows usually for hunting. They used these bows and arrows to kill animals for food, clothing, and to make other tools. They also used spears and knives to kills animals, skin animals, clean fish, and cut things like food.
At Santa Barbara Bay, Chumash ancestors make plank tomols, or canoes, from the trunks of fallen redwood trees that float south hundreds of miles on ocean currents to Chumash territory. They paddle these canoes along the coastline, visiting villages where related tribes live.