Chumash Indians are among the earliest inhabitants of America. The Chumash people were significantly identified to have settled in large numbers in central and southern coastal sections of California. Some were living in the southwestern parts of California. It’s estimated that these Chumash people could have inhabited these regions thirteen thousand years ago. The Chumash Indians lived in their lands which were controlled under their regulations. They spoke a similar language. However, they encompassed diverse dialects which depended on the regions which they inhabited. They have their systems of governance plus their individuals of the enforcement of laws.
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I chose Chumash Indians as my study group because of their distinctive attributes. To begin with, the Chumash people were very organized. This was recognized from the organization of their homes along with playing fields. Their name ‘Chumash’ denotes several practices. First, it signifies people who make beads. Second, it implies people who live in the seashores or coastal regions. Chumash also signifies people who formulate money from the beads of shells. Lastly, it also implies that these people practiced hunting and gathering as well as fishing (Arnold 7). It’s however distressing to find individuals with a societal name that is significant to the activities that they practice. In addition to this, the language they speak is also Chumash.
The Chumash Indians lived in the coastal regions. The climate in these places was usually cool and hot too. They also experienced little rainfall that descended at a slower rate throughout the year. The Chumash individuals who however enjoyed the climate are those who lived near the seashores and generally the ocean. There was the existence of a waterway that was flanked by the general land inhabited and several islands. The seaboards also had some twirls that contributed to havening of the ocean. Most alterations in the mainland were discovered to be on the northern borders of the warm Pacific Ocean. These modifications provided the necessary environments for the survival of massive numbers of fish as well as other marine animals. This openly proves that the Chumash people practiced fishing (McCawley 16).
The fish that was harvested while practicing fishing was not only used for food but also as a trading resource. The Chumash people living at the seashores used to exchange fish for other commodities with individuals in the neighboring villages who lived at far places from the sea. The climate therefore in the regions where the Chumash people lived therefore favored trading activities.
The climate that was experienced by the Chumash people also affected the waterways that were sandwiched between the islands and the mainland. This climate contributed to the availability of shellfish. Some Chumash people therefore engaged in the making of money from some beads of shells. They also made ornaments and other different decoration materials from shells.
Chumash people who stayed in regions away from the sea lived in highly mountainous terrain. On these mountains, copious drainages emerged which at the course emptied their waters to the oceans. In some flat parts of the region, the Chumash Indians practiced hunting. These areas had forests entailing grasslands, chaparral, and some scrubs. In these places, diverse types of animals were also found. The Chumash people exploited various plant varieties and animals. They thus practiced hunting and gathering.
The Chumash Indians who lived at the seashores of California had a nautical culture. They were anticipated to be twenty thousand in number. This marine culture was practiced by the antediluvian Chumash. In this culture, they used “long wooden canoes which they called tomol for fishing and travelling between different villages along the pacific coast. The Chumash were a hunter-gatherer tribe, and even though they were sedentary, they did not farm the land “(Gamble 39).
The Chumash Indians were people who had a matriarchal civilization. They had their systems of governance. The whole Chumash people were governed by a chief. The chief probable to be either be a gentleman or a lady. The Chumash Indians were believed to be warders in charge of the western gate. This accountability was taken very gravely.
The Chumash people had defining traits. They could not destroy plants as well as kill animals carelessly. They greatly respected nature. This practice was implemented as a result of their spiritual and also their physical union. The Chumash people also supposed that the greediness of man as well as desire towards superiority may ultimately lead to the individual’s demise (Timbrook 15).
The Chumash people had their customs and ethnicities, residents as well as their terrain ascertained with more than one hundred and fifty sovereign villages with their populace being anticipated to be eighteen thousand individuals. They were access to diverse resources which they traded successfully among the villages. They had secluded some parts in their organization of residents for various activities. They also had regions where ceremonies were practiced. Thus interaction amongst them was boosted.
The Chumash community possessed semi cavernous domiciles that greatly helped when the weather was too hot leading to sweat production. Fields were also cleared for recreation and games by the Chumash people. Storage houses for their goods were also constructed to prevent them from bad weather. The houses in which the Chumash people lived were built in a way that they were round thatched to accommodate up to seventy people.
The Chumash Indians practiced fishing This was an implication that most of the food they ate was obtained from the ocean. Their diet also included roots of some plants and seeds. In consideration of the Chumash people’s vegetarian food, they used oak acorn. They consumed this after drying, grounding, and leaching to assist in the eradication of bitterness. The acorn flour that was obtained was applied in the preparation of soup as well as pulp that was finally consumed. The Chumash consumed seal, oat, fish, and shellfish for protein supplementation. On land, they hunted and ate quails, ducks, bears, and deer.
For medication, the Chumash used leaves of bay plants and barks of willow trees that helped in the management of headaches. In the process of therapeutic rituals, they usually participated in smoking of bhang (Verano & Ubelaker 26)
Throughout the winter season of 1997, Dr. John Anderson commenced his investigations on the aerospace industry’s segregation of the Chumash Indians in the profitable spaceport arrangements. Several states competed for several dollars brought about as a result of flourishing spaceports. Unluckily, Mr. Anderson found out that the Native Americans in the coastal regions of California were banished by the centralized governmental administrations.
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Archaeological research by one of the greatest Spanish explorers Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo proved with evidence that the Chumash Indians could have inhabited Rancho San Marcos for a period of nine thousand years. He even added that the Chumash Indians were among the most multifaceted groups in North America who pre-historically practiced hunting and gathering. “The Chumash Indians spoke with awe and reverence of their ancestors whom they called ‘The Ancient Ones’ and had a polytheistic religion with a complex mythology, an extensive trade network with a sophisticated currency of shell bead money, and an elite hierarchy of chiefs (wots) and religious leaders (antap)” (Gamble 36). He also discovered the Chumash rock art. “Chumash rock art, known globally for its sophistication, vivid colors, and highly imaginative animal and human figures, is attributed to the ceremonial activities of shamans. The priests believed in achievement of supernatural powers from guardian spirits such as the swordfish and grizzly bear” (McCawley 19).
It’s however necessary to mention some questions that I had researched about the Chumash Indians and would want to gain additional knowledge on these questions.
- How did the Chumash people thatch their houses if they never wanted to destroy vegetation? I would like to understand this question since, among the defining laws in their culture, they never allowed the exploitation of botanic resources
- How did the researchers conclude that Chumash Indians could have been living at certain places for the past thousands of years? The available human materials could be belonging to some other different group of people.
- Why did the Chumash Indians accept to live the mission life? Several land activities and processes demolished their built structures.
- Why did the Chumash Indians eat fish and yet they considered killing animals as a way of lacking respect towards nature? Animal exploitation was considered malice which could lead to the fall of man.
In tackling questions related to activities of Chumash Indians that were carried out some centuries back, for instance, questions involving skulls and bones, I will, first of all, dig out and excavate the human’s cranium and bones. This will be followed by detection of the age lived by the owners of the bones before their death. Of all the other methods of bone detection, I will use the radiocarbon dating method. The relevant dates will be then submitted. I will strongly base on carrying out several DNA tests as well as diverse tests on the human remains after decomposition to significantly verify the availability of Chumash Indians some centuries back.
In conclusion, women had significant roles in the Chumash Indians societies as they determined leadership. Generally, the cultural practices by the Chumash Indians were amazing as all were of great importance to the individuals as well as neighboring villages at large. I believe some of these cultural practices can be emulated and be of great significance to various societies today.
Arnold, Caroline. Stories in Stone: Rock Art pictures by early Americans. New York: Clarion Publishers, 1996. Print.
Gamble, Linn. Chumash World at European contact power, Trade, and Feasting Among Complex Hunter-Gatherers. Berkeley: University of California Publishers, 2008. Print.
McCawley, Williams. The first Angelinos: The Gabrielino Indians of Los Angeles. Banning: Malki Museum Publishers, 1996. Print.
Timbrook, Janice. Chumash Ethnobotany plant knowledge among the Chumash people of southern California. Berkely: Heyday publishers, 2007. Print.
Verano, John and Douglas Ubelaker. Disease and demography in the Americas: Changing Patterns Before and after 1492. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Publishers, 1992. Print.