Other names: Obispeño, Ventureño, Barbareño, Purisimeño, Yneseño, Canalino
Home region: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, as well as the Channel Islands, east to Castaic and Mt. Pinos.
Mission affiliations: San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, San Buenaventura, Santa Bárbara, La Purísima Concepción, Santa Inés
Historical background: Chumash is the name given to a number of coastal native groups who spoke similar languages. The Chumash were the first native group that the Spanish encountered, beginning with Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo’s noting a number of villages on the Channel Islands in 1542 and Spanish-Chumash relations seem to have been very good from the beginning.
By the early 1800s, almost the entire Chumash population had joined the missions of San Luis Obispo, San Buenaventura, Santa Bárbara, La Purísima Concepción, or Santa Inés.
For a more in-depth article about the Chumash tribe, read: Native Americans of the California Coast: The Chumash
Interesting facts: The Chumash had a highly developed and complex culture, and were known for constructing long and sturdy canoes called tomols, which they used for travel up and down the coast and for hunting marine life, especially marine mammals.
The rock paintings of the Chumash are some of the most interesting and impressive of any in the U.S., and a number of them still survive, including Chumash Painted Cave in Santa Barbara County.
Today: Modern Chumash are represented by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians (Santa Barbara County), the Barbareño-Ventureño Band of Mission Indians (Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties), the Coastal Band of Chumash Nation (Santa Barbara County), and the Chumash Council of Bakersfield (Kern County). Organizations include the Candelaria American Indian Council, the Chumash Maritime Association, the Broken Rope Foundation, Red Wind Ranch, and the Wishtoyo Foundation.