Chumash Day in Malibu

Our people once numbered in the tens of thousands and lived along the coast of California. At one time, our territory encompassed 7,000 square miles that spanned from the beaches of Malibu to Paso Robles. The tribe also inhabited inland to the western edge of the San Joaquin Valley.

We called ourselves “the first people,” and pointed to the Pacific Ocean as our first home. Many elders today say that Chumash means “bead maker” or “seashell people.” The Chumash Indians were able to enjoy a more prosperous environment than most other tribes in California because we had resources from both the land and the sea.

As hunters, gatherers, and fishermen, our Chumash ancestors recognized their dependency on the world around them. Ceremonies soon came to mark the significant seasons that their lives were contingent upon with emphasis given to the fall harvest and the storage of food for the winter months. During the winter solstice, the shaman priests led several days of feasting and dancing to honor the power of their father, the Sun.

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