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There were at least eight different related language groups, or dialects, spoken by the Chumash. 25) Chumash people first encountered Europeans in the autumn of 1542, when two sailing vessels under Juan Cabrillo arrived on the coast from Mexico.
The differences between the dialects spoken at the northern and the southern ends of the Chumash region were as great as the differences between Spanish and the English languages. As with most Native American tribes, the Chumash history was passed down from generation to generation through stories and legends.
Chumash women ground acorn meal, gathered nuts, fruits and herbs, wove baskets and did most of the cooking and child care.
Both genders took part in storytelling, music and artwork, and traditional medicine. 26) The Chumash villages were endowed with a shaman/astrologer.
Village chiefs were chosen from important and esteemed Chumash families by village elders, and could be either men or women. These gifted astronomers charted the heavens and then allowed the astrologers to interpret and help guide the people.
Chumash families were combine into larger groups called clans. The Chumash believed that the world was in a constant state of change, so decisions in the villages were made only after consulting the charts.
Whalebone was used for reinforcing and the roofs were composed of tulle mats.
The Santa Barbara area established itself as a mecca for health seekers, and by the turn of the century it became a haven for wealthy tourists and movie stars. Powell first used this term in naming these coastal Natives in 1891, and the name has lingered on.
Wild hemp, milkweed, nettles, and yucca plants were turned into strong strings, chords, and ropes, which were used to make nets, bags, belts, and many other woven objects.(Williams, Jack S.
Chumash men were fishermen and hunters, and sometimes they went to war to protect their families.
A Chumash person could always tell where another Chumash person came from by how he or she spoke.(Williams, Jack S. Many of these stories were lost when the Chumash Indian population was all but decimated in the 1700s and 1800s by the Spanish mission system.
The Chumash population was eventually decimated, due largely to the introduction of European diseases.