How a tree carving changed the way we understand Chumash rock paintings

Shortly after Chumash Elder Joe Talaugon opened the Guadalupe Cultural Arts and Education Center with his wife Margie, paleontologist Rex Saint Onge approached Joe about a tree carving that he believed was carved by Chumash people. Rex brought Joe out to the “scorpion tree,” previously thought to be a cowboy carving in the Santa Lucia…

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Ceremony’s role in transmitting traditional knowledge: The Case of `Alchuklash

The Arborglyph is a tree carving in nitspu tiƗhin ktityu (in the world of the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiƗhini), representing a map of the movement of the stars throughout the year. It was left by an`Alchuklash or Chumash astronomer, reminding us of the ways that our traditional knowledge connects us with our place in the…

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We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Navajo Wedding

This is our first guest blog post! Welcome to the next phase of the Chumash Science Through Time blog where we will feature guest blogs from Indigenous writers talking about Indigenous Science. The following essay from Nazbah Tom gives us a chance to reflect on the ways that ceremony and kinship are key parts of…

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Indigenous Astronomy: Beyond the Chumash Arborglyph

Indigenous cultures all over the world use their knowledge of the solar system to navigate land and water, keep calendars, predict weather, and inform culture. Like most forms of Indigenous science, storytelling carries traditional astronomical knowledge from generation to generation. Unfortunately for many Indigenous people like the Chumash, colonization has taken a toll on our…

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5th Grade Lesson Plan: Shadows of the Sun and a Chumash Calendar

The Chumash Science Through Time Project developed a 5th grade lesson plan that combines the objectives of understanding the Earth’s place in the universe and understanding Indigenous knowledge as scientific and relevant. This lesson uses Next Generation Science Standards combined with astronomical knowledge associated with a Chumash tree carving.  It can be adapted into more…

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4 Things You Should Know about the Chumash Revolt of 1824

Starting at Mission Santa Ines and spreading to Mission Santa Barbara, and Mission La Purisima the Revolt of 1824 was the largest organized resistance movement to occur during the Spanish and Mexican periods in California. There is a significant body of work surrounding this uprising, but here are four things you should know: #1 The…

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Traditional Economies

In Alan Salazar’s work as a storyteller, he speaks with young people about the ways of the Chumash people and the importance of not only thinking of Chumash people as hunter-gathers but also business people. Chumash people shaped Olivella shells to produce beads that were traded like money. A Chumash called for this bead money…

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