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Nipomo Dana Adobe Amigos / Draft EIR Process

by Fred Collins

The Nipomo Dana Adobe Amigos is in the Draft EIR process. The Northern Chumash Tribal Council (NCTC) has responded to this DEIR with the following comments and statements. 

NCTC is not happy with the Dana Adobe Amigos. The Chumash community has not had the best relationship with this organization.  They have in the past refused to follow our requests to follow good, sound, and meaningful consultation concerning their impacts to Chumash Cultural Resources.  For many years the Chumash community has been attempting to get them to follow proper protocols, to no avail. 

Several years ago they came to NCTC and asked if we would help them and be a part of a grant process from the State Parks and Recreations for an educational grant.  NCTC is always looking for ways to educate organizations that have not been understanding in the best ways to seek collaboration with our community.  NCTC looked at this as an opportunity, not only to educate the Dana Adobe Amigos, but to educate the greater community. 

The grant required Native American participation for the grantee to be successful or even considered.  NCTC facilitated our community to assist the Dana Adobe Amigos in working to win this grant.  Many months of collaboration, many interviews, and a tremendous about of work in designing and working out details went into this grant proposal. NCTC had hoped that we could create something of great benefit for our Native American community and for the larger community. 

Our hopes were dashed, when after many meeting with State Parks and Recreation, we won the grant but on the day celebration the Dana did not invite NCTC to be with them and many dignitaries.  Subsequently, NCTC was invited to a public celebration. But, from the day that we won the bid, things changed drastically.  NCTC had insisted that we in the Chumash community tell our own story, not the story that anthropologist tell, and the first condition of our agreement for working with the Dana was that NCTC would not work with them if they went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Unnatural History, this organization in our opinion is a colonial dominant organization, that has been extremely harmful to our Chumash community. 

The first thing that the Dana did was go to the Museum, in violation of our agreement, and the story goes downhill from there.  NCTC does not support the colonial dominate attitude of the Dana Adobe Amigos, we will not be used by this organization, and we will fight this process to the Supreme Court if necessary. Were it not for us they would not have won this three-million dollar grant.  What follows are NCTC's comments and statements to the DEIR being prepared by the County of San Luis Obispo.

 September 27, 2013
To: Brian Pedrotti, AICP, San Luis Obispo County, Department of Planning & Building
(805) 788-2788 Email

Re: NCTC comments for Dana Adobe DEIR

Dear Brian,

The Northern Chumash Tribal Council (NCTC) is located at 67 South Street in San Luis Obispo California, and was formed under the guidelines of California Senate Bill 18 April 26, 2006 as a California State Recognized Tribal Government by the California Native American Heritage Commission, organized and dedicated to preservation of the California Native American Chumash Culture, Sacred Sites, and the environmental/ecology.  NCTC is dedicated to meaningful consulting with Federal, State, local governments and agencies, consulting with the development community, and supporting tribal community well-being.

Please find below NCTC comments concerning the proposed Dana Adobe project Draft EIR.

4.4 Cultural Resources

NCTC believes that Native American comments should be also included in this DEIR document, not just archaeological or scientific references.

Nowhere in this draft EIR document, is there the inclusion of comments from the California Native American Chumash, particularly comments from the Northern Chumash Tribal Council or any other Northern Chumash group or individuals.  Not including any of our comments of details of our perspectives makes this draft EIR flawed, misleading and prejudicial.  Because of the importance of this project to the NCTC and other Chumash this exclusion is harmful and is in violation of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, NCTC does not give the County permission to adopt this project.

4.4.1 Existing Conditions Pre-historic Resources

NCTC does not agree with the archaeologist's assessment that generally six major prehistoric periods exists, we as the Indigenous Peoples live by one continuum.

NCTC does not agree with anthropologist /archeologist Kroeber's work; it is not recognized by the Indigenous Peoples.

NCTC does not agree with Kroeber's definition of Northern Chumash Territories, as has been told to us for over 10,000 years our land extended to Ragged Point and inland to San Miguel.

NCTC does not agree with the words "greater sway over native peoples" we were enslaved, and forced to adapt to European culture or be killed, drastic number of Chumash Peoples and children were tortured and kill because we did not follow the Mission way of life.  Many Chumash were not indoctrinated into the Catholic faith, and many resisted, and hid out in the hills and mountains, we believe that just a small portion of Indigenous Peoples were converted to the Catholic faith.

NCTC does not agree that the Chumash who lived at the Dana site made forays during certain time of the year to the coast, my relatives could leave in the morning and walk to the coast and be back for dinner with clams and other sea foods on a daily basis.

NCTC does not agree with the assessment that this site functioned as primarily as a short-term camp, or "station", this was a part of a very large "Cultural Landscape, Complex or District" this site was connected to all the villages within a mile radius of this site, this particular sites was used in many different ways as would the outskirts of a town would be used, the main village of Nipumu in the Teft street area is a large village and this Dana site was a component of that and other large village centers nearby.  This area was a trading area where many different Indigenous People from all over California and the western hemisphere gathered to trade, offer ceremony and celebrate.

When you only look at a very small portion of a living village or town you will not be able to assess the true nature of the area, CEQA requires that the whole is evaluated not just small portions; this is a very large Indigenous Complex and must be view as such.  This is exemplified by, the presents of obsidian, which was brought from great distances and traded at this site. Indigenous Peoples in Arizona have abalone shells, traded from our area, and they will tell you how they respect and honor the Chumash, because their ancestors traveled here to trade and honor the Western Gate.

The diseno were drawn for the Dana properties, to exclude them in this evaluation because they are not in the areas around the Dana Adobe is inaccurate and misleading, for us the Indigenous Peoples the Sacred Circles are extremely important, and a component of the Dana site.

John Johnson is not recognized as an authority of Chumash History based on his accumulation of Missions records and scientific linear data, Mr. Johnson believes that he is in control of our story, but he is not, our Elders have been telling us our true story since the beginning of time.
In the second paragraph the author of this DEIR document pedestals, John Johnson, Curator of Anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Unnatural History, as a specialist in Chumash prehistory and history, has reviewed the NCTC materials and unequivocally refutes the claim.

In NCTC opinion and the in majority of the Chumash Communities opinion John Johnson is a cultural troublemaker, and not respected by the majority of the Chumash Community.  John Johnson basis his life studies on Mission records and linear data theorized in a colonial anthropological mindset which is detrimental to all that is sacred to the Indigenous Peoples of California.  John Johnson has caused much pain and division within the Chumash Community over many years of his tenure at the Museum of Unnatural History, he has tried to control the history of the Chumash Peoples for his own personal gains, and he has used colonial anthropology to play dictator of the Chumash Peoples for far too long. 

There are many Chumash scholars who have spoken out and are continuing speaking out against his abuse of the Chumash Peoples of California.  Deanna-Dartt Newton a Chumash scholar has spoken out against his abusive control of the Chumash Peoples documents, artifacts and his abuse of his concocted fantasies of who the Chumash Peoples are and his abuse of this information for policies and monetary benefit of the development community, his abuse of the Most Likely Decedents (MLD) status, which is a divided and conquer tactic and his overall DNA determinations

It is our opinion that California's Native American anthropology is inexorably marked by the sustained drama between the California Native American man called Ishi from the Yahi tribe and Alfred Kroeber, the German-American founder of the anthropology department at the University of California, Berkeley.  In many ways, California anthropology's changing relationship to Native peoples, engendered in colonial power relations is symbolically played out in the extended Ishi drama that spans parts of three centuries.  To this day, almost one hundred years after his death, Ishi draws anthropology into question as his life sheds light on the dark sides of anthropology and California history.  His story bears revisiting as a healing dynamic, pertinent to California Chumash anthropology and California Chumash communities becoming whole once again. 

Ishi was the survivor of one California tribe extinguished, like hundreds of other California Native tribes, by the genocidal onslaught of US military attacks, vigilante civilian assaults, scalp fees, legalized slavery, wholesale massacres of California Native Americans by White settlers, and the willful destruction of Indigenous social systems.  Ishi was wandering alone in search of food when he was arrested in 1911 and then released to anthropologists Alfred Kroeber and T. T. Waterman, who held Ishi as a living museum artifact or spectacle viewed by thousands of visitors and myriad photographers until Ishi's death in 1916. 

At the time of Ishi's death, Kroeber notwithstanding his promise to the contrary became complicit in having Ishi's brain separated from his body and delivered to the Smithsonian, presumably in the "interests of anthropological science."  Theodora Kroeber, Alfred Kroeber's partner, published a book in 1961 about Ishi, whose title, Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America encapsulates a prevalent anthropological ideology positing an imagined Indian extinction "last" and savagery "wild Indian", extending to the entirety of "North America".

In California a new movement to heal the past history and passed anthropology are on the forefront for the California Native American communities, born from the story of Ishi and the epic Indigenous effort to reunite Ishi's brain with other body parts, eighty years after his death.  The Indigenous oral tradition of activist Art Angle's Native community had kept alive knowledge of the desecration of Ishi's human remains at the hands of anthropological scientist.  In 1997 that historical remembrance motivated Indigenous demands for Ishi's repatriation from the Smithsonian Institution, where his brain was warehoused for decades.

That complicated repatriation effort ultimately motivated a collective apology from UC Berkeley's Department of Anthropology in 1999, which stands as a landmark truth speaking healing document:  "what happened to Ishi's body, in the name of science, was a perversion of our core anthropological values, we are sorry for our department's role, however unintentional, in the final betrayal of Ishi, a man who had already lost all that was dear to him at the hands of Western colonizers.  We recognize that the exploitation and betrayal of California Native Americans is still commonplace in American society."

In a later statement UC Berkeley Department of Anthropology professors reneged on the apology, yet opted to "invite the people of Native California to instruct us in how we may better serve the needs of their communities through our research related activities."  This conciliatory invitation, together with the conciliatory stance of the Maidu and Pit River Native Peoples, who initiated and carried out the movement to give Ishi proper burial, can well, be regarded as a milestone in an emergent California Truth and Reconciliation movement.

The cultivation of an anthropology that serves the needs defined by Indigenous communities is also of relevance with the Chumash homeland.  The openly painful yet fruitful dialogue between California Indigenous communities and some anthropologists occasioned by the Ishi experience marks a qualitative new interaction.

We bring forward the concept of truth and reconciliation because its practices and commissions have served to repair the human suffering and devastation resulting from mass injustices, systematic violence, or genocide in many places around the world.  Truth and reconciliation practices such as collective testimony and truth telling, community rebuilding, and establishment of new healing relationships have helped to address historic trauma in places such as Guatemala, South Africa, and some United States cities.  Recent proposal for a United States Truth Commission that would address the long legacy of civil and humans rights violation by the United States against Indigenous Peoples include that by Waziyatawin Angela Wilson entitles " Relieving our Suffering: Indigenous Decolonization and United States Truth Commission."

Ishi's brain is but the tip of the iceberg, lest we forget, the relationship of "exploitation and betrayal" pertains not only Ishi's human remains but to anthropology as a whole, because there are thousands of Indigenous people held captive in the warehouses of today's museums, universities, and private collections around the world today, Chumash artifact are highly regarded around the world, the Chumash Nation has been the most studied Indigenous Nation in the Americas, they have collected our artifact in all major countries and museums around the world, and, as it stands, a prominent sector of California Chumash anthropology is fraught with colonial legacy that can well benefit from revisiting the Ishi story and subsequent truth and reconciliation dynamics.

Among the Chumash, the best known twentieth century anthropologist was John Peabody Harrington.  Although Harrington and Kroeber are long gone, anthropology's often fractured relationship to California Chumash Peoples is set forth, for example, in some contemporary anthropological debates surrounding today's Chumash and in part by institutions that control much of the public discourse concerning "Chumash".  Like the Bureau of Indian Affairs, some Santa Barbara anthropologist assumes the powerful role of identifies authenticator and gatekeepers over ethnic identities. 

Anthropologist John Johnson of the Santa Barbara of Natural History has established a hierarchical Chumash identity model based on what he terms "ancestry."  His ancestry approach serves as a key tool for dividing, silencing, dismissing, and delegitimizing entire sectors of living Chumash Peoples, while favoring and fostering other sectors.  Anthropologist Brain Haley and Larry Wilcoxon similar proclaim the "Chumash Traditionalists lack the kinds of biological and cultural linkages with the region's aboriginal past that they claim" as they highlight anthropologists' federal roles a "delineators of Chumash identity."  They quote national guidelines that empower them and other anthropologists to act as "judges of the genuineness and authenticity of tradition" in evaluating traditional cultural properties such as, for example, Point Conception.

The anthropological imaginary constructs and reduces living Chumash peoples into supposed opposing and mutually exclusive monolithic binaries. For example, Brain Haley and Larry Wilcoxon categorize and divide the Chumash in terms of as "new-Chumash/ex-Californios" and "old Chumash'; or the "traditionalist" and non-traditionalist."  Although appearing to be critical of federal traditional cultural property guidelines, anthropologist Haley and Wilcoxon stop short of revealing the economic development and economic ramifications are at the heart of their considerations and discussion of the Chumash Identity and of Point Conception as a sacred site.  A portion of their study was funded by California Commercial Spaceport, Inc., the very same aerospace firm seeking to build a space port at Point Conception. 

Among the many published dissenting replies to Haley, anthropologist Jon M. Erlandson is particularly insightful as it contextualizes Haley and Wilcoxon's article with the political power struggles, "over control of the past".  Erlandson indicates, "Native American groups have squared off against powerful developers, corporation, government agencies, museums, universities, and archaeological contractors over the control of archaeological sites, investigations, or collections.  These battles have made the more radical Native American groups which including many traditionalist Chumash, a host of powerful enemies."  Erlandson speaks to the broader decolonizing historical context and process. 

Although anthropologist Haley and Wilcoxon's deconstructive approach to identity seeks to lie bare "the processes through which people form ideas about their history, identity, heritage, and traditions," they do not frame Chumash Traditionalism or re-emergence as a part of the historic global, national, and local collectively organized decolonizing movements.  Instead they cast the onset of Indigenous revitalization and Civil rights Movements in individualistic, belittling terms resembling the actions of a disgruntled drug addict getting up from a couch: "Individuals have shed former ethnic identities' to become Chumash following transformative life crises and experiences, including divorce, battles with substance dependency, participation in museum project to construct a Chumash canoe or tomol."

In a 2005 article entitled "How Spaniards Became Chumash" anthropologist Haley and Wilcoxon continue to examine the ancestry claims and "identity changes" of specific Santa Barbara families they continue to label "neo-Chumash."  They also continue to refer back to their 1997 article that "showed founding Traditionalists lacked Chumash ancestry."  In fact they hardly look beyond changes in ethnic labels.  Anthropologist Haley and Wilcoxon seem highly duplicitous. 

Although they begin to indicating that they do not want to dismiss "these neo-Chumash as anomalous fakes," they then use scathing, dismissive language to indirectly liken them to "simulacra" who like Disneyland "symbolize the pervasive substitution of simulation for reality." 

They repeatedly refer to the "neo-Chumash" as "descended almost exclusively from the people who colonized California for Spain" and as "a clear case of whole cloth fabrication." Anthropologist Haley and Wilcoxon disregard the effects of their research models upon living Chumash communities. Writing within a small Chumash community, they use thinly veiled references to specific living families and individuals, pitting selected quotes against one another, deepening divide.  Julianne Cordero observes that such binary models of Chumash identity "have for year's violently polarized local mixed heritage, indigenous families."

In their discussion anthropologist Haley and Wilcoxon reduce "ethnic identity" and their perceived changes in ethnic identity within Santa Barbara families to changes in ethnic labels applied reliably or not by officialdom: by the Spanish census of 1790, by mission records, and by the US Census Bureau.  They conflate or equate the living dynamics of cultural identity change with ethnic label changes; they put forward dichotomies of "ancestry" that belie their professed motion of identity as a fluid category.  They use the term "neo-Chumash" to mark boundaries and distinctions among the Chumash. Anthropologist Haley and Wilcoxon construct the "neo-Chumash" as distinct from the "Chumash" whom they imagine as "descended from contact era villages and who have maintained a continuous identity as local indigenes."

In spite of community outcry, especially among the Chumash, and academic critique from colleagues, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History anthropologist John Johnson also continues to assume the privileged power wielding role of arbiter and clearinghouse of Chumash identity, using written records and later DNA.  He divides the Central Coast Chumash into "three concentric circles" A, B, C and dismissively assigns the term "neo-Chumash" to the circle C label, which he defines in terms of what is "lacks."  In his schema they "lack genealogical evidence of Chumash ancestry" while circle B has "some degree of Chumash ancestry."  Johnson's "circle A are "people who descend from the indigenous Chumash populations who inhabited south central California and who have continuously maintained their identity as Indian communities." 

Even if we set aside the ahistorical notion that any group of Chumash has "continuously maintained their identity as Indian communities," Johnson's pseudoscientific Chumash taxonomy is hierarchical, essentialist, and unreliable.  He refers to circle A as "easily traceable" through various records of officialdom.   He concludes his three page article by congratulating himself for helping "all who seek to determine if they have traceable California Indian ancestry."  Johnson and other anthropologist questionable practice of reducing Indian Identity to genealogies that he considers "traceable" through the records of violent colonizing institutions, mission systems, the reservation system, the US government systems, is highly problematic.  This train of thought curiously reduces Chumash identity to a tenuous "ancestry" connection ostensible locatable in the unreliable and incomplete mission records.  In reality many Chumash fled from the mission areas and also avoided the later reservation process controlled by colonizers. 

Anthropology and Johnson fully ignore the non-reservation and non-mission Chumash Family histories never captured through officialdom's "records."  This anthropological notion of "traceable ancestry" also ignores, for example, ceremonial kinship relations beyond "blood" relations.  What is worse as we envision a healing anthropology, Johnson's categories mentally divide a living, breathing Indigenous community.  Chumash scholar, Deana Dartt-Newton, curator of the Portland Museum of Natural History, one of the largest western Native American museum on the west coast, points out that Johnson's anthropological categories divide Chumash communities that are in fact interrelated: "As anthropologist define authenticity, they artificially divide the extended family networks that constitute the native community.   Today, the people who some anthropologist claim are from the old families and possess ancient knowledge are no more authentic than those anthropologist Johnson, Haley, Wilcoxon and others identify as neo-Chumash, they simply lack documentation of mission Indian ancestry."

Johnson's notion of a tribe that "has continuously maintained their identity as Indian communities" is an oddly static notion of "identity" that does not include culture, history, or sensitivity to contemporary Chumash community dynamics.  Implicit in Johnson's taxonomy is the notion of authenticity, or what Eric Wolf has called the "mythology of the pristine primitive, that denies the facts of ongoing relationships and involvements."

Johnson and many other anthropologists do not account for the ways in which the unrecorded widespread rape of Chumash women by colonial power holders under missionization, for example, changed the taxonomies of blood and ancestry he imagines as "traceable" within written records.  Anthropologist Johnson and his followers fully ignore the historical presence of colonial violence.  In the words of Ned Blackhawk, "given the histories of displacement, captivity, and violence that characterize Indian - white relations, the idea of pinpointing biological, racial ancestry amidst such social turbulence seems counterproductive at best." 

Johnson's research like anthropologist Haley and Wilcoxon's is in fact productively tied to economic development and land claims.  As Julianne Cordero points out:  "Not only are a series of flawed tests inadequate to infallibly identity an entire peoples, but Johnson's data disputing the indigenous identity of local Chumash peoples are used by landowners, local governments and developers, and are challenged by those same local peoples."  Also, California's Native American Heritage Commission relies on Johnson's problematic ancestry research to help designate "MLDs" who make decisions concerning the disposition of Chumash burials at construction sites.

Vine Deloria Jr. observes, "Indianness' has been defined by whites for many years.  Always they have been outside observers looking into Indian society form a self-made pedestal of preconceived ideas coupled with an innate superior attitude toward those different from them."  Current anthropological efforts to define, categorize, and then identify the "authentic" Chumash while dismissing the rest in fact maintain existing anthropological positions of social privilege over the people they are "researching."  Anthropologists who contrast an imagined authentic and inauthentic Chumash assume a position of power to discredit certain Chumash sectors while they privilege those they imagine "have maintained a continuous identity."  They alienate many and favor others within a fractured Chumash community, thus augmenting the historical trauma from which Chumash communities seek to heal.  Decolonial theorist Linda Tuwawai Smith alludes to the fact that "at the heart of such a view of authenticity is a belief that indigenous cultures cannot change, cannot recreate themselves, and still claim to be indigenous.  Nor can they be complicated, internally diverse or contradictory.  Only the West has that privilege.

In direct response to anthropologist Haley and Wilcoxon, anthropologist Anders Linde-Laursen puts forward a view of the Chumash that is nonhierarchical and that accounts for the complexity of Chumash or any other culture: "Chumash or another invented and historically changing sociocultural formation must be regarded a possessing a complexity of compounded, contested, and contradictory identities."  Chumash scholar Deana Dart-Newton argues for the crucial importance of recognizing Chumash ethnic mixture as central to survival and at the core of what is Chumash.  In her analysis she is one of the core histories denied in the dominant discourse."  What is at stake for those who espouse that dominant discourse?  Jon M. Erlandson comments on changing power relations in the era where the native talks back and reclaims:

"For many museum professionals intent on protecting their collections, for archaeologists who long for the good old days when they could dig where they pleased without interference, for biological anthropologists who fear that analysis of skeletal remains will no longer be possible, and for cultural resource consultants who have made millions of dollars as the sole authorities on Native American culture, there is much to fear from newly assertive and empowered Native American groups."

More recently, emergent Chumash scholars have also taken issue with various elements of the Santa Barbara anthropological establishment, indicating that John Johnson is "part of a legacy of cultural negation and damage carried on through the use of anthropological method."  Julianne Cordero indicates:

"Johnson, in his current capacity as curator of anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, created an official-looking "Pedigree of Indian Blood" form.   This form does very little besides document a very few Chumash individuals' connection to another set of forms, the mission registers and US census records, Johnson's textual reconstruction of Chumash History and genealogy and his position of scientific certainty are part of a legacy of cultural negation and damage carried on through the use of an anthropological method not designed to deal with fluid nature of intermarriage and multicultural identity."

For Julianne Cordero as contemporary Chumash woman scholar, Chumash health and healing through self-determination and through the establishment of sustainable reciprocal relationships are central concerns: "Chumash and Californio families are, by allying ourselves with the larger community, working within an ancient model of gathering power and performing health.  We have for generations prayed for, and now receive, our ‘atiswin power to begin healing and supporting each other, power to recover from centuries old collective trauma, power to flourish, and power to protect and encourage the flourishing of our homelands."

Chumash identity is much more complicated than label changes, and all labels, such as Spaniard, are multifaceted and overlap.  In fact, the distance from "Mexican" or Spaniard" to "Chicana/o" to "American" to "Chumash" is often in name only and certainly fluid.  Ethnic labels that might appear to clearly demarcate difference tend to designate overlapping cultural realities, these realities tend to be permeable, slippery, or even interchangeable.  Ethnic labels, just like their varied cultural realities, mark interrelationships more than separations.  Like scores of other tribal groups, many Chumash found it historically necessary to at times self-designate as "Mexican" or "American" or "Spanish" or "Californio" over extended periods of time.  Some of the Chumash elders in Santa Barbara confided that their self-identification as "Mexican" during much of their lives provided a modicum of social protection.  Often sheer survival was at stake.  Also, these changing labels reflect the very real intercultural relationships and mixing of cultures that happen everywhere.

During the brutal era of colonial nation-state formation, from the 1770 until recent times, the national designations such as "Mexican" or "American" or "Spanish" could provide tribal people with camouflage or safe haven from tribal persecution and genocide.  National labels could occlude tribal provenance, and they served as an umbrella for multiple tribal peoples. Many of them de-tribalized or de-Indianized, some later re-tribalized or re-Indianized in safer times.  De-tribalization sometimes involves only a semantic label change, as Guillermo Bonfil Batalla reasons:  "De-Indianization has been achieved when, ideologically, the population stops considering itself Indian, even though the lifeway may continue much as before.  Such communities are now Indian without knowing that they are Indian."

One of the most striking examples of semantic de-Indianization has to do with the so-called Spanish soldiers who came northward in the 1700s from what is now Mexico, colonizing for the Spanish Crown.  Most of those "Spanish soldiers" were Indians from the Yaqui and Sonora/Sinaloa and Baja California tribes.  The fact that these Indians are referred to in culture as "Spaniards" illustrates that semantic de-Indianization, both as a dynamic of social categorization, and, as a historiographical ideology that tends to erase Indians.  The second largest group of Santa Barbara Mission and Presidio "Spanish soldiers" was comprised of recently free Afro-Mexican slaves.  Chumash scholar Deana Dart-Newton intimates that John Johnson may be in the midst of reimagining what "Spanish soldiers" were.  She quotes on Chumash community member:

I went to a lecture fairly recently that John Johnson gave at the Center for Genealogy Studies about his DNA research with Presidio soldiers that came up from Mexico.  He determined that 80 percent of the soldiers were Indian regardless of what their caste had been documented as.  And 40 percent of that 80 were indistinguishable from Chumash DNA.  We laughed at the irony that research by the man dedicated to distinguishing the real Chumash from "Mexican" interlopers would prove that most of the people comprising these two supposedly "distinct" groups are, in fact all related.

With regard to the misguided anthropological efforts to separate the Chumash from "neo-Chumash" and other ethnic labels, ethnologist Anders Linde-Laursen significantly points to the "external circumstances" that create a blur between labels:

However, by choosing only one group-signifying criterion we lose sight of the fact that identities are fluid, established through processes in which now one, now another criterion (perhaps contradictory) compete for prominence.  Thus it seems very probable that most of all persons who identify themselves as Chumash also sometimes identify themselves as Chicano or something else seemingly incompatible, depending on external circumstances.  Consequently I find a more comprehensive understanding of the fluidity of identities useful.  Not only are identities fluid historical products but the processes through which they are represented and demanded containing competing elements, for instance, Chumash or Chicano.

For our Chumash community, the umbrella "Mexican" or "Spanish" label, for example, often represented the possibility of social inclusion, staving off the social exclusion or death that came of self-designating as Native "india" or "indio."  National labels could occlude dangerous personal cultural realities and specificities.  In that sense the claim can be made that "Mexican" or Chicana/o in many cases implies a tribal, de-tribalized, or re-tribalized Indian.  Historically there are no clear demarcation lines between the labels Chumash, California, Spanish, Mexican, or even Mexican American.  After Mexican independence from Spain in the 1820s California gradually became part of the Mexican nation, and the Chumash technically became "Mexicans" until the United States waged war against Mexico and annexed the northern half of the Mexican nation by 1848.  When California became part of the United States, the California legislature passed a law denying citizenship to California Native peoples, including, of course, the Chumash.  In the US Southwest the term "Mexican" was in part utilized as a pantribal umbrella from which many tribal native people later emerged or "came out" as Indigenous during the Civil Rights Movement.  That coming out is part of Chumash reemergence.

Re-emergence or tribal re-vitalization flies in the face of various anthropological declarations of Chumash "extinction," such as that by Thomas Blackburn, who in 1975 refers to "the extinct, fascinating, and possibly unique culture of the Chumash Indians of southern California."  Vine Deloria Jr. comments on the re-Indianization or re-tribalization process, "According to the scholars, community Indians should have vanished long ago.  The thought that Indians might detribalize, recolonize and recustomize will short many a fuse in the universities."  Many Chicanos/as also re-tribalized, "came out" and claimed their Native heritage, in what Cherrie Maraga has called "Indigenismo:  The Re-Tribalization of Our People."  Moraga's "Our People" references both a re-Indigenized tribe she calls Chicano Nation and/or other forms of Chicana/o re-tribalized or came out as Chumash.  Chumash reemergence of course in no way implies a cultural or political homogeneity of any kind, but rather a multiplicity and complexity of standpoints and experiences.

Santa Ynez Chumash elder Juanita Centeno described the social dynamic of self-protection that motivated Chumash community members to not claim Chumash identity in a racist society:

Sometimes I blame my parents, because they tried to take things away from us, the Indian ways.  They thought they were doing us good by saying, "don't even mention you're an Indian.  If you go and ask for a job, say you're Spanish, or Italian, or Portuguese, or something else. Don't say you're Indian.  If you say you're an Indian you're not going to get the job."  Sure enough, we'd forget.  We'd say, "Well, we're Indian."  "Well, we'll call you if we need you.  We'll call you."  They never called us.

The recent words of Sarah Moses, a Santa Ynez Chumash elder, similarly hold true for many Chumash:  "I would never even tell people I was Chumash, I would say I was Mexican."  Some of the Chumash in Santa Barbara also claimed "Mexicanness" to some degree, having grown up as Spanish speakers in the Santa Barbara Mexican/Chumash barrios, while others grew up as English speakers, and still others as bilinguals.

As a parallel, Yaqui Indians in Arizona were often virtually indistinguishable from other "Mexicans."  When the Yaqui were accorded federal tribal recognition in 1978, many individuals officially changed labels.  Tohono O'Odham tribal member Lucinda Hughes-Juan recalls:  "At that time many Yaquis had to decide whether to continue on as Mexicans or whether to declare themselves officially Yaqui.  The term "Mexican" had always been considered a step up from being Indian."  Chumash Nation, Chicana/o Nation, Mexica Nation and other tribal/ethnic groups thus offer plenty of cultural fluidity where individuals and families over time move in and out of ethnic labels in chameleon like fashion.  Still, some of the Santa Barbara anthropological establishment clings to labels they treat as bounded and mutually exclusive.

The fields of anthropology and archaeology, which in some measure emerged as the intellectual projects accompanying the economic disenfranchisement and physical decimation of Indigenous peoples worldwide at the hands of new nation-state empires established on Indigenous lands.  The physical decimation of Native populations frequently references the pillaging of village sites and burials by so many archaeologist and grave robbers.  The pillaging movements on Chumash land began in the eighteenth century and continues to this day.  Bruce Miller is among the very few to report on the systematic plundering of Chumash cultural resources at village sites:  "In the 1870s an intense interest in the Chumash developed.  This intensity was not directed at the living people but towards the relics and buried artifacts of their fading culture."  Miller references the highly lucrative and destructive transnational business of looting Chumash village sites.  The chief clients were museum collections in Washington, Paris, Moscow, Madrid, and London.

What the Indigenous Peoples denounce as "grave robbing" has been standard colonial practice since anthropology's early history.  Franz Boas, considered by many as the founder of anthropology in the United States, as well as Ales Hrdlicka, founder of physical anthropology, had no qualms about desecrating Indigenous burial grounds and unearthing thousands of Indigenous human remains and cultural properties.  What David Hurst Thomas refers to as "Skull Wars," have also been waged upon Chumash land.  Anthropologist John P. Harrington collected valuable stories, extensive oral testimony, and linguistic material from Chumash elders along with pillaging graves and village sites; he collected artifacts for shipping to his employer, the US government's Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, in spite of the Chumash elders' exhortations concerning the sacredness of burials.  Harrington, together with David Banks Rogers, excavated and removed all of one village mound, now called Burton Mound, in 1924.  Prior to Harrington, three different groups of archaeologists had looted the "Burton Mound" and offered the materials for sale to museums all over the world.

Harrington's legacy casts both light and shadows.  Kent G. Lighfoot who has extensively documented the involvement of anthropologist in the process of federal land allocation to some California Native groups and in the denial of land to others, on the one hand notes how Harrington was a "tireless and meticulous fieldworker," yet on the other faults Harrington"  "But his secretive behavior and refusal to publish or share his field data did little to help the cause of local Indians in the early decades of the twentieth century.  He kept his volumes of field notes which could be provided critical information about the deep histories of Central Coast peoples locked away, while decisions were being made about federal land grant allocation."

In whole the largely troubled relationship with so many anthropologist and archaeologists exists through today, but on the other hand there are relationship of mutual respect and reciprocity that have been established in some cases, Jon Erlandson and some other have built a respectful way of listening to Chumash concerns.  In spite of the critique of anthropology that has issued forth from within and outside Indigenous communities, the legacy of classical anthropology and anthropology and so many of its Western categories of cognition, classification, and control in some measure continue to buttress hierarchical and disenfranchising race/gender/economic relations with Native peoples to this day.  With regard to anthropological knowledge concerning the Chumash, we witness how the institutionalized anthropological knowledge produced by dominant normative institutions, be they museums, schools, or universities, enjoys visibility, circulation, power, and legitimacy. 

In this regard, and examination of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's official booklet California's Chumash Indians, published in 1996 and reissued in 2002, merits our attention.  That booklet is a segment of the longer Chumash People: Materials for Teachers and Students, printed in 1982; revised 1991.  Both publications prominently inform public opinion concerning the Chumash, while they also manifest, in condensed form, standard strategies of a colonial historical whiting about the Chumash.  Those strategies include the generous use of euphemisms that blur that smooth over Chumash genocide; the use of the passive voice to avoid naming the subject/agents of colonization; the deployment of an assimilationist nationalist master narrative; the tone of colonial inevitability; a steady colonial gaze and implicit glorification of a linear and seemingly irreversible colonial process;  a distortive selective use of facts leading the readership to almost sigh with relief that White American has supplanted Chumash society and lifeway's; and the omission of Chumash voice and agency.  Absolutely no living Chumash people were involved in the project.  In fact, only three short paragraphs are dedicated to the living Chumash.  Both publications tell us the "the Chumash are not extinct" and that "they are proud of their history, their spiritual values, and their cultural history."  However, not a single living Chumash person is quoted.

The museum' aforementioned publications situate the silent Chumash almost entirely in the frozen long-ago time.  The museum's pamphlet euphemizes Indian bondage and slavery within the Santa Barbara Mission as "Indian labor."  The fact that colonizers often relied on physical force to recruit and maintain Indians in the missions is converted to a matter of friendly persuasion: "The Chumash were urged to leave their native villages."  The violent colonization process is further neutralized as the museum pamphlet authors imply that the Chumash themselves eagerly recruited for the mission system:  "the first Chumash to learn the new way of life went back to the villages and brought more Indians to the missions."  Gone are the "Spanish soldiers," the Catholic mission whipping posts, torture dungeons, sexual violence by soldiers and priests, the loss of personal autonomy and ensuing decline in births among the Native populations, as well as the colonial destruction of Native social systems and of ecological systems, and the Catholic missionaries' persecution of Native spiritual practices.  The Chumash Holocaust is trivialized into "the populations of the villages declined to the point where their religious and social systems broke down."  The publications' exclusion of Chumash voices, as legitimate speaking/writing subjects, as "knowers," is consistent with its overall strategy to disguise or embellish colonialism and its violence's.  The almost entirely passive-voiced writing makes it appear as if the population decline happened by itself or was due only to diseases.  "Their religious and social systems broke down."  Who did the breaking? How did they break?  It was the Indians' fault; we did it to ourselves……

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's publication leaves the reader with a fairly idealized and benevolent image of Catholic missionization and colonization.  The pamphlet, for example, fails to engage historical evidence concerning how the mission imposed a starvation diet upon mission Indians, weakening our resistance to disease and our ability to survive even without disease.  For example, two-thirds of Chumash children brought into the missions died before age five.  Although the successful Mexican wars of independence from Spain ultimately terminated the Spanish Catholic mission system by the mid-1830s, the Mexican nation greatly expanded the expropriation and privatization of Indian lands.  Spanish rule from 1769 to 1821 had issued twenty private land grants, whereas Mexican rule, from 1821 to 1846 authorized five humored land grants, very few of them to Indigenous communities and individuals.  Dispossession of communally held ancestral Native lands, along with expanded forms of enslavement and genocide, greatly increased with the arrival of US Americans and their Gold Rush in the 1840s.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History booklet mentions the arrival of American after 1848 "to farm or run businesses."  American westward imperial expansionism into the Chumash homeland would appear a matter of stalwart individuals wanting to do business in the context of an occasional racism perpetrated by random small groups.  The booklet notes: "Many whites believed that Indians were either ‘wild savages' to be destroyed or inferior ‘diggers' to be laughed at or pitied."  Such writing erases the fact that the genocide of Indian tribes was planned and executed not only by "many whites" but systematically by officialdom of the state of California and the United States government, by the judicial system, and by law enforcement.  That period from 1848 to the 1890s was perhaps the bloodiest, may elders refer to it as "all out, total all out violence….It was an extremely terrible time for our people"  After California became part of the United States, the California legislature institutionalized and enforced even more systematic and widespread forms of violence against Native peoples.  The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's pamphlet systematically downplays the very violence that provided the museum with prime Chumash land adjacent to mission lands worked by captive Chumash laborers.

The museum's website is also problematic.  It telescopes thousands of years of Chumash civilization into an abbreviated timeline entitled "Time of Cultural Change in South Central California."  What is implied by the museums' decision to terminate the Chumash timeline with "Missionization'?  What about cultural changes after Catholic missionization?  The museum effectively obscures contemporary living Chumash communities as it assumes authority over defining and representing Chumash peoples.  When it does focus on living communities, typically through curator John Johnson, the museum wields power in highly controversial ways. 

The museum's construction of history illustrates the unequal power relations, an elder describes: "Studying any people is an act of power over them.  Researchers control the product and they disseminate it."  In the "Chumash Indian Hall" with a Chumash diorama, manifests a wax-museum approach to human identity and history.  The museum's taxidermy-like Chumash Indian Hall exhibit once again positions the Chumash in that frozen long-ago time. Raymond Corbey ties such ethnographic showcases "to the imperialism of nineteenth-century nation states" as he assigns ethnographic exhibits to "the wider context of the collecting, measuring, classifying, picturing, filing, and narrating of colonial Others during the heyday of colonialism"  The museums' curators have the power, authority, resources and official space to present this frozen Chumash diorama, and this power implies many things, all of them tied to the legacy of enduring unequal colonial power relations installed and maintained by Eurocoloization.  For Chumash communities, historical trauma is a central component of that legacy.

Beyond the appropriation of the Chumash as cultural "others," the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's exhibit reinscribes "Chumash" and the Indigenous within the purview of Euro-America's "natural history" while the absence of a White diorama implicitly positions Euro-Americans in a separate category.  Chumash/California scholar Deana Dartt-Newton has undertaken a sustained analysis of California museum representations of Native peoples in her groundbreaking dissertation "Negotiating the Master Narrative: Museums and the Indian/Californio Community of California's Central Coast."  She includes the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in her conclusion that "the four museums discussed above represent Indian people in a past, primitive, and natural state, predominantly occurring in dark, unappealing spaces.  For these venues to bring Indian life to the fore in their narratives would require tackling issues of colonization, land tenure, sovereignty, and racism which began with the arrival of Europeans."  She also signals the connection between the representation of Chumash by museums and some scholars and the continuation of historical trauma:  "Today the Native communities of the Central Coast resemble so little the representations made of them that Native people hardly recognize themselves there.  This disconnection contributes to continued marginalization as well as to experiences of sustained historic trauma."

Chumash scholar Deanna Dartt-Newton's research and writing contribute centrally to healing Chumash history, as she incorporates a host of Central Coast Chumash community voices, as well as community demands and critiques of the museum.  Not least of those Chumash demands is that for the return of the seafaring plank canoe, the tomol, named Kelek.  The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History laid claim to the Kelek in 1976, bolted the Kelek to the museum ceiling, and has dismissed Chumash demands for its return to the community.

Given the museum's occlusion of traumatic colonial and continuing violence, it is worth remembering/restating highlights of that recent violent history that Chumash communities have resisted and survived against all odds.  In 1849 California's first Constitutional Convention denied "Indians and their descendants" voting rights.  After California became part of the United States of America in 1850, the politicians of the new Golden State enacted laws legalizing Indian slavery and installing White supremacy as a matter of law.  In an Orwellian distortion of language, the California legislature named its first 1850 legalizing Indian slavery an "Act for the Government and Protection of Indians."  Under the guise of "protecting" Indians, Section 3 of the act stipulated that:

Any person having or hereafter obtaining a minor indian, male or female, from the parents or relations of such indian minor, and wishing to keep it, such person shall go before a justice of the peace in his township, with the parents or friends of the child, and if the justice of the peace becomes satisfied that no compulsory means have been used to obtain the child from its parents or friends…shall give to such person a certificate, authorizing him or her to have the care, custody, control, and earnings of such minor, until he or she attains the age of majority, male 18, female 15.

Throughout the nineteenth century, Euro-American slave traders routinely hunted Native American and sold them at auction for prices ranging between fifty and two hundred dollars.  Historian James Rawls indicates, "So what we have here in California during the Gold Rush, quite clearly, was a case of genocide, mass murder that was legalized and publicly subsidized."  Clifford E Trafzer and Joel R. Hyer, for example, published documents from the 1848-68 genocide in the collection Written Accounts of the Murder, Rape, and Slavery of Native Americans during the California Gold Rush, 1848-1868.  California Natives were routinely hunted, captured, and either killed or sold at auction: "The slave traders frequently murdered the troublesome parents as they were gathering up the children, a tactic that allowed the slavers to sell their little charges as orphans.

It is incumbent upon us to remember that the violence was systemic and enacted merely by a few vigilantes or errant slave traders but a collaborative effort launched by US government policy, its military and law enforcement, and by the California judicial system.  Governmental institutions protected the bounty hunters, slave traders, and Euro-American land grabbers, settlers, and ranchers.  It is necessary to bring the extent of violence to mind to understand the degree of contemporary "whitewashing."  Native peoples responded to the onslaught by organizing armies of self-defense throughout the country.  Some of the best-known leaders of the resistance are Joaquin Murrieta, Tomas Tajochi, Mangas Coloradas, and Cochise.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's booklet would be insignificant, were it not paradigmatic of historiography emanating from such of institutionalized officialdom, which, knowingly or unknowingly serve as the localized extensions of state and national efforts to neutralize, define, and control native peoples.  Ned Blackhawk describes historiography's trend to minimize violence directed at Native population as complicit with the celebration of US nationhood: "Despite an outpouring of work over the past decades, those investigating American Indian history and US history more generally have failed to reckon with the violence upon which the continent was built. Violence and American nationhood, in short, progressed hand in hand." 

The occlusion of violence, particularly nation-state violence visited upon the Chumash by colonialism, today tacitly legitimizes colonial politics, making the unspoken justification of history's violent outcomes far easier.  If the bloodshed that created and sustains the American nation-state is whitewashed, the current national and state apparatus appears benevolent, inevitable, and even "naturalized."  Once the dispossession and enslavement of Native peoples is occluded, the glory of California's economy can be celebrated as the work of enterprising White Americans.  Among the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's most glaring erasures are the many Chumash resistance struggles across history.  They omit every single Chumash uprising, indictments of the Catholic missions and newly imposed nation-state systems, as well as the more subtle resistance efforts by contemporary Chumash peoples.  More contemporary struggles, such as the 1978 Point Conception Occupation also go unmentioned.  Yet the broader epic story of that struggle over Point Conception remains to be written and will require its own book.

The physical Point Conception Occupation was the most publicized and dramatic aspect of a longer protracted struggle whose legal component began in 1977 and did not end until 1982.  The 1977 federal lawsuit against Western LNG, who hoped to place an industrial development at Point Conception, was filed on behalf of the newly formed Santa Barbara Indian Center represented by attorney Marc McGinnes, general counsel and executive director of the newly formed Environmental Defense Center, a public interest law firm.  The legal team argued for the rights of First Peoples and asserted rights of cultural continuity pertaining to the land and desecration of the land.  With regard to the court battles, Marc McGinnes recalls, "We lost at every level, but we held them up for years and we fought for every inch." 

Western Liquid Natural Gas filed a countersuit against the Point Conception occupiers, charging them with "trespassing" on private property.  In addition to the lawsuits fought out in court system, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held hearings in Washington, D.C., and Santa Barbara.  This huge culture class around Point brought national and international public attention to Native spiritual issues, while also generating alliances and coalitions with diverse groups, including the American Indian Movement, the Native American rights Fund and California Indian Legal Services.  Ultimately, Western Liquid Natural Gas abandoned its designs on Point Conception in the 1980s.  More importantly, as a landmark struggle for spiritual reemergence, the Point Conceptions Occupation signals Chumash revitalization; it brought healing upon the land and people.

A healing dynamic emerges not only from Point Conception but also from continued reclamation struggles since then.  In the mid-1990, Chumash communities and their allies organized to build the Elye'wun tomol and paddle from the Chumash mainland to the island site of Limuw, for the second time in recent history.  The subsequent establishment of the Chumash Maritime Association marks another significant step toward Chumash community self-governance and spiritual revitalization.

A new generation of critically engaged anthropologists and historians of the Chumash is on the rise.  In 1989 Peter Nabokow noted that "There is a major book on the Chumash that cries out to be written."  In 1991 James A Sandos calls for a new Chumash-centered history that respects Chumash humanity and seeks to view Indians acting on their own terms, for their own reasons, "in light of their own cultural norms and values."  Lynn Gamblee's 2008 Chumash World at European Contact: Power, Trade, and Feasting among Hunter Gatherers, does meet the call for a "major book on the Chumash."  Gambles's focus is largely pre-colonial and includes daily life, ceremonial activity, and a discussion of broader social structures and dynamics.  While exceptionally detailed and well researched, the volume mainly compiles many previously written materials without in-depth critical commentary or original analysis.  In its marked reliance on excavations from a host of Chumash burial sites that have been disturbed and desecrated, Gambles' book shows itself at odds with traditional Chumash "cultural norms and values."  Although the title refers to the time period "at European Contact," the colonial encounter and its aftermath are circumvented.

With regard to breaking new healing ground, some California anthropologist and historians do offer sustained innovative and critical engagements with California Indigenous history, knowledge, and lifeways.  Notably, a number of historians manifest the will and determination to center Indigenous experience and voice; to highlight Indigenous agency; to bring into focus Indigenous faces, names, historical self-affirmations and resistances.  Historians such as Edward Castillo, Robert H. Jackson, Antonia Castaneda, Robert F. Heizer, Lisbet Haas, and Steven W. Hackel, for example, systematically shed light on California Indian agency and perspectives usually obscured within much of mainstream and even Indian-sympathetic historiography and anthropology. 

Castaneda's meticulous work on gender issues,  Hass's volume, Conquests and Historical Identities in California, 1769-1936, and Hackel's children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis: Indian-Spanish Relations in Colonial California 1769-1850 reconstruct the complexities of early California histories and Indigenous agency.  Jackson and Castillo highlight the complexity of Indigenous resistances within the mission system in Indians, Franciscans, and Spanish Colonization.  However, these works are not specifically Chumash-focused.

Significantly, there is an emergent New Chumash research, a Decolonial research agenda, in the works, challenging many aspects of established Chumash research and changing the terms and categories of analysis.  A new Chumash-centered research will necessarily be rooted in an Indigenous knowledge system whose traditions of practice, categories of cognition, classification, knowledge production, storage, and transmission arise from a Chumash knowledge system. Chumash scholar Deana Dartt-Newton and Jon M. Erlandson, for example, signal the advent of a New Chumash Research that puts forward new Chumash research paradigms.  For Example, they critique Santa Barbara anthropologist Daniel O. Larson, John R Johnson, and Joel C. Michelson, who claim that Chumash Indians moved to the Spanish missions owing to "climactic conditions" rather than as a matter of colonial oppression.  Chumash scholar Deana Dart-Newton and Erlandson indicate, "We recognize that deeply submerged or ingrained in the intellectual history of Western science, resistance to a full accounting of this apocalyptic history is still widespread."  They also challenge existing Chumash research by calling for a decolonized anthropology.

A decolonized anthropology might well connect with what Michael Taussig proposes as a "refunctionalized Anthropology": "Such a refunctioning of anthropology would have to turn its resolute gaze away from the poor and the powerless to the rich and the powerful, to current military strategies of "low intensity warfare" as much as to the role of memory in the cultural constitution of the authority of the modern State."  Chumash scholar Deana Dartt-Newton has shown how "the role of memory" functions within museums across California to disempower Indigenous peoples, as she puts forward multiple cogent recommendations to these multipliers of public opinion who sustain the modern nation-state and its dominant narratives.

It is unclear what it will take to generate new understandings between Chumash communities and the research establishment symbolized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, its Chumash pamphlets, its exhibits, its politics, and the larger community.  One particularly damaging aspect of the museum's Indian gatekeeping divide-and-conquer politics is its screening of scholars and denial of research access to certain scholars on the basis of the museum's misguided race topology and identity litmus tests.  In 2006 the Santa Barbara Museum of natural History denied Chumash/Californio scholar Deana Dartt-Newton permission to conduct interviews at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. 

They justify their gatekeeping by alleging that she was ostensibly denying her "Spanish" identity by claiming to be Chumash.  It seems that she failed the museum's Chumash identity admission criteria crafted by John Johnson.  In the stern words of the museum's executive director Karl Hutterer; "our Committee was concerned that you have not been forthcoming regarding your own identity.  Members of our California Indian Advisory Committee perceive your characterization of yourself as "Chumash," rather that admitting your California Spanish ancestry, as a further attempt to erode public understanding regarding who are the actual descendants of the historical Chumash communities in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties today."   The University of Oregon President and anthropological staff back Chumash scholar Deana Dartt-Newton PhD. and she is now the curator of the Portland Museum of Native American History.  Obstructionist practices such as these, directed at selected researchers, constitute a form of academic censorship, as they also deepen the social fractures in Chumash land.

As we move to establish social spaces grounded in mutual respect, reciprocal acknowledgment, and restorative social justice, more anthropologists, archaeologist, and historians will need to grapple with Indigenous-centered knowledge and with Indigenous peoples' historical trauma in uncharted ways.

As we respectfully critique the research conclusions drawn by anthropologist or archaeologist, the critique does not imply that their research, documentation, and publications are summarily dismissed as irrelevant or insignificant.  There is great value in anthropological publications such as "The Eye of the Flute, The Material Culture of the Chumash Interaction Sphere, Crystals in the Sky, December's Child, or more recently the Samala-English Dictionary – A Guide to the Samala Language of the Ineseno Chumash People or Chumash Ethnobotany, not to mention anthropologist John P. Harrington's thousands upon thousands of pages of field notes collected from Chumash elders.  However, every research every research endeavor arises from a sociohistorical context, and these broader contexts have been violent for Chumash peoples.  That violence needs to be fundamentally addressed.  Critique is long overdue, and such critique should well be embraced as an invitation to come together and not as a divisive measure.  Challenges to existing research and unequal social relationships, like a bitter healing medicine, will help us all to take steps in new directions.  Those challenges will help foster the emergence from historical trauma relationships.

NCTC disputes all of Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History colonial dominate, linear date theories of the Chumash Sacred Circles depicted on the diseno and other living Chumash history of the Dana Adobe area.  The true understanding must come from the Chumash Community, we are the only ones who know the true story, and not from a point in time when museum looting, pot hunters, and anthropological grave robbers have pillaged the area clean of the Chumash Communities living relics and antiquities, have paved over, dug up, built highways, roads, cattle ranches, sewer plants, housing developments, large shopping malls, over the top of the Chumash Communities living village complex, past anthropological attempts to determine and analyze what is left at the Dana site, in a meaningless diatribe of piece meal colonial anthropology, this is wrong. This Dana Adobe site is much more, and must be looked at from the time when this living Chumash Community Complex, living Cultural Landscape was thriving. 

The current colonial anthropological evaluations are inaccurate and misleading because they look only at what is left of our great Civilization. Under the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples we the Chumash Nation have the right to tell our story, our story of what truly occurred at this Sacred Site, where the Dana Adobe sets today.  Our pre-history and history of this area is an untold amazing story, and, it has been complete forgotten and left out in the Draft EIR.  When the Dana Adobe Amigos came to NCTC and asked us to help them try for this grant, the most important demand that NCTC made was that we the Chumash Indigenous Peoples tell  our own story, and that we would not have interference from or with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Dana Adobe board of directors executives agree to honor this demand, along with listening to us concerning cultural resources, when the grant was awarded the Dana Adobe, almost immediately, went to John Johnson and the Museum for his story, and, this was in direct violation of our agreement/treaty for our participation, verified by Don Hertel that they broke their treaty with us, Mr. Hertel was at all of these meeting, in his letter opposing the MND process, he talks about their betrayal, Mr. Hertel is a Harvard graduate and a well-respected local architect, who designed the first project that NCTC and the Chumash community approved.

NCTC has more standing than anyone at the Dana site beside the Dana's, Fred Collins great grandfather Jesus Antonio Lopez, a Chumash vaquero, rode for Captain Dana, he rode for the Branch family also, and then started his own cattle ranch in Canada Trego which was later name after him, Lopez Canyon.  NCTC has more history with the Dana family then anyone there today, and the current Dana Adobe Amigos people have abused this old kinship with Captain Dana and our ancestors, and, used NCTC in a most despicable way, writing harsh and degrading articles, when they did not get their colonial dominate way, Captain Dana would be extremely disappointed in their actions.  Because of the current Dana Adobe Amigos abuse and colonial dominant attitude, the current Dana Adobe Amigos do not deserve the grant money, or this proposed project, and, the only alternative is NO PROJECT.           Historic Resources

The descriptions of the historic resources only mention briefly the Chumash Peoples, when in fact the Chumash play a very large part of this history, we were the ones who built the Dana Adobe, we were the ones who worked the land, worked the cattle, did the agriculture, work as employees at the Dana Adobe itself, landscaped, and assisted in every part of the Dana families life ways.  This part of our story is completely left out, which dilutes the real story and is misleading and inaccurate.         Paleontological Resources

There have been many paleontological resources found in the Nipomo valleys and surrounding areas, no mention of any of these mega animal resources and fossils have been mention in the Draft EIR, which is important to understand the unique characteristics of the Nipomo area.  The Dana Adobe area also includes the property across the Nipomo creek to the east, where paleontological resources are highly likely to occur, this Draft EIR does not even consider this portion of the project with is include in the proposed Dana Master Plan and a part of this DEIR.  A complete study needs to be done on the entire Dana properties, and evaluated with the surrounding area of the Nipomo Valley area to understand the importance of paleontology in this area, not just where the Dana Adobe sets today.

4.4.2           Regulatory Setting       Federal Policies and Regulations

Nowhere in the regulatory setting is there mention of the international policies and regulation found in the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, this is a powerful document which gave the rights of a race of peoples to Indigenous Peoples worldwide, and to determine the cultural significance of an area, which in the past was a part of an Indigenous cultural landscape.  Recent Supreme Court rulings in India, Australia, and South American have and will continue to play a major role in determining cultural significance under the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  The UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was endorsed by the United States of American December 15th 2010, endorsed in San Luis Obispo County on August 9th 2011.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) formally endorsed a plan to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at its winter business meeting on March 1, 2013.  Milford Wayne Donaldson, former SHPO, of California, states the following:

I believe this is an opportunity to promote better stewardship and protection of Native American historic properties and sacred sites and in doing so helps to ensure the survival of indigenous cultures. The Declaration reinforces the ACHP's policies and goals as contained in our Native American initiatives including the Traditional Cultural Landscapes Action Plan and our participation in the interagency memorandum of understanding on the protection of sacred sites as well as in our oversight of the Section 106 review process. 

The plan calls for the ACHP to raise awareness about the Declaration within the preservation community; post information about the Declaration on its Web site; develop guidance on the intersection of the Declaration with the Section 106 process; reach out to the archaeological community about the Declaration and the conduct of archaeology in the United States; and generally integrate the Declaration into its initiatives.
The ACHP oversees the Section 106 review process which requires federal agencies to take into account the impacts of their actions on historic properties. In carrying out the Section 106 process, federal agencies are required to consult with Indian tribes, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian organizations when historic properties of religious and cultural significance to them may be affected. The ACHP has an Office of Native American Affairs that provides assistance to federal agencies, Indian tribes, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian organizations and others. The ACHP, among many other efforts, has also published extensive guidance regarding tribal and Native Hawaiian consultation. 

NCTC has asked the Dana Adobe several times to endorse the UN DRIP, but they have refused.

Because a bridge is proposed over the Nipomo Creek the Army Corp of Engineers will be required to conduct consultations with NCTC and other Chumash community tribal groups, therefore 106 will be involved in the is process.

Native American Traditional Cultural Landscapes Action Plan - Better Decisions for Historic Properties by Milford Wayne Donaldson on June 28, 2012 at 09:27 AM EDT

An emerging issue for the national historic preservation community has particular relevance to Indian tribes. That issue is: how do we balance the need for alternative energy and other development with the preservation of traditional cultural landscapes and other large-scale historic places?
This challenge is not new to preservation but the scale of alternative energy development, and associated transmission corridors, poses new and considerable challenges to the preservation of traditional cultural landscapes of importance to Indian tribes. In order for federal agencies to make informed decisions, it is critical to involve tribes as early as possible in planning and before project sites are selected.
In 2009, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) initiated discussions with Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations about how to address these issues. Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (the Section 106 process is overseen by the ACHP) any federal undertaking that may adversely affect a historic property on or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places must consider how to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects to historic properties, including cultural landscapes. Unfortunately, these kinds of historic properties have not always been recognized or understood by federal agencies and the preservation community.
Recognizing the importance of balancing the growing needs of development, while respecting the rights and traditions of Native peoples, the ACHP launched the Native American Traditional Cultural Landscapes Action Plan in November 2011. The plan calls for the ACHP and the Department of the Interior (DOI) to do the following:

  • Promote the recognition and protection of Native American traditional cultural landscapes both within the federal government and the historic preservation community as well as at the state and local levels; and 
  • Address the challenges of the consideration of Native American traditional cultural landscapes in the Section 106 review process as well as in National Environmental Policy Act reviews.

The ACHP has advanced the idea that large scale properties of religious and cultural significance to Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations might best be addressed as landscapes. With adoption of the Native American Traditional Cultural Landscapes Action Plan, the ACHP outlined specific actions to address the challenges of recognizing and protecting these historic properties through partnerships with other federal agencies, Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, State Historic Preservation Officers, and intertribal organizations. It is the goal of the ACHP to broaden this discussion and raise the visibility of this important issue in the larger historic preservation community.  

Partnerships are critical to good decision making and finding the best outcomes for preservation. In one such partnership, ACHP and DOI are addressing the implications of renewable development on historic properties through a joint workgroup on Energy and Historic Preservation
It is important that Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations are aware of and help shape the outcome of this initiative. The ACHP staff and its largely presidentially appointed membership will continue to seek tribal and Native Hawaiian counsel as the initiative advances.

4.4.3           Thresholds of Significance

The way the current project is designed many of its components will directly affect significance cultural resources, for example, the proposed riding arena is proposed to be place on top of the most sensitive, still intact, portion of the Cultural Landscape and registered California Chumash Sacred Site,  there has been no meaningful adjustment to the project to avoid or to minimize impacts, the only thing that is being offered is more data recovery and monitoring as mitigation for the destruction of the Cultural Landscape.

In addition to the listed project possible impacts under this heading in the DEIR, we have included others below which we feel are equally important and have not been clearly address:

*Is associated with an event or person of recognized importance in California or
American prehistory or of recognized scientific importance in prehistory;

*Can provide information which is both of demonstrable public interest and useful in
addressing scientifically consequential and reasonable archaeological research questions;
*Has a special or particular quality, such as the oldest, best, largest, or last surviving
example of its kind;

*Is at least 100-years-old and possesses substantial stratigraphic integrity; or

*Involves important research questions that historical research has shown can be
answered only with archaeological methods.

*Cumulative Impacts, Review the list of related projects and identify those in areas with known or the potential presence of archaeological resources. In the same manner as for project impacts,
estimate the extent and importance of archaeological resources likely to be contained on the
sites and the consequences that would likely result from these related projects. Determine
the cumulative impact from the related projects combined with the proposed project. In
particular, consider cumulative impacts to the population of resources which would remain
and impacts to groupings (e.g., same camp, village, or settlement). Evaluate the destruction
of resources exposed on the surface by considering the cumulative increase in human
activity and soil erosion.

4.4.4      Impacts Assessment and Methodology

NCTC agrees with Albion's methodology, and NCTC does agree that the site is eligible for inclusion on the CRHP under criterion D, "Sites that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important to prehistory or history."  The significance of this Cultural Landscape is connected to the surrounding area, there are many significant Cultural Landscape Chumash Sacred site within a mile radius and they and the Dana site must be consider as a whole, this is supposed to be San Luis Obispo County Historic project, where the lives of many people were involved, Chumash, Spanish, Mexican, and European, this project is about the story of the entire area, and the preservation must rise to the level of saving what is left of each of the past histories of the above mentioned races/cultures, not their further destruction.

4.4.5           Project Specific Impacts and Mitigation Measures

This Chumash Sacred site is eligible for inclusion on the CRHP under criterion D, "Sites that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important to prehistory or history."  The significance of this Cultural Landscape is connected to the surrounding area, there are many significant Cultural Landscape Chumash, and should be preserved as such.             Land Use Ordinance Amendment

Implementation of the proposed LOU amendment would have an adverse effect on cultural resources, because the proposed project is being proposed to be built on top of a California Chumash Sacred Site.  NCTC has seen no adjustments to the proposed project to avoid, or minimize impact the this Sacred Site, data recovery is more digging up and removing California Chumash Sacred Site cultural materials, monitoring is not a mitigation, we have not seen or review an operational management program, or and educational interpretive program plan.  Under the referred to Chapter 4, Environmental Impact Analysis, Exhibit A, there is no information that specifically addresses these issues.  Therefore the LUO as it stands cannot be approved.            Conditional Use Permit

NCTC disagrees with the statement that trails and emergency road development was designed to avoid direct or indirect impacts to the Cultural Landscape, in our analysis we find that the trails and road will have impacts.  Because there has been to effort to move or adjust the proposed project to avoid significant impact to the California Chumash Cultural Landscape, and the additional archaeological excavations which will remove more of our Sacred Cultural Resources, are in fact not appropriate mitigations, this is supposed to be a multi-cultural, educational project, and, therefore the removal and destruction of this Sacred Chumash Cultural Landscape is not acceptable.

4.4.6                   Cumulative Impacts

The Nipomo Mesa and Los Berros areas contain more square meters of light density cultural deposits than any other areas in southern San Luis Obispo County, NCTC does agree that this is a significant Cultural Landscape, we know that this area was a trading center for many Chumash communities and other neighboring Indigenous communities, with significant permanent Chumash Village Complexes.  Developments, highways, sewer plants, roads, agriculture, removal of artifact by looter, grave robbers, and archaeological excavations have had a major direct effect on this Chumash Cultural Landscape, and this proposed project will continue to degrade the Chumash Heritage and Living Culture of today.  The proposed protection described for the LUO is minimal and in most cases will contribute to the continued overall destruction of this significant and important Chumash Cultural Landscape.  The proposed project mitigation measures would result in the further destruction of this Chumash Cultural Landscape, and as proposed would result in a significant, and adverse impact to prehistoric cultural resources, and as such this project must be denied, or the alternative of "NO PROJECT".

4.10    Water Resources

The proposed project is located in a Level III Severity zone for water; this means that water is being used at or beyond its estimated dependable supply.  The data supplied by Hodge Land Planning and Civil engineering of 2011, is flawed, misleading and is inaccurate.  This proposed project is an event center, and an educational center, the Dana Adobe is planning to have numerous events monthly, where up to 1,500 people will attend, and when you couple this with the educational center and all the kids and people that will be visiting on a daily basis this above reverence report by Hodge Land Planning and Civil Engineering is inaccurate, therefore the projects anticipated demand is misleading and is not based on all the projected use for the project, and the water determined supplier of water will not be able to adequate water for  this project, nor will pumping from the Dana Adobe well be adequate.  Therefore the only alternative is NO PROJECT.

4.1        Aesthetics/Visual Resources

This project will change the visual character of the area, impact unique geological and physical features, will create glare and night lighting which will affect the surrounding ecological environment, and local neighborhoods, and create an aesthetically incompatible site, which the country setting that now exists, will be changed forever, only to accommodate a very large Event Center on a  California Chumash Cultural Landscape Sacred Site, this is not acceptable, the viewshed will be changed forever, whereby destroying the surrounding sacred nature of the Cultural Landscape, and chance the ceremonial nature of this Sacred Site.  Therefore this project would result in a significant cumulative impact to visual resources, and the only alternative is NO PROJECT.

4.3                       Biological Resources

This proposed project will have an affect on Sacred Chumash Landscape animals, and plants, the grasslands, coast live oaks, willows, eucalyptus, and vegetation of Nipomo Creek and riparian woodlands which provide important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species and plants. 

American Badger, Pallid Bat, California Red-legged Frog, Coast Range Newt, Southern Pacific Pond Turtle, Silvery Legless Lizard, Coast Horned Lizard, Two-Striped Garter Snake, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Burrowing Owl, White-tailed Kite, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Prairie Falcon, Least Bell's Vireo, Red-tailed Hawk, Golden Eagles, Barn Owls, American Kestrels, Western Meadowlark, Red-winged Blackbirds, Western Fence Lizard, Gopher Snake, Western Rattlesnake, Botta's Pocket Gopher, California Mouse, Western Harvest Mouse, Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Coyote, Deer, California Towhee, Spotted Towhee, White-Crowned Sparrow, Wrentit, California Thrasher, Western Scrub Jay

This project will have an affect on the above listed animals, although they may have not been seen during the biological surveys does not mean that they are not there on the project site or in the surrounding area, most of these animals travel where the want because the setting is open country, this proposed project will affect they ability to travel and or live on the project site, and therefore the proposed project will result in a loss of unique or special status species or their habitat, will reduce the extent, diversity, and quality of native and important vegetation, will impact wetlands and riparian habitat, and will introduce barriers to movement and hinder the normal activities of resident wildlife species. The mitigation proposed will not mitigated to a less than significant level.   There will be a cumulatively significant impact to the wildlife and therefore the only alternative is NO PROJECT.

4.6        Hazards and Hazardous Materials

The proposed project site has significant oil deposits under the ground and under the Nipomo Creek, the cleanup project at the Nipomo Creek was not to clean up the oil spill plumb but to put a protective barrier over the top if it, the oil is still there, directly under the creek, the oil pipe lines is still there, other smaller oil plumbs are still there, the potential for another oil leak is still there, the County of San Luis Obispo purchased this property where the oil spill occurred with Public Funds in violation of county policies, not to purchase properties with hazardous materials that are present on a property.  The potential for future oil spills are still present, a hundred year storm of greater magnitude then we have seen before has the potential to cause a release of hazardous material into the environment.  The proposed project is located and is adjacent to a hazardous material waste site, and has the potential to result in an adverse public health condition, impair implementation or physically interfere with an adopted emergency response or evacuation plan, result in a safety hazard for people residing or working in the project area, therefore the only alternative is NO PROJECT.

4.9            Transportation and Circulation

The Traffic Impact Analysis by Rick Engineering 2012 is flawed, inaccurate and misleading.  The generation of trips, average daily trip, weekdays, weekends, and special events is not accurate.  This proposed project will increase vehicle trips to local the area wide circulation system, will create unsafe conditions on a country setting public roadway during all special events.  The proposed project has fail to provide for adequate emergency access, and will conflict with local residents which will increases local pedestrian safety hazards, and will result in substantial safety risk during special events.  The proposed 10 foot wide flatcar bridge over Nipomo Creek is absurd, this is major water way, this creek has risen to great heights during food events, and will rise even high with global warming flood events, this proposal is not safe nor is it practical, and will never be approved by the Army Corp of Engineers.  If there is an earthquake during a special event or even just a normal educational weekday where there are several buses fill with children, and trees are falling, roads are being made impassable, this would be a significant safety hazard, and, therefore the cumulative safety hazards for this proposed project are many and the only alternative is NO PROJECT.

4.11                     Land Use

This proposed project will alter the very core of what make this State Historic place unique, when you stand at the Dana Adobe you can see the way it was back in the 1800, there is open space, beautiful rolling hills, open space all around the Dana Adobe, the way it was, this proposed project will change the very core meaning of this property, and will not preserve and enhance California's irreplaceable historic heritage as a matter of public interest to that it vital legacy of cultural, educational, recreational, aesthetic, economic, social, and environmental benefits will be changed forever and will not enrich the present setting, or for future generations.  The Dana Adobe is a unique place, they have remolded it to its original state, they have plenty of room for special events, this proposed project will hide the Adobe and dwarf the very pristine nature of what is the Dana Adobe, and does not demonstrate leadership and stewardship for historic preservation in California, nor is it in compliant with federal and state regulatory obligations for the preservation of prehistory, or historic multicultural sites.  This proposed project is inconsistent with land use policies for preservation, inconsistent with habitat preservation, inconsistent with environmental policies, and is incompatible with surrounding land uses.  There are no mitigation measures that can be implemented that will save the flavor of the open country Dana Adobe Rancho, this proposed project will change the setting forever, into a over developed event center, not consistent with the historical context of the open country site, and therefore the only alternative is NO PROJECT.

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