Chapter

The Gathering of Traditions: The Reciprocal Alliance of History, Ecology, Health, and Community among the Contemporary Chumash

Julianne Cordero

in Religion and Healing in America

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195167962
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850150 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167962.003.0009
The Gathering of Traditions: The Reciprocal Alliance of History, Ecology, Health, and Community among the Contemporary Chumash

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Today, one of the most pernicious stumbling blocks on the path to greater individual and community health in Chumash country is an assumption held by many that (largely non-Indian) social scientists have the final say in what is “the correct interpretation” of the Californio and Chumash past, languages, and arts and the communities' present sense of identity as mixed-heritage Indian people. This chapter critiques previous historical analyses of written data on local Santa Barbara history and identifies those that have silenced the voices of non-academic Native and non-Native community members. It describes lessons learned from indigenous “texts”, such as plants and translations of particular Barbareño Chumash verb forms, including the action words most closely approximating words for “health” and “power”. Finally, it describes a living practice that transcends previous attempts by anthropologists and others to naysay contemporary Californio/Chumash cultural constructions of tradition, spirituality, and ethnic heritage. The exemplar chosen for the chapter's final section lies at the very heart of the coastal Chumash culture and spirit: the Chumash oceangoing canoe termed tomol.

Keywords: Chumash; Santa Barbara; history; Californio; tomol; community health; power; spirituality; ethnic heritage

Chapter.  8121 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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