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National American Indian Heritage Month

National Native American Heritage Month is celebrated each year in November. It is a time to celebrate the traditions, languages, and stories of Native American communities and ensure their rich histories and contributions continue to thrive with each passing generation.

Chumash history is such an integral part of our regions history, including the Channel Islands just off the coast of Ventura. Visitors can find information about the Chumash history sprinkled throughout the exhibits in the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center, open daily from 8:30 am – 5 pm, with free admission at the end of Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor.

exterior of channel islands visitor center and and mother and daughter looking at an exhibit on the interior

The Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center bookstore, exhibits, and theater are excellent resources for Native American culture and literature at the islands and throughout North America.  Here are a few highlighted by the Channel Islands National Park Store Manager:

native american history literature lined up on the shelves

California Chumash Indians by Project of Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History focuses on Chumash Tribes of the Channel Islands. It is a short 68-page informational book specific to the Channel Islands.

December’s Child is a book of Chumash Oral Narratives collected by J.P. Harrington.

The Rainbow Bridge is a storybook with beautiful paintings by Robert Florczak and written by Audrey Wood that tells a Chumash fiction to be enjoyed by children and adults.

Ishi in Two Worlds is a biography of the last wild American Indian in North America.

In addition, there are several films and videos, both online and at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center, with informative narrative on the American Indian heritage and their connection and stewardship of these spectacular Channel Islands. Online there are more resources available such as Homecoming: Journey to Limuw, created by Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

Every year, members of the Chumash community undertake a traditional tomol journey to their homeland in Limuw, now also known as Santa Cruz Island. “Paddling in, there’s no other homecoming like that,” says paddler Eva Pagaling. Hear the Chumash paddlers’ stories in this National Marine Sanctuary production: Story from the Blue – Homecoming: Journey to Limuw.

For more ways to learn and honor National American Indian Heritage Month, here are a few resources to explore:

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