Chumash Discovery Village
Wishtoyo Foundation's Chumash Village is a unique and authentic re-creation of
a working Native American village
on a four-acre historical site at Nicholas Canyon County Beach in
Malibu. The only living Chumash cultural village of its kind in
Southern California, the village property occupies a historical
cultural habitat - where ocean and stream meet, offering a rich and
diverse wildlife and plant habitat. Owned
and managed by L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors,
Wishtoyo's partner in the project, the coastal bluff is a living,
pristine reminder of an ancient culture that thrived for thousands
of years. The Chumash Village now hosts schools and community
groups for cultural presentations, ceremonies and gatherings.
more information please visit these links:
Village Story - Marine Stewardship Education
to the Village
Wishtoyo has utilized traditional
methods and materials in the construction of the Chumash Village with
a goal of raising awareness
of Native American people's relationship and dependence upon the
natural environment. Wishtoyo has created an outdoor living history museum
using replicas of Chumash dwellings - aps, sea worthy
canoes (tomols), tools, handicrafts,
ceremonies, blessings and celebrations, offering students and the general
public a unique, multi-sensory experience of a native Chumash Village.
Restoration, a massive habitat restoration
of Nicholas Canyon Creek (adjacent to the Village), brings an
additional opportunity to experience the natural resource habitat
upon which Native peoples thrived: the freshwater stream, native plants and
marine life combined to offer a rich and diverse resource for food,
medicines, clothing, shelter, tools and utensils to the Chumash.
Visitors can share this experience and feel their own personal
connection with nature at this ancient site.
History of the Site
Wishtoyo Foundation commissioned a literature review and
archaeological assessment of the project site, confirming
the area is the historic home of Chumash Native Americans. Eight
Chumash prehistoric archeological sites were recorded within a
half-mile of the Village radius and artifacts were observed throughout
the site. Prehistoric artifacts and burials indicate that
occupation occurred as early as 4000-6000 BC. (Chester
King, Archaeological Reconnaissance and Recommendations for
Preservations of Archaeological Remains at Nicholas Canyon County
Beach, April, 2001)
The Chumash are considered to have been one of the most complex
non-agricultural societies. They maintained the
most complex bead money system documented anywhere in
the world. During the mission period, many Chumash adopted Spanish
surnames to hide their identity and avoid relocation to the Spanish missions.
Since the Chumash have no written language, there are few birth
records identifying Chumash people, and as a
result, many Latino residents in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties
today, are of Chumash descent.
Visitors are transported back in time, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of a Chumash village. Tours
explain a typical day in a Chumash village,
demonstrating how houses were built, clothes were made and food was
prepared using the available natural resources. Ceremonial leaders
tell stories and explain the Native American's reliance upon, and respect for, the
Solstice and other celebrations are marked by ceremonies,
as in ancient times; dances are performed by Dolphin Dancers from the
Santa Clara Valley River Chumash Turtle Clan. The village tour
highlights a culture that lived in balance with nature and reinforces
the need to change contemporary behaviors that are damaging our environment.
Visiting the Chumash Village
The Chumash Village is open for
guided tours and presentations, by appointment.
Click for Contact
Information and Directions
On-site cultural appreciation and
environmental awareness programs are offered to elementary school
students in the Los Angeles County and Ventura County School
Districts. The village site is easily accessible by car from Ventura
and Los Angeles Counties, with extensive public parking available.