Barbareno Chumash Council
The Barbareno Chumash Council is a tribal organization representing Chumash descendents whose ancestral
villages were located in what is now the general Santa Barbara area. The Council is active in bringing Chumash people back
to their maritime culture and revitalizing the Barbareno Chumash language. Along with other Chumash tribal organizations,
the Council works to protect sacred sites, protect the environment and marine animals, and maintain the traditions and
songs passed on to us from our ancestors. The Barbareno Chumash Council, or BCC, is also an affiliate of the Seventh
Generation Fund for Indian Development.
Click here for the Seventh Generation Fund
The Council has been the primary host of
the Chumash peoples' annual channel crossing from the mainland to the Channel Islands, the Chumash islands of origin. Chumash
and native paddlers cross the channel from Santa Barbara to Limuw, which is known now as Santa Cruz island, in the
traditional tomol (canoe). The people create a village on the island and provide enriching activities for adults
and children including language lessons, basket making, cordage making, walking tours of the island, plant identification
information, songs and storytelling. On Saturday, the island participants gather on the shore and wait for the paddlers to
arrive. In the evening, the village gathers to honor the paddlers, elders and esteemed visitors, and all the people that help
make the crossing and village possible, including personnel from the National Parks.
The crossing is held every year in September, the first weekend
after labor day. The first of these contemporary crossings occurred in 2001, days before the tragedy and loss of September
11, 2001. The participants of the 2001 crossing were exposed to extreme opposites within a few days time, from love and harmony
to hate and destruction. Council members committed themselves to bringing Chumash people and others to the island, year after
year, for a few days of peace, love, harmony, commiting to protect our sacred sites and revitalize the maritime way of life
and the traditions and values taught to us by our ancestors.
The BCC wants to thank and acknowledge the Brotherhood of the
Tomol whose members paddled from island to island, within the Channel Islands, in the 1970's. The tomol Helex carried our brothers to each of the islands. They braved the watery and dangerous journey. In doing so,
they honored all those that have come before us. We stand upon their shoulders.