I live on Chumash land here in Ventura County. The Chumash village near my home was known as Shishilop, and thousands of Chumash lived here in this sliver of land between the hillsides and the Pacific, and between two rivers, the Ventura and the Santa Clara. This part of California is technically a desert, but so much water flowed through the area that it created mudflats, and the maritime community of Chumash here were known as “mud people.” Most of the Chumash lived near the Ventura river and the sea.
According to this site, Shishilop means ”port-on-the-coast” which it was. This village, just east of the Ventura river mouth, was the largest Chumash village in what is today Ventura county. While the area has been inhabited for many thousands of years, the Chumash settled Shishilop about one thousand years ago or more, and the Chumash thrived with plentiful fish from the seas as well as the river. They made tools, a type of seafaring canoe, and they regularly crossed between the mainland and the nearby islands including large, close Limu (Santa Cruz Island).
Our region still is home to Chumash and to their stories about the land. Continue reading