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CONTEMPORARY CHUMASH INDIAN WRITERS

[Commentary by Dr. John Anderson]

2000

A number of contemporary Chumash Indians of southern California have distinguished themselves as writers of both fiction and nonfiction.

The purpose of this web page is to provide information on a selection of these writers who have followed an honorable tradition within the tribe of oral narration [as documented by T. Blackburn in Decembers's Child which was published in 1975 by the University of California Press].


Mike Khus

A northern Chumash, from the San Luis Obispo area, Mike has a master's degree from Stanford University and teaches high school history in central California. See Humaq for his article on Point Conception [a sacred Chumash site] which appared in the journal called News From Native California [fall 1998 edition].


Luhui Whitebear

(Chumash/Iroquois/Pueblo/Comanche/Huichol) graduated from Taft High School in Lincoln City, Oregon. She received the Founders Award from the Native Student Association for her efforts in developing the first Native Student Association in the school's history.

One of her poems was included in an Oregon anthology of work by high school students. She also won first place in the Freedom Development competition for her exceptional views on the concept of freedom, reflected in her winning poem, "Cry of Freedom." The Pacific Sea Lions presented her with an award for exemplary community service. The Oregon Indian Education Association presented her one of the Pepper Memorial Student Achievement Awards. Luhui won the Mother Earth's Children scholarship (a memorial scholarship established by Jim Thornton of Coos Bay, Oregon, for his mother) for an essay she wrote. Oregon State University has awarded her a Harold Gilman Smith Scholarship, which provides some financial assistance for her education at OSU in Corvallis, Oregon. She hopes to begin school there in January 1998.

She is also the recipient of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) first-place award for the Circle of Life Essay Program, which provides a $1000 scholarship and a $200 cash award. In addition, her essay will be published in Winds of Change [from the Moccasin Telegraph, June/July 1997; sponsored by the Worldcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, Columbia, Mo].


Tharon P.Weighill (Sr)

Tharon is a member of the Chumash Swordfish Clan, and also serves as a traditional Chumash storyteller, dancer and singer. He grew up in the hills above Santa Barbara, the place of his ancestors. Mr. Weighill continues academic research on Chumash history and culture, completing his Masters degree in Anthropology at San Francisco State University. He is now in the Ph.D. program at the University of California, Riverside (Dance Department, dance history and theory). See photo of Tharon at a Native American storytelling festival in San Francisco. See journalism for Mr. Weighill's 1995 commentary on newspaper bias against native California issues.

Tharon's paper called "The True-Man Show" provides a fascinating analysis of the use of an 1887 photograph of the Samala leader, Rafael Solaris, by both Chumash and non-Chumash, in defining 'Chumashness.' Tharaon speaks of "inventing a unified aboriginal past-Chumash" and explores the problems that colonial ideals of aboriginality impose on the contemporary Chumash.

Tharon writes of the impact of the civil rights movement of the 1960's when 'Chumashness' as an invented term became a lived identity. "Chumashness exists, now expressed through aboriginal descendents, as organic culture born out of the amalgamation transpiring during missionization. We have created Chumashness: as a political space, we give it agency to pursue a path of diplomacy with the down presser." [Review from an email draft to John Anderson, June 3, 20001].

Readers can also examine Tharon's commentary by searching Native-L, were he addresses a number of issues (search Native-L and Weighill).


Georgiana Sanchez

Ms. Sanchez is a published author and poet and instructor in Native American Literature at California State University, Long Beach. She was born and raised in California and is a recognized member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation near Santa Barbara.

Roberta Cordero

Roberta is a co-founder of the Chumash Maritime Association, which was established in 1999. She is the author of "A Chumash Perspective" which appeared in the Mission Log, a publicaiton of the Channel Island National Park. See Cordero for her article.


This web page presents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views of the Chumash Indians, either individually, as a family, or in a group.

email = amdes@earthlink.net