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SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS ARTICLE: Point Conception



1999

Selective Quotes On Point Conception and Chumash Traditionalism
(From "Point of Contention," page 1, SB News Press, Dec 26, 1997)




REACTIONS TO THE HALEY/WILCOXON ARTICLE

Melinda Burns: "But for all its scholarly methodology, the study has offended the leaders of the Santa Ynez Indian Reservation, where more than 200 Chumash descendants live with their families." (Staff writer, SB News Press, page A14).

Elaine Schneider: "It's pro-development and it's trying to find a way of disproving there is such a thing as an indigenous people." (Chair, Elders Council, Santa Ynez Reservation, page A14).

Tonie Flores: "It bothers me as an Indian. We're the shadows of the past. I don't like anybody to be mistreating us still. Stop discrediting us. Can it stop now?" (Santa Ynez Reservation resident).

Chester King: Wilcoxon and Haley are "making themselves very appealing for people who want to do projects for developments... They're showing that they're developer-friendly." (Archaeologist, wh excavated in the Point Conception, A14).

THE 'WESTERN GATE' IS A MYTH ?

Melinda Burns: "The study by archaeologist Larry Wilcoxon and anthropologist Brian Haley, both of Goleta, casts doubt on the myth of the Western Gate... ." "Wilcoxon and Haley contend that the Western Gate was invented only 22 years ago by anthropologists Thomas Blackburn, based on a loose interpretation of the Smithsonian interviews" (of Chumash elders by John Harrington). (Staff writer, SB News Press, page A-1).

Larry Wilcoxon: "Everybody knows of the Western Gate, but not everybody knows that it's not a Chumash concept." "We shot big holes in the notion of the Western Gate- maybe not enough to change the mind of individuals, but certainly enough to change the decisions of those in power." (co-author of Current Anthropology article, page A14).

John Johnson: "It's a search for the truth, I think. It's puncturing a hole in what's become a popular public myth. It took on this meaning beyond what the data originally supported. It became an article of fatih." (Curator of anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum, page A14).

THE 'WESTERN GATE' IS NOT A MYTH ?

Elaine Schneider: "The Western Gate is a point of reference for us - the end of the land, where the creator calls our ancestors." (Chair, Elders Council, Santa Ynez Reservation, page A14).

WHO IS A CHUMASH INDIAN ?

Chester King: "Our job isn't to be culture police and tell people what their beliefs are and what they aren't. Whether the belief is one year old, two years old or two thousand years old, those aren't really measures of truth. What you are is what you think you are, and not what somebody else says you are." (Archaeologist who first excavated at the LNG site at Point Conception, page A-14).

Elaine Schneider: "The reservation does not like an open conflict of "You're an Indian and you're not an Indian." We talk as family. We are all interrelated because we are all intermarried." (Chair, Elders' Council, Santa Ynez Reservation, A14).

POSITIVE VIEWS OF THE CHUMASH COASTAL BAND

Jon Erlandson: The Coastal Band of the Chumash is "the most knowledgeable, the most radical, the most experienced of the Chumash and the most assertive about protecting archaeological sites." "This whole business with geneaologies (brought up by Haley and Wilcoxon) just stinks... Some people never entered the Mission system. The Mission records were full of errors. It sets up a have- and have-not test for Native Americans in California and I don't think it's fair." "It's just another attempt to disenfranchise the Chumash. And comping after 200 years abuse and prejudice and attempted genocide, I think it's horrible." (Prof. Anthropology, Univ Oregon, worked for Hutash Consultants, A14)

NEGATIVE VIEWS OF THE CHUMASH COASTAL BAND

Melinda Burns: "The study by archaeologist Larry Wilcoxon and anthropologist Brian Haley, both of Goleta, casts doubt on... the very ancestry of some of the people who believe in it." (Staff writer, SB News Press, page A-1).

Paul Varela: "They're undocumented. They grew up around Chumash people, but they're not descendants. We think they're impostors." (Chumash, Director of Chumash Interpretive Center, Thousand Oaks, A14).

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