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John M. Anderson


Ph.D University of Wisconsin, Madison
Philosophy of Education 1971; MA Philosophy 1968


"John turned 74 years old in the year 2019. Nearly one hundred of his web pages are still available on the internet. A selection of his books and unpublished research will be made available for free download through the John M. Anderson Library project (see email below).

Salish Research

After moving to the Interior Northwest, John published one book on Kootenai mythology, but most of his work on Northwest native culture has been on the local Salish speaking people such as the Kalispel. The town of Kootenai is named after a trading site used by the nearby Kootenai bands of Idaho, Montana, and Canada. The Kalispel Indians, however, were the permanent residents of the Pend Oreille Lake which the Kootenai Indians visited.

The author first worked with the Kalispel during the 1989 Idaho Centennial when he was the director of the Kalispelum Project which brought Kalispel speakers from the Flathead and Usk reservations to speak to local schools and public groups about the importance of Kalispel culture to the region.

Growing Up On the Chumash Coast

Although the author has worked with the Salish Indians, the majority of his publications have focused on the Chumash Indians of southern California. When a youngster, John came to know the lands of the Chumash and neighboring California tribes. He attended Hueneme high school which drew students from the local towns of Hueneme and Oxnard. Hueneme is a Chumash name for a seaport which was used by Chumash seamen as their primary haven after crossing the channel from the Chumash islands to the mainland. This ancient seaport was taken over by the United States Navy (which celebrated it as the home of the Fighting Seabees, a military construction division).

While in high school, John spent a lot of time in the vicinity of the old port, playing basketball at the base gym and visiting his father who worked at the base. When he began to study Chumash history some ten years later, these youthful experiences fueled his curiosity about the 'lost' Indian history of Hueneme and nearby Oxnard and Ventura. His book called Enememe's Friends was a direct result of this interest in ancient lore about this area of the California coast and the nearby Chumash islands.

The author attended college at Claremont/McKenna in 1963. This institution of higher learning is located in the Tongva (Los Angles) valley. After graduation from Claremont, John went to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was awarded his Ph.D in 1971, when he returned to Chumash territory in southern California and took a job as an administrative analyst for the University of California at Santa Barbara.

See Photos for photographs of the author.

A partial list of Writings

For more than three decades John published books on the mythology and religion of the Chumash and other native cultural groups, for use in classrooms and sale through museums, state parks, and native American sections of book stores.


History of the Coastal Chumash - A second draft of a coastal Chumash history was submitted to the board of directors of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation.

To expand a dialogue with the Coastal Band and other Chumash councils, John turned to his unpublished research on the life of Junipero Serra. Serra who was the Catholic administrator of the production centers supporting Spanish troops occupying California in the eighteenth century.


History of the Coastal Chumash - After consultation with the board of directors of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation, John wrote a 'discussion paper' on Chumash coastal history, to stimulate dialogue on the many issues involved in presenting Native American history to a federal agency.

Anderson proposed using Chumash place names instead of popular Spanish and American place names. He advocated using Chumash personal name, instead of Spanish and Mexican adopted names for historical personage. He proposed that the Coastal Band highlight the views of their ancestors, instead of the biased colonial views found in Spanish, Mexican, and American government and church records.


Chumash Autumn Equinox was published. John wrote this text to address issues of Chumash political philosophy, in the context of the ongoing federal study of the southwestern Chumash Channel as a potential national seashore.


In the first part of the year, John worked on a glossary of California place-names, associated with the Mountain Chumash. These highlanders resisted Spanish, Mexican, and later American colonialism through the Tejon Alliance, which negotiated the Tejon treaty of 1851. This (yet unpublished) 'handbook' will be called The Mountain Chumash and it will focus on historic sites south of Bakersfield, California.

With the coming of spring, John renewed his construction efforts on a straw bale home in Kootenai, Idaho. Photos of straw bale Project


Kuta Teachings was in print, exploring reincarnation theology as taught by the traditional Chumash Indians of California. He also released a fourth edition of Chumash Nation and a third edition of No Brave Champion.

Chumash Nation provides a short overview of Chumash resistance to Spanish, Mexican, and early American colonialism. And No Brave Champion is a study of racial and cultural bias in the writings of University of California professors who studied native California cultures in the early part of the twentieth century. This text challenges convention wisdom concerning the 'neutrality' of the university during this era, and helps the reader better understand the historic roots of existing alientation of many Chumash families from contemporary academics.

Shaman's Drum, a journal on experiential shamanism, published one of John's articles on the California Spaceport controversy (fall 1999; see link below). This article was an update of the 1998 article, discussed below.


John planned to return to his writings on the eighteenth and nineteenth century gold mining pact between the Chumash Indians and the Catholic Church. He wrote three web pages on Chumash Indian gold mining, for the upcoming State Sesquicentennial. Soon development of a California Spaceport facility on the Chumash's western coast distracted him from this area of concern. See Vandenberg Spaceport for commentary on the Chumash, Point Conception, and the speceport.

In March, John released a report on the Chumash archaeological site called Jonjonata. This report was critical of the California State policies for archaeological and ethnohistorical research on native sites, and it included a forward with favorable commentary by a number of traditional [non-reservation] Chumash. Through much of the year, however, he focused his research on the rapid growth of the commercial aerospace industry at Vandenberg Air Force Base, its negative impact on the Chumash sacred shrines near Point Conception, and the need for improved relations of the Air Force, and its industrial allies, with native American tribes such as the Chumash. A report called "Heavenly Pioneers" came out in September, including reviews by a number of traditional Chumash. An article based on this report was featured in Earth Island Journal (fall 1998; see the link below."

Kuta Teachings
Earth Island Journal (I)