The Chumash Exhibit
Also located at the Stagecoach Inn Museum is the Chumash Artifact Exhibit. The collection is showcased below the Inn and is believed to be the most complete collection of the Chumash tribes of the area.
A great number of the pieces in the remarkable exhibit are part of the collection of Dr. Kent Christenson.He spent many years researching original materials and techniques used by the Chumash in order to make replicas for the exhibit.
The exhibit displays contain tools, intricate baskets, games, and everyday use items. The Chumash also had a variety of game items used by children and adults for entertainment and sports.
The Chumash were hunter-gatherers and were adept at fishing at the time of Spanish colonization. They are one of the relatively few New World peoples who regularly navigated the ocean. Some settlements built plank boats called tomols, which facilitated the distribution of goods and could even be used for whaling. They were also adept at making remarkable baskets, stone cookware, and shell beads.
With settlements scattered between the mountains and the sea, the trading between tribes helped to make the Chumash society strong. The Chumash had a tiered society with manual laborers to the skilled crafters, to the chiefs, and to the shaman priests.
This is the type of shelter used by the Chumash Native Americans who lived along the cost of California, between Malibu and San Luis Obispo, as well as on the Northern Channel Islands. These dwellings were large, dome-shaped homes that were made of willow branches and tules. Whalebone was used for reinforcing. The interior rooms were partitioned for privacy by hanging reed mats from the ceiling. With platform beds built above the ground, the Chumash used the area under the platforms to store personal belongings.
Nearby there is a bedrock mortar, a fossil dig, and a ceremonial fire ring blessed by the Chumash.
To create a ceremonial fire ring, both the selection of rocks and construction are traditions passed down generation to generation within the Chumash Culture. This ceremony is held sacred among the Chumash people.
One particular shaman known as Samala, or by his Christian name of Rafael Solares, is well known in the history of Ventura County.
Remains of a developed Chumash culture, including rock paintings apparently depicting the Chumash cosmology such as Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Parkcan still be seen.