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Chumashan Family

Chumashan Family. A linguistic family on the coast of south California, known also as Santa Barbara Indians. Like most Californian aborigines, they appear to have lacked an appellation of general significance, and the term Chumash, the name of the Santa Rosa islanders, is arbitrarily chosen for convenience to designate the linguistic stock. Seven dialects of this family are known, those of San Luis Obispo, PurĂ­sima, Santa Inez, Santa Barbara, and San Buenaventura missions, and of Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands. These are fairly similar except the San Luis Obispo, which stands apart. It is probable that there were other dialects. The Chumashan languages show certain morphologic resemblances to the adjacent Shoshonean and Salinan, especially the latter, but constitute an independent family, as their stock of words is confined to themselves. The territorial limits of the Chumashan Indians are not accurately known. The area shown on Powell’s map1 includes the entire Santa Maria river drainage, Santa Inez river, the lower half of the Santa Clara river drainage, and Somis creek, the east boundary line on the coast lying between Pt Dame and Santa Monica. Since the language of San Luis Obispo was Chumashan, this region north of the Santa Maria and south of the Salinas drainage must be added. The northern of the Santa Barbara Islands (Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel) were inhabited by the Chumash, but the 3 southern islands of the group belonged to Shoshonean people. The Chumashan Indians, both of the islands and of the coast, were visited by Europeans as early as 1542, when Cabrillo spent some time in their territory, meeting with...

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