farming, food, Happiness Project, Throwback Thursday

Chumash and Salinas People

Since purchasing San Marcos Creek Vineyard and Winery, I have been staying up late nights doing research about the history of the the land. Our winery is right where the mouth of creek opens to the Salinas River. Rivers and streams were a great place for hunters and gathering people to hunt seasonly. The vantage point of the vineyard and winery provides a vista all the way across the Salinas River. During the rainy season is the only time water is visible in the creek, however the Missionaries say there was ample water in the creek. I am guessing they were passing the creek when it was winter or spring, as there is nothing but sand in the creek during the summer months.

The history of the area is mostly conveyed through the missionaries. They have described the villages (which could be 20 to 200 people per village) as constantly fighting. As they were the conquering people. The missionaries witnessed the people of the tribes gathering in a hut before the hunt and arguing, and then if there was a greater discrepancy then a whole village would be burt to the ground. Women were stolen and taken to other villages, and men were killed.

Ok, there may have been some fighting, but I believe the Missionaries would gain more by portraying the Native people as quarrelsome and aggressive. Why would they need the Missionaries if they were a peaceful, loving people?

Our winery is at the mouth of the creek, and the Missionaries as well as the Native people from the San Antonio area said the people from the west side of the 101 spoke another language. Which were the Las Gallinas people. the Salians people lived around the Mission, and along the banks of the Salinas river. People came into the area to view the Mission, and the new people. Sometimes Spanish guards would accompany them, which means they were prisoners of the Spanish guards. They brought the Native people to the Mission to work as slaves.

It is hard to fathom what people were thinking as they were escorted to the Mission under guards. They would not be able to live their lives as they once did, following the seasons through hunting and gathering. The Spanish thought the land was cleared as some kind of miracle, but it was the Native people that cleared the land by burning the grasses around the trees so it would be easier to gather the acorns.

I believe we need to have the whole story, not just the one we were handed. People lived and loved on this soil as we do, and knowing that there were two different tribes of Naitve people is beautiful to me. It is unfortunate what happened in history! There is nothing we can do to change it, but we can learn more about the cultures that once inhabited the land.

Want to learn more about the Chumash or the Salinas?

Leave a Reply