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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chumash Renaissance Press Release 7/23

A unique new book, Chumash Renaissance: Indian Casinos, Education, and Cultural Politics in Rural California, has just been published by Paul Gelles, who teaches Spanish and Anthropology at Midland School in Los Olivos.


The book looks at the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and provides deep context for the controversies swirling about the casino and its impacts in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Chumash Renaissance is divided into three parts (History and Politics, Culture and Education, and Understanding and Reconciliation) and features more than two dozen illustrations, including historical photographs of the Santa Ynez Valley and its inhabitants. The author examines the history of the Santa Ynez Chumash, showing how successive waves of colonization have impacted Chumash identity and cultural politics in the Santa Ynez Valley today. Exposing the stereotypes and false assumptions made about the tribe, he shows how the Chumash are overcoming cultural suppression and educational marginalization, how culture and education are interwoven in complex ways, and how the tribe has gained power over its cultural patrimony and heritage.

An informative and illuminating exploration of place, Chumash Renaissance provides an on-the-ground look at Chumash cultural re-birth, the opposition faced by the tribe, and the deeper historical currents and changing cultural politics of rural California today. Gelles brings personal and professional experience to the writing of this book, having worked with indigenous peoples in Latin America as well as with the Chumash. He taught Anthropology at the University of California for many years and has published widely on indigenous peoples in the Andes and other parts of Latin America. Chumash Renaissance is his first book on native North America.

The book is available at The Book Loft, Tecolote, Granada, Chaucers, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Paul will be doing a book signing at Chaucers Book Store, 3321 State Street in Santa Barbara, on Thursday, July 25th, at 7 p.m. For more information call Chaucers at (805) 682-6787. He will also be doing a book signing at Tecolote, 1470 East Valley Road, Montecito, on Saturday, August 3rd from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information call Tecolote at (805) 969-4977.