When my grandmother, Irene Valencia Cordero, lived on the reservation, up until her death in September 1963, she told us we were all as one. Now there is a Coastal Band and Mission Band. If you are Chumash and don’t live on the reservation, you are not federally known. There are so many 100 percent Chumash buried at missions from San Luis Obispo to Oxnard, are they Mission Band?
I met up with Vincent Armenta on the reservation at one of his tribal meetings that he attends every Wednesday. My question to him was, why doesn’t he take care of his people? He didn’t understand what I meant. He asked me if I was getting free dental and medical. My answer was yes, but things had changed. Now they want to charge me for lab work and send me to specialists to have teeth extracted, which was always done at the reservation. Mr. Armenta turned his back on me and said this conversation was over. Again I expressed that not only was he turning his back on his people, he was also disrespecting his elders.
Back in 2013, I wrote “Last of the Chumash,” responding to Mr. Armenta’s comment that he was so proud when all tribes meet and progress. He speaks with forked tongue. A so-called chief lets his people down. They say money is evil, but I believe it’s the person who controls it.
So, before I go to my resting place, I have spoken once again for my people “All Chumash.”