Chumash Heritage Includes the People

Open Letter to Rep. Lois Capps:

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians recoils in disbelief about your public display of support of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

How is it possible that you can support marine life, which we agree are part of Chumash heritage, and not support the actual federally recognized Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians whose Santa Ynez Indian Reservation is in the middle of your Congressional District?

While the land of the Chumash people has been diminished to a mere 144 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley, how can you extoll a marine sanctuary the boundaries of which were stolen by military force from the Chumash people. While the now 144-acre Chumash Reservation is in a riverbed and swamp, you have repeatedly opposed the efforts of the tribe to acquire land for housing its members and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Your opposition to HR 1157 to provide such housing for the Chumash is a matter of public record.

We ask that you not associate with any project that infers that you support any Chumash heritage (including marine life) until you can actually support the flesh-and-blood members of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and their quest to provide housing for their members and children.

Kenneth Kahn is tribal chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

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