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Chumash Canoes of Mission Santa Barbara: the Revolt of 1824


The purpose of this paper is to fill in some of the missing information about these two Chumash canoes from Mission Santa Barbara and what we know at present about the men who built and used them. My principal source is the 3,200 pages of notes on Chumash canoes collected for the Smithsonian Institution by anthropologist John Peabody Harrington, who recorded considerable data on Chumash culture from about 1912 until his death in 1961. His principal informant on canoes was Fernando Librado, a Santa Cruz Island Chumash born in 1804 and raised at Mission San Buenaventura. After working as a vaquero and handyman at various places in Santa Barbara County in later years, Fernando Librado died in Santa Barbara in 1915 (Blackburn 1975b: 18). In his last years he imparted to Harrington considerable information on Chumash plank canoes that he had seen in his youth and many stories and events pertaining to the men who built and used these boats. The canoes of Mission Santa Barbara were built by one of his relatives, and Fernando Librado had seen them himself.

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