We ask you to join us in acknowledging the Chumash Peoples, their Elders, both past and present, as well as their future generations.
We would like to take this opportunity for us all to reflect on how the work we do here today, in our search for knowledge, our opportunities to teach, and every day, in our chosen fields, affects these lands and the peoples of these lands that we work with and research to protect.
We acknowledge that this University system was founded upon exclusions and erasures of many Indigenous peoples, including those on whose lands this institution is located, the villages and unceded lands of the Chumash people. This UCSB Administration has failed to faithfully and dutifully support the traditional custodians of these lands, Chumash people and Indigenous students, through their continued support of Mauna Kea.
As we work together to prevent further damage to these lands and waters that support not only our livelihoods, recreation, lifestyles, research, and education, we remember that the Chumash peoples of this area have been separated from these lands, unable to maintain livelihoods as they should, unable to recreate traditionally, unable to maintain their traditional lifeways freely, and unable to have the same access to their lands that we are provided, to do their own traditional research and educate their future generations.
The Chumash people are comprised of the descendants of Indigenous peoples removed from their Island of origin Limuw (Santa Cruz), Anyapac (Anacapa), Wima (Santa Rosa) and Tuqan (San Miguel), subjugated by 5 missions during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, from Malibu to Morro Bay and inland to Bakersfield. The Villages, upon which this University sits, were a safe haven for maritime travelers. A place alive with trading, hospitality, and abundance. A place where knowledge of and from the surrounding areas, far and wide, was shared with all people of this place and its many visitors. A traditional place of sharing knowledge and education. A tradition this University has an obligation to remember.
Many of the projects and research conducted by this University are within the traditional territory of the Chumash Peoples, and/or affect other Indigenous peoples in their territories and in spite of all of this, each Tribe, Council, Clan, and Band is working diligently to restore and continue their traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from this historical trauma.
The damage that has been done and continues to be done by not sharing the true history and legacy in this place and others, and by the exploitation of the Natural Cultural Resources of these areas, can never be erased, there is no mitigation or research project that can make their communities whole again. But we can do better!
As educators, friends, and allies, together, we can acknowledge the mistakes and atrocities of the past and move forward in remembrance and relationship with the local Chumash peoples and other Indigenous peoples, to facilitate their process of healing by making sure that our processes here make room for their Chumash and Indigenous voices to be heard, their Traditional Ecological Knowledge of these territories to be listened to and their peoples to be a part of the healing of these lands and waters, as well as themselves.
This acknowledgment, though brief and in no way complete, demonstrates a commitment by this institution and their educators, to begin the process of creating a relationship with the local Chumash and Indigenous Communities and work to dismantle the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism.
We come together today to acknowledge, stand up for, and give voice to, the unceded lands and waters of the Chumash and all their peoples.
If you are interested in learning more about the Chumash and how to support them, please visit their website here.