The Chumash were a hunting, fishing, and gathering tribe, getting
most of their food from the sea, but also eating roots, plants, nuts
The most popular vegetarian food item was the oak acorn, which they
painstakingly dried, ground, and leached to eliminate the bitterness.
The acorn flour was used to make soup and mush which was eaten on a
daily basis. It is estimated that the average Chumash individual
consumed up to 300 pounds of acorns in a year. Chia sage and seaweed
were also often on the menu.
The Chumash Shaman used everything from bay leaves and willow bark
which helped cure headaches to Miner's Lettuce from which laxative tea
was made. The Shaman also smoked tobacco during his many healing
The Chumash ate fish and shellfish such as abalone and clams, and
they also ate sea mammals such as seal and otter. From the land,
they hunted quails, and ducks, and large mammals such as bears and
deer, from which they made made everything from clothes to
While we are on the subject of clothes, the Chumash, as with the
other California tribes such as the
did not wear much clothing, with the exception of short deerskin
skirts and aprons worn by the women. Most of the men, save for
the wealthier members of the community who wore deerskin capes,
were completely nude, save for a small leather belt used to hold their
hunting knives and other tools.
During festivals and ceremonies, the Chumash would wear headdress
decorated with hawk, eagle, and woodpecker feathers, seashells, and
even animal skulls.