The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) will present Chumash Maritime History — Past, Present, & Future, as told by Chumash Elder Puchuk Ya’ia’c (Alan Salazar), 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 in the museum at the Santa Barbara Harbor, 113 Harbor Way, Ste. 190.

Puchuk Ya’ia’c (Alan Salazar)

Puchuk Ya’ia’c (Alan Salazar)

As a founding member of the Chumash Maritime Association and one of the group’s most experienced paddlers, Salazar will share his knowledge of the history of the ocean plank canoes, known as tomols.

As a storyteller, researcher, and knowledge keeper of Chumash history, Salazar will share some of their stories in his presentation and answer questions from audience members.

Cost is free for SBMM’s Navigator Circle members, $10 for all other members, and $20 for members of the public. There will be a pre-lecture reception for members only from 6:15-6:45 p.m.

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“I have paddled in all of the crossings from Channel Islands Harbor to Santa Cruz Island,” Salazar said. “There are currently only five other Chumash paddlers that can make that claim. It is a very elite group. I have paddled more miles in our tomols than any other Chumash paddler in modern times.

“At age 71, I am the oldest active paddler and still considered one of our stronger paddlers. I was raised to be proud of my Native American heritage and I take pride in being a positive role model and a respected Elder.”

Salazar has worked in a variety of fields over the years. He has been a traditional storyteller, an Indigenous educator and monitor/consultant, spiritual adviser, traditional paddler and builder of Chumash canoes, preschool teacher, and juvenile institution officer. He is the author of “Tata, The Tataviam Towhee: A Tribal Story.”

As a spiritual adviser within the Chumash and Tataviam community, Salazar leads ceremonies and prayer circles during traditional Native American gatherings, and continues to fight for tribal issues of urban indigenous people. For more, visit

Salazar’s family has traced its ancestry to the Chumash village of Ta’apu, now known as Simi Valley, and the Tataviam village of Chaguayanga near Castaic, California. They are Ventureno Chumash and Fernandeno Tataviam who were brought into the San Fernando Mission starting in 1799.

Salazar is a founding member of the Kern County Native American Heritage Preservation Council and the Chumash Maritime Association, a member of the California Indian Advisory Council for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and a community advisor with the Ventura County Indian Education Consortium for 24 years.

Since taking archaeology classes at Cal State Bakersfield, Salazar has monitored and protected his ancestors’ village sites and tribal territories. He was also the lead monitor from 2011-17 at the Boeing Santa Susana Field Lab site in Simi Valley, which is a unique 2,800-acre site with a sacred solstice and rock art.

As a member of the Chumash Maritime Association he helped build the first working traditional Chumash plank canoe in modern times and has paddled in this tomol for over 24 years. He is also a member of the Elder’s Council for the Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and has been involved with teaching youth about Native American cultures for 30 years.

This SBMM event is sponsored by Marie L. Morrisroe.