Chumash Teacher Sheet

Chumash Teacher Sheet


Students should use the websites from the Chumash student esheet to respond to the questions on this

Part I (Chumash History):

What three natural resources did the article indicate that the Chumash people relied on?
Possible answers include plants, animals, and fish.

Name at least three ways in which the Chumash people made use of the plants and animals in their environment.
Possible answers include food, clothing, medicine, and tools.

Why was water so critical to the Chumash people?
Water was critical because they traveled in boats to fish and trade; they relied on boats/water to live.

What is the name of the boat (technology) that was unique to the Chumash people?
The tomol was the name of the boat.

Part II (A Chumash Perspective):

The website indicates that the Chumash villages were constructed on high ground near lagoons, creek mouths, lakes, or springs. Why do you think the Chumash chose to build in those areas?
They chose to build there to be near fresh water, which they could use for fishing, drinking, etc.

The following were identified as making the Chumash people unique. List a couple facts about each: Plank canoe (tomol); Baskets; Bead money.
Possible answers: Tomol—made using driftwood or redwood, held 3-10 people; Baskets—most famous for coiled baskets, usually natural straw color with black designs, could even hold water; Bead money—made from marine snails, value depended on the labor to make it and the rarity of the shell.

What technology (or tool) was most important for the Chumash? Why was it so important in their particular environment?
The tomol, or plank canoe, seemed to be the most important technology because it facilitated trade and transportation in their coastal environment.

Use the information you find on the “13,000 Year Timeline” to complete this table.

Period Food-Gathering Techniques/Food Collected
Paleoindian (collected shellfish and harvested wild seeds)
Initial Early (gathered shellfish; milling stones used to grind seeds)
Terminal Early

(acorns gathered; used “atlatl and dart” to hunt large animals [e.g., elk, deer, sea mammals])

Middle (fishing and sea mammal hunting more important; invention of shell hooks and barbed harpoons enabled them to catch larger variety of fish; bow and arrow replaced the “atlatl and dart”)

(marine fish still important [e.g., sardines taken with nets]; also hunting of land animals and gathering of wild plants)


Review the table and describe how the food-gathering techniques improved over time, partly because of advances in technology.
The way food was collected advanced throughout the years. They started by collecting shellfish and harvesting seeds. A “throwing stick” was later developed that allowed hunting of larger animals. Later yet, inventions like harpoons and shell hooks allowed the fishing of sea mammals. Eventually, the hunting of land animals even further supplemented the marine diet.

Describe a technique that has improved over time in your environment, due to advances in technology.
Answers will vary.

This teacher sheet is a part of the Environment, Technology, and Culture of the Chumash People lesson.

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