About Us

About Us 2


The families of the Barbareǹo Band of Chumash Indians are the people who have traditionally inhabited coastal Santa Barbara County and parts of the back country. Our family members were those whose cultural and linguistic knowledge preserved a record of Barbareño heritage resources by working with anthropologists John P. Harrington, Alfred Kroeber, and others. Our family members and relatives are the well-known sources of Barbareño traditional knowledge as they are the individuals who provided the information cited in all of the articles and books published on Barbareño language and culture.

From the Founder of the BBCI

I was inspired by the spirit of my father Ralph C. Morello and on February 10, 2014 founded the Barbareño Band of Chumash Indians in his memory.  My father descended from the same bloodline as Juan Justo, the last full-blooded Chumash Chief who passed in 1941.  I wanted to unite descendants of Chumash families from Cieneguitas and the greater Barbareño community.  -Signed Patty Morello

Our Community Today

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To understand our Barbareño Chumash community today, it is necessary to take a step back in time. In the late 1880s, one of the the last remnants of organized Chumash within the vicinity of the Santa Barbara Mission were living at the village of Kaswaʼ, also known as La Cieneguita, our federally-recognized reservation complete with designated Indian agent located in present-day Santa Barbara County. This remnant of Chumash, living on lands occupied by their forefathers for hundreds and probably thousands of years, were gradually forced out of their homes in a coordinated campaign of fear and intimidation. In what will forever be known as a dark chapter in the otherwise proud history of early American settlers in Santa Barbara County, the appointed Indian agent, by violence and other means, succeeded in gaining title to the lands of the Chumash he was sworn to protect. Thus was completed the foundations for the great diaspora of Barbareño Chumash that continues to this day. Those Chumash forced out of their reservation joined those other Chumash who had left the Santa Barbara Mission at the end of the Mexican era in California. The Chumash were forced to assimilate into the wider communities of that time, gradually losing their language, their customs, their culture, their songs, their dances, their ceremonies, and finally, their identity as Chumash.

Today, the Barbareño Band of Chumash Indians is taking steps to unify the descendants of those Chumash who once lived on this, the ocean side of the mountains in the areas known today as Santa Barbara, Goleta, the twin villages of Dos Pueblos and areas in between.

It is a monumental task to unify the descedants of those who have been separated for 140 years and more, to bring together those who have been completely assimilated into the wider community, to awaken those who have completely lost their identity as the true indigenous people of this land.

It is the deepest wish and unfailing mission of the BBCI to bring together the hundreds of people dispersed far and wide who are the true descendants of the native peoples of this land. We are the Band of the Land! The Barbareño Band of Chumash Indians!