Pilulaw Khus has devoted her life to tribal, environmental, and human rights issues. With impressive candor and detail, she recounts those struggles here, offering a Native woman's perspective on
California history and the production of knowledge about indigenous peoples. Readers interested in tribal history will find in her story a spiritual counterpoint to prevailing academic views on the
complicated reemergence of a Chumash identity. Readers interested in environmental studies will find vital eyewitness accounts of movements to safeguard important sites like Painted Rock and San
Simeon Point from developers. Readers interested in indigenous storytelling will find Chumash origin tales and oral history as recounted by a gifted storyteller.
This is one of the most extraordinary collaborations between a scholar and Indigenous activist that I have read.
—Greg Cajete, Director of Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico
Yolanda Broyles-González’s book on the Chumash of the Santa Barbara is superb. She tells the lessons of Pilulaw Khus, a California Chumash woman, elder and activist. This is a bridge too long neglected by Latina/o scholars.
—Rudy Acuña, author of Corridors of Migration: The Odyssey of Mexican laborers
The 1978 Point Conception
Occupation was a turning point in Pilulaw Khus's life. In that year excavation began for a new natural gas facility at Point Conception, near Santa Barbara, California. To the Chumash tribal people
of the central California coast, this was desecration of sacred land. In the Chumash cosmology, it was the site of the Western Gate, a passageway for spirits to enter the next world. Frustrated by
unfavorable court hearings, the Chumash and their allies mobilized a year-long occupation of the disputed site, eventually forcing the energy company to abandon its plan. The Point Conception
Occupation was a landmark event in the cultural revitalization of the Chumash people and a turning point in the life of Pilulaw Khus, the Chumash activist and medicine woman whose firsthand narrations
comprise this volume.
Scholar Yolanda Broyles-González provides an extensive introductory analysis of Khus's narrative. Her analysis explores "re-Indianization" and highlights the newly
emergent Chumash research of the last decade.
In the world of book publishing, this volume from a traditional Chumash woman elder is a first. It puts a 20th (and 21st) century face, name,
identity, humanity, personality, and living voice on the term Chumash.
Supplemental Material: Whale’s Cave and the UNOCAL Oil Spill: August 1992; San Simeon Point and the Hearst
Corporation; More Chumash mythology; Pilulaw Khus interviewed by Esmeralda Broyles-González.
UNOCAL protest image