Dear Chairman Sullivan, Ranking Member Peters, and distinguished members of the
Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard.
It is an honor for the Northern Chumash Tribal Council to have present the designation documents for
the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary and to have engaged with the local Indigenous
communities and local communities in an ongoing overwhelming manner in the Central Coast of
California to present the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary that is for all Americans and
inland communities which care deeply about these national treasures.
Sanctuaries preserve the Indigenous Culture, watercraft, nautical history, and maritime heritage in the
stories of lives spent working the ocean, and defending the nation on, above, and under the water.
Sanctuaries offer authentic, transformative experiences that balance our busy, technological lives and
are forever in the face of constant flux. Walk on the beach with the sand between your toes and the
wind in your face. See dolphins and whales gliding in the waves of the ocean. Dive deep in exotic
habitats or dip your toes between tides. Remember the great naval battles and quiet acts of courage that
helped preserve our freedom. Celebrate the maritime traditions that built our ocean-bound nation.
Experience the indigenous cultures whose roots are ancient and whose ways thrive in the modern
Visitors enjoy sustainable recreation in true coastal wilderness. Sport fishing and shellfish-gathering,
hiking and camping, surfing, diving, kayaking, tidepooling, beachcombing and wildlife exploration
attract millions people annually. Visitors also learn more about Native American culture through
engagement with the local tribal communities.
The Sanctuary Program is not only involved in the protection of physical artifacts (cultural, historical,
and archaeological resources), but also in increasing appreciation of the many human connections to
the sea. This includes an effort to support, understand and learn from diverse maritime histories and
experiences, and particularly greater appreciation of indigenous maritime cultures, traditional
seafaring, host culture perspectives and traditional marine environmental knowledge.
The Sanctuary Program seeks to support research into seafaring traditions and the preservation of
maritime folklore and knowledge. Understanding the true human dimensions of our protected marine
areas is incomplete without an awareness and recognition of the special cultural ties these areas have to
indigenous seafaring cultures. Gaining an awareness of the great variety of human connections to the
sea can help us all become better stewards of our ocean resources.
In supporting the sanctuary, coastal tribal resource managers see the promise of a partner in preserving
marine resources and the cultural links to the marine environment that Native Americans forged over
the millennia. Today the tribes play crucial roles in assisting the sanctuary to shape policy, research
and education programs through ongoing consultations, joint projects, and as members of the
Sanctuary Advisory Council. On a day-to-day basis the sanctuary and the tribes act collaboratively,
different perspectives focusing on the long-term health of a common priceless ecological and cultural
Sanctuaries mobilize the democratic ideals of our nation. Members of the community sit on our
sanctuary advisory councils and their working groups, providing advice to sanctuary superintendents
and other decision makers about local issues and needs. Public hearings and comment periods are held
on important management and regulatory proposals so that residents can speak their minds. Grassroots
efforts drive the sanctuary nomination process to help build an inventory of areas to consider for future
sanctuary designations. Friends groups provide opportunities for activism and volunteer opportunities
Sanctuaries engage underserved and minority segments of the community because America, and its
ocean, is for everyone.
The preservation of our world ocean is critical to the life of Mother Earth, we are faced with many
challenges and the health of our Oceans is in jeopardy, it will take all the methods of preservation and
protection that all Peoples of the Great Mother Earth to work together in a way that our future
generation will look back and say that “Our Ancestors did the best they could to protect our Mother
Northern Chumash Tribal Council
Actual letter CHNMS Support Letter 072917