Chumash Indian Reservation

Chumash Indian Reservation

The Chumash Indian Reservation was established on December 27, 1901 and Indians living in this area are the only federally recognized Chumash tribe in the United States. Few Chumash lived within the reservation and had limited economic opportunities until gaming arrived in the Santa Ynez Valley. In June 2004, the Chumash Resort Casino opened on the tribal reservation and in short order, became the most successful Indian gaming in the State of California. Now the casino attracts more than 6000 visitors a day into the Santa Ynez Valley.

An independent and sovereign nation, the Chumash strive to be self sufficient. Their tribal constitution is similar to the California State Constitution and the United States Constitution and is the basis for their government. The main difference is that while the government is run as a democracy, it is set up more like a business corporation with voting members. In fact, members of the Business Committee (four elected officers and a Tribal chairman) are the governing body. Recommendations are voted on by the membership at monthly general council meetings.

The reservation at 3410 Villa Juana Road in Santa Ynez, comprises 126 acres, thought to be the nation’s smallest, is home to about 249 residents and there are 97 homes located within its boundaries.

Thousands of years ago the Chumash people were a thriving and peaceful people, fine boat builders with deep spiritual beliefs and a society in which men and women were considered equals. Although they, like most Native Americans, have struggled with depravation and poverty, the Chumash are now in a position to help their people and move them into a more prosperous future.
3400 E. Hwy 246, Santa Ynez, CA 93460