Today's daylong program of Indian history at the Satwiwa Native American Culture Center at Rancho Sierra Vista in the Point Mugu area offers families a chance to talk with Gabrielino and Chumash Indians, as well as explore the chaparral that was home to these tribes.
Most of the Santa Monica Mountains were inhabited by Indians before the Spanish arrived. The Point Mugu area was especially popular because of its springs and waterfalls. The park service has focused its Indian culture programs at Rancho Sierra Vista with an exhibit center and frequent talks (the center is usually open only on Sundays).
Uses of Native Plants
At 10 a.m., join in the "Walk With a Gabrielino." Art Alvitre will lead visitors on this moderately difficult trail as he discusses how local tribes used native plants for food and medicine, and then he will demonstrate acorn preparation.
At the 4 p.m. "Walk With the Chumash," Charlie Cooke, a hereditary Chumash chief, will talk about how his tribe related to the land. Both programs are suitable for older children who can appreciate discussions of Indian culture.
Families are encouraged to bring lunch or dinner to the park's picnic area. Tables are available but barbecues are not permitted because of the fire hazard.
The program will continue into the evening.
At 7:30 p.m., Jose Rivera, director of the Home of the Wind Museum in Lake Perris, will talk about how American Indian traditions helped to shape the U.S. Constitution.
To reach the park, take the Ventura Freeway to the Wendy Street exit in Newbury Park. Drive south on Wendy to Potrero Road, then west to the park entrance. All talks and walks are free. Information: (818) 888-3370.