John’s research into Chumash history and culture began in the late 1970’s when he was working at the University of California. He visited the national archives with Dr.Greg Schaaf to research the history of the Tejon Reservation. Very little was known at this time about the Mountain Chumash participation in the 1851 Tejon treaty and their struggles to hold onto their ancestral lands.
Over the next four decades, John researched and wrote a number of papers and books on the Chumash, focusing on history and philosophy.
The Swordfish Race
In Chumash Indian mythology, Coyote defeats the Swordfish which are the rulers of the ocean. Through deception using his magic flute and in a race against the Swordfish, Coyote rescues Hawk from drowning.
The Fox Jumps
This study of the identity of the Jumping Fox, in the astronomical lore of the Chumash Indians of California, leads the reader to a discussion of the Morning Star as a psychopomp of the soul seeking reincarnation.
When Frog Stole the Waters
The Frog played an important role in the mythology of numerous West Coast native societies including the Chumash, Pomo, Kootenai and Yakima. Drought is featured in these stories which celebrate the cornucopia of life and the dramatic release of Frog’s waters.
A classic Chumash Indian folk tale by Tata Xuse, featuring the adventures of Coyote and the flute playing creator deity named Enememe. Features a ball kicking race and reincarnation.