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Students and Volunteer Aid Reopening of Sacred Chumash Site In South Coast University

“Creator, we come in a good way today. We come with honor creator, dignity, respect, to do something good.”

So began a blessing by Raudel Bañuelos, Vice Tribal Chair of the Barbareño/Ventureño Band of Chumash Mission Indians, at Cal State University Channels Islands.

Bañuelos was blessing both students and volunteers, as they prepared to clear a path through a part of the campus landscape that was also sacred Chumash site. 

“Who else can say they have a sacred shrine that overlooks the university?" Bañuelos says. "And that’s Round Mountain."

"To us it’s satwiwa, which in our language means ‘the bluffs.’"

The students who participated in the effort got up early, hiked up the steep hill, and cleared chaparral from the area, on a day that was both windy and hot. Strong winds and closures due to wildfire risk had lead to the trail and parts of the site being encumbered by dead or dying vegetation.

Freshman Annika Ginter says she was happy to participate.

“I think it’s really neat that they gave the students and community this opportunity just to restore and replenish this really sacred mountain," Ginter says.

A video of the blessing ceremony is available on the Cal State University Channel Islands' Instagram page.

Andy worked at KCLU from 2016 until 2022.
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