Alan Salazar

Tomol canoe building and traditional paddling, traditional storytelling

About the Artist

I have worked in several different areas in my life. I have been a traditional storyteller, an Indigenous educator, an Indigenous monitor/consultant, a spiritual adviser, a traditional paddler and builder of Chumash canoes, a preschool teacher and a juvenile institution officer at the Kern County Juvenile Hall and the Kern Youth Facility. I am a published author of “Tata, The Tataviam Towhee, aTribal Story” and “A Tataviam Creation Story”, and “Coyote Rescues Hawk”.

My family has traced our family ancestry to the Chumash village of Ta’apu, now known as Simi Valley and the Tataviam village of Chaguayanga near Castaic, Ca. We are Ventureno Chumash and Fernandeno Tataviam. My ancestors were brought into the San Fernando Mission starting in 1799. I actively protect my ancestors’ village sites and tribal territories. As a monitor and cultural resource advisor I took archaeology classes at Cal-State Bakersfield in 1993. I have monitored since 1994. I continue to monitored sites for my tribe, the Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. I also was the lead monitor from 2011 to 2017 at the Boeing Santa Susana Field Lab site in Simi Valley. It is a 2800 acre unique site with a sacred solstice and rock art site. It is just one of the many sites I have worked to protect.

I have been actively involved with several Native American groups. I am a founding member of the Kern County Native American Heritage Preservation Council and the Chumash Maritime Association. I am a member of the California Indian Advisory Council for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. I have been a community advisor with the Ventura County Indian Education Consortium for over 24 years.

As a member of the Chumash Maritime Association I helped build the first working traditional Chumash plank canoe in modern times and have paddled in this plank canoe for over 25 years. I will oversee the construction of two tomols in 2023 for the Ventura Chumash community. It has been over 180 years since Chumash tomols (canoes) have been built in Ventura.


Tomol canoe building and traditional paddling, traditional storytelling


Group instruction, Lectures / Lecture-demonstrations, Workshops

Other: Storytelling

Program Participant

Living Cultures Grant Recipient