The Chumash were known to have built some of the most durable structures and canoes, impressing explorers and missionaries alike with their intelligence and skills.
And in order to spice things up a bit, snail and abalone shells were used by the females as garment decor, placed carefully on the fringed edges of their skirts. If and when the weather turned for the worst, both wore waist-length animal cloaks to keep warm. Shell and bone earrings and necklaces were worn by both sexes, as well as body paints during a healthy ceremony, exhibiting various patterns to suit each village's taste.
As well as their artistic nature, they were dressed in skins and wore their hair very long and tied up with strings interwoven in the hair, there being attached to the strings many geegaws of flint bone and wood, wrote the Portuguese navigator, Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, describing the Chumash in 1542.
Indeed, the attire was scant. The women wore knee-length buckskin skirts, only to cover the lower portion of their bodies, while the men wore virtually no clothing at all.
Well deserving of man's respect, the Chumash also returned such respect; to living, animals and to those who shared the land with them. As Lieutenant Pedro Fages had said in 1775, the Indians were..."of good disposition, affable, liberal and friendly."