The Chumash (which means "bead maker") have lived along the California coast for over 13,000 years. The Chumash Indian village of Mishopshnow, discovered by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo on August 14, 1542, was located 1/4 mile southwest of the monument.
Fray Juan Crespí of the Gaspar de Portolá Expedition named the village San Roque on August 17, 1769. Portolá's soldiers, observing the Indians building wooden canoes, called the village La Carpinteria.
These canoes, or tomol, came in handy for catching fish in deep waters. The advanced design of the tomol utilized the naturally occurring asphalt in the area to seal them. The tar still oozes today at Carpinteria State Beach at Tar Pits Park, one of five natural asphalt lake areas in the world.
Learn more about the Chumash at the Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks.