The Chumash House at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa and Other Conejo Valley Locations

The Chumash home, or 'Ap, at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa. 

The Chumash home, or 'Ap, at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa. 

In front of the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park is a replica Chumash home called an 'ap. An 'ap is shaped like half an orange and is made by setting willow poles in the ground in a circle, bending them into shape at the top to form a dome.

What is obviously missing from this 'ap is the outer, vertical layers, cattails laid out like shingles. The 'aps in the Chumash Indian Village at the Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks display what those look like.

'Aps at Chumash Indian Museum's demonstration village.

'Aps at Chumash Indian Museum's demonstration village.

There is a hole at the top of the 'ap to allow for air circulation that was covered with an animal skin when it was raining.

The 'ap at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in June 2017.  I spoke with the ranger about this 'ap, which is quite past its prime and has become misshapen. At some point what the Chumash do, when an 'ap is no longer of use and needs to be re-built, is take the willow poles down and burn them in a ceremony.

The 'ap at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in June 2017.  I spoke with the ranger about this 'ap, which is quite past its prime and has become misshapen. At some point what the Chumash do, when an 'ap is no longer of use and needs to be re-built, is take the willow poles down and burn them in a ceremony.

Funny that many folks, my kids included, wonder why the Chumash did not live in teepees (or tipis). Teepees are cone-shaped tents made of animal skins on wooden poles that were used primarily by Native Americans in the Great Plains section of the U.S. (Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and portions of other prairie states). The Chumash did not live in teepees. 

There is also a Chumash 'ap on display as part of a Chumash Village exhibit at the Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park.

There is also a Chumash 'ap on display as part of a Chumash Village exhibit at the Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park.

The teepee structure at Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks is fun to hike to and sit under but is not something the Chumash Indians would ever have lived in.

The teepee structure at Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks is fun to hike to and sit under but is not something the Chumash Indians would ever have lived in.