"The central California coast, with its rugged beaches and kelp forests, draws a lot of visitors for its scenic beauty. For the Chumash people, the coastline means a lot more.
"Almost all the places people like to go to are our sacred sites," says Violet Sage Walker, chairwoman of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council. "We've been going there and praying and doing ceremony there for 20,000 years."
More than 7,000 square miles of ocean there could soon become the largest national marine sanctuary in the continental U.S. It could also make history as one of the first federal sanctuaries to be spearheaded by a Native American tribe, part of a growing movement to give tribes a say over the lands and waters that were once theirs."