Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Susan Phillips

Reader 2

Erich Steinman

Reader 3

Teresa Spezio

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Rights Information

© 2019 Arielle G Ben-Hur


In 2015, the Northern Chumash Tribal Council submitted a National Marine Sanctuary Nomination to establish the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary– a means by which to ensure the protection of one of the most culturally and biologically diverse coastlines in the world. On October 5, 2015, John Armor of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) responded to the nomination, adding it to the inventory of areas NOAA may consider in the future for national marine sanctuary designation.

In my thesis, I explore how the nomination of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary acts as a platform from which Traditional Ecological Knowledge can gain stature in the scientific sphere. Traditional Chumash knowledge has accumulated over generations of living within these particular environments and encompasses all forms of knowledge that have enabled the Chumash tribes to achieve stable livelihoods within their native environments. I argue that the adoption of an integrated socio-cultural understanding of Chumash modes of environmental stewardship can lead to a shift in the conservation practices of fragile ecosystems, protecting central California’s coastal waters and communities.