Parks and Recreation plan for Chumash Day event

Archive photo: Chumash Elder and powwow spiritual adviser and storyteller Alan Salazar offered a spiritual cleansing with the sacred smoke, to those entering the circle during the Grand Entry on April. 14, 2018. Photo by Julie Ellerton/TMT.

The Parks and Recreation Commission meeting kicked off with the announcement of the 22 Annual Chumash Day, which is scheduled to be on Apr. 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Malibu Bluffs Park.

Community Service Deputy Director Kristin Riesgo said they typically get around 4,000 people who attend the event and usually have around 50 vendors; however, that is planned to be decreased this year.

“It’s a great cultural event, we get a lot of community participation, and it’s been going on for a long time,” Riesgo said. “We’ve done a pretty good job in keeping the Native American traditions at this event.”

Parking is available off-site on the corner of Civic Center Way and Webb Way, with free shuttle rides available to Malibu Bluffs Park.

The event is a cultural festival and will be open for the community to sing, dance, and socialize. The event will feature a variety of Native American arts and crafts, Native American tribal ceremonies, dances, special guest performances, and Chumash history storytelling.

Riesgo said they have enhanced safety measures for performers, participants, and staff such as handwashing stations, reduced the numbers of vendors and reduced the capacity of event shuffles.

Since LA County announced a new mask mandate for outdoor events, Riesgo said the department would not be asking guests for their vaccination status or negative COVID test. 

“Since this is an outdoor event, we wouldn’t require people to wear masks, if our dancers and performers couldn’t be physically distant, we would ask them to, but it would not be a requirement,” Riesgo said. “We’ll have plenty of signage there, cautioning people, telling them the risk that they’re taking by being there, but we’ve had some success with our after school events and senior programs warning people, for close proximity, it’s probably a good idea to put a mask on.” 

Parks and Recreation member Suzanne Guldimann said she’d be more concerned about making sure masks are worn on the shuttle. 

“There’s quite a discussion in the Native American Powwow Circuit community; they’re very aware of this, the Native American community has been hit really hard with COVID; I think there’s a high level of consciousness there,” Guldimann said. “The transportation is the weakest link there, the best opportunity for exposure, so having people wear masks there and having ride-share opportunities so you can have a solo transport if you’re more comfortable.” 

Guldimann said hopefully, by April, things will be looking better.

“They haven’t had Powwow’s for two years, so they’re very anxious to get back in,” Riesgo said. “They’re very excited to come to Malibu, I think ours was their favorite event in Southern California, so they’re excited about it.” 

Riesgo said they’ll be having four food vendors at the event, something savory, something sweet, and a coffee vendor. 

“We’re trying to secure the last one, Indian fry bread, which is a traditional dish of the native, so we’re trying our best to get that one,” Riesgo said. 

Riesgo said they will be about 15 food vendors instead of 50 vendors. For safety regulations, they’re sticking with mainly food trucks instead of booths. 

In terms of advertising, Riesgo said they’re keeping the event local and not expanding to areas such as Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, and Oxnard. Riesgo said they’ll be informing the Malibu schools.

Riesgo moved on to the next item on the agenda, which was the Charmlee Wilderness Park and the erosion mitigation update. The Malibu Pacific Trail began erosion work on Feb. 14.

“It’s quite extensive, but we’re working with our crews there to try and figure out a way to put in the water bars and fill it with rocks and again with dirt,” Riesgo said. “So this will be an ongoing problem, unfortunately, so we’re just trying to do what we can with the resources we have.” 

Riesgo said the Caster Bean and tree tobacco removal began on Feb. 9, and the project would take eight weeks to complete. They have removed about 300 plants in the first week.

Registration for the Spring Programs opened last week, and Riesgo said they had a good amount of people register the first day. 

“We had 138 registration the first day alone, so we’re happy to see the turnout, and hopefully, people got the guide and flipped through it,” Riesgo said. “We’re happy to revamp the whole thing and get it in print.” 

Community Service Director Jesse Bobbett jumped on the zoom call and provided an update from the last Parks and Recreation meeting and said they haven’t completed the Parks Master Plan but have been working on trying to get their questions answered.

“We’ve been working on the different questions the commission asked us at last month’s meeting, such as can we put a pool, is it even feasible that we put a pool on HeatherCliff property,” Bobbett said. “We’re confident that we’ll have that back to you next month without an issue. We didn’t want to rush it without having all the appropriate info.” 

The Parks and Recreation Commission meets on the third Tuesday of every month. Meeting agendas and minutes for City boards, commissions, and committees are available in the Agenda Center.