New to the Island
Avani sat down on the beach of Santa Catalina Island. The waves were softly lapping the sand, leaving little footprints of where the water met her feet. She didn’t understand what all the hubbub was about. Why was there all this talk about Juan Cabrillo, and his discovery of the islands? Personally, Avani didn’t have any views on Juan. She sighed, and dug her hands into the sand. Avani was an Indian of the Chumash tribe. Ever since the Spanish arrived, it didn’t seem like they had very good intentions. They spoke a different language. They wore different clothes. They smelled different. All in all, Avani thought that they were too different. She told the tribe leaders about her thoughts, and they all agreed. Something must be done about these people. They say that they “discovered” the island! And of course, they didn’t. They knew it, too. For years and years, the Indians had been there! What did they mean by this! And now, on top of all of this, it what being said that Juan had claimed the island for their king! This island was island was already claimed. “Who is your king?” they will say. Who is our king!? “We have no king,” we shall say back to them. “But we do have a tribe leader, and his name is Aarpit,” we shall tell them. And they shall scoff at us. And we shall walk away. This was the scene that Avani planned out as Aruna ran towards her. Aruna, her sister, and best friend, looked like she had news to bring. And apparently, there was news. Very big news. As Aruna ran towards her, Avani tried to plan out all of the terrible things that might have happened. She couldn’t get too far, because Aruna arrived soon after Avani could get to her first worse thing, which was that these people were going to rename the island. Aruna ran up to her, out of breath.
Apparently, 2 things had happened. One terrible, one amazing. Firstly, these people, who are apparently called the Spanish, were going to rename their island. They were going to call it San Salvador. “Of course,” Aruna thought. The worst thing I could think of, and they’ve gone and done it. Avani dug her fists into the ground, but Aruna had more to tell.
Avani was lost in thought when the time had finally arrived. She had been thinking about the promise that these people had made. When Juan had arrived at the island, he had told everybody that he had presents for all of them. Avani didn’t understand it. She still judged them harshly, of course, but she didn’t know what she thought of Juan. “I’ll just have to wait for the time to come when we meet him,” thought Avani too herself. She didn’t have to wait long, because at that moment, a breathless Aruna made her appearance. As the stumbled to the ground, Avani guessed what had happened. The boat had come with their presents. Avani reached her hand over to Aruna’s heart, and was happy to find that at least it was still beating. Aruna opened her eyes, and smiled at Avani. “What has happened sister?” Avani asked. “The gifts, the gift! Avani, open up my hand for me, for I don’t think I can do it myself!” her sister laughed. Avani laughed at her sister’s exaggeration, and opened up the hand. Avani nearly fainted. Inside of her sister’s hands were 2 of the prettiest necklaces that either of them had ever seen. They were the type that was made on the mainland. The type that no one here had, and ever thought of having. She clasped the necklace around her sister’s neck, and Aruna’s eyes brightened. “Now don’t you get vain on me, Aruna, but you do look pretty.” Avani laughed, and she put the necklace around Aruna's neck. “You do look pretty too, Avani. Now please tell me that you won’t judge them so harshly now, right?” Aruna said back to her. “I don’t know Aruna, but for now I’m going to go meet this ‘Juan’ person, and see what he is like,” Avani went down to the beach, and found a huge crowd over the renowned Juan. She found his eyes, and she was definitely shocked. This man wasn’t like the others. She didn’t know how she could tell, but she could. After she saw him, she ran up on to the sand, and she hid in a cave high on the cliffs of the island. She didn’t know what had come over her, but she knew that it couldn’t be something good. And she stayed on the cliff, for many years to come.
Soon after her escape to the cave, Aruna noticed that her sister was gone. They looked for her for many months to come, but they had to admit that the wolves had probably gotten her. Aruna cried for many days to come, but that brought her no good, and so she tried to live it down. She married a Spanish man who had come to the island, who was named Francisco. They had three children, who grew very well. Aruna told them of their aunt, and of the time that they had gotten their necklaces, but that would always bring the tears back to her eyes. Avani also noticed something. She knew why she had ran away. She had fallen in love with Juan. Years later, she came out of her cave, to find that Juan had not been married. Avani went to find him, and they were married the next day. Avani told her story to Aruna, and she understood. Avani and Juan had three kids, and they all grew very well, just like Aruna’s kids.
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The sky was a bluish gray, an ugly combination.
The water was biting the sand, taking away big chunks of it, as it rolled back into the sea, afraid of attacking again.
A far away ship was having trouble staying afloat.
The water was angry.
Very, very angry.
It attacked the boat next, making splinters of wood fall into the ocean.
Planks of wood fell.
The holes in the ship were causing it to start to fall under.
The men on the boat were struggling.
Their chances of survival were low.
The wind howled.
It was angry too.
The bluish gray sky was more of a gray now.
The men on the ship stopped.
The boat stopped swaying.
The whole ocean was quiet.
And then the explosion.
The whole earth was angry.
Very, very angry.
And something was coming.
Something from underneath the water.
And then it came.
It flew into the sky.
And the men just gazed upward.
And it fell.
And the earth was silent.
Their bones still rest,
Deep in the dirt.
The dirt of the Channel Islands.
And many years later,
The earth got angry again.
After the Chumash found all the Channel Islands, the Europeans came, and overtook them. The first European, Juan R. Cabrillo, came in the mid 1500’s, and named most of the Islands. He claimed the islands for the King of Spain. More explorers came, like Gasper De Portola, and moved the Chumash to the mainland, so they could put there pigs and cattle on the island. The Chumash became irritated, but continued under the strict rules of the Spanish. The Chumash had to give up their own culture and language, and the Europeans tried to convert them to the Catholic religion. The Europeans also brought diseases with them, and the peaceful Chumash eventually caught that disease, and started dying. The Spaniards lived on the mainland, but they kept their cattle and wild pigs on the Channel Islands, so they would never run out of food. Eventually, other cultures came, and California was becoming bigger and bigger. Sadly, the Chumash culture only made some progress, and the language was lost. Now all the Islands are renamed, except for Anacapa.
This photo could of been the Spaniards, coming to the island.
Credit image to Tim Hauf.