Satwiwa is a learning center for all people to share traditional and contemporary indigenous life-ways. The Center is a collective effort among the Chumash, Tongva, other Native Peoples of the Americas, and the National Park Service. At Satwiwa, we honor the past, celebrate the present, and create the future.
Come, explore and celebrate varied Native American perspectives! Learn a craft, listen to music, and hear stories. Satwiwa’s workshops offer a variety of cultural experiences. Advanced reservations required for craft activities, ages 12 and above – one adult required per child, craft activities limited to twenty people maximum. Workshops begin and end at scheduled times. To be respectful to program participants and cultural educators, please arrive prior to scheduled start time.
Biography of Our Founder, Chief Charlie Cooke
We are proud to introduce you to our honored Elder, Charlie Cooke (Chumash) Tiq Slo’w, our hereditary Chumash Chief, who honors five generations of Chumash heritage.
As a veteran of the U.S. Air Force from 1953 to 1957, he has also studied at Moorpark College, and has an exceptional knowledge about our Chumash Culture and local history of the Santa Monica Mountains.
In the early 1960s, he became involved in Native American issues to help with the advancement of the role of Native American peoples and cultures. Founder of the San Fernando Mission Band of California Indians, he served as president from the early 1960’s to 1970.
Charlie Cooke is also a Charter Member of the California Indian Legal Services Board of Trustees, serving from 1968-1980 and 1981-1988. As a member and board member of the Ventura County Archaeological Society, he was instrumental in persuading the state parks to establish and preserve a sanctified area in Malibu Creek State Park. He is currently an archeological consultant for private and public agencies and is recognized by the California Native American Heritage Commission where he frequently testifies for the protection of archeological sites.
Founder and chairman (1976-1984) of the Southern Chumash Council, this group was originally associated with the Candelaria American Indian Council and represented the Chumash people in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties; then in 1983, the Southern Chumash split with Candelaria. Cooke represented Chumash concerns and issues to the Santa Monica Mountains Comprehensive Planning Commission and concurrently was a member of the Santa Monica Mountains Citizens Advisory Council for the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
In 1978, he participated with the Conejo Future Foundation and the City of Thousand Oaks in planning a Native American Center at Danielson Ranch prior to the establishment of the National Recreation Area. At that time he was also Vice President (1978-1986) of the Board of Directors of Candelaria Indian Council in Ventura and a member of the Native American Advisory Council for the California Department of Parks and Recreation, being an active board member from 1980-1995.
As a founding member of the United Chumash, this organization was instrumental in setting the standards for archeological testing and monitoring. Representing the Coastal Band of Chumash, Cooke consulted on Native American Indian issues addressed in the General Management Plan and the Rancho Sierra Vista Development Concept Plan.
It was Cooke’s direction in the formation of the American Indian Advisory Committee for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and as one of the founders of Friends of Hutash and Tugupan as their first Chairman, that was a fundamental step towards the formation of the Satwiwa Coalition. This Coalition functioned as a transition between the Friends of Hutash and Tugupan and the Friends of Satwiwa. Helping to form the Friends of Satwiwa in 1987, Cooke became the Founding President of the Friends of Satwiwa.
Under his leadership as President, our group has been very active as Chief Charlie Cooke has helped develop many successful programs here at Satwiwa. He is instrumental in several successful fund-raising drives for our Culture Center. He also created our popular Guest Host Program and our native plant garden. Currently, he serves as Chair of the Friends of Satwiwa Advisory Council.
Thanks to Charlie Cooke as the primary visionary and inspiration for the concept of a learning center at Satwiwa, people of all cultures can learn about the sophistication of not only Chumash, but all Native American Indian cultures. Our beloved Chief Charlie has volunteered an enormous number of hours to the National Recreation Area by giving talks, leading walks, and by starting public events with traditional sage blessing ceremonies.
How grateful we are to Charlie Cooke’s (Tiq Slo’w) vision and perseverance that has given us this sacred place. Long live Chief Charlie Cooke!