West of the West: Tales From California's Channel

First People

Season 1, Episode 1 of 3

1. Island Rotation - Tanya Atwater, geophysicist and marine geologist, explains her theory of how once upon a time the Channel Islands used to be located next to San Diego. Over the millennia plate tectonics 'rotated' them to where they are now off Santa Barbara. 2. Arlington Man - In 1959, while looking for pygmy mammoth bones on Santa Rosa Island, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History archeologist Phil Orr discovered a human femur sticking out of the canyon wall at Arlington Springs. He knew it was old, but scientific dating technology couldn't tell him how old. Yet. So he put the bones away in the basement of the SBMNH where they were rediscovered by Don Morris and John Johnson in the 1990s. These two archeologists take us back to Arlington Springs while explaining how modern carbon dating confirmed the bones were over 13,000 years old... the oldest ever found in North America. And how this discovery completely altered the accepted theory of human migration on our continent. 3. First Contact - The Voyage of Cabrillo - This tale is actually two parallel stories. One is the voyage of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo - a Portuguese conquistador sailing for the Spanish - who was looking for China but instead 'discovered' Alta California and the Channel Islands. And that was 89 years before the Pilgrims got to Plymouth Rock, meaning that America really started here. His story is intercut with the San Diego Maritime Museum's ambitious, years in the making, and ultimately successful effort to build a replica of Cabrillo's flagship the San Salvador. 4. Sa Hi Pa Ca - (Once Upon a Time) - This tale follows Julie Tumamait, a Chumash tribal leader, as she describes her own reawakening to her Channel Islands native roots. She visits an archeological dig on Santa Cruz Island where she and UCSB archeologist Lynn Gamble discuss the role of archeology and anthropology in helping rediscover Chumash culture which was lost after the Spanish mission period in the mid 1800s. 5. The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island - The story of the person known variously as Juana Maria, the Lone Woman, or Karana in the children's classic Island of the Blue Dolphins, is familiar to many people. While comparing her incredible real life adventure of surviving alone on San Nicolas for 18 years to the story in the book, we uncover new facts about her life as well as that of the book's writer Scott O'Dell.

Previously Aired

2 p.m.
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