The Santa Ynez tribe commissioned the statues as a way to pay tribute to the way of life of its ancestors with the sculptures now sitting in the entryway to the twelve-story casino.
“The story of our tribe is one of perseverance, survival and adaptability,” said Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman for the Santa Ynez Band Of Chumash Mission Indians. “We wanted to see our story captured in sculptures and I believe Dan Chen has done that beautifully.”
The tribe recently spent $160 million to add a new hotel tower with 215 rooms to its Santa Barbara County development while the expansion also saw it increase the venue’s gaming floor space by 75,000 sq ft. The Chumash Casino Resort additionally now features a 20,000 sq ft pool deck alongside new food and beverage venues and a parking garage with 584 spaces.
Each of the new statues has been designed to symbolize a specific attribute of the Santa Ynez Band Of Chumash Mission Indians beginning with Heritage, which depicts ancestor Maria Solares sharing stories with a child. A tribal elder demonstrates his weaving techniques to a child in Tradition while Generations shows a young mother lovingly caring for her infant in a tule cradleboard before preparing acorns.
The Provision statue portrays a bow hunter with his bounty of quail while Celebration shows the Bear Dancer honoring a bear. The sextet is completed by Flames Of Victory, which is the largest of the statues and illustrates how the tribe overcame adversity.
“My goal with this project was to transform the vestibule into a welcoming center,” said Chen. “I wanted it to be a gathering place where all who enter will come to know more about the Chumash people; to remember, to reflect and to celebrate.”