Yosemite Valley Plan, A Threat To Indian Culture

Cultural Genocide

Tom Hutchings – Not Miwok

Please Note:

All photos are under fair use for educational purposes as they come from public sources.


If you walk around Yosemite you might see this sign paid for by the Yosemite Fund located at the base of Yosemite Falls in the park.
Tom Hutchings, a native Miwok…hmm, oh really?

Craig Bates, the official Yosemite Park Indian ethnologist who was married to Miwok, also wrote that Tom Hutchings was a Southern Sierra Miwok in his book Tradition and Innovation published by the Yosemite Association.

The same Craig Bates who used to dress up as Miwok and dance at ceremonies and help create the Miwok village in Yosemite.

The problem is that if an objective person were to use their brain they would have realized that there were no Miwok men in Yosemite Valley in early times. Most “Miwok” women had married non-Indian men in the area and had left their people and tribal customs and ways behind.

At the same time when these signs were being made a few of the Indian employees at Yosemite National park were going for federal recognition and going for a big casino.

One problem…they needed Indian men to document a early tribe, sure they had Indian women, Indian women who married white men, but no Indian men. How can you have a tribe that was mostly made up of Indian women married to non-Indians? So this it what we believe they did…THEY “BORROWED” OUR MONO PAIUTE MEN to make it seem like they had Indian men in this so called ‘tribe’.

Since some of these people worked in the park we believe it was easy to bamboozle their fellow non-Indian employees and start changing Paiute men into Miwok men. Maybe hoping no one would notice before they got federally recognized and had a nice big casino outside of Yosemite National Park.

But, like all things some people do, it was the Mono Lake Paiute themselves who noticed that our men were being stolen for what we believe was someone elses agenda.

Of course Yosemite National Park denies this is happening even though we believe the truth is right in front of their face, because we believe that they are “good friends” with the Indian employees who are going for federal recognition. That is why we believe they should not go for federal recognition while they work or worked in Yosemite National Park, because historical information can be tainted…like we Paiutes believe happened in this case.

What Yosemite National Park is doing is ERASING the memory of the Paiute people in Yosemite in favor of a few of the current and former Indian employees so we believe they can misrepresent that our people were Miwoks for their own federal recognition. Meanwhile destroying our people from the history of Yosemite.


Then we found more proof online in the personal testimony of the children of James Hutchings, who Tom used to work for;

Here is the Yosemite Indian text written about MONO PAIUTE Tom Hutchings, who worked for James Hutchings. 

I have transcribed it so you can read what it says:

“…ley. He had come in over Bloody Canyon and across the Mono Desert, to marry  a Yosemite squaw. He married her but

he never left. He met Father and went to work for him. Never after would Tom do a lick of work for anybody else. He

worked up at the sawmill, and stayed on here for the rest of his life. Tom was a good, thoughtful Indian. When the

luscious wild strawberries came in, he made it a point to keep our table well supplied – at he did with other wild fruits

in season.
In time, Tom became Father’s shadow. Together they collected seeds and specimens of trees and plants that today are

flourishing in Kew Gardens in England. Tom also helped Father build the first trails, roads, bridges and dwellings in

this valley. Later, to make them safer, Father had to go to our Legislature to

get a $10,000 grant to do it.

I still love the Indians the outdoors, but horses were my favorite pastime. I grew up with them. We didn’t get far in

those days without horses. I could manage horses when others couldn’t. We kept them pastured down there in the


In the testimony of James Hutchings’ children they state that Tom (Hutchings) came from Bloody Canyon, the Mono Desert, which is a Paiute area.

So the proof is clear. Tom Hutchings was a Mono Lake Paiute Native American, not a Southern Sierra Miwuk as has been falsely written for what we Paiutes believe is for the benefit of a few. There has never been any proof likewise that Tom Hutchings was a Miwok.

If there is…show us.

Remember this person knew Tom Hutchings personally.

Changing the history of Yosemite National Park is wrong for a few and against the National Park Services’ motto of highest integrity.

Yosemite National Park, Give us back our people and stop stealing our Paiute men like Captain Sam, Bridgeport Tom, Captain John, Chief George Dick and his son Charlie Dick, Lancisco Wilson and his son, Captain Rueben, Bill, Young Charlie, Piute George, and of course Tom Hutchings…and the man himself, Chief Tenaya.


May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Important People Of Yosemite’s History – Not Miwok

Please Note:

All photos are under fair use for educational purposes.
They come from public sources.

Captain John, who was also referred to as Shibana or Poko-Tucket (Horse Eater). He was given the title Captain John after his father, Old Captain John, abdicated his title.
The older Captain John was becoming very tired and when he gave up his title it was during the time when Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiutes were going through a difficult time. The influx of non-Indians had overwhelmed the Indians with diseases and harmful vices. So the younger Captain John led his people through one of the most harshest times in Yosemite-Mono Lake Indian history. It was reported that the young Captain John was the leader of the Mono Paiutes who threw the rock, killing Chief Tenaya for the their betrayal.

It was told that the young Capt. John was the one who threw the rock on Tenaya’s head, killing him for his betrayal of the Mono Paiutes.
The Monos were really upset and felt betrayed by Tenaya after they hid in out and took care of him that he repaid them with theft of their horses.
So they killed Tenaya and decimated his band, but if you were to ask the employees of Yosemite they never heard of him.
They had a small photo of him in the Yosemite library, but they didn’t have his name on it, but it did say he was a Yosemite Chief.
They didn’t have a clue who he was; it is the photo in James Hutchings book “In the Heart of the Sierras” which included a photo of Capt. John titled “Typical Yosemite Indian”.
I also have seen it titled “Yosemite Chief”. Yet they didn’t know that was MONO LAKE PAIUTE CHIEF CAPTAIN JOHN who spent half of his time in between Yosemite and Mono Lakes since it was both the realm of the Paiutes.
On the Yosemite National park service website they have Francisco Georgely who was a Chowchilla Yokut from Firebaugh as a Miwok Chief…DRESSED MIND YOU, LIKE A YOKUT. That would’ve been the first clue for those who know these things that he was not a Miwok.

Instead of his picture the Yosemite NPS should the photo of Capt. John.
Captain John – It was told that

Capt Sam
One of the other famous Captains was Captain Sam (Saya-Wega-Node). Captain Sam was married to Susie Sam. Captain Sam was a Paiute and his wife Susie was Paiute or Paiute/Washoe. They had several children. They spent 1/2 year in Yosemite and rest of the year at Mono Lake or Coleville.
Most of their children and grandchildren were some of the most famous basket weavers of Yosemite and their baskets are well known and well renowned. Captain Sam along with Captain Jim established the Bridgeport Paiute Colony and Coleville Indian Colony.
Later after the death of Susie in August of 1903, Captain Sam married Maggie John. Maggie was the wife of Long Valley John, but married Captain Sam after Long Valley John’s death. The Sams/Toms spent most of their time between Bishop, Coleville, Mono Lake and Yosemite.

Susie Sam
A long time ago a couple of the old people said that Susie was related to Old Rube who was Paiute/Washo.
Susie died in the summer of 1903. About 30 years later her husband Captain Sam died.
Captain Sam later had married Maggie John, the wife of Captain John.
Susie was a “Yosemite Indian”, but being a Yosemite Indian does not mean she was a Miwok. Because the Yosemite Indians were part of Chief Tenaya’s band. Remember that Chief Tenaya’s band was mainly made up of Paiutes.
Even like Tom Hutchings. His father was a Paiute from Mono Lake and his mother was a Paiute from Yosemite Valley. But they were still Paiutes. Bates ASSUMES that every Indian born in Yosemite or from Yosemite WAS A MIWOK, but as we know that is NOT true. Plus you have to go with the earliest governmental accounts and NOT by new accounts. Because new accounts can be tainted by the federal recognition process.
But if we go back to Lafayette Bunnell’s account Tenaya’s band was primarily PAIUTES.
The Digger part was most likely Washoe. Since a lot of their older family went back and forth to Coleville and other Washoe/Paiute areas. Washoes also had parties going around upper Mono Lake without Paiutes being aware.
Washoes also entered the Upper Tuolumne on Acorn and other food gathering forays. There are more intermarriages between Washoes and Paiutes,then Paiute and Miwok in olden days. Paiutes used to ‘capture’ girls and women from other neighboring tribes in raids and Paiutes were the dominate warrior society in the area. That is why Washoes used to tattoo their children so later on they might find and reunite with their ‘captured’ children by identifiable tattoos.
11-16-2014: Additional Information :Susie Sam who was Paiute with some “Digger” blood. Digger was broad based derogatory name given to all California Indians. That included Washo, Yokut, Miwok, Maidu and Paiute. Susie most likely had Washo blood because her family had Washo pine nut hill allotments.
Susie was mostly Paiute and in most of her government documentation. Susie Sam was Paiute or “Unknown Digger”. So a government employee would have to go with the known you would think.

Bridgeport Tom, a Piute Indian born near Bridgeport, California in 1860, had two wives; Louisa and Leanna who were sisters.
On this census it shows Bridgeport Tom and his family living at Mono Lake and under the Bishop agency as Paiutes.
They would enter Yosemite, like the majority of Indians, and work in the park. After the season they would return back to Mono Lake like Paiutes had done for eons.
The Mono Lake Paiutes, the original Native Americans of Yosemite, would enter Yosemite like they have before the whites had entered the area, until the U.S. government took control of Yosemite and turned it into a park.
Later the park service created an Indian village and many of the Toms went to live there year round, but they still held ties to Mono Lake, like Yosemite…their traditional home land.
Many of the elders of the Tom family stayed around Mono Lake and other Paiute areas until their deaths.
The family was one of most well known Paiute basket makers in the area, California and throught out the world.

Photo of Bridgeport Tom as a young man in Yosemite wearing traditional woven sash and tall moccasin boots.

Bridgeport Tom was one of the major patriarchal Indian leaders of Yosemite, Mono Lake, Bridgeport, Coleville and Bishop. He was also the patriarch of many of the descendents of the Kutzadika’a Mono Lake Paiutes.
Bridgeport Tom relates a story of Chief Towa and leader of Paiutes who lived around Dobie Meadows, Mono Lake and Upper Tuolumne. This story is from the Yosemite National Park’s research library.

Chief Towa, a young Paiute Indian lived with his wife in Dobie Meadows, Mono County. He made his home there and had come to Mono Lake for his friend (Teseauk), a young Indian brave. From Mono Lake they continued on their journey to Yosemite Valley (Pame) on what they considered a very important business.

Every year (Towa) had been a guest of Chief (Tenaya’s) at the annual deer festivity held in the Yosemite Valley (Pame). He was not only a chief but, also, a great Indian orator. For this reason he was an important person at gatherings.
With enough provisions they were quite sure of a safe trip over the mountains. They were quite sure of a safe trip over the mountains. They made a short stop at Soda Springs where the ground hogs (keta) were plentiful.
Chief (Towa) directed (Teseauk) and the rest of the expedition to make camp at Lake Tenaya where he would meet them at night fall. His plans were to cross over the mountains through the old trail and hunt as he traveled.
It was nearing the time for him to arrive at the camp, but Chief (Towa) did not arrive. (Teseauk) was quite worried and he started out on the trail to meet (Towa). He walked several miles through the dense, thick forest with his bow and arrow as his only protection. As he came to a hill at the mouth of the valley, he heard a human cry, a cry which Teseauk knew came from the Chief’s own mouth. He knew that he was in distress. He immediately hurried to the most awful scene. (Towa) had been in the vicinity of a grizzly bear. He was physically distorted, his clothes torn into shreds. However, he was able to relate his tragic experience to (Teseauk).
(Teseauk) tried to help him in everyway, but he was beyond repair. He died in the arms of (Teseauk) shortly after he had found him. His final message to his people was to be delivered by (Teseauk) at (Pame).
In the meantime (Teseauk) notified his friends and relatives and the funeral was held by the shores of the Tenaya Lake. (Teseauk) delivered the following message at the deer feast before many of his people. As they burned his belongings, this is usual Paiute custom in the early days, (Teseauk) said, “Bears are very dangerous creatures, whenever, in the wilds always be prepared to go into the mountains with at least half a dozen arrows because in this experience he learned that one or two arrows was not enough to kill a bear. His message to his people has always been remembered. An Indian would say to his fellow tribesman, “Let Chief (Towa’s) experience be your guide.”

Please Note:

Pame is Paiute for Meadow
Towa had his own band.
Numa is the name for the Paiute people.
Nume is the Mono Paiute name for band or group of people.
Put Towa and Nume together = Towa’nume.
What is the river that runs through Hetch Hetchy called? Tuolumne.

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Legends of the Yosemite Miwoks


Yosemite’s most distinctive monument, Half Dome, dominates most Valley views. Standing at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome rises to an elevation of 8,842 feet. At 87 million years old, the type of granite making up the dome is the youngest plutonic rock in the Valley. (Plutonic rock is formed beneath the earth’s surface by intense heat, pressure and slow cooling.)
The remaining portions of granite on Half Dome’s face are believed to have sheered off during its cooling phase 100 million years ago, deep under the Pacific seabed. Succeeding glaciers deposited some of the debris in moraines along the Valley floor.

If you ever read the book “Legends of the Yosemite Miwoks”, you might come across the legend of Tissayack, the legend of Yosemite’s beautiful Half Dome.
The book was done by the Yosemite Association. In the “Legends of the Yosemite Miwok” written by Yosemite National Park Indian Ethnologist Craig Bates and others you will read a ‘sanitized’ version of Tissayack. I write sanitized because in his book Craig D. Bates stripped all references of the original Yosemite Indian people. There are no Paiutes mentioned in the legend of Half Dome in his story.

Bates, who at the time of his early employment at Yosemite National Park was married to a Mewuk woman and we believe wanted to convey that Yosemite was a Miwok homeland, but that is not true to many Paiutes. Bates is also not a Native American.
What we Paiutes are going to do is relay the real story of the legend of Half Dome, and reveal the real meaning of Tissayack, something the Miwoks could not figure out what it meant. If they did they would have mentioned it before. This is because Tissayack is not a word found in the Miwok language.

Here is the Legend of Tissayack, the legend of Half Dome and what was left out by Craig D. Bates:

Many, many generations ago, long before the Creator had completed the fashioning of the magnificent cliffs in the Valley of Ahwahnee, there dwelt in the arid desert around Mono Lake an Indian couple. Learning from other Indians of the beautiful and fertile Valley of Ahwahnee, they decided to go there and make it their dwelling place. They began their journey into the Sierra Nevada towards Yosemite Valley, he carrying deer skins, and she holding a baby cradle in her arms and carrying a (wono) basket on her back. When the couple reached the site of present-day Mirror Lake, they began to quarrel. She wanted to go back to Mono Lake, but he refused, saying that no oaks or other trees grew there. He would not listen to her when she said she would plant seeds.

In despair, the girl began to cry and ran back toward the Paiute homeland of Mono Lake. Her husband grew angry and ran after her. To escape she threw the wono basket at him and it became Basket Dome. She continued running and threw the baby cradle at her husband. Today, we experience it as the Royal Arches. Because they had brought anger into Yosemite, the Creator became upset at the couple. The Creator in his anger turned the two into stone. He became North Dome and she became what we know as Half Dome. The Mono Lake Paiute girl regretted the quarrel and the rock wall she became, Half Dome, began to cry, thus forming Mirror Lake.

Today, you can still see the marks of those tears as they run down her face. And if you look very carefully at Half Dome, you can see it is fashioned after the way the Mono tribe looked, hair bobbed and cut in bangs. Her rock face stained with tears facing eastward towards their ancient homeland of Mono Lake.

In olden times the first white explorers called her South Dome, later Half Dome, but in Paiute she is known as T’ssiyakka or the English pronunciation Tissayack.

For decades many white historians have scratched their heads to the meaning of Half Dome’s Tissayack. Mistakenly they kept asking Mariposa Indians, also known as Miwoks, believing them to be the original Yosemite Indians and tellers of the legend, but if they had asked Paiutes at Mono Lake they would have translated it for them.

T’ssiyakka means “crying girl” or in Paiute “girl-cry”, which fits the legend of Half Dome and not the “Legends of the Yosemite Miwoks” of the girl turned to stone with tears running down her face. T’sia is girl and Yakka or yaga is cry in Paiute.

There are several variations of the legend of Half Dome and all but one does not mention Tissayack as a Mono Paiute. Interestingly Yosemite’s Craig Bates chose the one that did not mention the Mono Paiute maiden. As usual the Yosemite National Park Service does not believe anything the Indian people say, but instead they would rather rely on the “stories” of Craig D. Bates. The Park says that if is not written down or documented that we are just making that up. But Paiutes of the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada can prove what we are saying and even show that the Park was the one who supplied the answer.

1909804_111933571098_6573197_n  In 1997, Yosemite National Park Service and the Yosemite Fund paid another California Indian ethnologist named Brian Bibby, who knows Bates quite well, to interview elders who were descendent to the original Indians of Yosemite.
The Park was looking for Miwok history and what they got was actually Paiute Yosemite Indian history. One of Bibby’s informants was Gene Watts who’s great-grandmother was Leanna Tom, a Mono Lake Paiute married to Mono Lake Paiute Bridgeport Tom. (See Photo) Leanna Tom was an important basket maker and matriarch of those now claiming to be Southern Sierra Miwuks. Gene Watts told Brian Bibby that his great-grandmother, Leanna Tom, only spoke to him in Paiute and not Miwok.
Watts stated in the official Yosemite Oral History project, January 22nd 1997, that he recalled his great-grandmother calling Half Dome the Paiute name of Tassiyakka. This information is located at Yosemite National Park.

T’sia is girl and Yakka or yagga is cry in Paiute, or “Crying Girl”.

Even in the Legend of Half Dome in Yosemite Indians; Yesterday and Today (1941) by Elizabeth H. Godfrey, that Bates copied for his book “Legends of the Yosemite Miwok”, the Indian couple came from “the arid plains” and that they were entering Yosemite from the eastern side. Here is why. Mirror Lake, in the Half Dome legend, is on the route between Mono Lake and Yosemite Valley. If the couple was coming from the west or Mariposa they would have reached Yosemite Valley first before they were by Mirror Lake, because Mirror Lake is located on the far eastern side of the Valley.

Plus it was documented in the book “The Discovery of Yosemite” by Lafayette H. Bunnell, that Miwoks were afraid to enter Yosemite Valley when James Savage questioned his ally Chief Bautista, leader of the Southern Sierra Miwuk. They did not enter Yosemite Valley until they came in with James Savage, the leader of the Mariposa Battalion.

The legend of Half Dome had been ‘counterfeited’ by the Miwok workers of the military which came in and occupied Yosemite after the Paiutes. Here is what Bunnell wrote in his book, The Discovery of the Yosemite, about that:

“The names of the different objects and localities of especial interest have now become well established by use. It is not a matter of so much surprise that there is such a difference in the orthography of the names. I only wonder that they have been retained in a condition to be recognized. It is not altogether the fault of the interpreters that discrepancies exist in interpretation or pronunciation, although both are often undesignedly warped to conform to the ideality of the interpreter. Many of the names have been modernized and adorned with transparencies in order to illuminate the subject of which the parties were writing. Those who once inhabited this region (The Ahwahnees), and gave distinctive appellations, have all disappeared. The names given by them can be but indifferently preserved or counterfeited by their camp followers, the “California Diggers (Miwoks)”.1909804_111933576098_2839983_n

So the Legend of Half Dome, the story of Tissayack, is a legend directly tied to the Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute people, and not the group on the western side of the Sierra Nevada as has been falsely written in books created by employees of Yosemite National Park.

In an interesting side note when a friend posted the original legend of Tissayack on his blog an employee of Yosemite National Park said that we Paiutes were lying and trying to interject our families into the history of Yosemite. But unknown to him Leanna Tom is one of the main matriarchs of the non-profit group they support. Gene Watts is their relative, not ours. So is the Park calling their ancestors and matriarch liars?

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Is known About The Yosemite Miwok

When looking at the book “Legends of the Yosemite Miwoks” written by Craig Bates we Paiutes noticed that there was no mention of the original Paiutes who lived in Yosemite. There could not be any “Yosemite Miwok Legends” without the Mono Lake Paiutes. Because many of the legends had Mono Paiutes in them like the legend of Tissayac. Tissayac was a Mono Lake Paiute girl, but you wouldn’t know it by reading his “Legends of the Yosemite Miwoks”. Some of the tales are actually Central Miwok legends and not Yosemite Miwok ones.

Craig Bates worked for Yosemite Naitonal Park as their official “Yosemite Indian ethnologist” for over thirty years. During the same time he was married to a Miwok woman. We Paiutes discovered that Craig Bates my have not had a college degree to hold this post. Bates was totally involved in his wife’s Miwok culture and he even dressed and danced in Miwok ceremonies.

We Paiutes started to notice that much of Bates’ work was Miwokcentric and we Paiutes were sidelined as ‘visitors’ or ‘latecomers’. But Bunnell’s words say different.

In his book, Legends of the Yosemite Miwok, page 77-78, Craig Bates worte about Dr. Lafayette Houghton Bunnell “But much of what is known about the Yosemite Miwok at that time is derived from this [his] work”.

In fact everything we know about the first contact and the Yosemite Native people was from Dr. Bunnell’s writings and this is what he wrote in Chapter 13 of his book Discovery of the Yosemite and the Indian War of 1851, which led to that event.

Here is what Dr. Lafayette Bunnell wrote about the “Yosemite Miwoks”;

“Though seemingly unimpressed by their sublime surroundings, their figures and comparisons, when not objectionable, were beautiful, because natural. The Pai-ute and Mono Colony originally established by Ten-ie-ya, was the result of a desire to improve their physical condition. They were attached to this [Yosemite] valley as a home.”

“Our Po-ho-no-chee and Noot-chü scouts were familiar with the dialect in common use by the Yosemites, and they also aided me, while at times they confused, in acquiring the proper names. The territory claimed by the Po-ho-no-chees, joined that of the Yosemites on the south. During the Summer months, they occupied the region of the Po-ho-no Meadows, and the vicinity of the Pohono Lake [farthest left side of Yosemite National park, but the Paiutes had the everything to the right from there on, which includes the valley itself]. Their territory, however, extended to the right bank of the South Fork of the Merced. It was there we found a little band on our first expedition. Some of this band were quite intelligent, having with the Noot-chüs, worked for Major Savage. It was from them that the Major first learned that the Yosemites were a composite band, collected from the disaffected of other bands in that part of California, and what is now Nevada; and as the Major said, the dialect in common use among them was nearly as much of a mixture as the components of the band itself, for he recognized Pai-ute, Kah-we-ah and Oregon Indian words among them.”

Bates writes that all we know about the “Yosemite Miwoks” at first contact came from Dr. Lafayette Bunnell. If this the case then Bunnell is documenting that Chief Tenaya and his band of Ahwahneechees were Paiutes and Monos and not Miwoks. This in only a couple of referrences of many of Bunnell writing that the Yosemite Native people were in fact Paiutes and Monos. There is more. In fact there is no mention of Miwoks in the whole book being the original Yosemite American Indians.

Craig Bates has written that the Noot-chus and Po-ho-no-chees were Miwoks. Then he would have to see that Bunnell stated that the Nutchus and Pohonochees were the scouts and guides for James Savage. That they worked for Savage the leader of the Mariposa Battalion.

Concerning many of the Miwoks claiming that the names in Yosemite are Miwok, Bunnell explains that in the second paragraph. It seems the Miwok scouts were confusing Bunnell by supplying Bunnell with THEIR words and translations.

Bunnell also writes that Tenaya’s group was a ‘composite tribe’. The majority of Tenaya’s group were outlaws from the many different Paiute-Mono bands, with some outlaws from unspecific western tribes. Never any mention of Miwuk. None being from Chief Bautista or Cypriano’s band. They were the chiefs who worked with the military.

Another part is that the Bunnell states that many of Tenaya’s band came from Nevada. There is also another referrence in Bunnell’s book about some of Tenaya’s band being Paiutes from Nevada.

There is no such thing as Nevada Miwoks. So Craig Bates and the Southern Sierra Miwuks cannot claim that.

The evidence is clear. The Mono Paiutes were the original people of Yosemite Valley …and the Miwoks were the scouts for James Savage and the Mariposa Battalion.

…even Bates admits about Lafayette Bunnell’s writings “But much of what is known about the Yosemite Miwok at that time is derived from this [his] work”.

Interestingly Craig Bates never saw this in his 30 years working in Yosemite National Park as the Indian expert for them. Maybe he was too busy making Miwok regalia. Because he would have seen what was staring him right in his face…Bunnell wrote that the original Indians of Yosemite…were Paiutes.
Remember Craig Bates wrote over 100 publications as the official Indian Ethnologist for Yosemite National Park. Most of those publications in many Native people descendent of Yosemite Indians eyes are false and biased because he had a personal interest in the Indian history of Yosemite. There are so many ‘implied’ or out right mistakes that because of his long tenure at Yosemite, and it is sad to many of us Paiutes that the Yosemite National Park service, the Yosemite Fund and the Yosemite Association still uses Bates’ work as source reference material.

So it would appear that the only “Legends of the Yosemite Miwoks” would be that they were the original American Indians of Yosemite.

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Southern Sierra Miwuk Controversy

Southern Sierra Miwuk controversy

There was no proof that the Southern Sierra Miwoks were the first Indian people in Yosemite. In the unrevised verision of Lafayette Bunnell’s first encounter of Chief Tenaya he wrote “Tenaya was the founder of the Pah-Ute colony of Awahnee”. He also wrote that Chief Tenaya spoke a “Piute Jargon”.

Major Savage spoke Yokut and other tribal languages, but took a Monoache Indian to speak to Chief Tenaya. Here is the text from the first book written by those who first encountered Chief Tenaya.: “Ten-ie-ya was recognized, by the Mono tribe, as one of their number, as he was born and lived among them until his ambition made him a leader and founder of the Pai-Ute colony in Ah-wah-ne. His history and warlike exploits formed a part of the traditionary lore of the Monos. They were proud of his successes and boasted of his descent from their tribe, although Ten-ie-ya himself claimed that his father was the chief of an independent people, whose ancestors were of a different race.”

Which meant that the Ahwahnechees were from a totally seperate tribe. Not related to the Maidus, Yokuts, Washoes, and Miwoks.

Chief Tenaya was born at Mono Lake from a Paiute woman and lived there til he was an adult before returning to Yosemite. He returned to Yosemite with a couple of hundred people, including his Paiute wife and children. He did not return to Yosemite with a couple of hundred Miwoks. They were Paiutes.

If you read the Southern Sierra Miwok dictionary  you will find the name “Yosemite”. In their dictionary “Yosemite” means “They are Killers”. That would indicate that the Miwoks were not on friendly terms with the Awahnees.

When Tenaya was taken to the Fresno Reservation he told Savage “Why are you bringing me amongst my enemies”. Those people were the Yokuts and Miwoks.

When Tenaya escaped the Fresno Reservation he did not escape to the Central Miwok area, but instead went back into Paiute area. If he was Miwok he would have went to his peoples homeland instead of those that the Miwoks had several battles with, the Paiutes. History has been modified to change the real Native peoples of Yosemite into Miwoks when they were Paiutes.
People like Kroeber, Merriam and others based their anthropology work on Stephen Powers who was a journalist for the Overland Monthly. Powers visited the area decades after the Ahwahneechees had been decimated and the survivoring Ahwahneechees had been absorbed into the Mono Lake Paiute population in 1853. He was speaking to the Miwok workers of the white settlers and gold miners.

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who Are The True Ahwahneechees or Ahwahnees, Yosemite Indians?


Who are the true Ahwahneechees or Ahwahnees, Yosemite Indians?
Where did they go?
The earliest Indians of Yosemite were the Ahwahneechees or Ahwahnees.

Lafayette H. Bunnell was the only person to meet Tenaya to ever write about him. Lafayette H. Bunnell in his book “The Discovery of Yosemite, and the Indian war of 1851, that led to that event” wrote in Chapter XVIII (18), page 297:

“Ten-ie-ya was recognized, by the Mono tribe, as one of their number, as he was born and lived among them until his ambition made him a leader and founder of the Pai-Ute colony in Ah-wah-ne.[Ed. Note: Tenaya also spoke a Paiute Jargon] His history and warlike exploits formed a part of the traditionary lore of the Monos.[Ed. Note: Mono Paiutes did not fear Tenaya like the other surrounding tribes did] They were proud of his successes and boasted of his descent from their tribe, although Ten-ie-ya himself claimed that his father was the chief of an independent people, [Ed. Note: Ahwahnees, before the plague, were a independently different tribe from any other surrounding tribe] whose ancestors were of a different race. Ten-ie-ya had, by his cunning and sagacity in managing the deserters from other tribes, who had sought his protection, maintained a reputation as a chief whose leadership was never disputed by his followers, and who was the envy of the leaders of other tribes.”
In other words Tenaya’s band was made up of mainly Mono Paiutes with Ahwahneechee blood in their veins. That the Ahwahnees were from a totally separate INDEPENDENT tribe from any of the surrounding Indians, but the group made up of mainly Mono Paiutes. Chief Tenaya’s group was also made up of a handful of “outlaws” and “outcasts” from some of the western tribes. They never mention which western tribes those are.

For those who don’t know the story of Chief Tenaya here it is below:

“Chief Tenaya (?-1853) was a Native American chief in the Yosemite Valley people in California. Tenaya’s father was the chief of the Ahwahneechee, which means “people of the Ahwahnee” (Yosemite Valley). The Ahwahneechees were a totally different tribe then any other surrounding tribes. Lafayette Bunnell, the doctor of the Mariposa Battalion, wrote that “Ten-ie-ya was recognized, by the Mono tribe, as one of their number, as he was born and lived among them until his ambition made him a leader and founder of the Pai-Ute colony in Ah-wah-ne.”The Ahwahneechee occupied Yosemite Valley until a sickness destroyed most of them. The few Ahwahneechee left Yosemite Valley and joined the Mono Lake Paiutes in the eastern Sierra Nevada. Tenaya’s father married a Mono Paiute woman and Tenaya was born from that union. Tenaya grow up amongst his mothers people and married a Mono Paiute woman and had several children. Fifty years later a medicine man advised Tenaya that it was time to return to the beautiful Yosemite Valley because the sickness was gone. Tenaya took about 200 people back into Yosemite Valley. The Ahwahneechee were a powerful tribe feared by the surrounding Miwok tribes. The surrounding tribes called them Yosemite meaning “they are killers.”

By 1851, conflicts between the non-indigenous miners and the Native Americans in the Sierra started to increase. The state of California decided to send the Natives to reservations. The Mariposa Brigade was formed to carry out the relocation. Chief Tenaya agreed to move to the Fresno Reservation, instead of the destruction of his entire band. Many of his band left Yosemite Valley instead of following Tenaya. As they approached the Fresno reservation, they fled back to the Yosemite Valley. The Brigade then re-entered the Valley, captured Tenaya’s sons, and killed his youngest son. Tenaya then agreed to go back to the reservation.

By the summer of 1851, Tenaya grew tired of the reservation. He gave his pledge that he would not disturb any non-indigenous people. However, in 1852, a group of prospectors were killed in the Valley. Tenaya and his band fled to join the Mono Paiutes. He returned to the Valley in 1853. He was stoned to death in a dispute with the Mono Paiutes over stolen horses.”

In another part of Lafayette Bunnell’s book he wrote: “….when Ten-ie-ya left the tribe of his mother and went to live in Ah-wah-ne, he was accompanied by a very old Ah-wah-ne-chee, who had been the great `medicine man’ of his tribe.”

It was through the influence of this old friend of his father that Ten-ie-ya was induced to leave the Mono tribe, and with a few of the descendants from the Ah-wah-nee-chees, who had been living with the Monos and Pai-Utes, to establish himself in the valley of his ancestors as their chief. He was joined by the descendants from the Ah-wah-ne-chees, and by others who had fled from their own tribes to avoid summary Indian justice. The old “medicine man” was the counselor of the young chief. Not long before the death of this patriarch, as if endowed with prophetic wisdom, he assured Ten-ie-ya that while he retained possession of Ah-wah-ne his band would increase in numbers and become powerful. That if he befriended those who sought his protection, no other tribe would come to the valley to make war upon him, or attempt to drive him from it, and if he obeyed his counsels he would put a spell upon it that would hold it sacred for him and his people alone; none other would ever dare to make it their home. He then cautioned the young chief against the horsemen of the lowlands (the Spanish residents), and declared that, should they enter Ah-wah-ne, his tribe would soon be scattered and destroyed, or his people be taken captive, and he himself be the last chief in Ah-wah-ne.
For this reason, Ten-ie-ya declared, had he so rigidly guarded his valley home, and all who sought his protection. No one ventured to enter it, except by his permission; all feared the “witches” there, and his displeasure. He had “made war upon the white gold diggers to drive them from the mountains, and prevent their entrance into Ah-wah-ne.”

From a few handful of Ahwahnees to a bigger group? Years after Tenaya’s father left Yosemite? Like Tenaya, who was now ½ Mono Paiute and his children were now 3/4s Paiutes the Ahwahnees could not have been full blooded Ahwahnees, but by then, like Tenaya a mixture of Ahwahnee and Mono Paiute.

Remember Tenaya was not even born when his father took a handful of Ahwhanees with him to Mono Lake. So for Tenaya’s father to find a Mono Lake Paiute bride and then have a family. Then for Tenaya to have grown up and then marry a Mono Lake Paiute woman and have children at Mono Lake would have to have taken years if not decades.

By then the Ahwahnees would have been assimilated into the majority Mono Lake Paiute community.

When Tenaya came in to meet with his terms of surrender with Major James Savage and the Mariposa Battalion who had gone up to capture him, Bunnell writes that Tenaya stated:

….”I will go with my people; my young man shall go with you to my village. You will not find any people there. I do not know where they are. My tribe is small–not large, as the white chief has said. The Pai-utes and Mono’s are all gone. Many of the people with my tribe are from western tribes [Ed. Note: the outcast are from western tribes and not aligned with the western tribes] that have come to me and do not wish to return. If they go to the plains and are seen, they will be killed by the friends of those with whom they had quarreled. I have talked with my people and told them I was going to see the white chiefs sent to make peace. I was told that I was growing old, and it was well that I should go, but that young and strong men can find plenty in the mountains; therefore why should they go, to be yarded like horses and cattle. My heart has been sore since that talk, but I am now willing to go, for it is best for my people that I do so.”

Tenaya, who Bunnell writes was a very smart person, I believe tried to persuade Savage to protect his people, to Savage give up chasing the rest of his people. I believe Tenaya thought if he told Savage this that he and the Mariposa Battalion would not go another further. I believe Tenaya did this to protect his people.

Notice that Tenaya states that many of the people with his tribe are from “unspecified” western tribes and did not wish to return to the western side because they would be killed. That would indicate that those “outlaws” and “outcasts” with Tenaya from the western tribes were not aligned with those Yokuts and Miwoks west of Yosemite.

Major Savages does not believe Tenaya and pushes ahead anyway. They go further east and capture of more of Tenaya’s people.

Lt. Moore goes close to Mono Lake to try to capture some of Tenaya’s people there. He always states that the place looked good for gold mining.

In Bunnell’s book The Discovery of the Yosemite, he writes about Tenaya’s death. Chapter XVIII (18), page 300:

“After his subjugation by the whites, he was deserted by his followers, and his supremacy was no longer acknowledged by the neighboring tribes, who had feared [Ed. note that would be Chief Bautista and the other groups] rather than respected him or the people of his band. Ten-ie-ya and his refugee band were so hospitably received and entertained by the Monos that they seemed in no hurry to return to their valley. [Ed. Note: Tenaya, instead of going to nearby Miwok areas in the lower Tuolumne crossed the Sierra Nevadas to go to Mono Lake?]

According to custom with these mountaineers, a portion of territory was given to them [Ed. Note: the Paiutes gave Tenaya and his band an allotment of land at Mono Lake] for their occupancy by consent of the tribe; for individual right to territory is not claimed, nor would it be tolerated. Ten-ie-ya staid with the Monos until late in the summer or early autumn of 1853, when he and his people suddenly left the locality that had been assigned to them, and returned to their haunts in the Yosemite valley, with the intention of remaining there unless again driven out by the whites. Permanent wig-wams were constructed by the squaws, near the head of the valley, among the rocks, not readily discernable to visitors. Not long after Ten-ie-ya had re-established himself in his old home, a party of his young men left on a secret foraging expedition for the camp of the Monos, which was then established at or near Mono Lake. According to the statement made to me, there had just been a successful raid and capture of horses by the Monos and Pai-Utes from some of the Southern California ranchos, and Ten-ie-ya’s men concluded, rather than risk a raid on the white men, to steal from the Mono’s, trusting to their cunning to escape detection.

Ten-ie-ya’s party succeeded in recapturing a few of the stolen horses, and after a circuitous and baffling route through the pass at the head of the San Joaquin, finally reached the valley with their spoils.

After a few days’ delay, and thinking themselves secure, they killed one or more of the horses, and were in the enjoyment of a grand feast in honor of their return, when the Mono’s pounced down upon them. Their gluttony seemed to have rendered them oblivious of all danger to themselves, and of the ingratitude by which the feast had been supplied. Like sloths, they appear to have been asleep after having surfeited their appetites. They were surprised in their wig-wams by the wronged and vengeful Monos and before they could rally for the fight, the treacherous old chief was struck down by the hand of a powerful young Mono chief.

Ten-ie-ya had been the principal object of attack at the commencement of the assault, but he had held the others at bay until discovered by the young chief, who having exhausted his supply of arrows, seized a fragment of rock and hurled it with such force as to crush the skull of “the old grizzly.” [Ed. Note: Tenaya bragged that he liked that his enemies feared him and gave him and his band the name “Yosemites” or “the Grizzlies”. It was the Miwoks who gave him that name] As Ten-ie-ya fell, other stones were cast upon him by the attacking party, after the Pai-ute custom, until he was literally stoned to death. All but eight of Ten-ie-ya’s young braves were killed; these escaped down the valley, and through the cañon below.

The old men and women, who survived the first assault, were permitted to escape from the valley. The young women and children were made captives and taken across the mountains to be held as slaves or drudges to their captors. [Ed. Note: The remaining childbearing members Tenaya’s band were taken and assimilated into the Mono Lake Paiutes] I frequently entertained the visitors at our store on the Merced with descriptions of the valley. The curiosity of some of the miners was excited, and they proposed to make a visit as soon as it could be made with safety. I expressed the opinion that there would be but little danger from Indians, as the Mono’s and Pai-utes only came for acorns, and that the Yo-sem-i-ties were so nearly destroyed, that at least, while they were mourning the loss of their chief, and their people, no fear need be entertained of them.”

That means the remaining Ahwahneechee blood line is in the Mono Lake Paiutes who assimilated them into their population.

In Bunnell’s book The Discovery of the Yosemite, he writes about those who escaped the retribution of the Monos. Chapter XVIII (18), page 300:  “…that the murderers had gone to the Upper Tuolumne river and were banded with the renegades of the Tuolumne tribe that had once been under Ten-ie-ya.”

The Miwoks, who were never mentioned in the earliest account, were at the Big Creek area in the Lower Tuolumne while The Paiutes were in the Upper Tuolumne above Big Oak Flats.
Miwoks were not friendly with Paiutes as written, but had several wars with Paiutes. They had wars over Hetch Hetchy, Stoddard Springs and other areas. Brian Biddy even documents this in his book “Deeper Then Gold” when he writes a Miwok elders testimony about the animosity that the two groups had in the past.

In 1850 the first Europeans to enter Hetch Hetchy were the Screech brothers. They documented to C. F Hoffman, the first California state surveyor to survey Tuolumne and Yosemite, that the Big Creek Indians from the lower Tuolumne had a battle over Hetch Hetchy with the Upper Tuolumne Paiutes and that the Paiutes had won. The Paiutes still had returned to gather plants, roots and acorns even in the 1900s.

The Upper Tuolumne Indians during that time were the Paiutes and not Miwoks.

Then a year later after Tenaya’s death Bunnell writes in Discovery of the Yosemite. Chapter XVIII, (18) page 300:

“I expressed the opinion that there would be but little danger from Indians, as the Mono’s and Pai-utes only came for acorns, and that the Yo-sem-i-ties were so nearly destroyed,…”

Chapter XVIII, (18) page 304 of the Discovery of the Yosemite:

“The nervous ones were still further alarmed by a general stampede of the miners on the South Fork of the Merced, which occurred in the summer of that year (1854). This was caused by a visit to their neighborhood of some Pai-Utes and Monos, from the east side of the Sierras, who came to examine the prospects for the acorn harvest, and probably take back with them some they had cached.” [Ed. Note: That means that the only Indians in Yosemite Valley in 1854, a year after Tenaya’s death were Paiutes.]

In other words Tenaya’s band were mainly Mono Paiutes before Savage went into Yosemite, the only Indians in Yosemite Valley in 1854, were Mono Lake Paiutes. The Screeches encounter Paiutes in Hetch Hetchy in 1850, a year before the Mariposa Battalion went after Chief Tenaya. There is no mention of Miwoks, Mewus in any of the first accounts until after 1900.

The old time Yosemite Indians were Chief Dick, his children Charlie and Sally Ann, The Charlies, The Ruebens, Captain Pete Jim, Big Jim, Billy Williams, Tom Hutchings, the first mailman of Yosemite, Bridgeport Tom, Captain and Susie Sam, Bill “Mono” Brown and his wife Lucy Sam-Brown, Pete Hilliard (the grandson of Lucy Brown), Lancisco Wilson, Old Rube, Captain John, and others are Paiutes or Paiute/Washoes.

So why is the Yosemite National Park Service going along with the story that the Ahwahneechees, Ahwahnees, Ahwahnis are Miwoks?

One thing that the Yosemite National Park Service does not know is that Major Savage had a confidant who a couple of years ago was in his enemy, but after had become great friends with Savage.

That was a chief called Chief Bautista.

In a Stockton newspaper done around 1851 the paper writes something that was left out of Bunnell’s book.
Besides the Mariposa Battalion, Major Savage had taken, of what the newspaper reported, a 100 of “his” Indians. That without them they could not have found Chief Tenaya. Those Indians got a shirt, a scarf and a pair of ‘pantaloons’ for their service.

cc: National Park Service

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment