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Fresno Bee and the Yosemite Miwok, I mean Yosemite Paiutes.

Paiute Yosemite story – Fresno Bee article and responses.

Submitted by Yosemite_Indian on Thu, 2008-01-17 01:28.Posted in Politics/Social Action | Yosemite_Indian’s blog »

Fresno Bee does an article about compliants Paiutes have about Yosemite National Park Service working with and helping their current and former Indian employees, the Southern Sierra Miwuks aka the American Indian Council of Mariposa.From the Fresno Bee:

http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/315939.html

Indianz.com:

http://www.indianz.com/News/2008/006598.asp

Same story on Yosemite blog:

http://www.yosemiteblog.com/2008/01/11/paiutes-or-miwok-only-time-remembers/

The Chairman of the Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiutes thought the article was OK because it brought into the light that Yosemite NPS is possibly helping their fellow Indian employees and friends at the Park in their quest for federal recognition. In his opinion any news about Paiutes re-claiming their rightful place in history is better than no news.

Other Paiutes were not so happy and here are their responses to the Fresno Bee article in comments to the story;

The signs in the photos are incorret. They show photos of Paiutes and Yokuts, but claim they are Miwok or Miwok/Paiute. That is what upsets many of the Paiute people. Kathleen Hull states that Tenaya’s father was a Miwok, but during that same time Paiutes and Miwoks were fighting. In other words no Miwoks could’ve gone to Paiute Mono Lake and lived there. He would’ve been killed. In our Paiute legends we have a place called Ahwahnee so how do they explain that. Also in Tenaya’s group he had people from Nevada and maybe some from Oregon. Yes Tenaya’s band was a camposite tribe, a camposite tribe of different Paiute groups. There is no such thing as Nevada and Oregon Miwoks, only Nevada and Oregon Paiutes.

R. Dandridge | Homepage | 01.11.08 – 6:16 pm | #
Kathleen Hull says “Tenaya’s mother was Paiute but his father MAY HAVE BEEN Miwok.” Then she goes on to say “…there’s good reason to believe the Awahnichi were Miwok-speaking people based on the language and various other cultural traits.” May have been is not scientific. It is a guess. Dr. Lafayette H. Bunnell, who met Tenaya, wrote that Tenaya spoke a Paiute jargon, not Miwok. That the Mono Paiutes considered Tenaya to be one of their own and bragged about his WAR exploits. Now can Hull explain to me when or where did Tenaya speak Miwok? There has never been any account of Tenaya speaking Miwok, only speaking Paiute. Can Hull explain who Chief Tenaya was fighting that he would have “war exploits” for the Paiutes to brag about? Tenaya certainly wasn’t fighting the Monos and Paiutes, but there are recorded accounts of Mono Paiutes fighting Miwoks. So no Miwok man could’ve went to war-like Paiute Mono Lake and live in peace, that is a fantasy promoted by white people. Ahwahnee or Owahnee is also a place in Paiute legends. It was only written that the Miwoks were the scouts and guides for the white miners and militia. The Miwoks had signed the Fremont Treaty EVEN BEFORE The Mariposa Battalion went into Yosemite Valley. It was also written that the white militia could have never discovered Tenaya if not for the help of their Miwok scouts. So the Myth of the Yosemite Miwoks is just that…a myth. The Park also says that they cannot identify the photos yet the photos in question can be identified. The photos in question are titled “Piute” or are of KNOWN Paiute people. So why can’t the Park identify them if they are titled? What the park is doing is putting up a “Yosemite Miwok” story but using photos of known Paiute people. That is the true story here, not some fantasy of the Yosemite Miwoks. Plus the Park is also PAYING the Non-profit Southern Sierra Miwuks over 87,000 dollars to do ‘tasks’ around the park, but does not pay any other Indian group in the area. Why is that? They are not even a federally recognized tribe yet. It is a fact the non-profit Southern Sierra Miwuks are going for a nice big casino in the town of Dublin.
Jake Smith | Homepage | 01.11.08 – 2:10 am | #

Jake again:

Jake Smith
January 11th, 2008 21:57

1

One of our Paiute people contacted the Fresno Bee about the how Yosemite NPS signs and the new Yosemite Visitor center had the story of the Yosemite Miwoks, but used photos of mostly Paiutes. One of the major problems we Paiutes had was with the interpretive signs located at the Lower Yosemite Falls and the Visitor Center. The majority of the Paiute people used in the photos for the Miwok story in Yosemite are not in the Southern Sierra Miwuks. When the reporter finally talked to David Andrews he gave her governmental documentation proving what he was saying was true. The reporter even talked to other Paiutes. Yet when the story came out there was only David Andrews vs four people claiming that the early Yosemite Indians were Miwoks. Not one mention of the Paiutes used as Miwoks in the Visitor Center or the photos of Paiutes used at the sign at Lower Yosemite Falls. No quotes from the other Paiutes. The four who the Bee reporter quoted instead was the spokesman for Yosemite National Park. An anthropologist the Park uses, an man who writes books mentioning the Yosemite Indians as Miwoks and the ex-chairman of the American Indian Council of Mariposa aka the Southern Sierra Miwuks. So basically it was four against one. The story turned from the Paiutes being used incorrectly for Miwok history to 4 people claiming Yosemite was Miwok. You can see the problems we Paiutes have with the Visitor Center by hitting the website link. Scott Gediman claims that there is no proof that photos were of Paiutes, yet their own books and Yosemite Research Library state differently. Kathleen Hull ‘guesses’ that Ahwahnees were Miwoks and she says they spoke Miwok. But if you read Dr. Lafayette Bunnell’s book The Discovery of Yosemite there is no mention that they were Miwoks, but only Paiutes and Monos. The book does say that Tenaya spoke Paiute and that he was the discoverer of the Paiute colony of Ahwahnee. Here is another thing that is not mentioned during that time Paiutes and Miwoks were enemies so no Miwok man could’ve entered Mono Lake and lived in peace before contact. Ahwahnee is also part of our ancient legends. All early writers say that the Mono Paiutes bragged about Tenaya WAR EXPLOITS and claimed him as one of their own. Now explain this to me, WHO WAS TENAYA FIGHTING? It was clearly not the Monos and Paiutes who were in the east. So that would mean he was fighting Miwoks. Chief Bautista, the Miwok chief, even gave the name “Yosemite” to Chief Tenaya’s band. In their language that meant “The Killers” and he said that his people were afraid to enter the Yosemite Valley. The ex-chairman of the Southern Sierra Miwuks Bill Leonard says that the Southern Sierra Miwuks are a combination of Miwok, Paiutes and Yokuts, yet during early times before the white man the three groups were enemies with each other. All three groups are different. Plus today there are already Miwok and Paiute and Yokut tribes in the area. So why would they want to create a tribe of the three combined tribes? Why don’t they just join one of the three that they are from? Oh, because some of them are already enrolled in Yokut, Paiute and Miwoks tribes in the area. One question the reporter should’ve asked Bill Leonard was “Are you are Miwok?” Because Bill Leonard is a Yokut and not a Miwok. At least if they asked David Andrews if he was a Paiute, he would’ve responded “yes”.

another response:

In W. A. Chalfant’s book The Story of Inyo, Chalfant documents Harry Cromwell’s old Paiute creation story of Owahnee (Ahwahnee) a place in our legends that was destroyed and the people scattered. This is how Tenaya’s father and a small group of the Ahwahnee surivivors went to Mono Lake, a Paiute area. There they stayed with their brethren and Tenaya’s father married a Mono Lake Paiute woman. They had Chief Tenaya, and Tenaya grew up among his mother’s people. When he was old enough Tenaya married a Mono Lake Paiute woman and had children. THEN a medicine man advised Tenaya that it was safe to return to the mountains. Tenaya then took his family and about 200 to 300 Indians back into Yosemite Valley and created the PAIUTE colony of Ahwahnee. So this “guess” that they were Miwoks, is a bunch of bull. Miwoks and Paiutes were fighting during that time and Tenaya’s father would have never went to Paiute Mono Lake. If he was Miwok why didn’t he go to the other Miwok areas? When Tenaya was captured by the white military, led by Miwok scouts, it was documented that Tenaya spoke Paiute and had Nevada and Oregon Indians. There are no Nevada and Oregon Miwoks, only Nevada and Oregon Paiutes. It was also documented that the Mono Paiutes bragged about Tenaya’s WAR exploits. Now who was Tenaya and his band fighting if they had Mono Paiutes flanked to their left, Mono Indians below them. That would mean that their enemies were the Miwoks to the west of them. It is white people speaking to the Miwok scouts who got it all wrong. When we Indian people try to tell them that the Miwoks were not the original people of Yosemite, they just don’t GET IT, that is because they don’t know how Indian people think. Most of those people now claiming to be the original Yosemite Indians are in fact the descendents of the Miwoks scouts, guides and gold diggers for the whites and not the real Ahwahnees.
Can they explain this to the Paiute people?
Can they?

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