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Posts Tagged ‘Yosemite indigenous people’

Paiute people in Yosemite still getting coal for Christmas from Yosemite NPS

This story has been hiting the Paiute email curcuit. This article appeared in the Sacramento News and Review right before Christmas;

 http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/Content?oid=607705

 Paiutes are still getting a piece of coal in their stocking for Christmas this year from Yosemite National Park Service. It is same thing the Yosemite – Mono Lake Paiutes have been getting every year from Yosemite National Park, which is erasing them out of the park.

This story written by Kel Munger tells it like it is.

 Hopefully the Paiutes will have a better New Year in 2008 and the Park will finally stop labeling them as Southern Sierra Miwuks, who btw are employees and former employees of the Park. This group, Southern Sierra Miwok aka the American Indian Council of Mariposa, is also going for federal recognition…something is rotten in Denmark, or should I say Yosemite National Park.

 Great story.

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Famous well known photo of Big Foot

Stories of Pahi-zoho, Bigfoot, in Central California. Sasquatch

My relatives have told me stories of the encounters that the Paiute people had with the Big Foots or Sasquatch as they are sometimes called. In the Paiute language we have different names for them, one is Pahi-zoho. There were some with red hair, brown hair and black hair. The red headed ones were said to be the meanest.

They were not like the bears or Grizzlies that the Paiutes shared space with in the high sierra, but big hairy human like creatures that Paiute people were afraid of. The Big Foots and Indians always tried to keep away from each other, but sometimes during hard times the Big Foots would eat young Indian children who wandered away from the group. Once they tasted human flesh the Paiutes believed they would hunt humans.

Big Foot side

Just before John C. Fremont had arrived there was a group of red headed Pahi-zohos or Big Foots living north of Pyramid Lake. This group had been carrying off the Paiutes’ children and eating them. They had been a scourge and a problem to the Paiute people around the area. So the Paiutes decide to get rid of them. The Paiutes found their cave and were hiding in the sagebrush, but the Pahi-zohos smelled the wind and got the scent of the Paiutes and the Pahi-zohos ran into the cave. The Paiutes swarmed the entrance of the cave and filled the entrance with sagebrush. They set the sagebrush on fire and heard the screams and grunts of the Pahi-zohos in the cave as they died. The fire was so intense it burned everything. After that the Paiutes did not have any problems with the red-head giant Big Foots or Sasqatches in the area.

One was a story told by my grandmother of her mother’s scary encounter while camping with a band of Paiutes at the base of Cooper Peak in Tuolumne County, California. There was a place in the area called Mogul-numa (Mokelnume) named after the big granite peaks in the Sierra, in the Paiute language Mogul-numa meant Granite People because we believed the granite spires were live beings. The old people believed they were benevolent beings who watched over the people. The Paiutes were on their usual trip to fish along the creeks and lakes in the area and it was during the summer time on a warm moon filled night. Some of the people were sleeping outside of their willow brush houses after a night of visiting and talking. Suddenly one of the older men told everyone to be quiet because something or someone was approaching. Everyone got really still and some huddled together thinking it might be a bear or some other nightly spirit. They heard a noise that was not like a bear, but a different type of sound. There was also a smell, a terrible horrible smell that my great-grandmother told her daughter that she remembered that she would never forget. She remember seeing one of the men stretching his neck and peering into a clearing and she saw his eyes get really big, as big as winnowing basket. He mumbled quietly “Pahi-zoho, pahi-zoho”. One of the old women started to use her spirit guide to scare the Big Foot away. She repeatedly spoke calling her spirit. There was something moving around, but suddenly it stopped for less than a minute, then it started to move away. One of the men told the old woman to keep calling her spirit guide to scare away the Big Foot. After awhile the noise stopped, but the children were now quietly crying and sobbing. Old man Yankee asked the man what he saw in the clearing, was it the Pahi-zoho or a bear? He said he clearly saw it, it was a Pahi-zoho in the moon light. He said the Pahi-zoho was rummaging around bent over where some of the Paiute children had left some fish bones. That it was not a bear, but a large hairy man like creature bent over picking up the bones. That he had hands and not paws like a bear. He said as he watched him and that when the old woman was summoning her spirit guide he looked up, turned in his head in different directions, smelled the air and then quickly ran into the brush. The sound of her praying or the prayer itself had scared the Big Foot away. That night no one slept, the children afraid of being carried away by the Pahi-zoho and the older people up to make sure he did not attack them. The next day the leader of the camp said it was time to move on and they continued on, but my great-grandmother never forgot that night of the Pahi-zoho visit on her camp.

Red Big Foot

Red Big Foot

In the other story my uncle had heard that a few of the Mono Lake Paiute girls were out gathering berries in Piute Meadows, which is located in northern Yosemite National Park. When suddenly one of the girls who was on the edge of the meadow by the trees was heard screaming. The girls ran over there as one of the girls went to call the men. There was no trace of her. She had vanished. The people believed that she was taken by a Grizzly bear or some spirit had captured her.  At the camp the family cried and was inconsolable, but the people had to go on. The next day the people started up the hill to trek along the Sierra suddenly in rear was heard a screaming and yelling. It was the girl crying, upset and yelling nonsensical things. She was moving her hands wildly and pointing back to the wooded area. She told the people that as she was picking berries along the meadow by the edge of the forest when a Big Foot or Pahi-zoho had come out behind a tree and grabbed her. He was big, reddish and hairy and she screamed and screamed. He had carried her off and she thought for sure he was going to eat her, but instead he took her into the bushes and forced himself on her. She said he stunk so bad, that it was making her sick and it was extremely painful, that he didn’t talk but grunted all that time. She was too scared to look at him, but could see his reddish big hands and hairy legs and feet, that even his feet had hair on them. They didn’t look human. She said after awhile he just went to sleep, but still had her in his grip in his arms. That his arms were very large and she just laid there scared and thinking that after that he was going to kill her. That he snorted and snored loudly all night long and suddenly almost in the morning he completely lost his grip and she made a quick dash. She ran like she had never run before for she feared for her life. Now she was safe with her people and her family, but later on she started to show signs of pregnancy. The people stayed clear of her accept her friends and family. Nine months later she had a son, a big red headed baby boy who was very hairy. The people were scared at first and some of the men wanted to kill him, but the girl’s mother prevented them. Later the people accepted him into the group for he was a good hunter and he had uncanny natural abilities of sight and smell and was very strong. He married and his children came out more normal looking, but every now and then one of his descendents comes out hairy and with red hair. Many of his descendents are now scattered in many of the Paiute tribes in California and Nevada.

Big Foot Drawing

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Yosemite Native People – A famous Yosemite Indian Icon

One of the most famous photos of Native people in Yosemite is this photograph taken by J. T. Boysen in 1901.

The Icon of early Yosemite Native American Indian life.

Suzie and Sadie McGowan in Yosemite - Yosemite Icon

The photo is of Suzie and her young daughter Sadie McGowan in Yosemite Valley, Ca. 1901, taken by J. T. Boysen.

The photo is a beautiful portairt of early Indian life in Yosemite. Mother and daughter as they walk along the green meadows as the waterfall cascades in the background.

A Paiute mother carrying her child in a Paiute cradleboard in one of the most wonderful places in the world, Yosemite Valley. Bringing back a time when Paiutes roamed the green meadows of Yosemite Valley during a simpler time.

Suzie and Sadie McGowan

Native Madonna and Child in the valley of Ahwahnee.

Sadie McGowan was also a favorite for many local photographers and tourists. Below is a photo of Sadie McGowan in her Paiute cradlebroad propped up against a tree. Later Suzie added decorative beadwork on the top of cradleboard and on the sides.

Sadie McGowan up against tree

Here someone created a colored painting of Sadie’s photo. Titled “Piute Indian Papoose”.

Sadie McGowan in color

Suzie McGowan, mother of Sadie, had another name. Her real married name was Suzie Bill. Her maiden name was Suzie Williams. She was the daughter of Rose Williams. Suzie’s husband was Poker Bill, son of Yosemite-Bridgeport-Hetch Hetchy-Mono Lake area Paiute Captain Jim and Patsy Jim.

Captain Jim was also called “Toha’eesha” translated in Paiute to English as “White Wolf”, but to his family he was just “na’ah” or father. He was called “White Wolf” because his hair was pre-mature gray by a certain age.

Captain Jim - Yosemite-Bridgeport-Mono Lake area Paiute

Captain Jim, father of many of the Paiute Indians around Bridgeport, Yosemite, Mono Lake. His daughters and grandchildren were famous basket makers in the whole area. He was also the father of Suzie’s husband, Poker Bill

The Bill family acquired the name McGowan after working for a white man with that name. Like many Indians they changed their last names to white persons they worked for.

Like many Paiutes they were nomadic and traveled around their ancestral areas hunting and gathering. Here is Poker Bill and Suzie Bill (McGowan) in Yosemite with their daughters.

Poker Bill and Family

Poker Bill and family in Yosemite. Left to Right; Yosemite icon Suzie Bill (McGowan), without her headscarf holding Sadie McGowan still in her signature plaided blanket, daughter Carrie Bill (McGowan) who later became the famous Indian basket maker Carrie Bethel, daughter Minnie Bill (McGowan) who later became the famous Indian basket maker Minnie Turner – Minnie Mike, then Suzie’s husband and father of the children, Poker Bill, son of Captain Jim.

So the photo is Suzie, holding Sadie, Carrie, Minnie, and Poker Bill.

Sadly not to long after this photo Suzie McGowan, the famous Yosemite icon, died giving childbirth.

This is an excerpt from C. Hart Merriam’s August 5, 1903 notes about Suzie’s Burial;

“I am told that a Paiute woman (wife of the Paiute called Poker Bill) died in childbirth a short time ago and was buried here. A fine basket bowl was put over her head when she was buried”.

So tragically this Yosemite Indian icon died only a couple of years after some of the most famous photographs of her in Yosemite Valley were taken. She left behind her family and her husband remarried Paiute Suzie Thompson. Suzie Thompson became their step mother and raised the girls who would later grow up to become some of Yosemite – Mono Lake Paiutes most famous basket makers.

Suzie’s daughters Carrie Bethal and Minnie Mike became famous in their own right in the California Indian basketry world. They created some of the large baskets sought after by auction houses and located in cultural Musuems.

This one Paiute person from the early Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute area caught forever on film lives in our hearts and minds and in time. She will always be remembered in photographs that captured her and her family in Yosemite Valley. Snap shots in time that caught a young Paiute mother who lived a life too short, but lives on in our memory because a photographer was intrigued by her and her child.

The Paiute people of Yosemite and Suzie McGowan, a Yosemite icon, never to be forgotten.

Suzie and Sadie McGowan - Paiutes in Yosemite

Suzie and Sadie McGowan, photographic icons of Yosemite. 1901 by J. T. Boysen.

A life too short, but always to be remembered.

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Yosemite Miwok Indian basket makers or Mono Lake Paiute basket makers in Yosemite?

Carrie Bethel basket - full blooded Mono Lake Paiute

Carrie Bethel Basket – Full blooded Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute.

The Baskets of Yosemite and the basket makers: What people see on the internet is not always what the truth really is.

What we are going to do today is a lesson for all you Paiutes out there about misinformation that is on the web concerning the tribal identification of the baskets of Yosemite, which by the way are tied directly to the Paiutes of Mono Lake and eastern Sierra.

San Francisco Chronicle July 29th 1923 photo and article of Hazel Townsley, Yosemite Chief Ranger Townsley’s daughter and Bertha Dolbow holding Mono Lake Paiute baskets. Article says “…Chief Ranger Townsley, who returning from the Mono Lake country where the basket weaving Indians now live…”

S. F. Chronicle - 7-29-1923

At the height of the early Yosemite Indian Field Days, basket makers from Mono Lake, Nevada and along the other Paiute and Washo areas brought their best baskets to the celebration to win prizes and money. Early Chief Ranger Townsley had an idea to generate more interest in Yosemite. He went to Mono Lake to drum up the local Paiutes to create baskets for sale for tourists who visited Yosemite. Unlike Miwoks of that time, Paiutes still created baskets. The park service created a basket and bead competition and other Indian contests so the tourists would come and visit. The majority of winners of the basket competitions were mainly Paiutes from Mono Lake, Washoes and some Yokuts. There were never any known Miwok basket makers during that time. This was during a height of the basket making Renaissance of Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiutes.  Famous Paiute baskets makers Carrie Bethel, Minnie Mike, Nellie Jamison, Nellie and Tina Charlie, Daisy Mallory, Alice Wilson, and other Paiutes from Mono Lake, Benton, Coleville, Bishop and Bridgeport made some of the most impressive baskets in California Indian history…yet no one would ever know this. That is because their talents and mastery went unnoticed because the Park Service was pushing the story of the Yosemite Miwoks, who did not make any of those large baskets you see in Yosemite Indian Museum today. The Park Service went with the lie that the baskets were done by Yosemite Miwoks, the Paiutes were always placed secondary, and sometimes the Paiutes were not mentioned at all. The Park Service instead went with the myth of the great Yosemite Miwok basket makers, when there were none during that time.

What we are going to do is examine the information of one particular well known basket making family in Yosemite, who are really Paiutes from Mono Lake and how many writers started to add “Yosemite Miwok” to all their stories and books. Yet the majority of the baskets were done by Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiutes.

Mono Lake Paiute winners Yosemite Indian field days - Mono Indians

Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute basket makers at Yosemite Indian Field Days basket competition 1925. Most of the winners were Mono Lake Paiutes. From Left to Right: Tina Charlie, Carrie Bethel, Alice Wilson, Leanna Tom and Maggie “Taboose” Howard – Mono Indians with Chief Ranger Townsley.

So let’s look at this site. This one really had bad information.

http://www.kstrom.net/isk/art/basket/yosemite.html

“Lucy Parker Telles (1870-1956) was of Yosemite Miwok and Mono Lake Paiute descent. Shortly after her son Lloyd was born in 1902, her husband Jack Parker, Paiute, died.”

Lucy Telles with her prize winning basket

Lucy Telles, famous Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute with one of her prize winning baskets

Lucy Parker’s maiden name was Tom, she was Lucy Tom. Lucy Tom’s father was full blooded Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute Bridgeport Tom and her mother full blooded Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute Louisa Sam-Tom. Lucy Tom’s mother’s grandparents were full blooded Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute Captain Sam and his wife Susie Sam who died on August 1903.

Captain Sam - Mono Lake Paiute at June Lake, Mono County.

Captain Sam at June Lake located in Mono County where he spent the majority of his life. Full blooded Paiute Captain Sam spent half year in Yosemite and the rest of the year in Mono County. He was a famous guide and fisherman for the local Yosemite hotels.

Yosemite Indian Captain Sam 1

Here is Captain Sam’s 1928 California Indian Application,

Yosemite Indian Capt. Sam 2

This is the second page of Captain Sam’s application stating he is full blooded Paiute and so is his wife Susie Sam.

Here is Lucy’s mom, Louisa Sam-Tom’s 1929 California Indian Application;

Yosemite Indian Louisa Tom 1

Second page of the application showing her tribe and where she was born; Paiute from Mono Lake.

Yosemite Indian Lousia Tom 2

So how is Lucy (Tom) Parker Telles a Yosemite Miwok? There has been stories that Susie Sam was a Yosemite Miwok, which there were none, but lets say she was, who much Miwok blood would Lucy Telles have

This means Lucy Telles would be 3/4ths Mono Lake Paiute…so why is she a Yosemite Miwok …and Mono Lake Paiute. She should be Mono Lake Paiute with some Miwok blood, and that is IF Susie Sam was a Yosemite Miwoks and as you can see Captain Sam, her husband, said differently.

The article goes on to say;

“Unlike other California weavers, Miwok-Paiute women concentrated on tiny rod foundations, as well as close coil stitching, an overall effect of great fineness,”

There was no proof that any Miwok made any of those huge beautiful baskets in Yosemite. The only ones who made those big baskets were Mono Lake Paiutes.

“After Lucy Telles died in 1956, the Park Service asked Julia Parker to take over as a cultural demonstrator. She continued her studies with Carrie Bethel, Minnie Mike and Ida Bishop (local Miwok-Paiutes),”

Local Miwok-Paiutes?…no Mono Lake Paiutes and a western Mono, Numic people, not one of those mentioned, Carrie Bethel, Minnie Mike or Ida Bishop were Miwoks, but Mono and Mono Lake Paiutes. In fact there were no Miwok basket makers in Yosemite during that time.

“To support her family, Lucy turned to basket weaving, which she had learned as a child. Her innovations had a large and continuing influence on the styles of Yosemite weavers. She modified traditional Miwok shapes.”

The basket tradition was not Miwok, but of eastern Sierra Paiute and Washoe construction and design.

Then let’s look at this site.

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2002/05/28_famdy.html

“Julia Parker is a Kashaya Pomo who primarily practices her husband’s family traditions – Yosemite Miwok, Miwok and Pauite – and weaves Pomo style. She also teaches honoring songs that celebrate people and nature. Lucy Parker, a descendant of the Yosemite Indians, is Miwok, Paiute and Pomo and practices those traditions. She was brought up as a youngster in Yosemite in a traditional cradle basket.”

Note in this quote in the second sentence Paiute is last as the identification of Julia Parker’s husband’s tribe.

The fourth line in the quote from the same quote Paiute is after Miwok.

Here is LLoyd Parker’s 1929 application stating he is Paiute. Lloyd Parker is the father of Ralph Parker, Julia’s “Yosemite Miwok” husband. Note he is a “Piute – from Mono County”.

Yosemite Indian parker 1

Here is the second page which shows what tribe Lloyd Parker was from and his wife, Virgina Murphy, is also a Mono Lake Paiute and she is the mother of Ralph Parker.

Yosemite Indian Paker 2

Let’s look at this website;

http://www.californiabaskets.com/juliaparker.html

“After Lucy Telles died in 1956, the Park Service asked Julia Parker to take over as a cultural demonstrator. She continued her studies with Carrie Bethel, Minnie Mike and Ida Bishop (local Miwok-Paiutes),”

Once again “Local Miwok-Paiutes”?…no Mono Lake Paiutes and a western Mono, Numic people, not one of those mentioned, Carrie Bethel, Minnie Mike or Ida Bishop were Miwoks, but Mono and Mono Lake Paiutes. In fact there were no Miwok basket makers in Yosemite during that time.

Julia Parker in other articles is written as “married a Yosemite Miwok”, but on the same website her husband Ralph Parker is written as he really is “the last FULL-BLOODED Mono Lake Paiute, which by the way there were others;

“When she was 17 she married her husband Ralph and moved to live with his family in Yosemite. Ralph is the last full-blooded Mono Lake Paiute Indian. Ralph’s grandmother, Lucy Telles, was a very famous basket weaver and worked in the visitor’s center museum in Yosemite.”

Then this site which states;

http://groups.msn.com/bayareaindiancalendar/natnlexhibits.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=2799

“Parker has emerged as preeminent in her field. She is an expert in several Native basketry traditions, including her own Pomo traditions and the traditions of her husband’s people, the Sierra Miwok.”

Sorry, the baskets were the tradition of the Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiutes and Ralph is not Miwok. Mono and Inyo County basketry was the real tradition of the Yosemite area.

Here are two June 1927 Indian census rolls showing the Tom, Telles and Parker families as Mono Lake Paiutes, living at Mono Lake, Mono County;

Here are is Bridgeport Tom and his two wives, Louisa and Leanna with their children as Paiutes living at Mono Lake. They are the parents of Lucy Telles.

Bridgeport Tom and his family - Mono Lake Paiute Indian census

Here is the Lucy Telles, mother of Lloyd Parker, father of Julia Parker’s husband Ralph Parker showing they are Paiutes from Mono Lake, Mono County;

Indian census - Paiutes of Mono County

This one is from the prestigious National Endowments of the Arts foundation.

http://www.nea.gov/honors/heritage/fellows/fellow.php?id=2007_08

“Julia Parker has spent most of her years living and working in Yosemite Village in California.  Although she was born in her native Pomo territory, her early teachers were elder Indian traditionalists and basketweavers of the Sierra Miwok and Mono Lake Paiute people.”

In the passage above Mono Lake Paiute people play second fiddle to the art of Mono Lake Paiute basketry, when Sierra Miwuks were not known to make those big round baskets. That is the tradition of the Mono Lake Paiutes.

This even appears in popular books, like this one called It Will Live Forever: Traditional Yosemite Acorn Preparation, by Bev Ortiz.

http://www.heydaybooks.com/public/books/iwlf.html

In the book review it says this;

“It Will Live Forever looks at Julia Parker, a Kashaya Pomo woman who married into the Yosemite Miwok tribe and is still practicing this traditional art as Indian women have done for generations.”

Once again saying that Julia Parker married into the mythical Yosemite Miwok tribe, which there was none. Ralph Parker, her husband is a full blooded Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute. Now even if he had Miwok blood it would be 1/16th Miwok, yes 1/16, and the rest would be 15/16ths Mono Lake Paiute, the tribe that made those huge baskets in Yosemite. The same tribe who were the original people of Yosemite in what Bunnell calls the Paiute colony of Ahwahnee. His grandchildren would be 1/64th Miwok, but have more Paiute blood.

Also in the book It Will Live Forever: Traditional Yosemite Acorn Preparation, it has Young Charlie and Chief Dick as Miwoks…they are Paiutes.

Here is what was written about Lloyd Parker, Ralph’s father, husband of Julia Parker in the book by John Bingaman who knew them personally. This from his book The Ahwahneechees, which you can see here by scrolling down to Lloyd Parker;

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/the_ahwahneechees/chapter_3.html#kalapine

LLOYD PARKER

“Born 1902, near Mono Lake. A Piute. His father was Jack Parker, his mother Lucy Tom. His wife was Virginia Murphy, of Mono Lake. They had three sons. Ralph lives and works in Yosemite for the Road Department. Clarence died about three years ago in an automobile accident. Kenneth lives in Bootjack; near Mariposa; his wife is Dorothy Bolton and they have three children.
Lloyd has lived and worked in Yosemite Valley most of his life, on road and trail crews, and at this date he is making his home in the Indian Village.”
Let’s look at Yosemite Ranger Bingaman’s book. Bingaman writes that Lloyd Parker is a Paiute from Mono Lake and not a Yosemite Miwok. His wife Virgina Murphy is a Paiute from Mono Lake and not a Yosemite Miwok. So how is their son a Yosemite Miwok?

In Tradition and Innovation, Craig D. Bates and Martha Lee, a supposed book of the basketry of the Yosemite – Mono Lake area, the book barely mentions the real baskets makers families, the Murphys, Stevens, Harrisons, James, McBrides, and other Paiutes, instead it focused on several supposed Miwoks, who by the way were really Yokuts, as basket makers and of those women several where not known to make baskets at all, but their descendants are going for federal recognition as “Yosemite Miwoks”.

Yosemite Indian field days basket competition held at June Lake, Mono County

Photo of the Yosemite Indian Fields Days basket competition held NOT in Yosemite Valley, but at Paiute June Lake, in Mono County, where the Mono Lake Paiutes lived. Featured in the photo is Maggie “Taboose” Howard and Tina Jim – Charlie, Mono Lake Paiutes.

So my Paiute people, the next time you see that the “traditions of the Yosemite Miwok basketmaking is still being carried on” on the internet and in books, remember it was really the basketry tradition of the Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute Indian people, no matter what some of these people tell you.

So be proud of your legacy my Paiute people, a legacy that was almost co-opted, co-opted by others until now and now you know the truth. That the great basketry in the Renaissance of Yosemites early Indian Field Days was that of our people, the Paiute people of that area.

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