Home » History » Tribal history

History of Yosemite

Tribal history of Yosemite revisited

Yosemite National Park has a rich history of Indian habitation. There are exhibits in Pioneer History Center in Wawona that show these early settlers and their lifestyles before the national park was organized. In a Fresno Bee article last year, “Yosemite National Park’s historical displays mention both Indian groups as having a presence in the glacially carved valley. But the park has generally given the Miwok more prominence.”

This portrayal of the settlements was criticized by the Mono Lake Paiutes. This was noted in the Yosemite Blog — “David Andrews, a Paiute who believes his ancestorsí history has been underplayed by the National Park Service”. In an effort to make a more balanced series of exhibits, Yosemite National Park will review its visitor brochures, information booths and historical archives to ensure that local tribes' ancestral ties to the treasured landscape are accurately reflected.

As noted in the Yosemite Blog, “Having Yosemite’s story reflects the Paiuteís role is a matter of cultural pride and historical accuracy, said Andrews, who said his effort is supported by other members of the Paiute community. Itís also important, he said, for building a case with the federal government to have an Indian community formally recognized as a tribe.”

The essence of the problem is recognition. The Miwok have sought recognition, and Andrews said his group of Paiutes also is seeking recognition. With recognition, many benefits from government and other sources come into play. Health benefits are the most likely benefits that could be achieved, but there is also the ability to set up tribal governments and land grants. So recognition by a national park, Yosemite, will be key.

The LA times noted that Dave Uberuaga, Yosemite parks superintendent and staff is looking into tribal relations program of the park including the village exhibit in Yosemite valley, to determine if the Paiutes are to be better depicted. Andrews sees this as hope for recognition.

Keywords: Yosemite National Park, Indian, Mono Lake Paiutes, Miwok, National Park Service

the view of Yosemite Valley by road

Pine Arbor Retreat Home