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Indian Legends

December 21, 2001
Black Elk Speaks
The Life Story of a Holy Man of the Ogalala Sioux.
As told through John G. Neihardt (Flaming Rainbow)
By Nicholas Black Elk

Preface 1932
Preface 1961
Preface 1972
I The Offering of the Pipe
II Early Boyhood
III The Great Vision
IV The Bison Hunt
V At the Soldiers' Town
VI High Horse's Courting
VII Wasichus in the Hills
VIII The Fight with Three Stars
IX The Rubbing Out of Long Hair
X Walking the Black Road
XI The Killing of Chief Crazy Horse
XII Grandmother's Land
XIII The Compelling Fear
XIV The Horse Dance
XV The Dog Vision
XVI Heyoka Ceremony
XVII The First Cure
XVIII The Powers of the Bison and the Elk
XIX Across the Big Water
XX The Spirit Journey
XXI The Messiah
XXII Visions of the Other World
XXIII Bad Trouble Coming
XIV The Butchering at Wounded Knee
XV The End of the Dream
Author's Postscript
Appendix 1. Letter from
Neihardt to Black Elk,
6 November 1930
Appendix 2. Comparison
of the Transcript
and Draft for the Origin
of the Peace Pipe
Appendix 3. Lakota Words
in the Text

- Lest We Forget - 
December 28, 1874
A Visit to the Lava Beds --The Spot where
Gen. Canby Fell -- Sad Relics of the War!
By John Muir, Special Correspondent,
San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin

    ALTURAS (California) -- The Lava Beds, rendered famous by the Modoc War, lie on the southern shore of Rhett or Tule Lake, at an elevation above sea-level of about 4,500 feet.
    They are a portion of an ancient flood of dense black lava, dipping north-eastward at a low angle. They are about as destitute of soil as a glacial pavement, and though the surface is generally level, it is dotted with hillocks and rough crater-like pits and traversed in every direction by a net-work of yawning fissures, forming a combination of topographical conditions of a very rare and striking character.
     While hunting the wild sheep around Mount Bremer, our camp was enlivened with visits from the hunters and trappers, and roving vaqueros of the region.
     Some of these were as nomadic as Modocs, and had fought in the lava beds, and because the events of the war were still fresh in their minds we were presented with many lively scraps of history and picturesque sketches of the character and personal appearance of Captain Jack, Boston Charley, and Black Jim, most of which had the strangely crevassed and caverned Lava Beds for a background.
     Our whole party became so eagerly interested that a visit to the war grounds was at once planned, with the eldest Van Bremer, who had fought the Modocs, and was familiar with the whole region, as guide.
     Our route lay down the Bremer meadows, past many a smooth grassy knoll and jutting cliff, and along the shore of Lower Klamath Lake, thence across a few rough, gray miles of sage plain, making a journey some six or seven hours in length.
     We got into camp in the middle of the afternoon, on top of a lava bluff 450 feet high. Toward sunset I sauntered down to the edge of the bluff, which commands a fine map-like view both of the lava beds and the picturesque region adjacent to them. Here you are looking south-eastward, and the grand Modoc landscape, which at once fills and takes possession of you, lies revealed in front. It is composed of three principal parts. There on your left lies a calm lake; on your right a calm forest, and the black lava beds in the middle.
     The lake is fairly blooming in purple light, and is so responsive to the sky, both in calmness and color, that it seems itself a sky. No mountain shores hide its loveliness. It lies wide open for many a mile, vailed in no other mystery than the mystery of light. The forest also is flooded with sun-purple, and white Shasta rises above it, rejoicing in the ineffable beauty of the alpen glow.
    But neither the glorified woods on the one hand, nor the lake on the other, can at first hold the eye; it is that dark, mysterious lava-plain between them. Here you trace yawning fissures, there clusters of sombre pits; now you mark where the lava is bent and corrugated into swelling ridges--here again where it breaks in a foam of bowlders. Tufts of grass grow here and there, and bushes of the hardy sage, but they have a singed appearance and do not hide the blackness.
     Deserts are charming, all kinds of bogs, barrens, and heathy moors, but the Modoc lava beds have an uncanny look, that only an eager desire to learn their geology could overcome. The sun-purple slowly deepened over all the landscape, then darkness fell like a death, and I crept back to the blaze of the camp-fire.
    Next morning the Modoc plains and mountains were born again, and Van Bremer led us down the bluff. Just at the foot you come to a square, enclosed by a rough stone wall.
     It is a graveyard, where some thirty soldiers lie, most of whom met their fate on the 26th of April, surprised by the Modocs while eating lunch, scattered in the lava beds, and shot down like bewildered sheep.
     Picking our way over the strange ridges and hollows of the "beds," we come, in a few minutes, to a circular flat a score of yards or so in diameter, where the comparative smoothness of the lava and a few handfuls of soil have caused the grass tufts to grow taller.
     This is where General Canby met his fate. From here our guide led us around the shore of the lake to the main Modoc stronghold, a distance of about two and a half miles. The true strongholds of Indians are chiefly fields of tall grass, brushy woods, and shadowy swamps, where they can crouch like panthers and make themselves invisible, but the Modoc castle is in the rock.
     When the Yosemite Indians made raids upon the early settlers of the lower Merced they withdrew with their spoils into Yosemite valley, and the Modocs are said to have boasted that in case of war they possessed a stone house into which no white man could come.
     Notwithstanding the height and sheerness of Yosemite walls, the Indians were unable to hold it against the soldiers for a single day, but the Modoc castle was held defiantly for months.
     It consists of numerous redoubts, formed by the unequal subsidence of portions of the lava flow, and of a complicated network of redans abundantly supplied with salient and re-entering angles, and these redans are united with one another and with the redoubts by a labyrinth of open and covered corridors, some of which expand at intervals into spacious caves, forming altogether the strongest and most complete natural Gibraltar I ever beheld.
     Other lava castles, scarcely less strong, are connected with this by subterranean passages known only to the Indians. While the unnatural blackness of the rock out of which nature has constructed these defenses and the weird inhuman physiognomy of the whole region are well calculated to inspire terror of themselves.
     Before coming to the battle-ground we frequently hear it remarked that our soldiers merited the fate that befel them."They were unplucky," "too incautious," "too drunk," etc. But here we could only pity the poor fellows called to so deadly a task.
     In the capture of this Modoc castle there was no scope for what is known as "brilliancy and knightliness." The strategy of a Von Moltke, or impetuous valor of a Hotspur were alike inapplicable, nor was it possible to achieve here any of that class of bulky victories styled "glorious" which fill newspapers and are followed in due course of time by clerical hallelujahs.
On the contrary it was all cat-crouching and gliding--every soldier for himself--while the flinty jaggedness of the ground was such that individual soldiers could scarce keep themselves together as units; one limb straddled here, another there; and while thus sprawling to the assault, unseen rifles were leveled upon them with deadly aim. On the other hand, the Modocs were at home.
     They had hunted the wild sheep and the bear in these lava beds; now they were hunting men in the very same way. Their guns were thrust through chinks while they lay safely concealed. If they wished to peer above their breast-works they tied bunches of sage-brush around their heads.
     They were familiar with by-ways both over and under ground, and could at any time sink out of sight like squirrels among bowlders. Our bewildered soldiers heard and felt them shooting, now before them, now behind them, as they glided from place to place along fissures and subterranean passes, all the while maintaining a more perfect invisibility than that of modern ghosts. Modocs, like most other Indians, are about as unknightly as possible.
     The quantity of the moral sentiment developed in them seems infinitely small, and though in battle they appear incapable of feeling any distinction between men and beasts, even their savageness lacks fullness and cordiality.
    The few that have come under my own observation had something repellant in their aspects, even when their features were in sunshine and settled in the calm of peace; when, therefore, they were crawling stealthily in these gloomy caves, in and out on all fours, unkempt and begrimed, and with the glare of war in their eyes, they must have looked very devilish.
     Our guide led us through the mazes of the castle, pointing out its complicated lines of redoubts and redans, and our astonishment at the wild strength of the place was augmented at every turn.
     Captain Jack's cave is one of the many sombre mansions of the castle. It measures about 25 or 30 feet in diameter at the opening, and extends but a short distance in a horizontal direction. The floor is littered with bones and horns of the animals slaughtered for food during the war--a good specimen of a human home of the Stone Age.
     The sun shines freely into its mouth, and graceful bunches of grasses and eriognae and sage grow around it, redeeming it from all its degrading associations, and making it lovable notwithstanding its unfinished roughness and blackness. One of our party was a relic-seeker and we were unremitting in our endeavors to satisfy his cravings.
     Captain Jack's drinking-cup, fragments of his clothing, buttons, etc., were freely offered, but only gold watches or pistols said to have been plundered from the dead and hidden in some of these endless caves were sufficiently curious for his refined tastes. The lava beds are replete with phenomena of great geological interest.
     Here are true fissures from a few inches to 8 or 10 feet in width, abrupt and sheer-walled as the crevasses of glaciers, and extending continuously for miles. Miniature hills and dales also and lake basins and mountain ranges, whose formation is due neither to direct upheaval nor to erosion.
     Where the lava meets the lake there are some fine curving bays beautifully embroidered with rushes and polygonums, a favorite resort of waterfowl.
     Riding homeward we created a noisy plashing and beating of wings among the cranges and geese, but the ducks were more trustful and kept their places, merely swimming in and out through openings in the rushes, and rippling the glassy water on which the sun was beaming.
     The countenance of the lava beds became beautiful. Tufts of pale grasses, relieved on the jet-rocks, looked like bouquets on a mantel; besides, gray and orange lichens, cushions of green mosses appeared, and one tuft of tiny rock-fern. Bountiful Nature gives all this "beauty for ashes" in this sombre region of volcanic fire.

     [Editor's Note: The Daily Evening Bulletin (San Francisco, CA) began with scattered issues in 1855 and runs into May 1895. In May 1895, this paper changed its name to The Bulletin and the run continues under that name until 19 Sep 1928. On 20 Sep 1928, another name change occurred; the paper's name becoming the San Francisco Bulletin by which name it continued until 28 Aug 1929. On 29 Aug 1929, the San Francisco Bulletin merged with the San Francisco Call & Post and became the Call Bulletin by which name it continued until Aug 1959. Another San Francisco paper, San Francisco Journal of Commerce [Sep 1920 - Jun 1924] merged with the Bulletin in Jun 1924. The Journal had been know as the Daily Journal of Commerce from Jan 1872 into Sep 1920.]  

September 10, 2001
The Truth About
Indian Removal and
the Making
of National Park Policy
By Howard Hobbs, Ph.D
Yosemite News & Nature Notes Publisher Since 1959

    YOSEMITE VALLEY -- Indians and the American National Park "Wilderness" have been an important area of historical exploration for National Park visitors and writers of Park history.
    Ironically, the early day landscape artist, George Catlin, in 1833 depicted a "wilderness park" where tourists could come and see the Indian "...In his classic attire, galloping his horse ... amid the fleeting herds of elks and buffaloes."
     Catlin's artistic vision of the "shared" wilderness for Indians, Nature, and European settlers was not to be. Probably because of the fierce Indian wars in the Southwest and the Mexican War that preceded the changing American idea of wealth and private property which made possible westward expansion and destruction of the wilderness. For example the Indian removal from Yellowstone National Park in 1872 is an example of the ultimate cultural conflict intensified by the National Park Service as removing the Native American Indian population in order to 'preserve' nature!
    Beginning in the late 1870s, the National Park Service officials began to act on the belief that the presence of Indians in the parks frightened tourists and depleted hunting by Indian practices such as use of fire and destruction of wild game.
     One such case is well documented. The Blackfeet Indians used the Montana mountains and prairie for gathering lodge poles for their houses and to fence in wild horses. They hunted game, and gathered plants important for food and spiritual ceremonies. But, there was famine in 1895 and the Blackfeet were persuaded to sell their homeland to the United States government. In the fine print of the agreement, the Blackfeet were to receive $1.5 million is U.S. Coin in exchange for tribal members giving up their absolute right to the land, which they could use for fishing, hunting, and timber collection " long as the wind blows, the grass grows, and the sky is blue...".
    Unfortunately, only a decade later, in 1910, the Blackfeet ancestral homeland became a major portion of what would be called, "Glacier National Park."
     In violation of the terms of the 1895 agreement, National Park Service officials prevented the Blackfeet from free access to the land and prohibited their use the natural resources, as well.
     The Blackfeet Nation then took the National Park Service into the U.S. Court of Claims, and the U.S. District Court in Montana. What followed was the enactment by the U.S.Congress of The Indian Reorganization Act. [U.S. Code, Sec. 461.] It provided for the allotment of land on Indian reservations. By June 18, 1934, however, no more land of any Indian reservation, created or set apart by treaty or agreement with the Indians, Act of Congress, Executive order, purchase, or otherwise, could be allotted to any Indian.
   This is the administrative and cultural nightmare that preceded the expulsion of the Awahneechee Tribe from Yosemite Valley in 1851 by a local Mariposa posse.
    No doubt, the Ahwahneeche's felt just as the Blackfeet, as the Ahwahneechee customs held that the Creator had given the Valley to them to protect from the beginning of the World.
    In time, however the Awahneechee tribe were force to seek their livelihood not from the bounty of Yosemite's wilderness, bur from a new kind of survival derived from tourist gratuities in hotels lobbies or fees paid for service as trail guides, or earnings from sales of blackberries, fresh trout, and baskets to visitors.
     They also performed tribal rituals at "Yosemite Indian Field Days," an annual display of the Miwok Material Culture. During these presentations, tribal members would humiliate themselves before appreciative audiences and to please Yosemite National Park Service officials who were only aiming for increased Park attendance..
        [Editor's Note: An interesting an authoritative account of dispossessing of Native American Indians from their home lands by the U.S. Government, and the significant role played by The National Park Service, please see the excellent book, "Dispossessing the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of the National Parks" by Mark David Spence, published by : Oxford University Press, 1999. 200 pp. Illustrations, maps, bibliographic references, and index. $35.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-19-511882-0]  

Ahwahnee Lore

May 8, 1968
A Yosemite Miwok Heritage
Lost to Disease in 1800
Never Fully Regained

Researched By The Yosemite News Staff

    YOSEMITE -- Ahwahnee, Mariposa County, located on 10 acres of unsectioned land in Yosemite Valley, is one-half mile west of Yosemite Village. The westbound section of the valley loop off Highway 140 borders it on the north. The site is fairly flat, carpeted with grass and pine needles, and parkland woods border it to the south and east. Vegetation in the area consists of mixed conifers, an abundance of oak trees, and manzanita.
     A number of coarse granite outcroppings in the area contain cupules or grinding holes, which are circular depressions formed by grinding or pecking with a stone pestle over a long period of time. Also on the site are the razed remnants of 15 cabins, built by the National Park Service in 1930 to house Yosemite Indians who had never vacated the valley. Indians first entered the Yosemite region more than 4,000 years ago.
     They were the ancestors of the present-day Miwok people , who established themselves in permanent villages along the Merced River as far east as the Yosemite Valley.
     They called the valley "Ahwahnee," which, it is said, means "deep grassy valley." These native people were a small part of the Interior California Miwoks, which included, in ancient times, about 9,000 people who were closely related in language and culture.
     They lived in the western foothills and lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada, and their lives revolved around hunting, gathering, and fishing. They traveled to the high country each spring and summer to follow deer herds and to trade with Mono Lake Paiutes from the east side of the Sierra, returning in the fall to their homes in the lower elevations.
     "A fatal black sickness" swept through The Yosemite Miwok people. This is thought to have been a from of pneumonic plague most often transmitted from species of squirrels. The last occurrence of transmissions from squirrels and rats to people, or people to people in the United States occurred in 1924 in in Los Angeles. In that epidemic there were 32 cases of pneumonic plague with 31 fatalities.
     Since then there have been around 16 cases a year in the United States, most connected with rock squirrels and its common flea Oropsylla montana. The illness forced the the Miwok tribe to leave their villages in about 1800. Survivors of the sickness affiliated themselves with neighboring tribes, leaving Yosemite Valley uninhabited for many years. As a child, Chief Tenaya heard stories about the deep, grassy valley that had once been his people's home, and he decided to return there with his band.
     By 1833, Tenaya was back in the valley living peacefully with his people. In 1850, non-Indian gold seekers began to come into Yosemite, followed by cattle ranchers who moved into the area around Mariposa. The intruders upset the balance of the Indians' subsistence pattern. Tenaya's tribe came to be known as "Yosemites," a corruption of "Uzumati," [yozmite] which means grizzly bear, probably called such after the bear clan of Tenaya's Ahwahneechees. In January 1851, the Mariposa Battalion organized in an attempt to subdue Tenaya's people and bring them to reservations in the Fresno area. After a surprise attack and the capture of an Indian rancheria on the South Fork of the Merced River, Chief Tenaya received a messenger who carried a demand that he sign a treaty, quitclaim the Yosemite lands, and leave for the reservation on the Fresno River.
     Tenaya refused and was told that his entire tribe would be killed. He finally agreed to bring his people into custody, but when the battalion found only 72 Yosemites, most of whom were women and children, they became suspicious and traveled into the valley, a place the army had not yet seen.
    Once the battalion arrived in the valley, they were awestruck and astonished by its overpowering beauty. Tenaya was a prisoner in his own land more than once, but he and his followers were never totally subdued, and they never signed a treaty.
     After an appeal, Tenaya returned to Yosemite and died there, a free man. Tenaya's descendants received allotments for the acreage of the village site, and by 1930, they were living in 15 cabins provided for them by the National Park Service.
    When the park service decided to expand the Sunnyside Campground, the villagers had to move to other quarters. In the 1960's the Ahwahneecheeswere still carying on their traditional ceremonies, dances, and food collecting. Women were collecting and grinding acorns, and making willow and sedge baskets. Mrs. Julia Parker, a Pomo Indian who married a Yosemite Miwok, says that the village is the people's link to the old life.     
     In the last decade Native Californian cultures have been somewhat restored in NPS recognition. The recent revitalization of these cultures has generated an intensive search for any and all records of earlier times. Native people are now the most interested and dedicated users of these ethnographic collections.
     Alfred Kroeber's photographs have been given a relevance and active use that would probably have surprised but not displeased him.Although Kroeber is universally regarded as the founder of California Indian Studies, his important use of the camera as an ethnographic tool is virtually unknown. In fact, Kroeber was one of the first anthropologists to photograph California Native peoples.
     California has never attracted as many photographers as other regions of Native America, such as the Southwest. Most likely, this was due to the rapid depopulation and massive acculturation. By the time of Kroeber's fieldwork at the turn of the century, there were comparatively few Native people left in the state, and from a naive, "Anglo" perspective, they did not look particularly Native.
    Most of the earliest surviving photographs of the California Indian are by a handful of professional photographers. In the fall of 1892, Henry W. Henshaw photographed the Pomo living near Ukiah for the Smithsonian's Bureau of American Ethnology.
     With these pictures, Henshaw became probably the first California Indian photographer who made his living as an anthropologist -although his training had been in biology. Several years later, Roland Dixon, a Harvard graduate student working for the American Museum of Natural History, began to photograph the Maidu in 1899.
     About the same time, Pliny Goddard, a Quaker missionary among the Hupa, was also taking pictures, which he later published as an anthropologist at the University of California. Finally, in 1901, just before Kroeber joined the University, Dr. Philip M. Jones took a series of Californian Indian pictures for Phoebe Hearst, the founder of the University's Museum of Anthropology.
     When Alfred Kroeber first arrived in California in the summer of 1900, he was still in the middle of research for the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Born in 1876, Kroeber had grown up in Manhattan and attended Columbia University. While a graduate student in the late 1890s, he came under the influence of Franz Boas, who initiated him into anthropology. During the summers of 1899, 1900, and 1901, Kroeber made three collecting trips to the Arapaho and other Plains tribes, sponsored by the American Museum. We know that he used a camera on these expeditions, but the photos do not seem to have survived.
     In August 1900, Kroeber was appointed Curator of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. After six weeks spent reviewing the collections, Kroeber set out on a collecting trip, first to the north and the Yurok, Hupa, Karuk around the Klamath River and then south to the Mohave. As the Academy could not afford to pay for collections, which were usually donated, he left by Christmas.
     In late spring of the following year, Kroeber was offered a position in the new museum and department of Anthropology at the University of California, then being formed under the patronage of Phoebe Apperson Hearst. At its inception, the program's mission was collecting and research; teaching was to be postponed. At the museum, Kroeber began with an unspecified curatorial position and was officially appointed curator in 1908; he became the Museum's director in 1925. 8 His initial academic position was that of instructor (1901-06), although he did not start teaching until spring of 1902. 9 Gradually, teaching occupied more of his time.
     Alfred Kroeber was overwhelmingly a literary person. He had been an English major in college, taking a master's in the subject in 1897. Accordingly, as an ethnographer his preferred subjects were language and myth, his preferred medium, pencil and notebook. Working, however, in an embracive, Boasian framework, Kroeber made use of mechanical recording devices--cameras and especially phonographs--to document Native life.
     Kroeber included texts (primarily in Native languages), ethnographic observations, sound recordings, artifacts, as well as photographs. All were discrete objects in some way, and all could ultimately be preserved in a museum or archives.
     Commenting on Kroeber's fieldwork methodology, historian Timothy Thoresen has noted that, "A trip that began with a search for baskets among the Yurok, for example, might well result also in notebooks full of lists of names for Yurok habitation sites with estimated population, information on house types, statements of both reported and observed practices, and several myths with comments on the informants."
     For Kroeber, however, the visual world of photographs and artifacts was secondary to the verbal realm of linguistic notes and texts (folklore), and an examination of his field work activity reveals that he spent relatively little time in artifact collecting, and even less in photography.
     Kroeber spent much of the first decade of his career in intensive fieldwork among the Indians of California. Though broad, this research was essentially shallow, at least during these early years. Confronted by the enormous cultural, social, and linguistic diversity of Native California, Kroeber's response was survey and mapping. As he noted to Boas in 1903, "virtually all of my field work has been essentially comparative." 15 In that year, this on-going work was formally institutionalized as the archaeological and Ethnological Survey of California, with the financial support of Phoebe Hearst. 16
     Kroeber's dedication to survey explains the great diversity of Native groups that he recorded in just a few short years, and it may have discouraged him from focusing on the minute and concrete aspects of culture best captured by the camera.Ultimately, in fact, photography could not answer the ethnological questions that Kroeber asked. His research was dedicated to the reconstruction of a Native past that no longer existed.
     As he explained in the preface to his summarizing Handbook of the Indians of California, his mission was to "reconstruct and present the scheme within which these native people in ancient and more recent times lived their lives. It is concerned with their civilization --at all events the appearance they presented on discovery, and whenever possible an unraveling, from such indications as analysis and comparison now and then afford, of the changes and growth of their culture."
      As most of Kroeber's fieldwork, especially of Californian peoples, was sponsored by the University of California, it is not surprising that all of his surviving original photographs are in the collections of the Hearst Museum of Anthropology, at the Berkeley campus.
      Kroeber took many pictures of scenery in Native territory, especially in the Klamath River area. Most of Kroeber's photographs of people were taken on his 1907 physical anthropology survey.
     While many are indeed the kinds of head shots, posed in linked frontal and profile pairs, that would be suitable for such a survey, many are of groups of children, whole figures shot from a distance, which would be of little use for any scientific investigation.
     Generally, people are dressed in their everyday, western attire; a few wear ceremonial regalia. Kroeber made no effort to photograph them in their ceremonial or traditional clothes. Many of the people Kroeber photographed were related; in separate shots he recorded generations of grandparents, parents, and children.
     At least on his 1907 survey, his photography was actually quite comprehensive; he was able to take pictures of 93 Hupa people (21 men, 14 women, and 58 children) out of a total population of 420.
    The photographs of Ishi are the largest body of Kroeber's portraits. He shared the photographic duties on the 1914 expedition with Dr. Saxton Pope, Ishi's friend and physician. Given Pope's keen interest in archery, it comes as no surprise that he took most of the pictures of Ishi using bow and arrow.
     While living in San Francisco, Ishi typically was dressed in trousers, shirt, jacket, and shoes. Although Ishi went up to Deer Creek in western clothing, Kroeber had him strip down for performances to be documented by the camera (sequences documenting fire-making, bow and arrow-making, hunting, fishing). In these images, Ishi wears a loin-cloth that he may never have worn before coming into the white man's world.
     Yahi men had formerly worn a variety of animal skin robes, blankets, and aprons. In fact, although Ishi and his family were attempting to flee from "civilization," he lived his entire life in a world formed by the white man. Along with glass-bottle projectile points and metal spoons, the Yahi of Ishi's time also used cloth hats and denim bags.
     Alfred Kroeber's most extensively illustrated publication is his summary reference work, the Handbook of the Indians of California. In the photographs, like the text itself, he supplements his own research with the work of his students and colleagues.
     Generally, Kroeber presented his images very closely to how he originally photographed them, with little cropping, enlargement, or retouching. In his captions, he used his pictures to construct an "ethnographic present." None of the people illustrated in the Handbook are identified by personal name, which were often known to Kroeber. For instance, pictures of Ishi shooting a bow and drilling fire are identified as "Yahi" instead of with Ishi's name.
     Alfred Kroeber's photographs have come to serve as some of our principal sources for the visual image of Native Californians. They were featured prominently in the major photographic album devoted to the subject, Almost Ancestors, as well as the recent magazine, News from Native California. Perhaps the most interesting and most extensive use of his pictures was by his widow, Theodora Kroeber, in her influential biography of Ishi. 41 Relying heavily on the 1914 Deer Creek series, Mrs. Kroeber followed her husband's lead in situating Ishi as a pre-contact aborigine, further contributing to the creation of a mythical, in fact, timeless, "ethnographic present."

            [Editor's Note: In addition to Alfred Kroeber's visual anthropology, his interests include museology, the history of anthropology, and the art and culture of Indians of Western North America. Published in American Indian Culture and Research Journal vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 15-32 (1996) also see, Alfred Kroeber and Samuel A. Barrett, Fishing Among the Indians of Northwestern California (University of California Anthropological Records 21, 1960), 152, and T. Kroeber, Ishi in Two Worlds. Click here to download the free Miwok Research Literature Bibliography.]  

May 1, 2001
You Can Take Indians Out of Yosemite
But You Can't Take Yosemite Out of the Indians

By Howard Hobbs, Ph.D.
Yosemite News Publisher

    YOSEMITE -- The definition of wilderness found in the 1964 Wilderness Act is simply stated as that "place where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." In Yosemite National Park there has been a century-old discussion of Yosemite Miwok's relationship to the "wilderness".
     It has been argued that after the War of 1812 and before the Civil War American romanticism of an Indian wilderness set the stage for the romanticized "national park" which in 1833, the painter George Catlin's depicted as a place where tourists could come and see the Indian "in his classic attire, galloping his horse ... amid the fleeting herds of elks and buffaloes."
    Catlin's vision of romanticism for an Indian wilderness was quite common during the first half of the nineteenth century. By that time many Americans had begun to travel and to witness the vast Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River as an artifact to be preserved. In fact, Indian Territory began to function as if a national recreation area for writers, artists, and international travelers.
     Catlin's argument for the preservation of the Indian wilderness laid the groundwork for the concept of an outdoor cultural museum and wild animal park. In time, the political will for such a government venture surfaced.
     It was the emergence of the ideology of Manifest Destiny, emerging from The Mexican War and the molding of public opinion in subsequent Indian wars on the Plains that shifted the balance. That coupled with westward expansion changed Americans' notions about Indians and wilderness and recreation.
     However by the late Nineteenth Century the strategy of an Indian-free wilderness swept through official government offices in Washington D.C. With the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 the Indian removal in Yellowstone was being justified on grounds that removing a native population was necessary in order to "preserve nature."
     Thus, the ideal of a pure nature became the model for other national parks. The story of the Yosemite Miwok and their expulsion from Yosemite Valley is directly tied to that policy. However, the Ahwahneechee Indians' original removal from the Valley coincided with the "discovery" of Yosemite in 1851 by state militias.
    The Mariposa Battalion militia unceremoniously expelled the Indians from the Valley. After the militia had departed, the Miwok Awhaneechee tribe quietly returned.
     For the Ahwahneechee, the Valley, which they believed had been given to them by the Creator at the beginning of time, served as a rich storehouse of acorns, fish, plants, and deer. The Valley uplands provided some protection from newly arrived prospectors and settlers on the Valley floor.
     The Awahneechee and the other Yosemite Miwok who had survived for thousands of years on the park's natural bounty, would soon learn to survive on tourist dollars, especially after the Valley grew in popularity during the last third of the Nineteenth Century.
     Male and female Yosemite Miwok worked for the hotels, served as guides, and sold berries and freshly caught fish to visitors, but they also made a living selling "authentic" Miwok material culture.  They danced, sang, told fortunes, and sold baskets, all of which generated profit because early tourists still "associated Indians with wilderness".
     In the Twentieth Century, the National Park Service capitalized on this lingering nostalgia for Indians by staging "Indian Field Days," an annual event in which the government paid Yosemite Miwok to put on Plains Indians regalia, weave baskets and ride horses in Yosemite Valley meadows. The staging of the Yosemite Miwok increased Park visitation during the Autumn when attendance was otherwise quite low.
    By the 1930s, the status of Yosemite Miwok was put at risk by the NPS to drive the remaining Yosemite Indians out of their permanent residences on the valley floor. The Park Service relocated the Indians to new dwellings, increased the rent, enforced new rules, and evicted those who did not work for the NPS.
     Yosemite Miwok went to court to hold onto their land. But, the NPS used the power and force of arms to drive Indian residents out of their homes, house by house. NPS officials destroyed the remaining homes of the Yosemite Miwok during a fire-fighting drill in 1969.
   The story of Yellowstone Indians followed the same pattern. The Yellowstone Indian "wilderness," can be traced back to Paleo-Indians, Shoshone, Bannock, and Mountain Crow in the middle third of the nineteenth century.
     Indian groups used the area of the Yellowstone Park for collecting obsidian, hunting, plant gathering, and vision quests, and Indians left offerings at these sites and used thermal energy for cooking.
    Starting in the late 1870s, Yellowstone Park officials and the U.S. military produced drove Indians to leave the area. Park officials believed that the presence of Indians scared away tourists, especially after widespread publicity of an 1877 encounter between park tourists and bands of Nez Perce fleeing the U.S. Army. Park officials also blamed Indian hunting and fires for the destruction of wilderness and game.
   The Blackfeet Indians didn't fare any better at their mountainous Montana landscape where theft had gathered plants, hunted, and collected timber for the construction of cabins and corrals.
     The Blackfeet, facing starvation, agreed in 1895 to sell "the backbone of the world" to the United States government for $1.5 million, with the stipulation that tribal members could use the ceded land for fishing, hunting, and timber collection. It is this land that would, in 1910, become the eastern half of Glacier National Park.
    In violation of the terms of the 1895 agreement, NPS officials tried to prevent the Blackfeet from using the natural resources of their former homeland and even made several unsuccessful attempts to lay claim to even more Blackfeet land. The Blackfeet went to the U.S. District Court in Montana, the U.S. Court of Claims, and the new political centralization authorized by the Indian Reorganization Act to fight NPS.
    While the discussion of Indian removal from the parks is well founded, most American visitors in Yosemite National Park approach the question "Where are the Yosemite Miwok?" with about the same level of apprehension as
they do in asking Rangers "Where's the cemetery?"

      [Editor's Note: Click here to download the free Miwok Research Literature Bibliography.] For another reliable reference source of information on the Yosemite Miwok people see, Indian Life Of The Yosemite Region: Miwok Material Culture, Barrett, S. A., Barrett, Samuel A., Joint Author Gifford, Edward W.].


Tuesday May 29, 2001

Indians of North America
Links To Cultural Background
By Yosemite News Research Staff


    YOSEMITE VALLEY - - The following links are provided as a public service by the to our reasder. The the content displayed by external links may or may not be current and cauhioin is advised.

Indian Tribes and Activists of the West

Alcatraz Occupation: The Story
The 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island is seen as a watershed event in contemporary Native American history.
This site provides a brief history of the occupation as documented in my book, "The Occupation of Alcatraz Island, Indian Self-determination and The Rise of Indian Activism
Alcatraz Occupaion in photographs
This collection of photographs and descriptions by Ilka Hartmann tell the story of the American Indian occupation
of Alcatraz Island through the eyes of those who made up the occupation force.
Alcatraz: The Story of American Indian Inmates
Written by Ranger Craig Glassner, this site tells of the Army's use of Alcatraz as the nation's first permanent military prison and focuses on the imprisonment of a number of Native Americans from 1873 to 1895.
Alcatraz: The Story of the Hopi Inmates, Part 1
This website is a joint project of the National Park Service and the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office.  The articles and photographs document an event connecting the history of the Hopi people and Alcatraz.  The story of the Alcatraz inmates is authored by Wendy Holliday, Historian with the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office.
Alcatraz: The Story of the Hopi Inmates, Part 2
In connection with Part 1 of this collection, this site traces the government's Indian policy and the effect it had on the people of Hopi in the late 19th century, culminating with the imprisonment of 19 Hopi men by the U. S. Army on Alcatraz Island in 1895.
The Native American Experience
Contains Photographs, drawings, maps and short descriptions chroniclizing the experiences of the Native American population dating from the first migrations from Siberia (pre-1600) through recent experiences.
The Navajo (Din'e)
Photographer Ilka Hartmann's collection of photographs taken in 1971 on the Navajo Reservation.
Theodore De Bry Copper Plate Engravings
A collection of images and descriptions depicting early American life in the United States.
A gathering of North American Indian tribes at California State University, Long Beach on April 28, 1990.
Non-Federally Recognized Indian Tribes
Provides a state by state listing of all non-federally recognized American Indian tribes in the United States.

Indians of Central America and Mexico

Mystery of the Maya
An online exhibit from the Canadian Museum of Civilization and Digital Equipment of Canada, LTD. containing
an excellent presentation of Mayan culture.
The Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, Mexico
Information on the people, tourist info and pointers to other valuable sites.
Multicultural Film & Videos: Films on Mexican Indians

Related Links

Federally Recognized Indian Nations
A complete listing of Native Nations eligible to receive services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs
Spanish Exploration and Conquest of Native America
Hernando de Soto invaded Native America in the 1640s.  This site describes large Indian villages that existed at the time and the results of Spanish warfare and diseases.

American Indian Studies General Reading List
Prepared by the University of Arizona, this site provides an extensive reading list for anyone interested in American Indian issues.  The list was last revised in August 1998.

Pine Ridge vs. Whiteclay: June 24 to July 6, 1999.
A photo-documentary of the June/July 1999 confrontation between the Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge and the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska.  Two Pine Ridge men were found dead in a ditch
off the main road between Whiteclay, a town with a population of 22, four liquor stores, selling more than 4 million cans of beer a year.  Outraged over the murders, outraged about beer, and
outraged about long-standing land claims, Lakota tribal leaders decided that it was time to stand up and shout.
H-American Indian's FYI: Today's News
This site provides an up-to-date resource for what is hapening in Indian Country on a daily basis. If you want
to know what is happening today, this is the place to look!
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency: Indian Program
Information on the efforts to help build tribal capacity to manage Indian Country enviornmental programs and to insure that tribes have a voice in decisions that affect their lands.
On This Date In North American Indian History
This site lists over 3000 historical events which happened to or affected the indigeneous peoples of North
America. The site also has tribal name meanings and alternative names as well as links to many other sites.
Tribes, State, and Government Agencies
Do not miss this site! This is an excellent research and resource site full of great information and updated often.
Index of Non-federally recognized Indian tribes that have applied for federal acknowledgment
This site provides a list of non-federally recognized Indian tribes that have applied for federal acknowledgment regardless of the status of such request
Native American Images
This site is a non-commercial "web magazine" devoted to images of Native American people, places and mother earth.  The site includes both visual and word images and links to a
select group of exceptional Native American web sites.
Indigeneous Education Resources
The Directory of Indigeneous Education Resources is an updated version of the 1993 plublication, the Directory of Native Education Resources in the Far West Region.  This vesion
coincides with the recent release of a new national directory and includes listings such as Head Start, Child Care, Title IX programs and Johnson O'Malley contractors in Arizona,
California, Utah, and Nevada.
Native American Cultural resources in Southern California
An award winning site that provides an extensive listing of Native American organizations and cultural events
in Southern California
North American Cultural/Ethnic Resources in Southern California
Provides a listing of colleges and cultural research and resource centers in Southern California. Included also
are private Native organizations and powwow schedules.
Native American Literature and History
An excellent archive of Native American history and literature, including course syallabus
Lisa Mitten's Homepage
Provides acces to home pages of individual Native Americans and to other sites that provide solid information
about American Indians
Little SpiritHawk's Homepage
LittleSpiritHawk is a non profit organization operated by Native Americans.  Its primary purpose is to build and maintain an inter-tribal ceremonial and cultural center in the northern San Joaquin Valley of California.
Native American Support Group
The Native American Support Group of New York City was founded in 1988 to present issues of Native
Americans from the United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. In October 1977 NASG added International issues
as well.
The Student Council of Inter-Tribal Nations (S.C.A.N.)
Recounts the forming of the Student Council of American Natives at San Francisco State University and later
the Student Kouncil of Inter-Tribal Nations (S.K.I.N.S.) Includes interesting information on the 1969
American Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island and Richard Oakes, one of the student leaders of the occupation.
National Museum of The American Indian Film and Video Center
This site includes general information on the Film and Video Center and its resources. The site also showcases monthly featured artisits and upcoming Native American Film Fideo Festivals.
Bureau of Indian Affairs Web Site, Washington, D.C.
A guide to Indian affairs including tribal services, government trust responsibility, listing of tribal leaders,
how to trace Indian ancestry and more.
The Mascot Issue: Indians Are People, Not Mascots
This page is intended to be a compilation of web sites and writings on the issue of Indian mascots used by
sports teams.
Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center
This site makes the Resource Center's publications on Native American public health issues available to the community at large. The internship program will also be of interest to students and others who may want to
serve as advocates at the women's shelter.
Official Web Site For The American Indian Church
Information on the American Indian Church, Nataive American Information, Walking the Wellness Path
Home, Honoring the Earth Campaign, and Whitewolf's Photo Gallery
O'SIYO: First National Bulletin Board
An A-Z alphabetical listing of information/sites dealing with significant American Indian Issues
Images of masks, and masks from around the world
Spirit of The Wolf
This site is intended to be a place of reflection on the words of the First Peoples. Includes quotes from Chief
Seattle, Tecumseh, Chief Joseph, and others.
Native American Authors
This site contains the names of about 400 authors, nearly 900 books, and about 275 websites relating to
native American people
Storytellers: Native American Authors Online
This site is devoted to showcasing the work of Native American authors, primarily those living and writing
Native Tech
Devoted to presenting Native American technology and art.
Native Web
An excellent resource organized by subject, geographic regions and cultures.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
A presentation of nineteen Pueblo communities.
Black Indians & Intertrbial Native American Associations
Decicated to Intertribal Native Americans with a special interest in the Native-African-Indian communities
The Powwow Editions
Photographer Ben Marra's collection of Powwow photos.
Provincial Museum Of Alberta
Programs of interest to all age levels. Some of the finest human and natural hisory colletions
Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project
This site offers access to the full texts of selected legal documents. Among these are Constitutions, Tribal
Codes, Charters, Indian Land Titles, and summaries of recent U.S. Supreme Court cases that have involved
or affected Native American people.
Legislative Impact
This site was created to serve as a consolidated legislative research resource for Indian County. The site
contains Congressional Bills, pending legislation, Congressional contacts, as well as a directory for
members of the U. S. House of Representatives, and the U. S. Senate
Teaching Indigeneous Languages
Contains teaching and other educational resources for  stabilizing and teaching indigeneous languages.  Includes excellent
materials on revitalizing, teaching, and stabilizing indigeneous languages, American Indian Links,  bilingual/ESL links,
literacy/readings links, multicultrual education links, and education links, general.

Tribe and Nation Homepages

Native American Sites
Home pages of individual Native Nations as well as links to Indian educational resources and
Native organizations.
Indian Circle Web Ring
Indian Circle is a ring connecting the internet web pages of federally recognized Indian Tribe.  An excellent resource!
A Line in the Sand
Cultural property belonging to various cultural groups.
Arctic Circle
This site provides resources on the indigenous peoples of Alaska, Canada, Northwest Siberia with a focus
on the natural resources, history and culture, social equity and environmental justice of the region.
Abenaki of Mazipskwik and Related Bands
This site is devoted to the cutural history, and presevation, of the traditional Abenakis of Mazipskwik
Dakota Culture and History
The original homeland of the Dakota people during historic times was in Minnesota. The dialect changed as
the Dakota people moved West. Visit this site for an introduction to Dakota Culture and History.
Illini Confederation
Confederation of the Hileni, or Illiniwe, the Peovia, Kaskaskia, Tamaroa, Cahokia and Michigamea. This
site provides an overview of these Illinois people.
Iroquois Infomation Links
This site provides an extensive listing of links to infomation such as Iroquois Treaties, Wampum Belts
and Treaties, Corn and the Indians of the Northeast, General Iroquois information, The Iroquois
Constitution, the Iroquois and the U.S./Canadian Border, and much more.
Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation Home Page
The history of the Taino Nation of the Caribbean from October 11, 1492 to the present.
Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Band of New Jersey
The history of the Taino Nation of New Jersey from October 11, 1492 to the present.
The Lumbee Indians
This site is a resource guide to the musical and religious history and traditions of the Lumbee Indians of
Robeson County, North Carolina.
Ojibway Culture and History
An introduction to Ojibway Culture and History
The Ohlone/Costanoan Media Gallery
Contains video and sound clips with songs and cultural material on the Ohlone and Costanoan people of
North America.
Oneida Indian Nation Home Page
The Oneida Indian Nation, one of the original members of the Iroquois Confederacy, enjoys a unique role
in America's history. Read and learn about the Oneida Indian Nation on this excellent site.
Oneida Indian Nation Cultural Center, the Shako:Wi Project
Excellent images of artifacts on display in the Cultural Center.
Seminole Tribe of Florida
This site is dedicated to the rich history and culture of the Florida Seminole Indians
Southern New Jersey Taino Tribe of Jatibanuco
This site tells the History and gives information on the Jatibanuco people (Taino Tribe)
Stockbridge Munsee Tribe of Mohican Indians
Provides an overview of the history, culture, and language of the Muh-he-ka-ne-ok,
Stockbridge MunseeTribe of Mohican Indians
Tekesta Taino Tribal Band of Bimini Florida
The history of the Taino Nation of the Caribbean from October 11, 1492 to the present.
Tlingit National Anthem
From Alaska's Tongass web sites. Covers Alaska Tlingit history, current issues, culture, Alaska
Natives Online and additional Native American resources.
Town Creek Indian Mound
This site presents the Native American Legacy found at the Town Creek Indian Mound
Yupik Eskimo Home Page From Toksook Bay, Alaska
Live photos from downtown Anchorage, or Learn to speak Yup'ik Eskimo

 Sharpen your Tools at A1 Sharpening in Clovis - click her
Nature Notes
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
     -- John Muir, 1901

We Salute America's Vets
San Joaquin Valley
National Cemetery

Yosemite Poster circa 1925

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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Fire Safety Reminder
Smokey the Bear - click here
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