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BANCROFT
LIBRARY

O

THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA



INDIANS.

OFTH




BY GALE



INDIANS

OF

THE YOSEMITE VALLEY
AND VICINITY

Thier History, Customs and Traditions

BY
GALEN CLARK

Author of "Big Trees of California," Discoverer of the Mariposa
Grove of Big Trees, and for many years Guardian
of the Yosemile Valley.

With an Appendix

of
Useful Information for Yosemite Visitors



ILLUSTRATED BY

CHRIS. JORGENSEN

AND FROM PHOTOGRAPHS



YOSEMITE VALLEY, CALIFORNIA

GALEN CLARK

1910



Copyright 1904, by Galen Clark.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

FOURTH EDITION



Press of

Reflex Publishing Company
Redondo Beach, Cal.



BANCROFT
LIBRARY



TO MY FRIEND

CHARLES HOWARD BURNETT



Contents



INTRODUCTION AND SKETCH OF THE

AUTHOR ix

CHAPTER

I. EARLY HISTORY 1

II. EFFECTS OF THE WAR 14

III. CUSTOMS AND CHARACTERISTICS 21

IV. SOURCES OF FOOD SUPPLY 31

V. RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES AND BELIEFS. . 49

VI. NATIVE INDUSTRIES 67

VII. MYTHS AND LEGENDS 76

APPENDIX:

Hints to Yosemite Visitors 101

Official Table of Distances and Livery

Charges 105

Supplementary Table of Distances 107

Interpretation of Indian Names 107

Tables of Altitudes 110

Names of Indian Numerals Ill

Indian Words^ in Common Use Ill

Tribes Placed on Reservations in 1850-51.. . 112



of Illustrations



COVER DESIGN Mrs. Jorgensen

FRONTISPIECE, GALEN CLARK . .Taber

PAGE

YOSEMITE FALLS, Fiske 3

AN INDIAN DANCER, Boysen 8

THREE BROTHERS, Foley 13

CAPTAIN PAUL, Foley 17

YOSEMITE MOTHER AND PAPOOSE, Boysen 20

INDIAN O'-CHUM, Jorg-ensen 25

YOSEMITE MAIDEN IN NATIVE DRESS, Jorg-ensen 27

A YOSEMITE HUNTER, Jorgensen 32

INDIAN SWEAT HOUSE, Jorg-ensen 34

CHUCK'-AH, Mrs. Jorg-ensen 39

HO'- YAS AND ME-TATS', Fiske 42

A WOOD GATHERER, Fiske 47

A YOUNG YOSEMITE, Dove 53

LENA AND VIRGIL, Boysen 55

OLD KALAPINE, Boysen 62

YOSEMITE BASKETRY, Boysen 66

MRS. JORGENSEN'S BASKETS.. . 68



viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE

INDIAN BEAD WORK, Fiske 70

A BASKET MAKER, Boysen 73

MARY, Boysen 79

HALF DOME, Foley 84

A BURDEN BEARER, Fiske 88

NORTH DOME, Foley 91

EL CAPITAN, Foley 93

BRIDAL VEIL FALL, Fiske 97






Airtfjnr

ALEN CLARK, the author of this little
volume, is one of the notable char-
acters of California, and the one best fitted
to record the customs and traditions of the
Yosemite Indians, but it was only after
much persuasion that his friends succeeded
in inducing him to write the history of these
interesting people, with whom he has been
in close communication for half a century.

The Indians of the Yosemite are fast
passing away. Only a handful now remain
of the powerful tribes that once gathered
in the Valley and considered it an absolute
stronghold against their white enemies.
Even in their diminished numbers and their
comparatively civilized condition, they are
still a source of great interest to all visi-
tors, and it has been suggested many times
that their history, customs and legends
should be put in permanent and convenient
form, before they are entirely lost.

Many tales and histories of the California
Indians have been written by soldiers and



x INTRODUCTION.

pioneers, but Mr. Clark has told the story
of these people from their own standpoint,
and with a sympathetic understanding of
their character. This fresh point of view
gives double interest to his narrative.

Galen Clark comes of a notable family;
his English ancestors came to the State of
Massachusetts in the seventeenth, century,
but he is a native of the Town of Dublin,
Cheshire County, New Hampshire, born on
the 28th day of March, 1814, and is conse-
quently nearly ninety years of age, but still
alert and active in mind and body.

He attended school in his early youth
during the winter months, and worked on
a farm during the summer, leading nearly
the same life which was followed by sc
many others who afterwards became fa-
mous in our country's history.

Later in life he learned chair-making anc
painting, an occupation which he followec
for some years, when he removed to Phih
delphia and subsequently toNewYorkCitj

Whilst residing in New York, in 1853, he
resolved, after mature reflection, to visit
the new Eldorado. His attention was first
.attracted to this State by visiting the cek



INTRODUCTION. xi

brated Crystal Palace in New York, where
there was then on exhibition quantities of
gold dust which had been sent or brought
East by successful miners.

Mr. Clark left New York for California
in October, 1853, coming via the Isthmus
of Panama, and in due time reached his
destination. In 1854 he went to Mariposa
County, attracted thither by the wonderful
accounts of the gold discoveries, and the
marvelous stories he had heard of the
grandeur and beauty of the Yosemite Val-
ley and the surrounding mountains.

Upon his first arrival in Mariposa, he
engaged in mining, and was also employed
to assist in surveying Government land on
the west side of the San Joaquin Valley,
and canals for mining purposes, some of
which passed through the celebrated
"Mariposa Grant," the subject of pro-
longed and bitter litigation, both in this
country and in Europe. He probably knows
more about the actual facts concerning the
Mariposa Grant than any one now living,
and it is to be hoped that some day he may
overcome his natural repugnance to notor-



xii INTRODUCTION.

iety, and give to the public the benefit of
his knowledge.

In the year 1855 Mr. Clark made his first
trip into the Yosemite Valley with a party
made up in Mariposa and Bear Valley.

Eeturning to Mariposa, he resumed his
old occupation of surveying and mining,
and, whilst so engaged, by reason of ex-
posure, had a serious attack of lung trou-
ble, resulting in severe hemorrhages which
threatened to end his life.

He then removed, in April, 1857, to the
South Fork of the Merced Eiver, and built
a log cabin in one of the most beautiful of
our mountain valleys, on the spot where
Wawona now stands. He soon recovered
his health entirely, and, though constantly
exposed to the winter storms and snows,
has never had a recurrence of his malady.

Wawona is twenty-six miles from Yosem-
ite, and at that time became known as
Clark's Station, being on the trail leading
from Mariposa to the Valley, and a noted
stopping place for travelers. This trail, as
well as the one from Coulterville, was com-
pleted to the Valley in 1857, and the trip to






INTRODUCTION. xiii

Yosemite then involved a stage ride of
ninety-two miles, and a journey of sixty
miles more on horseback. In 1874 and!875
the three present stage roads were con-
structed through to the Valley.

All travelers by the Eaymond route will
remember Wawona and the surroundings ;
the peaceful valley, the swift-flowing
.Merced, and the surrounding peaks and
mountains, almost equaling in grandeur
the famous Yosemite itself.

In the early days this locality was an-
nually visited by several bands of Indians
from the Chowchilla and Fresno rivers.
The Indian name for the place was Pal-
lah'-chun. Whilst residing there Mr. Clark
was in constant contact with these visiting-
tribes; be obtained their confidence, and
retains it to this day.

Whilst on a hunting trip, in the summer
of 1857, Mr. Clark discovered and made
known to the. public the famous Big Tree
Grove, now known all over the world as the
"Mariposa Grove of Big Trees," belonging
to the State of California. On this expedi-
tion he did not follow the route now
traveled, but came upon the grove at the



xiv - INTRODUCTION.

upper end, near the place where the road to
Wawona Point now branches off from the
main drive. The spot where he caught his
first view of the Big Trees has been appro-
priately marked, and can be seen from the
stage road.

So impressed was Mr. Glark with the im-
portance of his discovery, that he opened
up a good horse trail from Wawona to the
Trees, and shortly afterwards built a log
cabin in the grove, for the comfort and con-
venience of visitors in bad or stormy
weather. This cabin became known as
"Galen's Hospice."

In the year. 1864 the Congress of the
United States passed an Act, which was
approved in June of the same year, granting
to the State of California the "Yosemite
Valley" and the "Mariposa Grove of Big
Trees. ' ' This grant was made upon certain
conditions, which were complied with by
the State, and a Commission was appointed
by Governor Low to manage and govern
the Valley and the Big Tree Grove. Galen
Clark was, of course, selected as one of the
commissioners. He was subsequently ap-
pointed Guardian of the Valley, and under



INTRODUCTION. xv

his administration many needed improve-
ments were made and others suggested.
Bridges were built, roads constructed on the
floor of the Valley, and trails laid out and
finished to various points of interest over-
looking the Valley itself. In a word, the
Guardian did everything possible with the
limited means at his disposal.

After serving twenty-four years, Mr.
Clark voluntarily retired from the position
of Guardian, carrying with him the respect
and admiration of every member of the
Commission, of all the residents, of the
Valley, and of every visitor who enjoyed
the pleasure of his personal acquaintance.

As showing the opinion of those with
whom Mr. Clark was intimately and
officially associated for so long a time, the
following resolutions passed by the Board
of Commissioners upon his voluntary re-
tirement from the office of Guardian, are
herein given :

Whereas, Galen Clark has for a long number of
years been closely identified with Yosemite Valley,
and has for a considerable portion of that time been
its Guardian; and

Whereas, he has now, by his own choice and will,
relinquished the trust confided in him and retired into
private life; and



xvi . INTRODUCTION.

Whereas, his faithful and eminent services as Guar-
dian, his constant efforts to preserve, protect and
enhance the beauties of Yosemite; his dignified,
kindly and courteous demeanor to all who have come
to see and enjoy its wonders, and his upright and
noble life, deserve from us a fitting recognition and
memorial; Now, Therefore, be it

Resolved, That the cordial assurance of the appre-
ciation by this Commission of the efforts and labors
of Galen Clark, as Guardian of Yosemite, in its
behalf, be tendered and expressed to him.

That we recognize in him a faithful, efficient
and worthy citizen and officer of this Commission
and of the State; that he will be followed into his
retirement by the sincerest and best wishes of
this Commission, individually and as a body, for
continued long life and constant happiness.

The subject of this sketch is one of the
most modest of men; but perfectly self-
reliant, and always actively engaged in
some useful work. He has resided in the
Valley for more than twenty summers, and
has also been a resident during many win-
ters, and his descriptions of the Valley,
when wrapped in snow and ice, are intense-
ly interesting. Though always ready to give
information, he is naturally reticent, and
never forces his stories or reminiscences
upon visitors ; indeed it requires some per-
suasion to hear him talk about himself at
all.



INTRODUCTION. xvii

For some years Mr. Clark was post-
master of Yosemite ; and he has made many
trips on foot, both in winter and summer,
in and out of the Valley.

In September, 1903, this writer made a
trip through the high Sierras from Yosem-
ite, and, upon reaching the top of the Val-
ley, Mr. Clark was met coming down the
trail, having in charge a party of his
friends, amongst whom was a lady with her
two small children. This was at a point 2700
feet above the floor of the Valley, which is
itself 4000 feet above the level of the sea.

Needless to say, he is perfectly familiar
with all the mountain trails, and, notwith-
standing his great age, he easily makes
long trips on foot and horseback which
would fatigue a much younger man. Mr.
Clark is thoroughly familiar with the flora,
fauna and geology of the Valley and its
surroundings. His knowledge of botany is
particularly accurate, a knowledge gleaned
partly from books, but mainly from close
personal observation, the best possible
teacher.

His long residence in Yosemite has made
him familiar with every spot, his love for



xviii INTRODUCTION.

the Valley is deep and strong, and when lie
departs this life his remains will rest close
to the Yosemite Falls, in the little grave-
yard where other pioneers are buried.

With his own hands he has dug his grave,
and quarried his own tombstone from one
of the massive blocks of granite found in
the immediate neighborhood. His monu-
ment now rests in his grave, and when it is
removed to receive his remains, will be used
to mark his last resting place. His grave is
surrounded by a neat fence, and trees,
shrubs and vines, which he has himself
planted, grow around in great profusion.
In each corner of the lot is a young Sequoia.

May it be many years before he is called
to occupy his last earthly tenement.

W. W. FOOTE.
San Francisco,
February, 1904.



INDIANS OF THE
YOSEMITE



INDIANS OF THE
YOSEMITE



EARLY HISTORY.

During the past few years a rapidly
growing interest in the native Indians has
been manifested by a large majority of
visitors to the Yosemite Valley. They have
evinced a great desire to see them in their
rudely constructed summer camps, and to
purchase some articles of their artistic
basket and bead work, to take away as
highly prized souvenirs.

They are also anxious to learn something
of their former modes of life, habits and
domestic industries, before their original
tribal relations were ruthlessly broken up
by the sudden advent of the white popula-
tion of gold miners and others in 1850, and
the subsequent war, in which the Indians



2 INDIANS OF THE YOSEMITE.

were defeated, and, as a result, nearly ex-
terminated.

ORIGIN OF 'THE YOSEMITE INDIANS.

According to statements made by Teneiya
(Ten-eye'-ya*) chief of the Yosemites, to
Dr. L. H. Bunnell, and published by him in
his book on the " Discovery of the Yosem-
ite, M the original Indian name of the Valley
was Ah-wah'-nee, which has been translated
as "deep grassy valley, " and the Indians
living there were called Ah-wah-nee'-chees,
which signified "dwellers in Ah-wah'-nee. "

Many years ago, the old chief said, the
Ah-wah-nee'-chees had been a large and
powerful tribe, but by reason of wars and a
fatal black sickness, nearly all had been
.destroyed, and the survivors of the band
fled from the Valley and joined other tribes.

Foryears afterwards this locality was un-
inhabited, but finally Teneiya, who claimed
to be descended from an Ah-wah-nee'-ehee



* The Indian names are usually pronounced exactly
as spelled, with each syllable distinctly sounded,
and the principal accent on the penult, as in
Ah-wah'-nee, or the antepenult, as in Yo-sem'-i-te.
Where doubt might exist, the accent will be indi-
cated, or the pronunciation given in parenthesis.




J'Jiutofjrdph I))/ Fiske.

YOSEMITE FALLS (CHO'-LACK),

2,634 Feet.

Near the foot of these falls was located the vil-
lage of Ah-wah'-nee, the Indian capital and
residence of Chief Teneiya. There were eight
other villages in the Valley.



4 INDIANS OF THE YOSEMITE.

chief, left the Mo'nos, where he had been
born and brought up, and, gathering some
of his father's old tribe around him, visited
the Valley and claimed it as the birthright
of his people. He then became the founder
of a new tribe or band, which received the
name "Yo-sem'-i-te." This word signifies
a full-grown grizzly bear, and Teneiya said
that the name had been given to his band
because they occupied the mountains and
valley which were the favorite resort of the
grizzly bears, and his people were expert in
killing them ; that his tribe had adopted the
name because those who had bestowed it
were afraid of the grizzlies, and also feared
his band.

The Yosemites were perhaps the most
warlike of any of the tribes in this part of
the Sierra Nevada Mountains, who were, as
a rule, a peaceful people, dividing the terri-
tory among them, and indulging in few con-
troversies. In fact, these Indians in general
were less belligerent and warlike than any
others on the Pacific Coast. When difficul-
ties arose, they were usually settled peace-
fully by arbitration, in a grand council of



EARLY HISTORY. 5

the chiefs and head men of the tribes in-
volved, without resorting to open hostili-
ties.

OTHER TRIBES.

Other bands of Indians in the vicinity of
the Yosemite Valley were the Po-ho-nee'-
chees, who lived near the headwaters of the
Po-ho'-no or Bridal Veil Creek in summer,
and on the South Fork of the Merced'
Eiver in winter, about twelve miles below
Wawo'na; the Po-to-en'-cies, who lived on
the Merced River ; Wil-tuc-um'-nees, Tuol'-
umne River; Noot'-choos and Chow-chil'-
las, Chowchilla Valley; Ho-na'-ches and
Me'-woos, Fresno River and vicinity ; and
Chook-chan'-ces, San Joaquin River and
vicinity.

These tribes, including the Yosemites,
were all somewhat affiliated by common an-
cestry or by intermarriage, and were simi-
lar in their general characteristics and cus-
toms. They were all called by the early
California settlers, "Digger Indians," as a
term of derision, on account of their not
being good fighters, and from their practice
of digging the tuberous roots of certain
native plants, for food.



6 INDIANS OF THE YOSEMITE.

INDIAN WAR OF 1851.

Dr. Bunnell, in his book already referred
to, has given the soldiers' and white men's
account of the cause of the Indian war of
1851, but a statement of the grievances on
the part of the Indians, which caused the
uniting of all the different tribes in the
mining region adjacent to Yosemite, in an
attempt to drive the white invaders from
their country, has never been published,
and a brief account of these grievances
may be interesting.

AGGRESSIONS BY THE WHITE SETTLERS.

The first parties of prospecting miners
were welcomed by the Indians with their
usual friendliness and hospitality toward
strangers a universal characteristic of
these tribes, and the mining for gold was
watched with great interest. They soon
learned the value of the gold dust, and some
of them engaged in mining, and exchanged
their gold at the trading stations for
blankets and fancy trinkets, at an enormous
profit to the traders, and peace and good
feeling prevailed for a short time.



EARLY HISTORY. 7

The report of the rich gold "diggin's"
on the waters of. the Tuolumne, Merced,
Mariposa, Chowchilla, and Fresno Rivers,
soon spread, and miners by thousands came
and took possession of the whole country,
paying no regard to the natural rights or
wishes of the Indians.

Some of the Indian chiefs made the
proposition that if the miners would give
them some of the gold which they found in
their part of the country, they might stay
and work. This offer was not listened to by
the miners, and a large majority of the
white invaders treated the natives a's though
they had no rights whatever to be respected.
In some instances, where Indians had found
and were working good mining claims, they
were forcibly driven away by white miners,
who took possession of their claims and
worked them.

Moreover, the Indians saw that their
main sources of food supply were being
rapidly destroyed. The. oak trees, which
produced the acorns one of their staple
articles of food, were being cut down and
burned by miners and others in clearing up
land for cultivation, and the deer and other




,*-




Copyrighted Photograph i)ij Jtoiiscn.

AN INDIAN DANCER.
Chow-chil-la Indian in full war-dance costume.



EARLY HISTORY. 9

food game were being rapidly. killed off or
driven from the locality.

In the "early days/' before California
was admitted as a free State into the Union,
it was reported, and was probably true,
that some of the immigrants from the slave-
holding States took Indians and made
slaves of them in working their mining
claims. It was no uncommon event for the
sanctity of their homes and families to be
invaded by some of the "baser sort," and
young women taken, willing or not, for ser-
vants and wives.

RETALIATION.

In retaliation, and as some compensation
for these many grievous outrages upon
their natural inalienable rights of domain
and property, and their native customs, the
Indians stole horses and mules from the
white settlers, and killed them for food for
their families, who, in many instances, were
in a condition of starvation.

Finally the chiefs and leading men of all
tlie tribes involved met in a grand council
and resolved to combine their warrior forces
in one great effort to drive all their white
enemies from the country, before they
became more numerous and formidable.



10 INDIANS OF THE YOSEMITE.

BEGINNING OF HOSTILITIES.

To prepare for this struggle for exist-
ence, they made raids upon some of the
principal trading posts in the mining sec-
tions, killing those in charge, took all the
blankets, clothing and provisions they could
carry away, and fled to the mountains,
where they were soon pursued by the sol-
diers and volunteer citizens, and a spirited
battle was fought without any decisive ad-
vantage to either side.

The breaking out of actual hostilities
created great excitement among the whites,
and an urgent call was made upon the Gov-
ernor of the State for a military force to
meet the emergency, and protect the set-
tlers a force strong enough to thoroughly
subdue the Indians, and remove all of them
to reservations to be selected by the United
States Indian Commissioners for that
purpose.

Meantime the Governor and the Com-
missioners, who had then arrived, were
receiving numerous communications, many
of them from persons in high official posi-
tions, earnestly urging a more humane and
just policy, averring that the Indians had



EARLY HISTORY. 11

real cause for complaint, that they had been
"more sinned against than sinning 7 ' since
the settling of California by the whites, and
that they were justly entitled to protection
by the Government and compensation for
the spoliations and grievances they had
suffered.

These protests doubtless had some in-
fluence in delaying hostile measures, and in
the inauguration of efforts to induce the
Indians to come in and treat with the Com-
missioners, envoys being sent out to assure
them of fair treatment and personal safety.
Many of the Indians accepted these offers,
and, as the different tribes surrendered,
they were taken to the two reservations
which the Commissioners had established
for them on the Fresno River, the principal
one being a few miles above the place
where the town of Madera is now located.

As before stated, these Indians were not
a warlike people. Their only weapons were
their bows and arrows, and these they soon
found nearly useless in defending them-
selves at long range against soldiers armed
with rifles. Moreover, their stock of provi-



12 INDIANS OF THE YOSEMITE.

sions was so limited that they either had to
surrender or starve.

DISCOVERY OF YOSEMITE VALLEY.

The Yosemites and one or two other
bands of Indians had refused to surrender,
and had retreated to theirtnountain strong-
holds, where they proposed to make a last
determined resistance. Active preparations
were accordingly made by the State author-
ities to follow them, and either capture or
exterminate all the tribes involved. For
this purpose a body of State volunteers,
known as the Mariposa Battalion, was or-
ganized, under the command of Major
James D. Savage, to pursue these tribes
into the mountains; and, after many long
marches and some fighting, the Indians
were all defeated, captured, and, with their
women and children, put upon the reserva-
tions under strong military guard.

It was during this campaign that
Major Savage and his men discovered the
Yosemite Valley, about the 21st of March,
1851, while in pursuit of the Yosemites,
under old Chief Teneiya, for whom Lake
Teneiya and Teneiya Canyon have appro-
priately been named.




Pftotofjrapli lit Foley.

THREE BROTHERS ( WAW-HAW-KEE),
3,900 Feet.

Named by the soldiers who discovered the Val-
ley, to commemorate the capture of three
sons of Teneiya near this place. The Indian
name means "Falling Rocks."



(Eljapter

EFFECTS OF THE WAR.

The Yosemites and all of the other tribes
named in the previous chapter were put
upon the Fresno reservation. Major Sav-
age, who had been the leading figure in the


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