Talk:Plains and Sierra Miwok

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To do to improve[edit]

There isn't much I can say about this article because it is more than a start and there seems to be a fair amount on interest from the public to ensure this article keeps on growing. With that, I am giving it a B-Class assessment. However, if you want my opinions on how to improve this article, here are some:

  • Provide a map on the general historical territory of the Valley and Sierra Miwoks and their current community locations.
  • Explain how a Valley and Sierra Miwok culture is different from the other Miwok divisions.
  • Provide examples of similarities and differences.
  • Section stubs have been identified. Please begin developing those identified areas.

That is all. Keep up the good work!! CJLippert 20:18, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for the review and very insightful & helpful comments. Goldenrowley 21:30, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I am a member of the Miwok tribe, my ancestors were born on the indian reservation in the Yosemitie Valley in Northern California. --Commander667 12:22, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

There was no Indian Reservation in Yosemite Valley. There was a labor camp for the Indian employees of Yosemite, but no Indian Reservation. There were no Yosemite Miwok tribe. If you were an Indian and born in Yosemite after 1920 you were born in the Yosemite Indian village, which was a labor camp for the Indian employees. We have done the genealogy of the Yosemite Indians who lived in the Yosemite Indian employee village and there were no Miwoks in the group. Yosemite_Indian 02:23, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Southern Sierra Miwuk controversy[edit]

There was no proof that the Southern Sierra Miwoks were the first Indian people in Yosemite. In the unrevised verision of Lafayette Bunnell's first encounter of Chief Tenaya he wrote "Tenaya was the founder of the Pah-Ute colony of Awahnee". He also wrote that Chief Tenaya spoke a "Piute Jargon". Major Savage spoke Yokut and other tribal languages, but took a Monoache Indian to speak to Chief Tenaya. Here is the text from the first book written by those who first encountered Chief Tenaya.[1]"Ten-ie-ya was recognized, by the Mono tribe, as one of their number, as he was born and lived among them until his ambition made him a leader and founder of the Pai-Ute colony in Ah-wah-ne. His history and warlike exploits formed a part of the traditionary lore of the Monos. They were proud of his successes and boasted of his descent from their tribe, although Ten-ie-ya himself claimed that his father was the chief of an independent people, whose ancestors were of a different race." Which meant that the Ahwahnechees were from a totally seperate tribe. Not related to the Maidus, Yokuts, Washoes, and Miwoks.

Chief Tenaya was born at Mono Lake from a Paiute woman and lived there til he was an adult before returning to Yosemite. He returned to Yosemite with a couple of hundred people, including his Paiute wife and children. He did not return to Yosemite with a couple of hundred Miwoks. They were Paiutes.

If you read the Southern Sierra Miwok dictionary linked to the main page you will find the name "Yosemite". In their dictionary "Yosemite" means "They are Killers". That would indicate that the Miwoks were not on friendly terms with the Awahnees.[2]

When Tenaya was taken to the Fresno Reservation he told Savage "Why are you bringing me amongst my enemies". Those people were the Yokuts and Miwoks.

When Tenaya escaped the Fresno Reservation he did not escape to the Central Miwok area, but instead went back into Paiute area. If he was Miwok he would have went to his peoples homeland instead of those that the Miwoks had several battles with, the Paiutes.

History has been modified to change the real Native peoples of Yosemite into Miwoks when they were Paiutes.[3]

Kroeber, Merriam and others based their anthropology work on Stephen Powers who was a journalist for the Overland Monthly. Powers visited the area decades after the Ahwahneechees had been decimated and the survivoring Ahwahneechees had been absorbed into the Mono Lake Paiute population in 1853. He was speaking to the Miwok workers of the white settlers and gold miners. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Yosemite Indian (talkcontribs) Aug 4 2007.

That sounds reasonable and beleivable. Goldenrowley 03:39, 5 August

2007 (UTC)

Miwuk - Miwok name controversy[edit]

In the early 1920s many Native people living along the western Sierra Nevada from as far north as Lassen County and as far south as Fresno county were called "Diggers". To many Native Californians Digger was a very derogatory name. Around 1924 in Central California there was a ceremony called "The Burning of the Digger" where from then on the term Digger was never to used to classify themselves. During this same time C. Hart Merriam was pushing to change the title of Central Californians from Digger to the new name of Miwok. Merriam broadly put many tribes, even many Yokut tribes under the title of Miwok. Other Indians just automatically believed that Miwok was the new term for Digger.

If people were to look at the 1928-1929 California Indian Applications in northern Plumas and Lassen counties they would note that many Maidus were now classified as "Miwoks" even though they were in fact Maidus. Many of the those Indians in Northeastern California believed that the new term for themselves was Miwok as a replacement for the term Digger. That is why if you look at the 1928-1929 California Indian Applications you will see that an overwhelming amount of Maidus from Plumas and Lassen Counties were re-classified as Miwoks.

Later on elders of the Maidus of Plumas County went back and changed that. The Maidus went back to their original tribal name of Maidu instead of the incorrect Miwok.

The same thing did not happen in eastern Central California. They kept the erroneous Miwok title because there were benefits of calling oneself a Miwok, especially when white anthropologist like Kroeber and Hizer were telling them they were Miwoks. The benefits were better housing and jobs working for the park and forestry service during the Depression.

An anthropologist living in the area, Frank Latta, knew many of people and was in contact with them daily, unlike Merriam, Kroeber and Hizer who did not live in the area. Frank Latta documented that many of the writings of Merriam, Kroeber and Hizer were actually incorrect. The problem started when a journalist named Stephen Powers who was doing a series on all the Indians of California went to visit Indians living along the road that later turned into the 120 Hwy that leads to Sonora. He was only in the area for about a couple of days. Powers did not live in the area. Powers did not know by then many Miwoks and Yokuts had moved up from the Central Valley to work for white gold miners and settlers. The original Indians of Yosemite and Hetch Hetchy had already met their fate or they were pushed out. Meanwhile the Miwoks and Yokuts of the valley floor had for decades a working relationship with whites. Powers was not a trained anthropologist and was not a resident of the area year around. It was Stephen Powers who wrote the first 'stories' of the Yosemite Miwok. From than on many white anthropologists like Kroeber, Merriam and Hizer were trying to find Powers' Yosemite Miwoks. Later after Merriam's work was published he acknowledged to Frank Latta in "The Handbook of the Yokuts" that he was in fact incorrect. But Merriam had already wrote many Yokuts and Paiutes as Miwoks and that is the work you see today. In some of his photos he broadly wrote them all as Miwoks because of location, but that was incorrect, because by then many Indians who had moved to nearby white population centers were really not Miwoks but Yokuts and Mono Paiutes who had moved to find work.

Frank Latta correctly documented many of those that Merriam had broadly classified in the area as Miwoks were in fact Yokuts. Remember that Latta lived in a Yokut area and spent more time with them. While Kroeber, Hizer and Merriam's work was about all the California Indians, Frank Latta mostly concentrated on the Yokut people. That is why when you view the 1928-1929 California Indian Applications, filled out by the Indians themselves, signed with an affidavit and witnessed by two Indian informants who knew them for years wrote that they were Yokuts and Paiutes and not Miwoks. There were Miwoks, who mainly came from around the Sacramento area, but Merriam broadly described everyone as a Miwok.

Classifying everyone as a Miwok was C. Hart Merriam's attempt to change the title of California "Digger" to a better classification title.

That is why there is a wrong classification of many of the Miwok, when they were really Yokuts.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Yosemite Indian (talkcontribs) Sep 23 2007.

If you have a source for this, some of it may be added into the article, I'd suggest perhaps in a discussion of population count and correct information. Goldenrowley 02:04, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
RG 75, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Sacramento Indian Agency, Applications to the Roll of California Indians, 1928-33, Roll 15: Applications numbers 4826-5153. This rolls shows Maidus stating they are Miwoks. Maidus were also called the derogatory name of "Digger", but on this roll they are called Miwoks. This is explained here on this website after the "Burning of the Digger". This site only discusses the Ione band of Indians, but shows where the government changed the Sacramento agency Indian title from "Digger" to Mewuk.[4] The government, using Merriam's work, re-classified many tribes under the Sacramento jurisdiction as "Mewuk" and eliminating the derogatory "Digger" term until many of their leaders changed it back to original tribal name, like Maidus. The Maidus were under the same Sacramento jursidcation as the supposed Miwoks (Yokuts). If the Maidus hadn't reverted to their original tribal name, the Maidus today would still be classified as Miwoks. Here is the paragraph. "Hereafter the term "Digger" as representing the name of a tribe of Indians in the Sacramento jurisdiction, and appearing in the records of this Bureau, will be discontinued, objections having come from others that this term is one of contempt and regarded by the Indians as humiliating and opprobrius. It will, therefore, be replaced by the name 'Mewuk' which, upon accepted ethnological authority, is the true tribal designation of these Indians." --Yosemite Indian 07:19, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the Miwok like to be called Miwok/Mewuk, because it is their own language. It seems like from what your saying there was an inflated populatuon count of Miwok around 1928-1929 California Indian Applications.Goldenrowley 08:35, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Southern Sierra Miwuk language informants controversy[edit]

File:Bill Bolton page 1.jpg
Bill Bolton's 1929 California Indian Application, page 1 – Approved by the United States Dept. of the Interior, March 20, 1929
File:Bill Bolton page 2.jpg
Bill Bolton's 1929 California Indian Application, page 2 – Approved by the United States Dept. of the Interior, March 20, 1929

Using the 1928-1929 California Indian Applications and other government documents found at the National Archives it was discovered that the informants for Sylvia Broadbent Southern Sierra Miwok language were actually Casson and Chuckansi Yokuts and not Miwoks.[5] It was believed by other Indians that many Yokuts claimed they were Miwoks to get free housing and jobs at Yosemite National Park around those same years. The Park Service gave first choice of free housing and jobs to those claiming to be the original fabled "Yosemite Miwoks". Many American Indians changed their tribal affiliation to fit the bill. Some said they were decedent of Chief Tenaya. This was during a time when the Great Depression was just starting and it was advantageous to stretch the truth for a job and a free house.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Yosemite Indian (talkcontribs) Sep 23 2007.

If you have a source for this, by all means begin contributing to the article. Please quote your sources though. Goldenrowley 02:06, 26 September 2007 (UTC)


Here is one site that has the 1929 California Indian Applications that state the tribal affiliation of Jennie Washington where she states her and her husband, George Washington, as Casson and Chuckansi Yokuts. That covers two of the informants Emma Lord and Rose Watt, who are sisters and the children of George and Jennie Washington.[6] The Bureau of Indian Affairs uses the 1929 California Indian Applications to determine Indian ancestry. If you hit the link on that website you can view a court case that was brought before the Bureau of Indian Affairs in a family dispute. One of the persons in the court case is Lizzie Graham another informant for Sylvia Broadbent. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, the bureau that determines tribal enities in the United States, identifies Lizzie Graham as a Casson Yokut. Here is the the direct link which shows the case on PDF done by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.[7] This is three out of the ten of her informants. A person has already started a Casson Yokut Wikipedia tribal classification using the same Bureau of Indian Affairs case.[[8]] I will add some of the others later.--Yosemite Indian 06:48, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
If you view the two pages to the right you will see the 1929 California Indian Application of Bill Bolton, another informant of Sylvia Broadbent. You will see that the first page identifies Bill Bolton, with the application number that is used by the United States Department of the Interior. The page also has his children and what county and town they live at during that time.
The second page has more information and Bill Bolton's wife, Minnie Roane-Bolton who is 4/4 Chukchansi Yokut from Madera County, in the state of California. Line 10 of the 2nd page shows that Bill Bolton is not Miwok, but 1/2 Casson, or Casson Yokut, from Madera and Mariposa County. Line 11 shows that his ancestors signed the Barbour Treaty on April 29th, 1851. The group that signed the Barbour Treaty were mainly Yokuts, those who signed the Fremont Treaty were Miwok and Yokuts. Line 12 shows Bill Bolton's parents, William J. Bolton and Tillie Castor, both are 1/2 Casson Yokuts from Madera and Mariposa Counties. This shows that Bill Bolton was 1/2 Casson Yokut and not Miwok.--Yosemite Indian 23:21, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
HI Yosemite. Yeah, those original researchers and politicians did botch things up at times but it must have been hard writing the 1st books, or conduct the first population counts. I'd suggest put some of these main points under the category for population, the rest under history. It seems a little wordy (and detailed) to load it all. I'd boil it down to the main points. Keep in mind this article is NOT just about Yosemite natives, it also covers the people in the foothills and Sacramento valley. Goldenrowley 08:27, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

"related groups" info removed from infobox[edit]

For dedicated editors of this page: The "Related Groups" info was removed from all {{Infobox Ethnic group}} infoboxes. Comments may be left on the Ethnic groups talk page. Ling.Nut 16:56, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Possibe link with Oregon Walla Walla Natives[edit]

There is a possible link that the Miwoks are either Walla Walla Natives from Oregon or mixed with Walla Walla Indians. This is from early historical accounts.[9] -- Yosemite Indian 05:03, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Plains and Sierra Miwok[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Plains and Sierra Miwok's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "CGN":

  • From Wawona, California: Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 844. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  • From Volcano, California: Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 572. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  • From Ione, California: Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 502. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  • From Livingston, California: Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 795. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 06:19, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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