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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Petition to Congress on Behalf of the Yosemite Indians


While gathering data at the Yosemite National Park Research Library for a book I am preparing on the social and political history of Yosemite Indians 1851-1978, I discovered this most interesting memorial to Congress from the Yosemite, Paiute, and Mono tribesmen native to the region. This petition is important for several reasons, but mostly because it provides the reader with an incredible description of the political, military, and ecological factors driving remaining tribesmen from their valley. The Yosemite Indians suffered one of the earliest large scale Anglo-militia campaigns of the American period (Bunnell 1880). Although brutally driven to the Fresno River Indian Farm in 1851, in a short time the remnants of Tenaya's band came back to their valley. Like most Native peoples they desired to live and die on their traditional lands.

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