Interpretive Signs

Yosemite National Park -- Miwuk or Paiute Indians?

Yosemite National Park — Miwuk or Paiute Indians? Does it matter?

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Don’t believe everything you see and only half of what you hear.” This is certainly true of those informative signs one finds posted around Yosemite National Park, as a “service” to visitors.

Yosemite is one of my most favorite places on earth and I just happen to belong to a family that takes great joy and interest in Yosemite, some family members have been sharing it’s wonders for 80 plus years and more. Which makes what I have to share even more distressing.

According to several sources many historical facts are being misrepresented, especially those of Indian heritage. Take for example the article, “Yosemite changes Paiutes on park signs,” which ran on Indian Country Today, an online publication.

According to the article…

…the sign said that Mono Paiute Tom Hutchings was a Mewuk. My uncles noticed that the sign was about Miwok life in Yosemite, but the signs had photos of Paiutes on them…

A close family friend writes…

10 years ago the Ahwahnee Hotel was being redecorated. They had a picture of “Maggie” hanging down in the main room of the Ahwahnee. The photo they had on the wall might have been labeled Maggied but it was not Maggie. My sister and I had spent our childhood watching Maggie cooking and making baskets in back of the museum.

Maggie is vivid in our memories because we had spent many hours watching her as children. Lo and behold, when we went back to the Ahwahnee for a special event in the late 1990s the photo had finally been corrected and Maggie is now hanging, rightfully, in the Ahwahnne lounge.

Personally I would rather they remove all the signs and leave them down if they can’t provide truly accurate historical data. You can’t just make things up and pass them off as fact. Well, you shouldn’t be able to anyway. I guess if no one bothers to check the facts, people can and do get away with pulling stunts like this.

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