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Re: Tenaya; the chief of the Yosemite Indians, but what did his name mean?

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avatar Tenaya; the chief of the Yosemite Indians, but what did his name mean?
April 30, 2011 11:24PM

Edward Curtis, famous Indian and Western photographer


While surfing the internet I came across a picture of a girl named Tenaya and as I searched further I saw a picture of a dog named Tenaya. As a Paiute I found it rather strange that a woman, especially a dog, would have the masculine name of Tenaya.

If you are a frequent visitor of Yosemite or if you are a California historian you would recognize the name Tenaya. Tenaya, actually Tenieya, is what the chief of the Ahwahneechees, the original Yosemite Native people was called.

So what does Tenieya or Tenaya mean in Southern Sierra Miwuk? It actually doesn’t mean anything in their language.

For over a hundred years many historians were baffled and befuddled by many of the names in Yosemite and the surrounding area. That is because they were asking the wrong people for the definitions. Tenieya or Tenaya has no meaning in Miwok, but it has a big meaning in Yosemite – Mono Lake Paiute.


Old photo of Lake Tenaya, named after Chief Tenaya, or Tenieya, called Pa-weah to Mono Lake Paiutes.


For decades historians and ethnologists were asking Miwoks what the name of places in Yosemite were, that they never asked them what does Tenaya mean in Miwok.

Lafayette H. Bunnell, one of the only men to meet Chief Tenaya or Tenieya, and wrote everything we know today about him, wrote in his book, Discovery of the Yosemite, that Chief Tenaya was a Paiute and spoke a Paiute jargon. He also wrote that Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute colony of Ahwahnee. Bunnell wrote that in 1853 the remaining Yosemite Indians, after being decimated, were taken back to Paiute Mono Lake and absorbed back into the Paiute population. So why does the Park and historians believe that the original Indians of Yosemite were Miwoks is beyond us?

Today Yosemite National Park employees believe that the original Natives of Yosemite were Southern Sierra Miwuks, but according to the first contact with the Indigenous Yosemite Indians they were Paiutes.

If Tenaya or Tenieya means nothing in Miwuk, what does it mean in Paiute? The definition of Tenieya is easy to explain. I have never heard of the Miwoks or the Park’s explanation or definition of the word Tenieya, the most famous known chief of the Yosemite American Indians by those who claim him as their leader.

They should've asked the Mono Lake Paiutes instead because here is the word Tenieya and its explanation and definition;


Edward Curtis notes of Mono and Paiute words.


The famous photographer Edward Curtis, as he roamed the West taking photographs of Indians, also took linguistic notes. When Curtis was taking photos of Indians along the eastern slope of the California Sierra Nevada he also took notes from the Paiutes and Monos in the area. Here is a list of Bishop Paiute and Mono Paiute words. Remember according to Dr. Lafayette H. Bunnell the Mono Paiutes made up the majority of Yosemite’s Chief Tenaya’s band.

Note the word for "Our Father" in the notes. Paiute bands were often times large family units. These groups were led by the patriarch of the band who was often times their father. Many times the chief of a certain Paiute band was just called "Father".

Here is the word up close;



Among the Paiute "Our Father" in the Mono/Bishop Paiute and Paiute language looks just like the word Te-na-ya or Tenieya.

So it would make sense that Chief Tenaya's name was "Our Father" out of a sign of respect by his Paiute band of Ahwahneechees.

If Yosemite National Park and the Southern Sierra Miwuk, have a better definition or explanation for the name Tenaya we Paiutes sure would like to hear it...since they claim he was their chief.

*Also note the Mono word for "Sequoia". smiling smiley

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Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute Colony of Ahwahnee



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2011 05:17PM by Yosemite_Indian.
avatar Re: Tenaya; the chief of the Yosemite Indians, but what did his name mean?
May 01, 2011 07:10AM
One time when I was getting a wilderness permit I overheard a woman in
front of me talking to the ranger with her young daughter. She was taking
her daughter, Tenaya, backpacking. She decided to name her daughter
Tenaya after she backpacked to Lower Cathedral and had that nice
view of Tenaya Lake. I thought it was pretty ridiculous and decided it
probably wasn't a good idea to say anything.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Tenaya; the chief of the Yosemite Indians, but what did his name mean?
May 01, 2011 07:58AM
Quote
chick-on
One time when I was getting a wilderness permit I overheard a woman in
front of me talking to the ranger with her young daughter. She was taking
her daughter, Tenaya, backpacking. She decided to name her daughter
Tenaya after she backpacked to Lower Cathedral and had that nice
view of Tenaya Lake. I thought it was pretty ridiculous and decided it
probably wasn't a good idea to say anything.


It was probably a tossup between naming the kid after Tenaya or Charlie Manson.
(EquallyDisturbingly Yours)
The Marmots
Re: Tenaya; the chief of the Yosemite Indians, but what did his name mean?
May 06, 2011 12:50AM
hehe, like getting a tattoo of some symbol and not knowing what it means
Quote
chick-on
One time when I was getting a wilderness permit I overheard a woman in
front of me talking to the ranger with her young daughter. She was taking
her daughter, Tenaya, backpacking. She decided to name her daughter
Tenaya after she backpacked to Lower Cathedral and had that nice
view of Tenaya Lake. I thought it was pretty ridiculous and decided it
probably wasn't a good idea to say anything.


Not that anyone cares, but I named one of my boys Trent Lyell. Trent means roughly : River
avatar Re: Tenaya; the chief of the Yosemite Indians, but what did his name mean?
May 01, 2011 07:36AM
I had no idea that The Piutes were the original inhabitants of The Yosemite region.
I always thought that they were from the Mono Lake area and forcibly overtook the Miwuks
who would summer in Yosemite Valley.

Thanks for the edumacation,
Have a nice day



Chick-on is looking at you!
Quote
chick-on
I had no idea that The Piutes were the original inhabitants of The Yosemite region.
I always thought that they were from the Mono Lake area and forcibly overtook the Miwuks
who would summer in Yosemite Valley.

Thanks for the edumacation,
Have a nice day

Hey, your welcome. smiling smiley

Actually Miwuks were afraid to enter Yosemite Valley and only felt safe to enter there when the military and settlers started to enter Yosemite. What you read in Yosemite National Park is actually not true.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute colony of Ahwahnee



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2011 04:55PM by Yosemite_Indian.
avatar Re: Tenaya; the chief of the Yosemite Indians, but what did his name mean?
May 01, 2011 06:37PM
Quote
Yosemite_Indian
Quote
chick-on
I had no idea that The Piutes were the original inhabitants of The Yosemite region.
I always thought that they were from the Mono Lake area and forcibly overtook the Miwuks
who would summer in Yosemite Valley.

Thanks for the edumacation,
Have a nice day

Hey, your welcome. smiling smiley

Actually Miwuks were afraid to enter Yosemite Valley and only felt safe to enter there when the military and settlers started to enter Yosemite. What you read in Yosemite National Park is actually not true.




We're sure that the Piautes also believe that the Apollo moon landings never happened.
(Unbelievably Yours)
The Marmots




----------------------------------------------------------------



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2011 06:44PM by szalkowski.
Quote
szalkowski
Quote
Yosemite_Indian
Quote
chick-on
I had no idea that The Piutes were the original inhabitants of The Yosemite region.
I always thought that they were from the Mono Lake area and forcibly overtook the Miwuks
who would summer in Yosemite Valley.

Thanks for the edumacation,
Have a nice day

Hey, your welcome. smiling smiley

Actually Miwuks were afraid to enter Yosemite Valley and only felt safe to enter there when the military and settlers started to enter Yosemite. What you read in Yosemite National Park is actually not true.




We're sure that the Piautes also believe that the Apollo moon landings never happened.
(Unbelievably Yours)
The Marmots




----------------------------------------------------------------

Well this Paiute, and every Paiute I know believes that the Apollo moon landing happened, unlike the lie of the Ahwahneechee Miwoks.

Dr. Lafayette H. Bunnell was the only man who wrote everything we know about Tenaya and his band of Ahwahneechees and here is what he wrote in his book called "Discovery of the Yosemite, and the Indian War of 1851, which led to that event." he writes;

"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."


and

Page 219

"Though seemingly unimpressed by their sublime surroundings, their figures
and comparisons, when not objectionable, were beautiful, because natural.
The Pai-ute and Mono Colony originally established by Ten-ie-ya, was the
result of a desire to improve their physical condition. They were attached
to this valley as a home. The instinctive attraction that an Indian has
for his place of nativity is incomprehensible; it is more than a religious
sentiment; it is a passion.


and

Page 231


"They had been anxious to embroil us in trouble by drawing us into the
canyons of the Tuolumne, where were some Pai-utes wintering in a valley
like Ah-wah-ne.
They had hoped to be secure in this retreat until the snow
melted, so that they could go to the Mono tribe and make a home with them,
but that now he was told the Americans would follow them even there,"


and

Major Savage was our best authority. He [Savage] could speak the dialects [including Miwok] of most of the mountain tribes in this part of California, but he confessed that he could not readily understand Ten-ie-ya, or the Indian guide, as they appeared to speak a Pai-ute jargon.


The brackets in the last quote from the book are mine, but they are true. Savage could speak the Southern Sierra Miwuk language, but could not speak the PAIUTE language of Tenaya and his people. If there were Miwoks in the Ahwahneechee band...Savage could've spoken to them, but he couldn't because there were no Miwoks in Tenaya's Yosemite Ahwahneechee band.

Not ONE mention of Miwok being in Tenaya's band.



----------------------------------------------------------

Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute Colony of Ahwahnee.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2011 11:20PM by Yosemite_Indian.
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