Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Yosemite Valley

The Moon is New


Advanced

Re: Yosemite - Hetch Hetchy Valley’s White Wolf; who was this Indian chief?

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.


Map of Yosemite National Park showing White Wolf


Yosemite - Hetch Hetchy Valley’s White Wolf; who was this Indian chief?

If you are traveling eastward through Yosemite’s main hwy, hwy 120, to Mono Lake, along the Tioga Pass you will see a sign of the trail to White Wolf. White Wolf is a camp that is located in an area if you are hiking northwestern Yosemite and Hetch Hetchy Valley.

Where and how did the place White Wolf get its name? White Wolf was actually a Yosemite Indian area chief.

White Wolf campsite and area was named by the Meyer brothers who had a cattle ranch around Sonora California. When the Meyer brothers were chasing hostile Paiute Indians who stole their cattle, they came upon a group of friendly Paiutes led by a chief named White Chief. So the Meyer brothers gave that place the name White Wolf after that chief.

But who was White Wolf?

There was a Paiute chief whose band roamed northern Yosemite whose Indian name was Toha’eesha. Toha’eesha in the English language means White Wolf. This chief’s white name was Captain Jim. He was a “peace” chief and the leader of the Bridgeport Paiute tribe. Captain Jim was given the name White Wolf because as a young man he was prematurely grey. The wolf was his spirit guide and helper and he reportedly could turn himself into a White Wolf. Unlike some of the other leaders of Paiute bands Captain Jim wanted to live in peace and did not bother the white man. A neighboring Tuolumne - Calaveras Paiute band led by Yankee Jim had been wiped out by white settlers in retaliation after they had stolen from them, and Captain Jim wanted to make sure his people did not meet the same fate. Captain Jim’s sister-in-law had been married into the Yankee Jim band and was one of the survivors.

There is a story that we have about the earliest encounter with the white man who came to the Bridgeport area. The white men brought Captain Jim and sub chiefs to a meadow by their village near Twin Lakes and put up targets and shot them from far away hitting the targets. Captain Jim knew then that they could not fight the white man with bows and arrows when they had guns. The white men wanted to show the Paiutes of Bridgeport that they could kill them from a longer distance with ease and Captain Jim got the drift.


Captain Jim, Toha’eesha or White Wolf in English, photo taken by C. Hart Merriam after Captain Jim and his band returned from Hetch Hetch Valley


Not only was Captain Jim the chief named White Wolf, but he was also the father, grand father, and father-in-law of some of the most famous Yosemite Indian photographic icons and Yosemite basketmakers.

Captain Jim, White Wolf, was the father of Tina and Nellie Charlie, whose baskets, which are as big as truck tires, grace the Yosemite Indian Museum.


Nellie and Tina Charlie, daughters of Captain Jim. Both sisters have large baskets in the Yosemite Indian Museum.


Captain Jim, White Wolf, was the father of Poker Bill. If you receive a Yosemite map at the gate you will see this photo of Poker Bill, son of Captain Jim, with his family.


Captain Jim's son Poker Bill and his family, including Carrie and Minnie.


Captain Jim, White Wolf, was the father-in-law of Suzie Williams-McGowan. The woman in the famous photo of Yosemite Falls carrying the baby in a Paiute cradleboard;


Captain Jim's daughter-in-law Suzie McGowan, wife of Poker Bill


Captain Jim, White Wolf, was the grandfather of Carrie Bethel, another famous Yosemite basketmaker who, like her aunts, Tina and Nellie Charlie, created some of the biggest Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute baskets located in the Yosemite Indian museum.


Captain Jim's granddaughter, Carrie Bethel, holding one of her famous baskets and photo of one of Carrie's baskets at the Yosemite Indian Museum.


Captain Jim, White Wolf, was the grandfather of Minnie Mike, another famous Yosemite basketmaker and you will see her photo in the Yosemite visitor center.


Minnie Mike, Grand daughter of Captain Jim, White Wolf, at Yosemite Visitor Center.


Captain Jim, the Mono Paiute chief who the Meyers encountered and gave his Indian name to the famous Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy, Tuolumne camp, White Wolf, chose the path of peace, instead of war. Because Captain Jim, White Wolf, chose peace he and his band lived on and his descendents enriched Yosemite today, and hopefully you who are reading this continue to tell his story.



Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute colony of Ahwanhee - Dr. Lafayette H. Bunnell.
Nice! smiling smiley

Thanks a lot!
Thanks for reading it.

Sometimes when you see photos of Indian in Yosemite you never know who they were, their story, and how they were related. I think YNP should put the family histories together to show how Indian people relate to the Park today and how they are related to each other. That way visitors can see the whole story behind the Park and how it came to be.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/06/2011 07:46PM by Yosemite_Indian.
avatar Re: Yosemite - Hetch Hetchy Valley’s White Wolf; who was this Indian chief?
July 08, 2011 10:18AM
Quote
Yosemite_Indian

Sometimes when you see photos of Indian in Yosemite you never know who they were, their story, and how they were related. I think YNP should put the family histories together to show how Indian people relate to the Park today and how they are related to each other. That way visitors can see the whole story behind the Park and how it came to be.

If you want to follow up on this, I would strongly recommend that you contact Yosemite Park Ranger, Shelton Johnson. Shelton has a passion about the people who lived and worked in Yosemite National Park during its early history. I'm sure he would be really eager to hear your stories about the Yosemite Paiutes in person. He would be a good person to contact to see your project of Yosemite Indian family histories to fruition.

Here's a brief Wikipedia bio about Shelton Johnson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelton_Johnson
That was intersting reading.... thanks for posting that. I love the faces of the people in the pictures. What is curious to me is that many of the people are wearing the clothing of the white man. What were Paiute clothes like? Why did these people decide to wear white people clothes over their own?

best,
Riverkat
That is a good question. I am going to write another article about that also...so I will keep that a surprise until I do. Indians started to wear cast off clothes. Lady auxiliary organizations and church groups also made trips to tribal areas with cast off clothes to give to the Indians.

I also told my Uncle and he sent this story to Shelton.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2011 01:13AM by Yosemite_Indian.
Re: Yosemite - Hetch Hetchy Valley’s White Wolf; who was this Indian chief?
July 09, 2011 03:51PM
Thank you for sharing the pictures and explanations who the people are. If your family ever publishes a book, I would be happy to purchase a copy.
Thank you for reading it.

Yosemite NPS had an Indian ethnologist or specialist for over 30 years. His name is Craig D. Bates and he was married to Mewuk woman and hired Miwok workers like his mother-in-law in Yosemite Park. He wrote many "tales" of Miwoks in Yosemite, but not once did he write about the original Indians of Yosemite, the Paiute people. He was paid very well as a federal employee and suddenly quit when we started to write articles using the internet and asking questions why Paiutes were not included in the Park's history, why he was changing Paiutes and Yokuts into Miwoks, modifying history, and not doing research about the Yosemite Paiute people. He also never wrote about Chief Tenaya's ancestry and that is why you won't find Tenaya mentioned in the Park today. After we asked Yosemite NPS why this was happening....he suddenly "retired". So it was up to us to correct his errors and omissions.



Yosemite National Park's Indian ethnologist for over 30 years; Craig Bates, who is Caucasian, dressed in Miwok ceremonial regalia.




Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute colony of Ahwanhee - Dr. Lafayette H. Bunnell.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2011 05:41PM by Yosemite_Indian.
avatar Re: Yosemite - Hetch Hetchy Valley’s White Wolf; who was this Indian chief?
July 10, 2011 09:54AM
Quote
Yosemite_Indian
...the original Indians of Yosemite, the Paiute people.


Awww.... You were doing so well on your recent posts too.

For the newcomers to this board, YI's definition of "original" is astonishingly myopic. Recommend reading this post and the entire thread in which it is embedded:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,14740,17162#msg-17162
Well I am only repeating what one of the first white men who met Tenaya wrote; from Dr. Lafayette H. Bunnell's book;



Passage from Lafayette H. Bunnell's book Discovery of Yosemite showing Paiute - Monos are the Ahwahneechees.


smiling smiley Notice he didn't write "Miwok"



Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute colony of Ahwanhee - Dr. Lafayette H. Bunnell.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/2011 09:15PM by Yosemite_Indian.
Has anyone ever seen or does know of rock art (petroglyphs, pictographs) in Yosemite?!
I found a couple of references that there's rock art "somewhere" in the Hetch Hetchy area but I haven't seen any pics yet.

I recently visited a couple of sites on the east side of the Sierra Nevada but I would be keen to learn if there are any traces of rock art in Yosemite too?!
avatar Re: Yosemite - Hetch Hetchy Valley’s White Wolf; who was this Indian chief?
July 10, 2011 09:15AM
Yes there are Petros in Yosemite.

Here's an example:


If you want the exact location ... PM me with your signature in blood that you will respect them and not deface them and keep it to yourself.



Chick-on is looking at you!


Caption reads; "Although found within the ethnographic territory of the Central Sierra Miwok, these petrogyphs systematically resemble those of the Western Great Basin (eastern Sierra Mono Paiutes). It is believed that the rock art at Cal-5 was left by pre-Miwok people of Great Basin cultural affiliation."


Picture of petroglyph found around Hetch Hetchy area and photograph of Paiute creating petroglyphs. Notice the symbol is the same.

Archeologist Michael Morrato, who has worked for Yosemite NPS, wrote that passage above regarding the petroglyphs found in area north of Yosemite Valley, like Hetch Hetchy.



Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute colony of Ahwanhee - Dr. Lafayette H. Bunnell.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/2011 09:05PM by Yosemite_Indian.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login