National Park Service
Yosemite National Park has been home to Indigenous Peoples for thousands of years.

The Native American Story of Yosemite


With this year being the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act, in which President Abraham Lincoln dedicated the Yosemite valley and Mariposa Grove “for public use, resort, and recreation… inalienable for all time,” it’s time to reflect on those who were in Yosemite first.

According to archaeological evidence, people were in Yosemite 7,000 years ago, notes Carmen George, of The Fresno Bee, who recently presented the American Indian story of Yosemite.

From genocide to relocating villages, George discusses life in the 1800s and life now for Native Americans in Yosemite.

And how does the indigenous perspective fit into the more modern and populated Yosemite with the parks nearly 4 million visitors each year?

Les James, Miwuk-Chukchansi, told The Fresno Bee: “For thousands of years, we were here before them. That’s because we lived by nature’s law. If you don’t live by nature’s law, you are not going to survive. That’s really the bottom line.”

Read the full story at

RELATED: Native History: Yosemite National Park Created on Native Homelands

Looking for another way to celebrate Yosemite during the 150th anniversary? The California Historical Society is presenting a six-month exhibition called “Yosemite: A Storied Landscape.”

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page