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[Yosemite]

Yosemite National Park does not know who Cowchitty was

Discussion about Yosemite National Park history, including Native Americans, Euro-American pioneers and settlement, and establishment as a national park.

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Yosemite National Park does not know who Cowchitty was

Postby Yosemite_Indian » Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:42 pm

Sign located in the Yosemite National Park's Miwok Indian Village.

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Sign up close:
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Sign reads “At the turn of the century, Miwok people remembered Kau’tcitti (also known as Captain Lewis) as the last professional bowyer in the Yosemite area.”

Now who was this Kau'tcitti, also named Cow'chitty? Apparently the United States Park Service didn't know who Capt. Lewis aka, Cow'chitty was when they put up this sign.

From this book:

Big Jim Savage; Blonde King of the Indians and Discoverer of Yosemite

By Ben T. Traywick

World Renowned Author

Chapter 12

Chief Tenieya had tried every trick imaginable to prevent the white soldiers from going in to the mountains. Thwarted at every trick he had even tried to escape a number of times. Finally, tired of Tenieya’s and Sandino’s repeated efforts to convince the white men that the Yosemites had joined the Monos over the mountains. Captain Boling picked himself a new guide, called Cowchitty. The new guide was an old enemy of Tenieya’s Yosemites and was a sub-chief of the Nootchee tribe.
Boling consulted his new guide as to the whereabouts of the Yosemites and how to find them.
Cowchitty considered the captain thoughtfully for a moment then replied, “Tenieya’s people near about; hide in rocks, brush, canyons. May be in valley, may be in Tuolumne. We go higher in mountains; horses no can go.”
The captain believed that Cowchitty’s advice was good, so he left the horses and supply train behind. They climbed thru Pyweack Canyon and took the trail on the north cliff, marching on foot and carrying provision for three days.
Not one of the white men could see any sign of the Yosemite’s trail that Cowchitty followed thru the mountains, over snow up to ten feet deep, over rocks and wind swept ridges. Bunnell later wrote that Boling remarked, “I could follow the trail of a flying woodpecker more easily than that one that Cowchitty reads.”
Soon the guide approached Boling and said, “We not far from their camp. Trail leads to head of Pyweack where Paiute and Mono trail goes to valley of Tuolumne. If they not at lake, Yosemites have crossed mountains. Better you send out scouts now to catch Yosemite guards that watch valley trail.”
Boling nodded and selected his strongest and fastest runners. He sent these scouts out in pairs, one Nootchee Indian warrior and one white soldier. They moved out to clear the trail of guards and the rest of the column moved slowly and steadily upward.
Late that day they came upon the guide, Cowchitty, sitting on a log waiting for them. He had been scouting far in advance of the main party. When Boling came up the guide pointed to a tall, granite peak and said, “Rancheria”. There upon the shores of a beautiful lake lay the Indian village, nestled at the base of a cliff. Certainly no white man had ever gazed upon the lake before.


Interestingly the Southern Sierra Miwuks remember Cow'chitty, but not Chief Tenaya. That is because Cow'chitty was THEIR leader and not the leader of the Ahwahneechees.

Cow'chitty was an enemy of Chief Tenaya and the Ahwahnee Indians, but in the efforts to please the Miwoks with a fake "Miwok village" the Park Service didn't do their job an research who this Cow'chitty was. But then again if they did, they would've found out that the Miwoks were NOT the original Indians of Yosemite, but the scouts for the white militia and James Savage's workers.

In fact Chief Tenaya is not even mentioned on any sign located at the Yosemite Indian Village, after all we don't want to have Paiutes in the fake Miwok village.
Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute Colony of Ahwahnee
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