Scripps Howard News Service

In News, Restore Hetch Hetchy

SHNS: A new alliance of seven American Indian tribes on Thursday demanded a role in restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley, an idea under study by a team of state officials.

Calling themselves the Tribal Forum of Indigenous Peoples, the group formed in April in response to growing public debate about the future of Hetch Hetchy. The reservoir in Yosemite National Park serves San Francisco, and it has again become a serious target for conservationists.

It was during a workshop by the state research team Thursday that the tribal group announced that if the valley is restored, they want a role in the work.

They also want to be in charge of managing the restored valley, because they fear that hidden cultural resources will be destroyed.

“Our concern is for the protection of what’s there, the burial sites, grave goods and village sites,” said Jay Johnson, a member of the group and a Miwok and Paiute Indian who was born in Yosemite Valley.

“As long as the water is there, our villages are protected. If the water is removed, that’s going to be one of the biggest issues that we’ve ever faced. Right now I would oppose any type of development other than restoration.”

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One commentOn Scripps Howard News Service

  • Regarding your blog about Hetch Hetchy. The story misspelled Paiute. We, the Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute Indian Community, are the true descendents of those who camped and lived in Hetch Hetchy Valley. It was interesting to hear that another group was saying that it was their area when state historians have it documented that it was my ancestors area. I wish newspapers would do the story about the true Indians who were in Hetch Hetchy. Sorry to say Miwoks have a misconception that they were the people who owned that valley. Mr. Johnson was from another band of Paiutes who were further down and not from our band. The Screech Brothers were the first non-Indians to enter Hetch Hetchy around 1850s and noted that Paiutes were the people of the Hetch Hetchy valley. C. F. Hoffman, the first state surveyor, got that information from the Screeches and other mountaineers around 1856. In 1901 the anthropologist Merriam C. Hart spoke to a certain Hetch Hetchy family who some of our members are directly related to. We, Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiutes are interested in getting the truth out.

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