As we celebrate 150 years of protecting Yosemite National Park, we have to look closer at how it became ours in the first place.
The name itself — Yosemite — is a slur. It is a Miwok word that means “Those Who Kill.” Sometimes it’s translated as “Some of Them Are Killers,” and it refers to the Ahwanhee people who’d lived in the valley for centuries before the US government ordered its evacuation and later created a national recreation area under the Yosemite Grant Act. But the people who lived there weren’t killers. They just lived in a valley that our government wanted to use for entertaining dignitaries.
That is the untold story of Yosemite National Park.