Destruction and Disruption

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Imagine strangers invading your neighborhood, burning your house to the ground, and ransacking your local grocery store, and taking over your town. Could you make a living in a foreign culture that invaded your world? Could you hold your family together? Could you survive?

Miners by the thousands invaded the Sierra Nevada foothills during the gold rush from 1849 to 1851. Some Indians struck back and raided a trading post, killing several miners.

In 1851, a band of volunteers formed the Mariposa Battalion, sanctioned by the state of California, to rid the area of the perceived threat of Indians. When they entered Yosemite Valley, they systematically burned villages and food supplies and forced men, women, and children away from their homes. When the Indians returned, Yosemite was no longer theirs. New settlers had claimed it as their own. The Yosemite people did whatever they could to survive in this strange world in which they find themselves.

 
To Tu Ya/Maria Lebrado Ydrte. An old woman looking down.
To Tu Ya/Maria Lebrado Ydrte

Story of Survival

To Tu Ya/Maria Lebrado Ydrte:

Gaze at the face before you. She was known as the last survivor of the Mariposa Battalion’s 1851 raid. To-tu-ya, translated to “Foaming Waters,” witnessed the invasion and destruction of her home in Yosemite Valley and the murder of her uncle when she was a child. Known in her 90s as Maria Lebrado Yorte, she returned to Yosemite in the late 1920s and told the story of that experience.

Last updated: November 17, 2018

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