Rebuilding a roundhouse
December 31, 2017 4:44 AM   Subscribe

Decades after it was destroyed, Yosemite’s last Native American village is returning

Hattip Native America Calling -- an interview with the reporter begins at the 48m mark of this episode.
posted by hippybear (8 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Construction of the village had been underway for nearly two years when it was halted in spring 2011 by a new park superintendent, Don Neubacher, who cited safety concerns. The native community was asked to prove their traditional roundhouse met building codes.
I think something's wrong there, but it's hard for me to say what.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:26 AM on December 31 [7 favorites]


Colonialism is what.
posted by The Toad at 6:32 AM on December 31 [4 favorites]


Ehhhhh... I can't actually be -that- upset with requiring that new construction be safe and accessible to all.

That the National Park Service burned the buildings down 50 years ago is a huge problem. That the new buildings must be SAFE is not.
posted by FritoKAL at 8:45 AM on December 31 [9 favorites]


There is a huge amount more information about this project online; folks have been working on this idea for years. I started looking just to figure out where this was and barely stopped myself from falling down a rabbit hole. But a couple of things I found...

The Yosemite Conservancy has a fundraising page with some basic information. The paper Five Decades in Wah-hoga Village has a lot of detailed information including photographs and proposed map plans. And a map link to Camp 4; the Yosemite Conservancy says this is planned for "just west of Camp 4".
posted by Nelson at 8:59 AM on December 31 [3 favorites]


On the initial exploration of Yosemite:

‘Bunnell finds well-tended homes and food stores and even smoldering hearth fires, but only one person, an elderly woman too frail to run and hide. Bunnell describes her as “a peculiar, living ethnological curiosity” and tells somebody to “bring something for it to eat.”

Sensing that readers might judge him for mistreating a frightened old woman, he reassures them (and himself) that she is not fully human: “This creature exhibited no expression of alarm, and was apparently indifferent to hope or fear, love or hate.” The Mariposa Battalion then looted and burned every Ahwahneechee house and food cache they could find, leaving the Ahwahneechee in a terrifying predicament with snow on the ground and more winter storms ahead.‘
(Goodbye Yosemite. Hello, what? - there’s more horrifying vignettes in there)

That the very institution behind this genocide is now imposing health and safety codes on the rebuilding of tribal homes may not be wrong, as such, but it is an enraging irony of history.
posted by The Toad at 9:17 AM on December 31 [14 favorites]


That the new buildings must be SAFE is not.

I suspect that very few native americans are killed by non-code traditional buildings, but plenty die from government policies.
posted by 445supermag at 11:33 AM on December 31 [10 favorites]


I suspect that very few native americans are killed by non-code traditional buildings, but plenty die from government policies.

That whataboutism is so artificial I can smell the factory from here.
posted by tclark at 1:02 PM on December 31 [4 favorites]


I just thought it was cool that after decades of work this is finally actually happening, and I thought the reporting about it was really excellent. I guess I sort of glanced twice at the building code thing, but really that's the least offensive thing being done to Native Americans across the scope of this article, and honestly, that review is basically done and now it's moving forward. They're even using wood pegs to built the roundhouse!

That it's going to end up being a rather extensive village is also pretty great. This means a lot to the people who are from there, and it's really excellent that it's a thing that is even happening given the context of Now.
posted by hippybear at 1:16 PM on December 31 [5 favorites]


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