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Old 04-15-2002, 01:22 PM
nth nth is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: SFBA, CA, USA, NA, E
Posts: 159
What does Yosemite mean?

I am having a hard time finding the meaning to the word Yosemite.

I have found some suspicious sites that claim it means "Grizzly Bear"
but I don't know if it is true or not.

Does anyone know?
Old 04-15-2002, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Bay Area, California
Posts: 9,783
That's what I was told by a ranger when I was there...something like "place where the grizzly bear lives", but the etymology was uncertain.
Old 04-15-2002, 03:06 PM
nth nth is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: SFBA, CA, USA, NA, E
Posts: 159
it is just weird that all the history articles don't answer this question, but they tell us what ahwanhee indians call themselves. :PPP
Old 04-15-2002, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Suburban Seattle
Posts: 2,746
It means "having an enormous orange mustache". Duh!
Old 04-15-2002, 03:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Radford, VA
Posts: 2,388
From what I've read, it doesn't seem quite clear what the origin of the name "Yosemite" is. I've also heard the "grizzly bear" theory, but I've also heard another theory from National Geographic:
Foothill Miwok called Miwok living in the valley "Yohemite," which means "some of them are killers." Thinking that this was the Indians' name, the whites gave an approximation of it to the valley.
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Old 04-15-2002, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 659
I'm not exactly sure how to give the cite for this, but I remember seeing a long description of the name written [gulp] on the walls of a restroom in Lower Pines campground. The writer claimed it came from the name of a tribe of Native Americans called the Uzemite [sp].

Simon and Garfunkel's axiom: If it's written in a toilet, it must be true.
Old 04-16-2002, 03:15 AM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 2,911
I can confirm - having recently visited the park - that Cabbage's National Geographic cite is the story that is given by the Park itself.


Old 04-16-2002, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Speed's trunk, usually
Posts: 2,005
I thought it meant, "Hey, Jew!"
I ain't sayin' I'm cheap, but I straight line depreciated my alarm clock as a business expense.
Old 04-16-2002, 05:42 PM
nth nth is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: SFBA, CA, USA, NA, E
Posts: 159
so Yosemite means "some of them are killers"?
I've read it on a random website, too.

Grizzly Bear or some of them are killers?
Old 04-16-2002, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York, NY USA
Posts: 501
When the Mariposa Battalion first entered the canyon in March 1851, it was named by L.H. Bunnel who wrote "I then proposed that we give the valley the name of Yo-sem-i-ty ... that by doing so, the name of the tribe of Indians which we met leaving their homes in this valley, perhaps never to return, would be perpetuated". The final "y" was replaced with an "e" in 1852.

Bunnel stated that the word meant a full grown grizzly bear. The Valley Miwoks' word for grizzly bear was u-zu'-mai-ti.

In 1810, there was a tribe mentioned north of the Stanislaus River called "Jusmites". There was also a village near modern Stockton mentioned on a mission list called "Josmites".

For the other explanation "yos" or "yosh" means to kill, "a" is an agentive suffix like the English "-er", and "miti" is a collective plural. Thus "killers" or "a band of killers".
Similarly (or contrastingly), "yo'he" is "to kill" and "miuti'ya" is "people".

The Indians met by the Mariposa Battalion in the valley called their village and the valley "Awani". Thus Bunnel's "Yosemity" name most likely was what other Indians called the people in the valley, either "killers" or "grizzlies".

Since the "Jusmites" and "Josemites" Valley Miwoks are mentioned as early as 1810, it is possible that they moved into the Yosemeite Valley sometime between 1825 and 1851. Maybe.
Old 04-17-2002, 02:16 AM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 20,492
Originally posted by Spritle
I thought it meant, "Hey, Jew!"
It could also mean "Hey, Arab!"

"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.

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