About Our Tribe

We are part of the Beach Cities YMCA Program, serving San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Dana Point and nearby area.

Chief: Silver Fox - Chad Meisinger
Assistant Chief: Big Thunder - Bill Massey
Medicine Man: Swimming Bear - Mark Kaniut

The Ahwahneechee are one of the YMCA Indian Princess Tribes within the Pawnee Nation. The Pawnee Nation consists of the Shawnee, Cherokee, Fox, Laguna and Ahwahneechee tribes. The Pawnee are one of two Y-Princess Nations that are part of the Beach Cities YMCA Program, which serves San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Dana Point and nearby areas

The Ahwahneechee Indian Princess Tribe was born of the Great Bluffs of Dana Point, CA where St. Edward Church brought our Warriors and Princesses together for a common cause. A cause of Good that lives within our Hearts and burns strong at our gatherings.

Within the Pawnee Nation, we were spawn of the Coyote Tribe that split into two tribes, The Cherokee & The Ahwahneechee. We were turned free to go and prosper and spread the word of the Great Spirit into other lands.

Today, the Ahwahneechee Indian Princess Tribe is led by CHIEF "Slippery Fish" - Mike Linares.

Click Here for Information on Joining Our Tribe or Contact: 

Erin N. Johnson
YMCA Community Program Director

Y Guides & Princesses
(949) 249-6216 Phone
(949) 495-6397 FAX

Ahwahneechee History:

history of the Ahwahneechee began long ago in the Yosemite Valley, where the last episode of the Wisconsin glaciation--known as the Tioga glaciation--some 10,000 years ago carved up the Sierra Nevada. As the Tioga glaciers retreated up the Merced Canyon, they left as their geological thumbprint, a shallow lake or series of shallow lakes which gradually filled with the sediment of the diminishing glacier, eventually creating the Yosemite Valley floor that we know today.

The first visitors of Yosemite Valley were Native Americans who inhabited the region perhaps as long as 7,000 to 10,000 years ago. Various tribes lived in the area over the years. Some 3,500 years ago, it's believed that people began to settle in the Valley permanently, establishing a culture that eventually evolved into the Southern Sierra Miwok--a tribe who believed that their people were created in Yosemite.
The Miwok Tribe called Yosemite Valley, "Ahwahnee", which is believed to mean, "place of the gaping mouth". They referred to themselves as the "Ahwahneechee", "dwellers in Ahwahnee". The story of the Yosemite Miwok, is unfortunately a sad one, and typical of the indigenous peoples throughout the United States.

Before the white man arrived, the Ahwahneechee led a harmonious and balanced life in the Valley and surrounding Sierra. In the cold winter months they migrated to the more tolerable, milder climes of thefoothills; come late spring they returned to Yosemite and the High Sierra. There they gathered food: berries, greens, bulbs, seeds and acorns (the black oak acorn in various incarnations made up 60% of their diet), hunted deer, fished for trout and traded their bounty for the rabbit-skin blankets, obsidian and pine nuts of the Mono Lake Paiutes who lived on the Sierra's eastern side.

But in 1848, James Marshall's gold discovery on the American River north of Sacramento, spiked a gold-rush fever that forever and dramatically altered the future of California's indigenous peoples. Thousands of argonauts poured into the territory, funneling through the high mountain passes and spilling over onto the western slopes. Or, they arrived by ship in San Francisco where they purchased pick, pan and potatoes, and then hotfooted it on up to "gold country." Soon the Sierra was overrun by prospectors in mad pursuit of their "golden grail", trampling the foothills like bloodhounds on the scent of a fox. For those of us descended from these dreamers, madmen, cowboys and hangers-on, the argument can be made that California prospered and benefited from this clamoring influx. The territory became a state, cities sprang up, roads were built, rivers dammed. For better or for worse, western civilization arrived when James Marshall felt the weight of Sierra gold in his hand.

But for the Sierra's native peoples who had heretofore been relatively immune to the bloody doctrine of Manifest Destiny, the encroachment of the 49ers was a scourge that signaled the annihilation of all that they held sacred. As the miners swarmed into the central Sierra foothills, they ravaged and laid waste to the Ahwahneechee resources and ecosystems, depleting important food sources. Inevitably conflicts and skirmishes arose between the Indians and the miners, ultimately escalating in a violent attack on the white residents of Mariposa, a mining town southwest of Yosemite.

Under the authority of California Governor McDougal, the Mariposa Battalion was formed as a retaliatory force against the Ahwahneechee Indians in 1851. Led by Captain James D. Savage, an enterprising miner whose store had been burned down during an Indian ambush, the Battalion followed the "Yosemites" (the soldiers' name for the Ahwahneechee, derived from the Miwok word "uzumati" or "grizzly bear") up into the mountains and on into the Valley. There the Battalion captured the Ahwahneechee and their chief,Tenaya, and relocated them to the Fresno River Reservation. The Battalion, believed to be the first white men to enter Yosemite Valley, disbanded having successfully completed their mission.

In 1853, some of the Ahwahneechee, including Chief Tenaya, were allowed to return to their Valley. Soon thereafter however, Tenaya was killed (the circumstances surrounding his death are still in debate), and the Ahwahneechee dispersed throughout the Sierra, like seeds in a wind, never again to be a unified culture.

The white man's entrance into he Valley had enormous repercussions. Written accounts of Yosemite's wonders by the Battalion's doctor,
"Haze hung over the valley--light as gossamer--and clouds partially dimmed the higher cliffs and mountains. This obscurity of vision but increased the awe with which I beheld it, and as I looked, a peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill my whole being, and I found my eyes in tears with emotion."

---- Lafayette Bunnell

Lafayette Bunnell, soon found their way into San Francisco newspapers, arousing skepticism in some readers but piquing the curiosity of one James Mason Hutchings who, in 1855, organized the first "tourist" foray into Yosemite. Accompanying him were artist Thomas Ayres, whose drawings of the Valley coupled with Hutchings' writings would quickly draw national attention to Yosemite, and Galen Clark, who so loved the area that he settled there in1856, remaining until his death at the age of 95 in 1910.

A watershed event in Yosemite's history, Hutchings' visit and subsequent published accounts of the Valley's granite wonders changed the Valley seemingly overnight. Launched into the deliverance of the white man--his capricious yearnings and his enormous appetites--Yosemite would no longer exist as it once had under the peaceful mantle of the Ahwahneechee. Hutchings became Yosemite's primary publicist and entrepreneur, and his enthusiastic raves brought in a steady stream of visitors and homesteaders who wished to savor Yosemite's splendors on their own. Hotels quickly sprang up, homes were built, lands cleared for crops and livestock set to graze in the meadows...Yosemite's undoing appeared to be underway.

For More information on the Ahwahneechee, visit the resources informative websites about the Yosemite page to view links to Indians.