On John Muir’s birthday, the Sierra Club acknowledges the Indigenous Peoples of California. Before colonization and the later arrival of John Muir, the land now known as California was, and is, home to more than 100 Tribal Nations. Places often associated with Muir today, such as Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks were inhabited by the Me-wuk and Monache. The Me-wuk, Nüümü, Western Mono Waksachi, and Yokut Nations had a presence in areas traversed by the trail currently known as the John Muir Trail, which is also called Nüümü Poyo, “The People’s Road.”
Spanish colonizers and later American military forces removed Native Americans from these traditional, ancestral homelands by force and coercion to accommodate white settlement, mining, logging, grazing, and other activities. Later, some of these occupied lands were proposed as parks by conservationists. Long before they were “protected,” these areas were cared for by their original inhabitants. As part of the Sierra Club’s commitment to changing the way the conservation movement operates, focusing our work around the values of equity and justice, and removing the separation between social and environmental justice, we acknowledge this history and recognize that the Indigenous Peoples of California are still here today.