Union Democrat staff

Yosemite roundhouse

To the editor:

On a recent Yosemite trip I discovered that the National Park Service is constructing another Me-Wuk ceremonial roundhouse in the park.

The site of this new Me-Wuk roundhouse is right on top of a Paiute campsite of Wahoga. The headman of Wahoga was a Paiute man named Lancisco Wilson.

This is the second Me-Wuk roundhouse constructed in the park. The first, built in the1970s, is behind the Yosemite Research Center and Indian Museum.

Now the park is creating another Me-Wuk roundhouse in Yosemite Valley, a place not indigenous to the Southern Sierra Me-Wuk. In the book "Deeper Than Gold," by California Indian ethnologist Brian Bibby, the Me-Wuk admit their chief at the time of Yosemite's discovery was Chief Bautista. Bautista was a military ally, and afraid to enter Yosemite Valley.

Chief Tenaya is documented to be the founder of the Paiute colony of Ahwahnee and spoke Paiute. So why is the park wasting taxpayers' money constructing another Mi-Wuk roundhouse and giving it to the nonprofit Southern Sierra Mi-Wuks?

Where's the Mono Paiute village? This is a desecration to the memory of the original Indians of Yosemite. Why is our government wasting good money on a falsehood?

David Andrews


David Andrews is of Paiute descent and is a frequent Yosemite visitor.

Political mantras

To the editor:

Jim Costello's June 14 letter reeked of class warfare and irony. His government's-the-problem, over-regulation-and-taxation-of-business, free-market, laissez-faire mantra ignores our history of exploitation of the environment and working people.

The Environmental Protection, Endangered Species, Clean Air acts and California Clean Water and Air acts are victims of their own success. In California we have cleaner air and safer water today, yet demand and population has doubled since 1960. I remember growing up in the East Bay in the 60s and not being able to see San Francisco from Oakland. This rarely occurs today.

Manufacturing jobs have dramatically decreased - not from over-regulation or over-taxation (top tax rates today are 50 percent of what they were in the '60s) but from exploiting the sweat and resources of other countries in the name of cheap goods and sky-rocketing corporate profits.

Deregulation begun by Carter accelerated under Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush has given us the S&L and Wall Street scandals, ocean dead zones, the finance and housing collapse of 2008, the worst environmental disaster in our history and an attack on the middle class.

Wages are stagnant, both parents have to work, our retirement is in jeopardy, and Jim Costello wants our workers to compete with China (60 cents an hour) or Mexico ($2.46 an hour).

After World War II, our middle class prospered and our country flourished. Our strength was our workers' productivity. Productivity continues to increase, yet our wages decrease.

This is not the time for political mantras. It's time capital and labor sit down not as adversaries but as equal partners at the table and work to preserve our great country and restore our middle class.

Dean Zaharias


Blockade falsehoods

To the editor:

It is distressing to read in The Union Democrat anti-Jewish propaganda spread by what appears to be local hater of Israel.

Dennis Schneider's June letter stated that Mossad Chief Mair Dagan said that Israel was a "burden" to the U.S. He did not say that.

Then Schneider went on to claim that General Petraeus said the Israeli-Palestine conflict was fomenting anti-American sentiment. Petraeus said that he did not say that, and I believe him.

The further statement by Schneider that Israel is "persecuting civilians for voting for Hamas" is absurd. Israel is defending her borders from murderous terrorists who are bent on her destruction and who have daily murdered or tried to murder Israelis. Every nation has that right under law.

The blockade is to keep weapons and military armament out of Gaza to protect Israel. And yes, the Israelis are willing to trade 1,000 prisoners for their one kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit, because of their loyalty to their military men.

Unlike us, they leave none behind. I find that commendable. Any person with a computer can easily go see the videos of the boarding of the Mavi by Israeli soldiers armed with - get this - paint ball guns (the same thing your 12-year-old plays with), and the murderous "reception" they received by armed terrorists posing as "peace activists."

Yes, please do write your congressional representative and tell them you support Israel's right to defend herself. Don't listen to falsehoods; find out the facts yourself.

Carol Ann Smith

Mi-Wuk Village