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The CAGenWeb Project sincerely thanks the dedicated volunteers who devoted time and effort toward making this site a successful one:
James Goforth, County Coordinator 1996-1997
Samuel De la Mora, County Coordinator 1997-1999
Joan Biggs, County Coordinator 1999-2003
Jeannette M. Harper, County Coordinator 2003-2004
Denise S. Flynn, County Coordinator 2004-2012
Michelle Hoftiezer, County Coordinator 2016-2017
Present day Inyo county has been the historic homeland of the Mono, Coso, Timbisha and Kawaiisu people for thousands of years. The tribes spoke the Timbisha language and the Mono language with Mono traditional narratives. The descendants of these people continue to live in their traditional homelands in the Owens River Valley and in Death Valley National Park.
Inyo County was formed in 1866 out of the territory of the unorganized Coso County, which had been created on April 4, 1864 from parts of Mono and Tulare Counties. It acquired more territory from Mono County in 1870 and still more from Kern County and San Bernardino County in 1872.
Initially, the first Europeans in the area mistakenly believed that the mountains to the east of Owens Valley were called Inyo. When the white settlers asked the local Paiute what the name of the mountain range to the east was called, the Paiute responded that it was the land of Inyo. The native tribe meant by this that those lands belonged to the Shoshone tribe headed by a man whose name was Inyo. Inyo was the name of the headman of the Panamint band of Paiute-Shoshone people at the time of contact with the first Europeans, when the Manly expedition of 1849 wandered, lost, into Death Valley on their expedition to the gold fields of western California.
"Indian George," a fixture of many of the stories of early Death Valley days, was Inyo's son. Indian George's Shoshone name was Bah-Vanda-Sa-Va-Nu-Kee, which means "The Boy Who Ran Away", a name he was given when he became terrified of the Europeans and their wheeled wagons and huge buffalo (none of which the Shoshone had ever seen before) when the settling party came wandering down Furnace Creek Wash in December 1849. In 1940, when Bah-vanda was around 100 years old, JC Boyles, a Panamint Shoshone who had become educated, came back to the Panamint Valley and interviewed Bah-Vanda at length about the early days of his life, including the events of 1849, and it is in this interview (which can be found in the February 1940 issue of The Desert Magazine) that Bah-vanda referred to his father, Inyo.
In order to provide water needs for the growing City of Los Angeles, water was diverted from the Owens River into the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. The Owens River Valley cultures and environments changed substantially. From the 1910s to 1930s, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power purchased much of the valley for water rights and control. In 1941, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power extended the Los Angeles Aqueduct system further upriver into the Mono Basin.
Inyo County is host to a number of magnificent natural features, including Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States, Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, and Methuselah, an ancient Bristlecone pine tree - one of the oldest living trees on earth, and Owens Valley, the deepest valley on the American continents.
This site was updated last on 10-Feb-2019 23:28
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