Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Craig Bates Collection
Collection Number: YCN: 1010 (YOSE 120162)
Extent: 75.1 LF
Online items available
Yosemite National Park Archives
El Portal, California 95318
Abstract: Correspondence, research notes, manuscripts, reports, newspaper clippings, journal articles, photographs, sound recordings,
drawings, and maps, on the history, social institutions, genealogy, languages, crafts, lore, culture, material culture, and
ethnography of the Miwok, Paiute, and other Native American tribes of the Yosemite Region and from throughout Northern and
Central California. Much of the collection focuses on Craig Bates' research into basketweaving, dance, feather belts, acorn
gathering and use, attire, blankets, village life, tribal governance, tribal populations, linguistics, and religious practices.
There are also files on individual tribal members and tribal families, as well as on significant archeological, anthropological,
and ethnographic expeditions and studies from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, the collection contains documentation
on interpretive, educational, ethnographic, and museum activities at Yosemite NP, and on publications by Bates and others.
Language of Material: English
Craig Bates Collection. Yosemite National Park Archives
Collection created at Yosemite NP by NPS employee Craig Bates, 1973-2005; accessioned by Yosemite N.P. Museum Program, 2006.
Craig Bates worked for the National Park Service for more than 30 years, and was a nationally-recognized expert in the history
and culture of the Pauite, Miwok, and other native peoples of the Yosemite area.
Born in 1952 in Oakland, California, and raised in the Northern California communities of Hayward and Pleasanton, Bates studied
at Columbia College before joining the National Park Service in 1973 as a park technician with the Indian Cultural Program
at Yosemite National Park. Bates spent his entire career at Yosemite, moving on to become Indian Cultural Specialist, Assistant
Curator, and Curator of Ethnography. He retired from Yosemite in 2006.
In addition to working on ethnographic projects, museum collections, exhibits, interpretive programs, craft presentations,
and educational programs at Yosemite, Bates became a noted scholar and prolific author. He specialized in Native American
basketry, but also conducted research and wrote widely on Indian languages, shamanism, genealogy of Northern California tribes,
crafts, dance, mythologies, and legends. He published more than 100 articles and monographs, and wrote or contributed to many
books on the history, languages, art, and material culture of Native Americans in the Western United States.
Bates' work attracted some criticism in the 1990s and early 2000s from members or supporters of the Pauites, who claimed that
Bates favored self-professed Miwoks who were seeking Federal recognition. Bates' reputation in the scholarly community, however,
remained strong. He received grants from the Lanon Foundation and others to carry out studies or conduct crafts workshops,
he participated as a member of a cultural group that traveled to Russia, and he served as consultant to various museums on
exhibits, acquisitions, and documentation.
The Craig Bates Collection constitutes Bates' "desk file," or the papers he accumulated while working at Yosemite. They include
his research files on Northern California Indians, as well as documentation on his official activities as Yosemite's Curator
Scope and Content of Collection
Organized into 8 series: Series I, General Research; Series II: Yosemite Collection; Series III: Correspondence; Series IV:
Miwok Files; Series V: Berlin Files; Series VI: Sources/Research; Series VII: Ethnographic Appraisals; Series VIII: NAGPRA