Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite basket maker a living legend

October 7, 2009, 8:35 am
Her hands are like the grand and timeless Yosemite Valley where she has lived the better part of 60 years. They are strong and steady, with the feel of permanence like the smooth granite faces of El Capitan and Half Dome.

Her agile fingers still weave willow branches into masterful baskets. They are traditional baskets that are displayed around the world and have garnered her attention from adoring fans.

She considers the Earth her lifeblood. She is a living metaphor for a hard-earned life spent caring for the land.

Julia Parker, 80, is Native American. Born in Northern California, she is a mix of Coastal Miwok and Kashia Pomo tribes. "I do have an Indian name that was given to me. I'm called Hoo Wee Na, that means 'person of peace.'"

She is a park ranger with Yosemite National Park. She works as Native American cultural demonstrator at the Yosemite Museum. There are many 20-and 30-year employees at Yosemite, but Julia is the oldest and longest-tenured park employee with over 40 years.