Western Mono & Tubatulabal

The Western Mono and Tubatulabal are Shoshonean speaking people indigenous to the land we call Sequoia National Park today. They represent distinct tribes in their territories and cultures although based on their language, Shoshonean, it is likely they are more related to the eastern peoples of the Great Basin. Tubatulabal means “a people that go to the forest to gather tubat (piñon nuts)” and “mono” is a word coming from “monoache” meaning “fly people” that the Yokuts named them.


The Western Mono (Monache) lived in the northern parts of the park, where the upper Kaweah River drainage occurs and on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The eastern part of the park, where the Kern Drainage is located, is the territory of the Tubatulabal. These areas also had travelers from the Yokuts and Owens Valley Pauite in which they would sometimes trade with.



  • 1806- 1830: After many villages are raided by the Spanish, the Mexican government responds to a severe drought by freeing thousands of horses in the valley
  • 1850- California becomes a state and the Act for the Government and Protection of Indians is passed which allowed for the indenture of Native children and certain adults
  • 1860- By this time, the Spanish and people from the Gold Rush had brought many diseases that killed ~80% of the indigenous population in California
  • 1863- The Whiskey flats Massacre kills ~40 Tubatulabal men
  • ~1910- Bureau of Indian Affairs purchases land for some bands of the Western Mono
  • 1958- The Rancheria Act that terminates recognition of 41 tribes in California
  • 1993- The North Fork Tribal Council is formed
Indigenous Land Territories, Western Mono and Tubatulabal, Sequoia National Park

Western Mono & Tubatulabal Life

The Western Mono spent most of the year in the lower hills although they traded with the Eastern Mono for the obsidian in their hunting tools. They were hunter/gatherers relying heavily on deer and the acorns from oak trees. The Tubatulabal were more isolated than the Western Mono, seasonally occupying the Johnsondale area in the summer months but visiting and fostering positive relations with tribes on the west side of the mountains.


Western Mono & Tubatulabal today:

The Western Mono and Tubatulabal are currently represented by the Cold Springs mono, The Northfork Mono, The Big Sandy Mono, and the Big Pine Band.

  • Big Sandy Rancheria has many housing opportunities, children’s programs and grants for assistance to their people.
  • The North Fork Rancheria has stores, housing programs, and has worked with the EPA to protect parts of the surrounding environment.