The Dao of Backroads
Eastern Ramparts of the Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine
he word ‘timbisha’ refers to a red material found in the Black Mountains not far from our tribal village at Furnace Creek. Our ancestors, the Old Ones, used this material, called ochrein English. They would use it like paint on their faces, to protect them and heal them. The Old Ones believed that this material, ‘timbisha’, strengthened their spirituality.
Our people, the Timbisha, are named after this material and so is our valley. The term ‘Death Valley’ is unfortunate. We refrain from talking about death. Instead, we refer to “one who it has happened to.” Even more importantly, this is a place about life. It is a powerful and spiritual valley that hashealing powers and the spirituality of the valley is passed on to our people.Our people have always lived here. The Creator, Appü, placed us here at the beginning of time. Thisvalley, and the surrounding places that the Old Ones frequented, is ‘tüpippüh’, our Homeland. TheTimbisha Homeland includes the valley and the nearby mountains, valleys, flats, meadows, and springs. Pauline Estevez Tribal Chair, Timbisha Shoshone1999