Julia Parker has spent most of her years living and working in Yosemite Village in California. Although she was born in her native Pomo territory, her early teachers were elder Indian traditionalists and basketweavers of the Sierra Miwok and Mono Lake Paiute people. After her mother's death when Julia was five, she and her siblings were placed in a foster home and later sent to Stewart Indian School near Carson City, NV. There she met her husband to be, Ralph Parker, and in 1948 they married and moved back to the Yosemite area. Ralph was employed by the National Park Service and Julia worked as a housekeeper for the Yosemite Park and Curry Company. In 1960, Park naturalist Douglas Hubbard wanted to revive demonstrations of Indian basketweaving at the Yosemite Museum and Julia volunteered. With master elders as her teachers, most significantly Ralph's mother, Julia soon was demonstrating basketweaving in the park. She also revived the practice of making acorn meal and mush, which in the traditional way uses a basket for the cooking process. Julia's work has been featured at the National Museum of the American Indian, the Heard Museum, and the National Museum of Natural History. In 1983 when Queen Elizabeth II visited Yosemite, Julia gave her one of her baskets and today it is in the Queen's Museum in Windsor Castle. Julia has been a central figure in the organization and ongoing activities of the California Indian Basketweavers Association.
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